Robyn Murphy Reviews the popular new Netflix hit Ginny and Georgia
Since its release on Netflix at the end of February 2021, the series Ginny and Georgia has been the subject of much internet chatter. While the series has been praised for its predominantly female cast and crew, and its refusal to shy away from taboo topics, it has also been subject to some criticism. Most prominent of this criticism has been from Taylor Swift who called out the show, its writers and Netflix for making a “sexist” joke about her dating history. As a whole the series is enjoyable and entertaining, and there is certainly enough action and storylines to keep you gripped for ten episodes, but it is not without its failings. Arguably as a result of the creator’s desire to appeal to the widest audience possible, the series feels unsure as to who its target demographic is. As well as this, in an effort to address as many social issues as possible, the series does not give these issues enough time to be examined properly, and often forgets about them entirely.
The premise of the show is intriguing and has a lot of potential. Centered on a mixed race fifteen-year-old girl, Ginny, her white thirty-year-old mother Georgia, and her younger brother the show follows the family as they move to a new town following the suspicious and unexpected death of Georgia’s wealthy husband. It is quickly established that the family has a history of running and starting over in new places, something which dates back to Georgia’s own teenage years. The show follows the women as they adapt to their new town and reveals the long-held secrets they endeavor to keep hidden. Featuring many twists and turns the series is entertaining, humorous and presents audiences with a compelling and impressive character in Georgia (Brianne Howey), who has an art of manipulating situations for her benefit.
If you go into this series expecting a Gilmore Girls-esque feel-good, loving examination of mother-daughter relationships, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Ginny and Georgia are as different as they come, and while there are a handful of heartfelt moments between them this certainly isn’t the mother daughter bonding storyline which you might expect.
The series makes an effort to address a variety of social issues and talking points almost to its detriment. Whilst such open discussions and examinations of issues such as racial prejudice, self-harm, anxiety and therapy should be celebrated in such a mainstream series, none of the topics are given adequate time or attention, and so it feels like the creators are trying to fit in as many societal issues as is possible instead of choosing one or two to focus on in depth. A scene in which Ginny is racially profiled by a shop manager is glossed over and never mentioned again once she has had a brief conversation with Georgia about it, and Ginny’s concern for her brother Austin’s anger issues is dropped when Georgia refuses to bring him to the therapist appointment Ginny had arranged. Were issues such as these examined in greater detail the show could have been more impactful, but they don’t resonate as much as they should because of how quickly they are forgotten about.
The main struggle the series grapples with is trying to determine who exactly its audience is. Focus and plotlines are split evenly between the mother and daughter duo, and both characters are so vastly different that they become alienating to other demographics. Teens might be able to relate to Ginny, and adults or parents with Georgia, but the show also strives to appeal to the 18–30-year-old demographic and doesn’t sufficiently provide this cohort with anyone who they can fully relate to. For me, I found Ginny’s character to be insufferable, and whilst I admired Georgia for her quick wit and street-smarts I couldn’t see a lot of myself in her character. The actions of Ginny and her friends, all of whom are meant to be high school sophomores, are unbelievable for their age bracket and had they been aged up by a couple of years I feel it would be easier for audiences to understand and relate to their actions and storylines.
In spite of some failings, the show as a whole is certainly an entertaining one, and I was hooked from the first episode. As the series developed, I found the adult characters to be far more interesting and impactful than the teens, likely as a result of the frequent flashbacks to Georgia’s own teenage years which provide viewers with a greater understanding of her motivations and actions. What I enjoyed most about the show was the focus placed on female characters and storylines, something that I am happy to be seeing more of in film and television.