As we enter the third and final season, writer George Kay manages to pack a wallop of emotions into this first episode, ranging from the deliriously happy to the shockingly dramatic.
*Warning: This review contains spoilers!*
E4’s BAFTA nominated comedy-drama My Mad Fat Diary has returned for a third and final series, bringing with it one last taste of 90’s nostalgia amidst it’s very distinctive style. Based on the semi-autobiographical novels by Rae Earl, the series follows Sharon Rooney’s Rae – an overweight teenager who struggles to maintain an active social life, whilst also battling against her own crippling body confidence and mental health issues. Thus far we have seen Rae overcome a number of obstacles, but it is in this series that we see Rae face her biggest challenge yet, in the form of an all too familiar ordeal; applying for university.
At the start of the episode, despite a seemingly disastrous interview at Bristol University, everything seems perfect in Rae’s world. Her family has never been closer knit following the birth of her baby sister, the gang are in a similar state of harmonic bliss, despite their looming A-Level exams, Rae’s working at a record store and of course, there’s also Finn (Nico Mirallegro) – Rae’s sweet-faced boyfriend, who provides Rae with ‘pleasures’ of all sorts. Indeed, as Rae so colourfully states, her ‘fuck-up’ at the interview just ‘didn’t matter in the slightest’. All seems well.
However, it soon turns out that Rae has been given a miraculous conditional offer at Bristol, leaving her with the dilemma; does she stay or does she go? To begin with, the answer is simple – as in an act true to character, Rae decides to hide the truth of her offer from everyone, including her therapist, Kester (Ian Hart) and Finn. The latter, under the assumption that he isn’t holding her back, then asks Rae to move in with him into his new flat, much to her delight. (Indeed, upon hearing the news, Rae appears to spontaneously combust into an explosion of penis shaped confetti – which as you can imagine, is nothing short of hilarious, and as crude as is to be expected from this distinctively teenage drama)
The cat soon gets out of the bag though, and in spectacular fashion. As if having her Mum nonchalantly find the acceptance letter in her room wasn’t bad enough, Rae soon has to deal with the mortifying consequences of her decision to lie, after her headteacher shares the news with everyone in town. Naturally, this causes quite a bit of tension between her and Finn, who is devastated to find out about Rae’s offer from everyone but her. Rae is then further upset by Kester’s plans to end their therapy time by the end of term, to the point that she self-harms for the first time in over a year.
The drama and the upset doesn’t stop there, though. This show is far too gutsy for that. In something of a self-destructive mode, in which she half-mindedly decides that there is nowhere for her to go other than Stamford, Rae leads the gang on a late-night bender at the pub. As the gang drive to Finn’s flat-warming party however, Chloe (Jodie Comer) notices the scars on Rae’s hand from where she hurt herself, and swerves out of control, only to then collide with another car. In a dramatic twist from the happy-go-lucky start of the programme, we see that Rae’s life has very suddenly fragmented. With her therapy quickly drawing to a close, her relationship with Finn on the rocks and the well-being of her best friend Chloe (who is last seen unconscious and being aided by paramedics) in the balance, Rae’s world has very quickly turned upside down, and quite how she’ll cope with that in the next episode will be interesting, and surely very affecting, to see.
My Mad Fat Diary is broadcast on E4 on Mondays at 10pm. Catch up on 40D.