Within the first few minutes of episode one, we meet our self-proclaimed “main character” of the show, Sara. As a giant projector plays out scenes from the forthcoming show to an empty warehouse, Pascoe roller skates into shot in a pink-and-blue, ’80’s-style unitard and declares, “My name is Sara Pascoe, and I’m going to destroy your faith in love”.
Those are strong words to start with. However, what follows this frank admission is six 30-minute-long episodes that don’t so much to destroy our faith in love but instead show exactly why Sara has little, if none, herself. We learn from the outset of Out of Her Mind that Sara is single and seemingly has been since her fiancé walked out on her more than a decade prior. At first it appears that Sara is pretty much over the break-up – she refers to the experience as an “enlightenment” rather than anything else – but it isn’t long before Sara’s true feelings are revealed to us.
It’s clear we’re to take the outlandishly dressed Sara who spends the series dancing, singing, and roller skating around the warehouse as a representation of the real Sara’s subconscious. In fourth-wall breaking commentary delivered directly to camera – reminiscent of other female-led series like Phoebe Waller-Bridge‘s Fleabag and Michaela Coel’s Chewing Gum – we learn exactly why Sara is so opposed to her sister’s engagement, her best friend’s pregnancy, and her mother’s new relationship.
Armed with a deep understanding of human biology and gender politics, Sara presents compelling and coherent arguments on why monogamy, procreation, and everything in between is, well, pretty rubbish for women. Unfortunately, real-life Sara never seems to be able to get her points across the way she hears them in her head. For instance, while subconscious Sara is able to simply and succinctly explain how falling in love is just a biological reaction no more romantic than digestion and excretion, when it comes to communicating this to her newly engaged sister, real-life Sara can only muster up the words, “Your relationship is shit!”
The series goes on to touch on topics such as body image, motherhood, sexism, and ageing in similarly interesting ways. Those familiar with Pascoe’s nonfiction writing (Animal, and Sex, Power, Money) may end up feeling slightly shortchanged by the series as it does cover many of the same topics and issues brought up in her books. However, this truly is Pascoe’s specialty; the comedian knows exactly how to bring together comedy, science, and storytelling in a way that is always entertaining, and never didactic.
Out Of Her Mind continues at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays on BBC Two. The whole boxset is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.