Written by Trinity Barnatt
Last week Netflix gifted us with another classic original series, ‘Ginny and Georgia’. ‘Gilmore Girls’ meets ‘Desperate Housewives’ in this mother-daughter based drama. With two central characters, we get two sets of drama, and it’s almost too much for our idle lockdown minds to handle.
The show follows mum Georgia Miller (Brianne Howey) and her daughter Virginia ‘Ginny’ Miller (Antonia Gentry) as they navigate their new lives in Wellsbury, Massachusetts; a town so white it’s painful to a sensitive eye. The drama unfolds quickly when it’s revealed in a flashback that Georgia murdered her ex-husband Kenny, triggering the move. While Kenny toed the line of a paedophile and would not be missed, his murder was a big event to have to digest in the first episode. The writers continued with this rushed construction of the show’s plotlines by introducing an inappropriate love interest for Ginny within the first 20 minutes. Marcus (Felix Mallard) was the angsty boy next door with a motorbike, a bad boy attitude and of course mountains of dramatic potential. At least the writers were consistent when it came to steamrolling their characters’ relationships. By the end of episode 1, both Ginny and Georgia had romantic interests and new BFFs.
Speaking of BFFs, Ginny’s new friend Maxine (played by Sara Waisglass, who you might recognise from ‘Degrassi Next Class’) is a highlight of the show. She’s one of those quirky characters who use text abbreviations in speech and an iconic representative of the LGBTQ+ community. Credit should go to the writers for having a lesbian character who isn’t defined by her sexuality. If this character wasn’t golden enough, Maxine’s dad is deaf, and the family all use sign language regularly throughout the show. It’s a beautiful representation of the deaf community and how it’s embedded into the hearing world. I have to applaud the casual inclusion of deaf and gay characters as they aren’t portrayed enough on TV.
The show has a relatively fresh-faced cast but the typical TV show gimmicks are recycled as with most Netflix Originals. We have the typical outrageously large social event in which almost every character seems to have an emotional meltdown. For ‘Ginny and Georgia’ this was the Sophomore Sleepover. Maybe I’m just far too British to comprehend these insane Americanised school events, but it felt a little far-fetched. I mean, whose school has the budget for these things?
While we’re on the topic of unrealistic events, Ginny seems to have an entire personality change within 5 episodes, and consistently does things that are seemingly out of character. For example, sexting with 2 guys at the same time just didn’t sit right with the character I felt the writers were developing. That said, I did appreciate the humour in Ginny’s ‘fake’ sexting – where you talk up all the sexy things you’re doing over text when in reality you’re in your PJs eating pizza. It was a much-needed visit to reality.
The show touches on several important issues, such as child abuse, violence, self-harm and body dysmorphia and does so with sensitivity and realism. The most prominent issue is faced by Ginny who is mixed race and is confronted with casual racism on a daily basis. Ginny gives an epic insight into the struggles of an identity crisis, where she lies in limbo between the white and black communities, belonging to both and neither simultaneously. In episode 8 ‘Check One, Check Other’ Ginny delivers an incredibly raw monologue about the struggles of conformity for those who are mixed race. The protagonist speaks about ‘always being an impostor’ with blood made of ‘water and oil refusing to stick’. These are words that will stay with anyone who watches.
Overall, this show is riddled with events that are so far-fetched that the audience won’t even have the energy to follow them – perhaps the show may have been better suited to a 22 episode season rather than only 10. Who knows? What I do know is that this show is nevertheless entertaining and totally binge-worthy. Also, it doesn’t limit its screen time to teenage lives, because adults have drama too…
…dead husband drama.
Trinity Barnatt is a first year English student at University of Leicester, originally from Bourne, Lincolnshire. She is looking to pursue a career in journalism. You can find her on Instagram : @trinity_b._
Image from Netflix’s Ginny & Georgia show