Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Raised By Wolves

Rebekah Staton as Della.
The funniest TV series I've seen in a long time has already been cancelled. Fortunately, Raised By Wolves can be viewed on Acorn TV's streaming service in the U.S. This riotous comedy mixes the working-class lifestyle of Roseanne with more pop culture references than The Gilmore Girls. It makes for a unique viewing experience.

The show centers on single mother Della Garry, her brood of six children, and her father whom the kids call Grampy. The Garry family occupies a very modest home in Wolverhampton. Della works at Pound King (a dollar store) and homeschools her children (though we never see her teaching them).

Sisters Yoko, Germaine, and Aretha.
Most of the episodes focus on the three oldest children: teenagers Germaine, Aretha, and Yoko. Germaine, a self-made diva and style icon, has an unfathomable crush on a worthless hunk called Lee. It's so bad that she licks the exterior of Lee's house and squeezes her hand through the mail chute--so she can claim she was in Lee's house (naturally, her hand gets stuck). The red-haired Aretha is the antithesis of her older sister, preferring a highbrow book to discussing boys and sex. Meanwhile, the naive Yoko spends her time worrying about endangered species. The three younger children--known collectively as the Babbies--are relegated to supporting roles, though Wyatt and Mariah share some hilarious scenes with Grampy.

The adults in Raised By Wolves are far from ideal as parental models. When Della explains that Germaine has to apologize for insulting cousin Cathy, she adds that Germaine doesn't have to really mean it. And when Germaine claims that she may be pregnant, her mother makes her work for a day at Pound King--with no pay--so she can see what the real world is like.

Philip Jackson as Grampy.
Beneath the extreme humor, though, is a TV series with its heart in the right place. For example, when Della learns that Aretha wants to go to public school, she forces Germaine's boyfriend to watch out for the socially-challenged Aretha.

Raised by Wolves was created by sisters Cailtin and Caroline Moran (and supposedly based on their childhood!). The pilot episode was broadcast in 2013 and the show debuted in 2015. It ran for two seasons for a total of twelve episodes.

The wonderful cast is handed by Rebakah Staton as Della and Philip Jackson as Grampy. The latter gained fame playing Detective Chief Inspector Japp in 40 episodes of Agatha's Christie's Poirot. Helen Monks, who portrayed the extreme Germaine, recently appeared in the miniseries Einstein as Albert's sister.

It's a shame that Raised by Wolves didn't last longer than two seasons. Still, two nearly-perfect seasons isn't a bad legacy at all.

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