In my review of last week’s episode of Thelma’s Gypsy Girls, I worried that when the focus was put back on the travellers, we would have the same mockery of their mannerisms and lack of education as we did in the previous entries into the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding franchise. My fears were to an extent warranted as we saw the girls struggle with basic maths and were also dumbstruck when Thelma tried to explain the concept of tax and insurance coming out of their wage packets.
The first element of travellers that this episode of Thelma’s Gypsy Girls taught us, was that they are often unreliable with only Margaret turning up on time for her first day, while Veronica didn’t turn up at all due to the fact that her family was off on the road. Though the main issue throughout the episode seemed to the angry nature of the girls which we learnt last week, through Shannon’s criminal record, often leads to violent altercations. It was Shannon who was part of tonight’s main incident as she stabbed the quiet and intelligent Bridget in the knee with a pin, while at the same time hurting her with some fairly violent insults though it seemed clear that she was not the only one to blame as Margaret was also complicit in the attack.
Personally it seems that Margaret is the queen bee in the operation, and all the other girls are in awe of her, however after considering what had happened she put a strike against Margaret’s name while almost fired Shannon eventually allowing her to come back, also with a strike, after four days suspension. You could also see the violent nature of some of the other girls, most notably Victoria who was told off by one of the more seasoned seamstresses for wasting a valuable piece of material and her reaction to this was to storm off before coming out with some very threatening language.
As well as the bickering between the girls and the turf war between travellers and Thelma’s regular workforce, there was also some focus on the training scheme that we were all here to witness in the first place. Thelma’s first job was to teach all the girls how to use a sewing machine and master simple stitching, however, due to their overall impatience, this took about a week before all the girls were able to graduate to the next level. This next level was to come up with a design for a dress to suit non-traveller Zoe who was holding a Moulin Rouge party, to which she invited all of Thelma’s girls. During this time, Thelma instructed her girls how to take vital measurements which then fed into her second lesson which was for them all to master a block pattern for a skirt. After dealing with all the altercations between her girls, Thelma let them all decorate the corsets they were to wear for Zoe’s Party, but when she revealed the dress that they had all contributed to, she was a little annoyed at their underwhelming reaction which was down to the fact that they were more interested in what they wanted to wear.
Though this week’s episode of Thelma’s Gypsy Girls did play up the traveller stereotype, I felt that I learnt more about these individual girls than I have done about the culture in the previous Gypsy Weddings series. Take for example Bridget, who was painted as a thoughtful and sensitive girl who, unlike the majority of Thelma’s wards, had actually made it through school to pass several GCSEs, but it wasn’t without constant taunting as she recounted the time when someone told her that she lived in a bin. It seems though that due to her education, she has also been ostracised by a lot of the other girls on the training scheme and that’s part of the reason why she was picked on by Shannon and Margaret. Though it seemed that she wasn’t doing herself many favours when her outfit for Zoe’s party was a lot less revealing that that of her contemporaries, and I felt that she saw herself as more cultured than the rest of the girls. This belief though seemed to come via her mother who wanted to accompany her to Zoe’s Party and eventually made her leave early once again alienating her from both the other traveller girls and her new colleagues at Thelma’s factory. The views of the travellers towards the ‘country people’ were also highlighted here with a lot of the gypsies believing that all we do at our parties is drink and listen to loud music and to an extent they’re right on the money.
Overall, I got what I expected from this episode of Thelma’s Gypsy Girls which started the classic ‘reality TV journey’ that the nine girls would be going on as well as establishing some stories between each of the girls. At the moment the focus has been put squarely on queen bee Margaret, the unpredictable Shannon and the slightly snobby Bridget, however Victoria’s busy life was also touched on briefly while I’m sure the other girls will get their chance to shine in the final two episodes. Personally, I would’ve like to have seen more of a focus on the girls’ training, as at the end of the day that’s why we’re all here, plus we didn’t see how the daily grind of her new programme at impacted Thelma’s home life, but I expect that her partner was chilling out playing pool in his specially made room. At least all of the girls had somewhat progressed from the start of the programme to the end in terms of their attitude towards the work and each other, however they still need some fine-tuning in order to buck the stereotypes that have been hammered down our throats over several years of Big Fat Gypsy programmes.
What are you thinking of Thelma’s Gypsy Girls so far? Are you enjoying it as much as I am? Leave Your Comments Below.