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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Review: ‘Ginny and Georgia’

The teen-drama-meets-true-crime series, while entertaining, ultimately succumbs to overused tropes

Disclaimer: This article discusses content that may be sensitive to some readers, including sex and self-harm, as well as spoilers about the show.

In the 10-episode Netflix original show “Ginny and Georgia,” released on Feb. 24, 2021, the audience is introduced to a unique story plot that soon turns into a cliché. 

We follow the lives of Ginny, her mother Georgia, her brother Austin and all the other characters whose lives these three turn upside down. Ginny Miller is the embodiment of the teenage stereotype. She is all shades of teen angst, anger and too much entitlement with an added “ugh, my mom is so hot, mysterious and all the guys want her” dynamic going on. 

Georgia’s character arc is the most interesting of the whole show. Her storyline feels new and organic, and by episode 10 you understand her traumatic past, the skillful male manipulation she’s dealt with and why she thinks and behaves the way she does. 

There is an inspiring strength in a woman with an extremely abusive and difficult past who makes it through teen pregnancy, a trailer-park environment and the perverse leering of both young and old men to somehow work for the mayor’s office in Wellsbury, MA.  

Her character is the most intriguing; I need to find out what really happened to her last two husbands, how she was embezzling money from the mayor’s office, why her outfits were always the best in a town full of mostly, rich white women and how she always seems to come out on top.

At the beginning of the series, it is confusing why Georgia is so desperate to settle down in somewhat boring Massachusetts of all places. However, as the story progresses there is a genuinely heart-warming “aha” moment that happens.

At only nine years old, Austin presents himself as the most stable character despite being an ardent Harry Potter fan, believing his incarcerated father is a wizard and having a tendency for violent and comedic outbursts with very few lines throughout the show. 

I did have a few issues with the show. For a show that tries to put a unique spin on the overtold story of the new girl who’s always moving and is somehow plopped into the middle of the whitest and richest town, where she makes it into the “in crowd,” there were many overused tropes and stereotypes. 

For whatever reason, the writers and producers of the show decided to just throw in graphic scenes of Ginny’s self-harm issues and also include one of her friends suffering from body dysmorphia, portraying these struggles with very little advice on how to manage these issues. It felt as if they were sensationalizing these trauma responses to extremely painful experiences felt by these characters.  

The darker aspects of being a teenager, like experimenting with drug-use, underage drinking, sex and family issues, feel sporadically thrown into the stories of each character as if the writers were checking items off the list for how to make a successful show. 

This show also has an issue with the message it conveys. There is an obsession with the sex lives of the teenagers within the show as they try to make sex casual and a huge deal at the same time. Especially for a show about teenagers made for a Generation Z audience, I find it a bit jarring to see “15 year-olds” talking about and engaging in explicit sexual acts all the while being played by twenty-some plus actors. At the same time, Ginny’s mother feels the need to protect her virginity in an attempt to prevent Ginny from experiencing the hardships she went through as a teenage mother. 

Yet there is something endearing and nostalgic about this show because it follows a plot we’ve all grown up with either reading or watching on TV. 

It incorporates every single aspect of Generation Z popular culture—embarrassing Snapchats, memes, an obsession with weed and alcohol, the Free Britney Movement and the constant need to impress everyone around us. 

All in all, it is a show worth watching solely for the cringey teenage moments, the darker, true-crime scenes involving Georgia and the touching portrayal of a mother who will do anything for her kids.

Written by: Muhammad Tariq — arts@theaggie.org


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