Ginny & Georgia, created by Sarah Lampert, is a new series released by Netflix that centres on a mother/daughter relationship through the daughters’ tumultuous teenage years.
Fronted by Brianne Howey as Georgia and Antonia Gentry as her daughter Ginny, the show follows their individual experiences as well as the conflicts that occur between them as they move to a new town after the death of Georgia’s husband. Quickly upon entering the town Ginny finds herself embroiled with a dashing neighbour, Felix Mallard’s Marcus, while Georgia forms a friendship with the town’s mayor, Scott Porters’ Paul Randolph – bagging herself both a job and potential future romance.
Ginny soon finds friends at school, drawing close to Maxine (played by Sara Waisglass) who is Marcus’ sister, but in classic teen drama style – things get complicated. As the series progresses we learn about Georgia’s past, how she came to get pregnant at such a young age and the (often illicit) ways she survived and now thrives.
To start with the positives, Georgia is great, a great character. Howey gives a convincing and highly entertaining performance with her southern drawl and brilliant comic timing, but more than anything Georgia’s characterisation is thoroughly interesting. She’s clever and a survivor with a hell of a past.
What’s more is her storylines were intriguing and her relationships engaging. Her relationship with Paul may seem at first a little bland, with Paul being the good-guy-Mayor but after a truly surprising twist, the pair become something of a power couple. But in my opinion the most interesting relationship in the show is between Georgia and Joe (Raymond Alblack), the owner of local farm and café. The establishing of their friendship, how’s it’s seeded and grown over the ten episodes feels remarkably subtle and organic – a slow burn that pays off.
However, despite the genuine excellence of Georgia’s story – the majority of the series is focused on her daughter instead. There’s about a 70/30 split in favour of Ginny, perhaps to appeal more to a teen audience. This is a massive shame for me because Ginny’s story is basically just classic teen-drama fare. New girl in school; boy drama; friend drama; teacher drama; and so it goes. That’s not to say Gentry doesn’t give a quality performance. To be fair, they get the portrayal of the fifteen-year-olds pretty accurate but that doesn’t necessarily make for better watching, probably the contrary in fact. That being said, almost every slang word/social media reference in the show is about two years out of date which can make for a slightly cringe watch but that is the danger of writing slang into a script that’ll take several years to make.
There’s also the problem that the show tries to tackle too many issues. Tackling a lot of issues isn’t necessarily a bad thing, certain shows like Sex Education absolutely smash it in that regard, however I don’t believe Ginny & Georgia manages to do all these issues justice. To name just a few: teen pregnancy, drug use, self-harm, virginity, body image, racial profiling, grief, domestic abuse, sexual assault, colourism. These are hefty subjects that need time and careful consideration and they don’t get that. For example, the issue of colourism is brought up once in a brief conversation by a very minor character and that was it. It’s like the writers thought they needed to say all they had to say on these things in this first season whereas they could’ve paced themselves and handled these topics better.
The writing is massively hit or miss with so much of the conflict completely exaggerated or contrived; Ginny is an incredibly frustrating character and the teen storylines get boring quick. However, I have hope for the series because there really are moments of excellence – I just hope in the future (there isn’t a confirmed second season, but I’d be surprised if it’s cancelled) the writers realise where the strengths of the show are – that is in Georgia.
Drama | USA, 2021 | 12 | Season One | 24th February 2021 | Netflix | Dir.Sarah Lampert | Brianne Howey, Antonia Gentry, Diesel La Torraca, Sara Waisglass, Raymond Alblack,