Lured by a wittily edited trailer, I ended up binge-watching the new Netflix show ‘Ginny & Georgia’ in less than 24 hours and sort of regretted investing all that time into it. I am one of those losers who feels compelled to finish what they started, thank technology for the ‘fast-forward’ button though.
‘Ginny Miller, an angsty fifteen-year-old, often feels more mature than her thirty-year-old mother, the irresistible and dynamic Georgia Miller.’ – reads the description of the 10-episode show directed by Saraha Lampert. The first few episodes were clever, entertaining, introducing us to Georgia (Brianne Howey), who loses a rich husband but gains all his wealth, with which she decides to start a new life with her two kids. But Ginny (Antonia Gentry) tells the viewer how her mom never lasts too long in the same place and keeps moving every time things go bad, uprooting their lives each time. Little does the teenager know that her mother has more than a few dark secrets that the family needs running from.
There was a fun scene in the first episode where Georgia and her nine-year-old son Austin (Diesel La Torraca) sing the song ‘It Wasn’t Me’ by Shaggy out loud in their car, when Ginny turns off the song and admonishes their mom for playing an inappropriate song. If you have heard the song, you would agree. That scene encapsulates their entire relationship – a free spirited mom, with a mature beyond her age 15-year-old. But Ginny’s growth through the episodes were not consistent with her traits; she is portrayed as a level-headed girl, with 100% scores, who reads literature, but by the end of the series, she is reduced to an annoying attention seeking teen, who is confused about two boys from school. The makers use the classic good boy versus bad boy trope – option number one is Marcus (Felix Mallard), who smokes-weed, cuts classes and makes-out with random girls, option number two is Hunter, who is top of the class, popular at school, part of a band, and the sorts who would rather read literature than text his girlfriend. Ginny’s relationships are basically crap; Antonia Gentry’s performance however is laudable.
Brianne Howey is dazzling as the pretty ‘white trash’ Georgia, always dressed in revealing clothes, turning heads everywhere she goes. She tells her two kids that it’s always going to be the three of them against the world, but there are too many sub-plots and characters stuffed in, so the mother-daughter relationship gets sidelined. Instead, we have two women, who are constantly vying for the attention for the men in their lives and it gets super annoying. As soon as they move, Georgia puts her eyes on the handsome bachelor mayor in town. She also finds herself in financial trouble because her dead husband’s ex-wife contests his will, so all her debit/credit cards are blocked. So she resorts to all sorts of petty scams and tricks to get money, something she is not new to, as we learn from flashbacks. The flashback stories are interesting, but the actor who plays the younger Georgia lacks punch.
The makers try to accommodate a lot of other themes, like Georgia’s rough childhood, sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, the struggles of being bi-racial, mental health issues, etc… but all of it is dealt with quite superficially. 15-year-old Georgia is overtly sexualized, it would’ve been better if her character was at least 17. She makes an interesting bunch of friends, out of who Maxine (Sara Waisglass) stands out the most, an incorrigibly chatty girl, whose character flits between sweet and pesky. Maxine is openly gay, so the show also has a positive LGBTQ sub-plot.
The thing is, each little sub-plot in ‘Ginny & Georgia’ feels like a rehashed version of so many different things we have already seen, that it lacks a certain originality and gets overbearing towards the last few episodes. Most of the characters are fine, but it’s like they have been picked up from a template book for personalities. This show could have been a lot more, it is fun in parts, frustrating in some bits, and mediocre for the rest of it. You may or may not like this show. It’s a 6/10 from me.
Random trivia – Brianne Howey who plays Georgia was 30 in real life when the series came out.
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