The series revolves around Viva and her three friends; the delinquent Holli, the maths geek Saz, and the ditzy but well meaning Amber. All four live on the same housing estate, attend the same school, and even play on the same football team, that just so happens to be coached by Viva's stepmother.
The show follows the girls and their day-to-day struggles with boys, homework, self-esteem issues, bullying, their families, and boys. They discuss sex and other such subjects with such frequency that a lot of the humour is based around the fact that it Crosses the Line Twice, along with the fact that almost every other word is a swear word. However, the show was applauded for its accurate depiction of teenage girls, which in turn was inspired by how teenage boys were shown in The Inbetweeners.
This series provides examples of:
- A-Cup Angst: While not exactly flat-chested, Amber is upset over having smaller breasts than Charlie.
- Adults Are Useless: Zig-zagged. While we don't see many of the adults in their lives outside Viva's father and stepmother, we do learn that Holli's mother is a neglectful drug addict, and the principal is more concerned with her chocolate stash than the student body. Viva and Jamie have a very close and loving relationship with their dad, but don't always see eye to eye with him. Mr. Jefferies, the choir teacher, likes to see himself as a Stern Teacher and Reasonable Authority Figure, but Holli tends to get the better of him.
- Age-Appropriate Angst
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Amber and her on-off boyfriend Brandon. He's not too bright, lacks any emotional maturity, and often makes excuses with I'm a Man; I Can't Help It. It's totally off now as Brandon has apparently abandoned Amber and she found solid evidence of his cheating.
- Viva and Rocky as well. Like Brandon, he's a bit shaky on all fronts, but has good intentions at heart.
- All Guys Want Cheerleaders: The four main female characters are all footballers, whilst their arch-enemies, Charlie's gang "The Pretties" (or as Viva calls them, the "Boob Nazis") are cheerleaders. One of the storylines is that Amber's boyfriend ditches her for the head cheerleader, and there is plenty of complaining about how large said cheerleader's breasts are.
- Alpha Bitch: Charlie and the cheerleaders
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Jamie to Viva.
- Bathroom Stall of Angst: After their mock exam results, Saz finds Holli and Amber crying in the bathroom (Amber because Bitchcock yelled at her and Holli for 23 minutes (before her throat went sore); Holli because she received a letter from her dad in prison, praising her). Holli tearfully says that she wanted to make her dad proud, and Saz reassures her that he will be proud at Holli becoming the first female scaffolder in the world (although there's one in Leeds).
- Berserk Button: Never mention the reason why Viva's mum left them (she met another bloke).
- Big Entrance: Charlie and the cheerleaders show up to the prom in a massive pink limo. Everyone at school gawks in awe of them...until Viva and the gang arrive in Rob's fire engine (squadron truck). Everyone immediately turns towards the gang.
- Big Man on Campus: Tyler Blaine, who is the head boy at school and he's smart, charming, and arrogant. Even Anna takes a fancy to him.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: Holli has a Hair-Trigger Temper, her father is in prison for animal fighting (he comes out of prison in the end of Series 3, with his sentence being brought forward), her mother is a mentally absent drug addict, and she's stuck raising her siblings Prada, Louis Vuitton, Armani, and Smelly. It's amazing she isn't even more screwed up.
- Bollywood Nerd: Saz is of Indian descent and is very studious, especially when it comes to mathematics.
- Brainy Brunette: Viva, whose biggest dream is to become a psychologist, and Saz, whose favorite subject is Maths.
- Brick Joke: The episodes often end with something happening during the closing credits that had been set up earlier.
- In one episode Amber suspects her new boyfriend of having a secret: "He's got a tattoo of a rose on his chest. I looked it up online - it means he's in the RUSSIAN MAFIA!". At the end of the episode, after her boyfriend's secret turns out to be something entirely different, he is shown walking along a street shouting angrily into a phone in Russian. "Nyet! Nyet! Tovarich."
- In Series 3, Episode 4, Anna has taken a habit of ripping up cardboard boxes out of anger, because according to Viva, Rob has been chosen to feature in a charity calendar of firemen, and Anna doesn't want other woman ogling him and "drooling over his pecs", so she bought every copy of the calendar he's in and dumps them away in the bin, and bans the rest of the family from buying the calendar. However, the girls discover the calendars, and find Rob's photo on the July page. At the end credits, they stick up the pictures of Rob around the school to wind Anna up. She discovers them and starts angrily tearing them down.
- Council Estate: All four main leads live in the same council estate in south London. In contrast to other shows, the neighborhood is diverse and quite working class (Rob is a firefighter) and fairly nicer than most depictions.Viva: Just because we live on an estate, we're not all single mums or drug problems...though obviously, some of us are.
- Cute Clumsy Girl: Amber in spades, and Viva when she's around Rocky.
- Deadpan Snarker: Saz. She also has a tendency to say the wrong things at the wrong time, which has bitten her in the ass many times.
- Dumb Blonde/The Ditz: Amber. Viva's introduction of her has her running into a door...despite the sign saying "Pull To Open".
- Embarrassing Tattoo: Rocky has "Viva Forever" tattooed in ugly letters across his collarbone. Saz snarks that he can always pass it off as a Spice Girls tattoo.
- Eye Am Watching You: Holli does this to a nun who had been apparently took all the remaining Hawaiian pizza slices. The nun repeats the gesture in kind.
- Family Theme Naming: Amber and her sister Topaz are named after the stones.
- Finale Season: The show's third series was their final series as it focused on the girls figuring out what to do with their lives once they've completed sixth form.
- Five-Token Band: Viva (Black British), Holli and Amber (White British), and Saz (British-Indian).
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Amber and Topaz don't exactly get along, especially since Topaz slept with Brandon. Amber still isn't over it.
- Girly Bruiser: Amber. She's the sweetest and girliest of the gang but she's also a damn good football player.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Holli, whose violent outbursts are so legendary, that she makes everyone run for the hills. She once threw a toilet out the window during one of these. However, the school threatened to permanently exclude her if she continues to hurt people, so she had to find other ways of releasing her aggression that doesn't involve violence.
- Saz reacts angrily to anything she perceives as a slight. Like telling her little sister to shut up for coughing. (She also once slammed Holli's head into a table, but that's justified as Holli told Saz's crush at point blank that Saz was a virgin and wanted to bone him, further humiliating Saz, who had been crying about the matter earlier.)
- Hidden Depths: Holli is prone to violence and Tough Love, but she genuinely loves her siblings and ghostwrote a surprisingly popular advice column in the school paper for extra credit.
- Amber has watched enough episodes of Call the Midwife to identify the fact Anna goes into labor early.
- Rocky isn't too bright or ambitious, but he makes a surprisingly excellent babysitter for Jellybean. He's also more than happy to let Viva take the lead in their relationship.
- Hopeless Auditionees: The cheerleaders audition for the school talent show as a dance act and they're absolutely terrible. Not only that, Holli sabotaged their heels, causing them to collapse on the ground as revenge for trying to split the girls apart from Saz.
- Hot for Teacher: Holli, over the counselor hired after the death of Mr. Andrews, the morbidly obese head of science.
- Amber suffers from this too.
- Hypocritical Humor: One of the many elements in the show's humor.Rob: What are you so angry about?
Viva: I'm not angry, you big fucking moron!
Rob: Don't call me a fucking moron!
Viva: [gasps] I can't believe you're swearing at me.
- Laser-Guided Karma: In revenge for Charlie's bullying of Amber and causing tension among the girls (after Viva starts dating Tyler Blaine, who the bullies also like, and they are jealous of Viva), Holli sabotages Charlie's dance group's heels, causing them to spectacularly fail their talent contest audition. Holli takes pictures and posts them all over the school.
- Middle Child Syndrome: Saz, who comes from a large Sikh family and has three sisters (one older, two younger). Her temper and snark is her way of making herself stand out.
- My Beloved Smother: Brandon's mother Martine is VERY overbearing.
- Mysterious Past: Ryan who later turns out to be in the Russia mafia and had sex with a teacher.
- Morning Sickness: Anna when she finds out she's pregnant.
- Mushroom Samba: Holli gives Viva one of her mum's "calming tablets". Viva ends up sitting on the stairs waving to herself and muttering about her loving robins.
- Nature Abhors a Virgin: At least in Saz's mind as she wants to lose her virginity with her crush. Viva and Holli are virgins as well, although they don't seen to make a big deal of it like Saz does.
- Series 2 then mentions that Viva did successfully sleep with Rocky and that Saz did lose her virginity.
- Noodle Incident: Holli's banned from pet shops. Viva calls it "The Incident". Holli wanted to know if fish got drunk...and accidentally killed them all.
- No Social Skills: Saz admits her social skills are poor and she does try...but her patience is non-existent.
- Not Hyperbole: The humour occasionally falls under this. Case in point: the gang watches Amber compete in a football trial when Viva spots one of Saz's crushes cuddling up to a girl.Viva: Saz, don't look now, but Omar's there and he's snuggled up to Emma O'Brien.
Saz: Why is Omar snuggled up to Emma O'Brien?
Holli: Because he's dunking his Twix in her latte.
Saz: Oh God, why do you have to be so dirty, Holli?
Viva: She's not. He really is dunking his Twix in her latte.
- Official Couple: Rocky and Viva.
- Oh, Crap!: After breaking into Brandon's house to find out where he's been, the girls has this reaction when they realize that his mother is home. She's a nurse who works the night shift and needs sleeping pills to sleep during the day. She already loathes Amber's mere existence, so she's especially enraged when she sees the girls have stolen her alcohol and destroyed her door.
- Parental Abandonment: Holli's father is in prison and her mother spends so much time out of it in a drug or pill-induced haze, she might as well not exist.
- Parental Neglect: Rocky is ignored by his parents, so when he falls for Viva, he's absolutely charmed by her stable home life. He easily bonds with Rob and looks to him as a father figure.
- Parents Walk In at the Worst Time: The finale of the first season had Rob and Anna returning to vacation and discovering the girls in various stages of undress with boys.
- Parent with New Paramour: Viva's father Rob and Anna, who also happens to be Viva's football coach. No mention is made of Viva and Jamie's mother and Viva alternates between complaining about Anna and putting up with her for Rob's sake.
- Anna's constant berating of Jamie for chronically masturbating in public wins her a few points in Viva's book, and by the time Anna has given birth, Viva appears to have grudgingly come around.
- Primal Scene: How Viva discovered Rob and Anna's relationship: she walked in on Anna humping him. Luckily, they were both clothed, but still awkward for Viva.
- Promotion to Parent: Holli seems to be in charge of raising all her siblings, since her dad is in jail (for organising illegal dog fights), and her mum takes so many drugs she doesn't even understand Bob the Builder.
- Put on a Bus: Brandon's absence is explained away as having abruptly abandoned all contact with Amber and has been cheating on her.
- Sadist Teacher: Anna, who the girls have dubbed "Miss Bitchcock". She's also Viva's stepmother.
- One episode starts in the changing room after a match.Anna (talking in a thick New Zealand accent): You were all SHIRT! The only risson you won was because the other team was even MORE SHIRT!
- One episode starts in the changing room after a match.
- Schoolgirl Series: A long list of tropes. The show fits nearly all of them.
- Secret Diary: In Series 2, Episode 3, Saz has been writing down her personal thoughts in her private journal as suggested by her counsellor Dr. Nick. When Charlie and her gang steal her diary, she panics about the diary being seen by everyone, and her strict family finding out (she is worried about "bringing dishonour to her father"). Most of her diary entries (posted on the school website or photocopied as posters on lampposts) contain stuff about pie charts, masturbation and eye contact. Later, Saz reads out some entries describing the girls in a critical way, drifting them apart from her until they realise that if she's alone, Charlie wins; so they decide to reconcile.
- Shout-Out: The counselor is consistently referred to as Dr. Nick.
- Sixth Ranger Traitor: Ruby, who later betrays the group to Charlie after being kicked out for bullying Saz.
- Slapstick: Part of the comedy stems from the girls' pratfalls that they find themselves in.
- Stepford Snarker: Saz is actually quite lonely and struggles to make herself stand out, so she hides behind her sarcasm and anger.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: Rocky makes a trail of rose petals to the bedroom as a romantic gesture. Viva thinks it's cute while Rocky thinks it's a bit sexy. When Amber sees the set up, she immediately echoes Viva and Rocky's sentiments.
- Team Mom: Viva takes it upon herself to help her friends and herself navigate their way through life.
- Technical Virgin: Holli's main reason for not having sex is because she didn't want to be a teenage mother like her own. She's open to experimenting, but refuses to do anything that might result in pregnancy.
- Teen Drama
- Teen Pregnancy: Mel has a baby when the series starts. Charlie later gets pregnant. Holli is the product of one.
- Too Much Information: Amber tends to veer into this territory when discussing her sexual exploits with the gang. The girls just tend to roll their eyes.
- True Companions: The four main girls. Sure they'll have their disagreements and fights, but ultimately stick together in the end.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Holli and Saz will constantly fight and berate each other, but ultimately stick up for each other.
- Wham Episode: The end of Series 3's first episode. Rocky proposes to Viva. She shocks everyone by saying "yes".
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: At the end of Series 2, Anna named her baby daughter Jellybean. Judging by the rest of the family's looks, they're not impressed. Rocky nicknames her "Bean".
- Holli's younger siblings are named Armani, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and...Smelly.