I Loved 'Ginny And Georgia,' But There's A Few Things I'd Like To Discuss
Are you a fan of “Firefly Lane” and looking for an equivalent to watch with your teens? Well Netflix has a solution for you. “Ginny and Georgia” is the latest in Netflix’s hour-long drama series aimed at the audience who likes friendship, drama, and love. This one focuses on a 30-year-old mom, Georgia Miller, who moves with her teenage daughter Ginny and young son Austin from Texas to Wellsbury, Massachusetts after her husband’s mysterious death. It’s a lot of fun to watch over the course of a few nights. The episodes are an hour long, but you can easily watch two or three in one sitting. It can be a little over-the-top, but that’s what makes it so fun to enjoy.
It’s impossible to talk about “Ginny and Georgia” without also talking about “Gilmore Girls.” The premises are similar, down to the small New England town. There’s the hot, young mom who knows everything pop culture related. And then you have the teen daughter who is headstrong and too smart for her own good. The cast of characters in Wellsbury isn’t quite as colorful as the residents of Stars Hollow, but you do have a slightly grumpy cafe owner who potentially has a thing for the mom. You have the bitchy white suburban mom who bakes vegan cheesecakes and feeds her kids organic fruit, but whose kid is a full-on bully. You have the cool neighbor mom who smokes pot and drinks wine. And something about the town’s mayor reminds me of Pete Buttigieg, but I can’t quite figure out what it is.
Despite the similarities, Georgia Miller is worlds better than Lorelai Gilmore. She’s had a hard life, but has used it to fight harder for herself. And she never uses it as an excuse for her behavior. It does, however, inform every decision she makes about how to protect herself and her family. Georgia is from the trailer, with a drug addict mom and an abusive stepdad. After running away from home, she meets Ginny’s dad Zion, a young Black man. She then spends the next 15 years running from town to town, usually duping men into relationships with her as a survival mechanism. She clearly loves both of her children, and would do anything to protect them, as we find out.
I love the fact that the cast is diverse. Setting it in a small New England town would make it incredibly easy to have everyone be white, so it was nice to see that they didn’t take the easy road. That being said, there were times where the diversity felt forced. Georgia’s stereotypically gay co-worker, for one. And Ginny’s best friend Max is so aggressively queer that it’s almost off-putting. She doesn’t really seem to have much personality outside of it, besides being overly dramatic, although I do love that young queer girls will see a girl who is an unapologetic lesbian and isn’t doomed to being single forever. And I like that the twins’ dad is deaf and uses sign language to communicate. It’s also awesome to see East Asian representation in Joe, especially as a potential romantic interest.
Obviously Ginny’s race plays a huge part of her storyline, too. As a mixed-race girl with features that make it obvious she’s Black, she faces a lot of microaggressions. During the sophomore sleepover, her three friends get their hair put up in ponytails. Ginny knows the white woman doing them will not know how to handle her hair, but she’s desperate to fit in and she allows this woman to brush her curls. Yes, it is as tragic as it sounds. Thankfully Georgia is on hand to fix it. There’s also friction between Ginny and her English teacher. He uses words like “aggressive” and doesn’t give her credit for getting a high score on a quiz because she’s not afraid to challenge his beliefs. All too often, Black women are called aggressive because they stand up for themselves.
For Ginny, her Blackness (or lack thereof) puts her at odds with her surroundings. Being raised by a white mother and having a white sibling, it’s obvious that Ginny hasn’t had a lot of examples of the different ways you can be Black. She never feels Black enough, but that’s because we as a society have created a narrow definition of what Black is. As a Black woman raising a mixed race child, I hope we can begin to allow Black kids to be more than just what is stereotypically Black.
As much as I loved “Ginny and Georgia,” sometimes it felt like they were using the storylines to tick boxes. Like, they had to hit everything that makes a successful drama. Eating disorder? Check. Self harm? Check. The main character losing her virginity at 15? That too. There’s also the two love interests Ginny is torn between — nerdy and sweet Hunter versus broody Marcus. We’ve already seen this happen time and time again. And that’s just on the kids’ side of things. Let’s not forget Georgia and her past coming to light in every episode. Cramming everything into ten episodes just makes it feel overloaded. Instead, they should have chosen one, maybe two things to focus on, and it would have felt less unwieldy.
So far, the biggest controversy surrounding “Ginny and Georgia” is a comment in the last episode of the season. Ginny, in a moment of frustration with her mother says that she “dated more men than Taylor Swift.” In true Taylor Swift fashion, the singer took to social media to voice her displeasure with the joke, calling it “sexist.” She also called out Netflix for allowing the joke to run, seeing as how they also produced her documentary “Miss Americana.” Many people on social media were split in their responses — many of Swift’s fans took her side, while a lot of people also felt that her reaction was over-the-top. Was the quip old? Absolutely. But it isn’t nearly as big of a deal as Swift is making it out to be.
Some of the jokes on the show certainly felt tired and old. It’s clear that at least some of the writers are probably millennials based on the references they used in their jokes. When Max is rebuffed by a girl she likes, she says to Georgia “I kissed a girl…she didn’t like it.” Hello, 2008 called and wants its reference back. Do kids even know Katy Perry sang that problematic ditty back in the day? In another episode, Marcus calls Max “Lindsay Lohan” after she gets drunk at a party. I get that Gen Z kids grew up with their celebrities being a lot more … tame, but really? Lindsay Lohan’s party girl days were ending around the same time the characters on the show would have been born. They could have used Miley Cyrus and it would have made the same impact.
Despite being reminiscent of a ’90s WB drama, “Ginny and Georgia” is a fun watch. It’s heartfelt, the acting is great, and despite the two main characters having poor communication, they really do love each other. If you’ve watched all the other shows on Netflix, you will certainly enjoy this one.
“Ginny and Georgia” is now streaming on Netflix.
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