Boy Meets Girl broke new ground last year as the first British sitcom with a transgender lead character, played by a transgender actress. It quickly showed that it was more than just a bit of token inclusivity by the BBC, with its witty and warm look at the blossoming love between 20-something Leo (Harry Hepple) and 39-year-old Judy (Rebecca Root).
Now it’s back for a second season, with six more episodes following Leo, Judy and their eccentric families. In the first episode, Leo decides it’s time to up the ante by proposing to Judy, with the rest of the series covering the run-up to their wedding. As well as plenty of worry about venues and whether Harry’s mother, Pam (Denise Welch), is being too pushy, there are quite a few other issues to deal with.
That includes the arrival of Charlie (Tyler Luke Cunningham), who is female-to-male transgender and a bit down on his luck. He gets taken in by Pam, which allows the show to explore some of the issues of young transgender people and problems that are specific to MTF people. Leo’s layabout brother James (Jonny Dixon) is also up to mischief, pursuing his mum’s boss following a one night stand, and finally getting a job when his father starts a café and employs him.
Being billed as a ‘transgender series’, Boy Meets Girl was always going to have a fine line to tread. It’s a subject many people aren’t particularly familiar with, so it’s an opportunity for education and familiarisation. Equally though, trans people’s lives aren’t just about being trans, and to make it seem as if it was wouldn’t be realistic and would likely feel preachy. Indeed, it could end up simply underlining the idea of trans people being ‘different’. Boy Meets Girls sometimes had issues with treading that line in its first outing, but generally did a great job, ensuring it was always moored by the romance between Leo and Judy.
That continues with Series 2, which does well in showing that Judy’s trans identity is part of who Judy is, but that there’s far more to her than just that. In fact, as with Season 1 it’s Judy and Leo who are the normal ones, surrounded by a bunch of crazy friends and relatives. It’s often very funny, particularly Janine Duvitski as Judy’s ditzy but loveable mother. It all ensures that the idiosyncrasies of trans life are presented as being no stranger than what other people are up to, while also showing the ignorance and discomfort trans people have to deal with.
However, what anchors the show and ensures it’s always extremely watchable is the simple and sweet love between Judy and Leo, which is tender enough that you want the best for them and believe they will make it through. The end of Series 2 feels like it’s trying to give a sense of completion, while leaving the door open for another season. I would certainly like to see more, but we’ll have to wait and see whether that happens.
Overall Verdict: Funny, warm and with a very sweet romance at its heart, Boy Meets Girl goes from strength-to-strength in its season series.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac