Thelma’s Gypsy Girls Episode Four Review: Margaret moves in with Thelma, Bridget quits and Grace receives tragic news
Last week Thelma’s Gypsy Girls really hit a series low as we saw an inordinate amount of rows and the entire scheme breakdown as Thelma had a mini-breakdown meaning she left the factory. I found this representation of the gypsy girls to be fairly stereotypical of this kind of programme however this week there was hope as we saw the focus return to Thelma’s scheme to teach the girls the basics as well as her laying down the law to the most unruly of the travellers. Thelma’s first two tasks are to clear up the ruckus between Lily-Ann and Victoria that had been rumbling throughout most of last week’s episode and came to a head in a vicious scrap in a taxi. Thelma sat them both down and it became clear that Victoria’s family had told her to simply steer clear of Lily-Ann as the former seemed to be more focused on her work only starting an argument once after getting help with a dress which meant she felt the wrath of the formidable Kathleen. Meanwhile trouble-maker Margaret was coming back from a two week suspension and Thelma had to decide whether or not it was a good idea to bring her back at all eventually deciding to take her in for the night. As Margaret looked round the massive house that Thelma’s hard work had bought her she came to the realisation that if she wanted anything from the programme then she’d have to knuckle down and work hard which again was something she did.
The main issue this week came from Bridget who throughout the programme had shown herself to be something of a prude thinking herself above the other traveller girls as she is both English-raised and better educated. Though this means she is better disciplined than the majority of the other girls her views and snobbery have made her an outsider which is the reason that she’s been bullied so much. Though this isn’t to be condoned for a moment at the same time she does herself no favours for example in this week’s episode where she refused to wear the Lycra outfit that she, and all the other girls, had been designing as their first project saying that it made her look tacky instead. When Bridget bought it in to show Thelma and Paula she explained her position but after she left they described as her Smart Alec whose stitching wasn’t as good as she thought it was so maybe they’re not as anti-bullying as they claimed.
Bridget finally snapped when Pauline’s daughter Leanne accused of being one of the girls who strapped sanitary towels to the taxi window to soak up the rain however she only discussed it and the ensuing argument left Bridget so upset she went home. Bridget’s mother issued Thelma with an ultimatum saying that her daughter would only come back if Leanne apologised to her in front of everyone suffice to say this wasn’t going to happen and the English traveller left the course. It’s a shame that one of the most promising girls has given up but at the end of the day I think her protective parents caused her to become highly strung and I personally don’t think Thelma liked her enough to offer her a job at the end of the programme anyway.
Though Bridget had been presented as the only English traveller she was in fact one of two the other being 29 year old Grace the mother of two young boys who wanted to learn a skill. We see Grace trying to master the alphabet with help from tutor Sarah and at the same time revelling in her new found independence as she was learning a skill that she hoped to turn into a career. Grace wanted to move her two boys into a house however they were less than pleased by this thinking that caravans were the best places to live and houses were only for the despised non-travellers. Though Grace was showing promise tragedy struck when she found her 31 year old cousin had hung himself and needed time off the funeral which was then filmed for us all to see. Though the customs of the traveller funeral were interesting to watch, namely the burning of a caravan to symbolise the passing of a life, I felt the cameras closing in on all of the activity was fairly intrusive almost as if the team behind the programme wanted to make an entire show based around Gypsy Funerals but instead had shoe-horned their ideas into Thelma’s programme instead. It was up to Thelma to provide some sort of explanation as she was upset by the fact that no man in the traveller community can show any emotion as it is seen as a weakness so instead they decide to take their own lives rather than live with people who they can’t talk to.
Away from the in-fighting and the tragedy there was at least some hope as Thelma set her trainees the challenge of creating a dress for a younger sibling who they would then accompany to a party at her house to celebrate the eighth birthday of her daughter Katrina. As you can imagine the majority of these outfits were a collection of gaudy Day-glo material accompanied by a generous helping of shiny stars which really helped spot the traveller youngsters when they all journeyed to the party that they were invited to. Inevitably all the girls, minus Bridget who had already left at this point, finished their work on time mainly so they could all go to a party to be gawped at by the ‘country folk’ who seemed fascinated throughout primarily with the fact that all the under 10 girls were wearing high heels. I think some of the traveller style has rubbed off as Katrina’s birthday was a tacky affair with snakes, fairground games and plenty of face paint but crucially in went off without a hitch.
This episode of Thelma’s Gypsy Girls was the calm after last week’s incredibly overblown storm which saw me almost give up on this series however things have been turned around and now most of the girls are on track to at least finishing the course. It’s good to see some of the more powerful characters like Margaret and Victoria simmer down to the point at where they’re at least bareable to watch on screen while the focus on someone more relatable like Grace meant that this was an altogether more comfortable show to watch. Though for me the comfort ended around the time a private funeral scene was shot as to an extent this was still the programme makers attempt to show how different the traveller life is to ours as we saw a bouquet of flowers crafted from Jim’s favourite brand of larger as well as the aforementioned burning of the caravan. Though some may argue that this was again a way of celebrating the gypsy lifestyle for me it was still an attempt to make us think we were somehow better than they are although I did like the idea of personalising the ceremony in order to celebrate the life of a late friend or family member. Bridget’s exit was no big surprise, especially since she’s publically criticised the programme, while the settling down of some of the other characters hints to me that we’re at a turning point in Thelma’s Gypsy Girls albeit an incredibly manufactured one.
Are you still enjoy Thelma’s Gypsy Girls? What did you think to this week’s episode? Leave Your Comments Below.
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