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Series / Raised by Wolves

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(From left to right) - Wyatt, Grampy, Yoko, Mariah, Della, Cher, Germaine, Aretha.

"We're not southern twats, and we're not northern twats. We're Midlands twats."

"Raised By Wolves" (2013-2016) is a British comedy series from writer Caitlin Moran and her sister Caroline Moran, focusing on a large and eccentric homeschooled family from Wolverhampton in the British Midlands, led by single mother Della. It is based on the experiences of the two Moran sisters, with the character of Germaine acting as an Expy for Caitlin and Aretha standing in for Caroline.

Following the broadcast of a pilot episode in late 2013, two series aired on Britain's Channel 4 between 2015 and 2016, and were praised for their sympathetic depiction of working-class British women.

Though it was reportedly Channel 4's second highest rating program of 2015 and won the prestigious Rose d'Or for Best Sitcom in 2016, the network revealed in August 2016 that they did not plan to renew the show.


The Moran sisters subsequently mounted a crowdfunding campaign to produce a final episode or series to tie up loose ends, which was not successful in meeting its goal. In December 2016, Caitlin Moran described the show as 'tragically axed', suggesting that no further efforts will be made to turn it into an Uncancelled series.

An American adaptation to be written by Diablo Cody had already been announced at the time of the British version's cancellation, and is expected to appear on ABC.

The main characters include:

  • Della, a badass Action Mom who homeschools her brood of six children with a mixture of tough love and Russell Crowe films
  • Grampy, Della's father and a loveable stoner
  • Germaine, a hypersexual - and just plain hyper - misfit with an outlandish taste in clothes and a vivid imagination
  • Aretha, Germaine's polar opposite, a misanthropic intellectual and Black Sheep of the family
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  • Yoko, the family's Cowardly Lion, who is scared of her mother, most of her siblings, and nearly everything else.

For the unrelated science fiction series on HBO Max, see Raised by Wolves (2020).

This show provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Della's romance with Michael certainly feels like one. After becoming a major plot point in Season 1, it is barely referenced in Season 2.
  • Accidental Dance Craze: Yoko starts one of these at a nightclub, apparently inspired by Germaine's guerilla makeover.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: The greatest discovery of Germaine's young life.
  • Aerith and Bob: Della decided to name her girls after strong female role models. Her one son, Wyatt, got off lightly in comparison.
  • And the Rest: Any family member under the age of ten is collectively described as 'The Babbies'.
  • Ascended Extra: Callum, a random member of Lee Rhind's gang in the first season, becomes Germaine's love interest in the second.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Mariah. Especially towards Grampy.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Yoko, whose greatest fear in life is her uncle's creepy looking hands.
  • Comic Trio:
  • D-Cup Distress: Yoko's not only embarrassed by the size of her chest, but can't even bring herself to say the word 'bra' out loud.
  • Double Entendre: Does Della like it in reverse? Yeah. Della likes it in reverse.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The pilot episode is quite different in tone to the series that followed it.
  • Emotionless Girl: Aretha. It makes it easier to deal with being Germaine's sister. A lot of deadpan snarking also helps.
  • Evil Matriarch: Although we never actually see her, everyone is afraid of Della's mother. Including Della. And Grampy. Germaine and Aretha refer to her as 'Shit Nan'.
    Della: She called Yoko a bitch! On Christmas Day!
  • Genki Girl: Germaine. A thousand times, Germaine.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Germaine's justification for coming on to her sister Yoko to impress Lee Rhind. Aretha is not impressed.
  • Hands-Off Parenting: Della, to a large extent. Not that she's a neglectful mother - she's just happy to let her kids make their own mistakes. Part of the meaning of the title (the other part being a pun on Wolverhampton, where the series is set).
  • Hippie Parents: Grampy might be a tad vague because he's a Scatterbrained Senior, but it’s probably just because he's a bit high all the time. Averted with Della who, though she homeschools her children, maintains her own vegetable garden and favours foraging over supermarket shopping, is definitely no Granola Girl.
  • Homeschooled Kids: Something of an Informed Attribute, as we never actually see any homeschooling going on. Word of God claims that this was Truth in Television - the schooling of the Moran sisters involved watching a lot of TV, daily visits to the library, and not much else.
  • Imagine the Audience Naked: Germaine's recommendation to Yoko when she's forced to interact with other people. Yoko's more confused than anything else.
    Yoko: (many, many hours later) Can I stop imagining all the boobies and wangers now?
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Aretha considers herself a victim of this within her own family.
  • The Lad-ette: Della, to a certain extent.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Some of the things from which Germaine manages to derive sexual pleasure: A letterbox. The theme music that plays before Parliamentary Question Time. Her own nose.
    Aretha: What is wrong with the women in this family? I expect it from Germaine. She fancied Osama Bin Laden.
    Germaine: He had dreamy eyes, like Gareth Gates.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There are six children in the family, plus Grampy and Della and various peripheral characters, and yet everyone gets their time in the spotlight, including Wyatt and Mariah.
  • No Social Skills: Most of the older kids of the family, due to their sheltered existence.
  • Not in Front of the Kid: Averted. Della is something of a Sir Swearsalot, and doesn’t seem to care if her kids overhear, or know all the details of her wild youth for that matter.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted very early on.
    Yoko: (after getting her first period) I don't think I want to be a woman, Mum!
    Della: Nobody does. But men are too chicken shit to handle it.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: Poor Aretha gets an unwanted dose of this after accidentally witnessing her grandparents in the middle of a session of afternoon delight. According to Della, a fairy has its wings ripped off every time her father discusses his sex life.
  • Redheads Are Uncool: Aretha is a proud exponent, and a notable aversion of the Fiery Redhead.
  • Rejection Affection: Germaine continues to pursue Lee Rhind even after he repeatedly refers to her as a 'bummer'. And throws a dog at her.
  • Series Finale: Though it was not necessarily intended as the last episode, there is a kind of resolution - Both Germaine and Aretha have their hearts broken, Germaine gains a modicum of empathy, Aretha admits to having emotions, Grampy accepts his divorce, Della reunites with Sean, father of all her children, and there's even a Dance Party Ending. According to Caitlin Moran, this still left the Series Goal unfulfilled - Germaine losing her virginity.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Cousin Cathy, for Germaine.
  • Spoof Aesop: The usual result of Della’s parenting style.
    Della: There’s nothing wrong with a bit of hate, Germaine. It’s only human. You’ve just got to learn to mask it, that’s all ... Be two faced. That’s my advice, Germaine. You’ll get your chance to let out all the hate when capitalism goes tits up and you’re fighting for a dead rat with a home-made cleaver.
  • Transparent Closet: Germaine's claim that Aretha is in one of these is the basis for an entire episode. As it turns out, she's correct.
  • Unrequited Love Lasts Forever: Vigorously averted by Germaine at the end of Series 1.
  • Vacation Episode: The series finale. Even despite taking place mainly in a decrepit caravan, it boasts its fair share of Scenery Porn and the surprise reappearance of one character.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Germaine sees herself as a cross between Liz Taylor and Audrey Hepburn, and the star of her own sexy teen comedy. Instead, her love interest refers to her as The Gruffalo, and she's constantly annoyed at how real life refuses to conform to what she's seen in her favourite movies.
    Germaine: This moment is not going in my best bits, Mum. This will not make the final montage!

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