Ginny and Georgia: A Beautifully Unique Disaster

Ginny+and+Georgia+poster%2C+from+IMDB.

Ginny and Georgia poster, from IMDB.

In this day and age of endless rehashes, a show that blends genres can feel like a true breath of fresh air. Some of the most creative and inventive shows on television have proven that alternating various tones can result in making a strange masterpiece. Sarah Lampert’s new Netflix original Ginny and Georgia is not one of those shows. Instead, it’s proving to be a beautiful dumpster fire of failed ideas. Without any sense of irony or satire, the writers of Ginny and Georgia attempt to create a show that feels like a cross between Gilmore Girls, Parks and Recreation, You, and just a slight dash of HBO’s Euphoria. And to the surprise of virtually no one, they fail miserably, making the show that much more enthralling as a wonderfully over-ambitious trainwreck. 

It is very difficult to put into words what this show is about, because the writers themselves don’t seem to have an answer. I think the show is about Ginny (Antonia Gentry), a biracial teen girl who has just moved to a new town with her half-brother and her young mother Georgia (Brianne Howey). At first, it seems like a light-hearted comedy about Ginny’s first loves and new friends. 

But it’s also an edgy drama about the microaggressions Ginny faces as one of the only students of color in her school, and how she deals with her stress through on-screen depictions of self-harm. 

And it’s also about her discovering her own sexuality through a love triangle with Hunter (played by a decent actor with a bad haircut) and Marcus (played by a bad actor with an decent haircut). 

Keep in mind the title of this show is Ginny and Georgia, so you better believe that Georgia has her own cavalcade of bizarre plotlines, one of which being a satire of upper class suburbia in which she attempts to fit in with her cartoonishly ostentatious neighbors.  

Is that not enough story for you? What if the writers also included a plotline in which Georgia must choose between the hunky mayor or Ginny’s free-roaming father Zion in a love triangle that proves to be even more tepid than her daughter’s? 

Do you wanna add more to this kudzu plot? How about a crime thriller subplot in which Georgia embezzles money from the mayor in an attempt to make ends meet until she can get money from her deceased husband’s will, whom she murdered because he was a child molester? 

And just in case that isn’t enough for you, Georgia must also evade the handsome PI investigating her for the circumstances of her husband’s murder, which becomes extremely difficult when said PI starts dating the mayor’s sassy gay assistant. 

But in the odd chance you still want more content crammed into this show, don’t worry, because the writers have a myriad of subplots in which they attempt (emphasis on ATTEMPT) to address important topics such as body dysphoria, racism, self harm, and even early stages of childhood violent tendencies. 

As you probably gathered, this show is a gorgeous mess, which is part of what makes it so much fun to watch. Ginny and Georgia has absolutely no idea what it wants to be, constantly bouncing back and forth between various genres without rhyme or reason. On its surface, this isn’t a problem, shows like Bojack Horseman and Barry have garnered lots of well-deserved acclaim for the way they blend multiple genres. But what separates those shows from Ginny and Georgia, aside from far superior writing, is the way in which they traverse their tonal tightrope. Both Barry and Bojack have premises that lend themselves to both comedy and drama, even if the tone changes, so it always feels like you’re watching the same show regardless of the shift in style. 

This is not the case with Ginny and Georgia, for it often feels like the premise changes along with the genre, which adds exponentially to the show’s tonal whiplash. This leads to several moments of unintentional hilarity, such as when a disturbing scene involving triggering content is contrasted with goofy hijinks. Further hampering the show is the hackneyed writing; this show offers cringe-worthy teen dialogue up by the bucket loads. This proves to be especially amusing whenever the writers attempt to talk about serious issues, because the characters often sound more like sentient Tumblr posts than human beings. 

One of the most mystifying aspects of this show is how well made it is from a purely technical perspective, despite the abysmal writing the crew has to work with it. Each episode I saw proved to be very well directed and exceptionally lit, with most of the shots eliciting a warm atmosphere thanks to the craftsmanship on display. The editing is lackluster, granted, I have yet to think of a way any professional editor can cut from mother-daughter banter to domestic abuse without it feeling jarring. The soundtrack is way overplayed, with each episode featuring a minimum of five pretentious pop songs, some of which are played minutes apart. But regardless of these flaws, the filmmaking on this show is rather impressive, as are the performances from the cast. 

I hate most of the characters on this show, with almost all of them proving to be aggravating or unlikable in some way, shape, or form. However, this is not the fault of the actors, for everyone on board is bringing their A-game to these F grade scripts. While the characters never feel real, the cast manages to make them feel somewhat grounded, except for Brianne Howey, who is far too over the top as Georgia. Not only is her accent… inauthentic, to say the least, she also fails to make her role feel 3-dimensional. Her performance often feels one-note, albeit a very peppy note. These performances by no means save the show, but they turn what could have been a boring trainwreck into a fascinating one. 

Ginny and Georgia is bad, that much is obvious. It’s poorly written, aggressively edited, and a tonal nightmare. But that’s what makes it so fun to watch. The lack of self-awareness present makes Ginny and Georgia a bizarre gem of bad TV, for it has proven to be a show that is unmistakably terrible yet utterly transfixing in equal measure.