review

Such Brave Girls review: Stan’s stinging comedy is not for the easily offended

Headshot of Wenlei Ma
Wenlei Ma
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Such Brave Girls is streaming on Stan.
Such Brave Girls is streaming on Stan. Credit: Stan/BBC Three

Pearl-clutchers beware, Such Brave Girls will be too offensive for those with delicate constitutions.

The UK comedy throws so many outrage bombs at such a quick pace that you barely have time to recover from one jibe before the next one hits you in the face.

Like lemon juice being squirted from a water pistol it stings but it is also very, very, very funny.

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This is a show that weaponises over-the-top and acerbic humour to draw attention to real traumas. When it comes to uncomfortable subjects — abortion, suicide, death, abandonment — it will go there, and it will make you laugh about them.

Created by Kat Sadler, Such Brave Girls is centred on three characters: sisters Josie (Sadler) and Billie (Lizzie Davidson, Sadler’s real-life sister) and mum Deb (Louise Brealey). They are as dysfunctional as they come.

Such Brave Girls is streaming on Stan.
Kat Sadler and Lizzie Davidson are real-life sisters. Credit: Stan/BBC Three

Josie and Billie’s dad abandoned the family 10 years earlier, a game-changing event none of them have processed properly. It comes up a lot through seemingly casual, throwaway lines, but the frequency of it only points to how dominant it is.

There’s an ongoing gag about his leaving and Billie’s obsession with her on-again-off-again boyfriend clearly stems from her needing to replace him.

He also happens to be an absolute cad who only notices Billie when he needs someone to take the fall for him when he’s caught with a baggie.

Billie says to Josie, “If you love someone, hold onto them for dear life and grip so hard until you fuse with their body like a human f**king centipede”.

She may not be the smartest character on TV, at one point trying to hide a hickey by filing it off with an emery board, but Billie’s honesty reveals a lot.

When Josie talks about how it’s affected her attachment style, it reads as a joke about woo-woo pop psychology but it doubles as a revelation about the pain she always carries with her.

Such Brave Girls is streaming on Stan.
Such Brave Girls confronts trauma through humour. Credit: Stan/BBC Three

Both sisters are stuck in a cycle of arrested development.

When Josie tries to form a connection with a woman she fancies, she’s confronted with the fact she has defined herself through her trauma. Not that it immediately leads to any emotional epiphanies – trauma isn’t a maths equation to be solved.

Speaking of arrested development, mum Deb is maybe the worst TV mother since Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development.

She says to Billie that getting pregnant with Josie “was the worst mistake of my life” while Josie is standing right there.

Another time, a distressed Josie calls her mum and tells her she’s “having big feelings” to which Deb replies, “Can you squash them down? I’m a bit busy”.

It’s callous and negligent for sure, but Deb is not without layers. She’s trying to lock in her latest beau, Dev (Paul Bazely), because he has a big house, trying to provide for her daughters, in her own unethical way.

The three women are all such damaged souls but by using confronting and bold humour, Such Brave Girls is laughing at trauma and its effects, creating a hysterically entertaining series that has depth.

Such Brave Girls is on Stan from April 18

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