Review - All right for kicks and giggles
"Just because we live on an estate, we're not all single mothers with drug problems," says Viva. Pause, as she stops to chat to a girl nursing a baby on a park bench. "Careful - you're dropping ash on her."
Some Girls, a new BBC Three series, follows the life of 16-year-old Viva and her three best friends as they negotiate parents, boys and playing for the school football team.
Sweet-but-dim Amber, for example, is attempting to dump Brandon. Brandon, meanwhile, has scrawled "these are mine" across Amber's breasts. "He's got babyish handwriting," says Saz, scathingly. "I hate boys who don't have interesting handwriting."
And ASBO-courting Holli steals the school hamster as a birthday present for her little brother. When the hamster subsequently dies, Holli plays it straight: "He's just ... chillin'."
Some Girls is full of perceptive, irreverent lines. So it is a shame that the programme itself is simply not that good. It is not bad. It is not offensive. If you have half an hour and no handy box sets, you could certainly do worse. But, ultimately, it is just a bit... meh.
Amber is a one-trick pony (and, in the best tradition of school dramas, looks like she is pushing 30). Sarcastic Saz is nothing more than a collection of one-liners. And Viva, while ostensibly the star of the show, has no personality to speak of.
Holli, played by the irresistibly likeable Natasha Jonas, is far more substantial. She may be violent and permanently angry, but she also cares for her younger brothers and sisters, trying desperately hard to make them happy. Forced to share air time with the other three characters, however, she appears for frustratingly small snippets of each programme. (Her faked panic attack, however, is the standout moment of episode two. "You're not auditioning for Rada," her teacher deadpans.)
And, well, nothing happens. Over the course of two episodes, Amber dumps two boyfriends. Viva yells at her family. Saz is sarcastic. And Holli is given far too little screen time.
So what we are left with are the jokes. Avoid the volleyball teacher, Viva advises a new pupil: "He's totally paedo. And when he's not molesting you, he's showing you pictures of his cats." Enough to raise a smile, certainly. Enough to justify watching an entire series? I am not convinced.
Some Girls starts on BBC Three on Tuesday 6 November at 10pm.