Girls and Boy’s Alone Review: Children sans frontieres

February 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Girls and Boys Alone, C4, Tuesday 3rd February 9.00pm Alert Me

Girls and Boys Alone looked like it’d be a sort of Big Brother for children, but it turns out that it’s more anarchic and bitchy than BB could ever aspire to be.

It is definitely the girls who come off worse in this portrayal of children without borders. The boys seem to take an innocent joy from the lax rules and freedom which allow them to act as they wish, but they also recognise the importance of some sort of boundaries and their contribution to a coherent society, even on such a small scale, although it is obviously not without its dissidents, one of whom is a nine-year old who seems to have early onset testosterone and all the macho posturing that comes with it.

In contrast, the girls seem to be the more egotistical and downright mean from the very outset. They almost immediately split into factions, and quickly target one girl as the butt of their bullying. They are torn apart by very crude political power play, where the boys are capable of agreeing on a more communal sense of order. It seems that one girl must be top dog, whereas the boys are happier to form rules and boundaries collaboratively with one kid leading the discussion.

The boys do have more problems living for themselves, as more of them are unable to cook, but they don’t, at least, act with such malice and spite. They just get grumpy, amusingly for the viewer but exasperatingly for their mothers, one of whom says she “pities their future wives…they’re going to hate us”.

We could go into the whys and wherefores of this contrast between the sexes at such a young age, but our time would be wasted when it can be summed up in one comment from a girl in the “Village”. Charley (who is 11, remember) turns angrily to one the other inhabitants of the girl-run village and tells her that she is “so immature”. The boys revel in their immaturity, whereas the girls seem to want to move past it too fast.

Boys and Girls Alone is actually a really interesting look at the dynamic in young people of each sex, and perhaps goes some way to explaining later developments in personality. It’s also bizarre how the old parental dictum of rules being good for you turns out to be true, as much as I hate to admit it.
Then again, it’s always a little concerning when the most intriguing part of a show is the “next time on…? montage at the end. Of course, this is only the first episode, setting the tone for the series, but let’s hope the next lives up to its apparent promise.

By Chris Harding

charlotte says:

how old are the girls and boys