The popular Netflix show “Ginny and Georgia” is a realistic and gritty drama about a checkered family not used to staying in one place for long. The family of four are trying to put down their roots in a New England picturesque town, though they seem to bring drama with them.
The narrative is dependent on the actions of this family, so a deep dive into the characters was necessary for it to work. Thankfully that is exactly what the show did with additional exploration for most of the people they meet that create or are affected by their conflicts.
Ginny is a half black half white teenager that has trouble navigating a predominantly white high school without suppressing her blackness. Her ethnicity is a topic that comes up naturally within the story forcing her to come to terms with what she feels is necessary to have a normal life. She tries to discover her identity in friendship, academics, and sexual relationships for the first time, creating scenarios on screen that are relatable and understandable to the modern American teen.
Georgia is a young and single mother of two children who had a dark past that she spent her whole life running from. Much of the show focuses on her past through flashbacks which directly translate into her actions as a mother and her feelings towards certain discussions that arise with her daughter and son. She is a very complex character, managing to teach her children how to navigate life while she struggles with financial responsibilities without education past 15 years of age. She navigates the world in the way that she knows best, and by seeing why, it is hard for the audience not to admire her resourcefulness and strength to keep fighting for her children to have better opportunities than she did.
It goes without saying that the namesakes of the show would get the most screen time, but surprisingly supporting characters and antagonists alike are well fleshed out within the show’s narrative.
Maxine, Ginny’s best friend, is a socially awkward and proud lesbian who yearns for finding her first love after years of being out. Another friend, Abby, is portrayed as the cold one of their group but is revealed to have been dealing with family issues that would reasonably contribute to her questionable actions. A spout between Ginny and her love interest, Hunter, provided a long-overdue discussion around the struggles for individuals of half minority descent fitting in. Ginny’s little brother, Austin, has trouble with confrontation and causes their mother to discover how too much sheltering from the outside world can be detrimental to a child’s upbringing.
Whereas most of the characters are flawed with merit, there was one character that stuck out and left a sour thought to process. *spoiler* Maxine’s twin brother, Marcus, was a relentless archetype of the overused “cool guy” that steals the interest of Ginny. He is a rebel stoner who wears a leather jacket, rides a motorcycle and climbs into new girls’ windows without provocation. Maybe his characterization of being tall, dark, and handsome adds to the reasoning behind why Ginny seems so infatuated with him, but his prevalence within the plot demands greater exploration. The show expects the audience to believe that after two interactions of staring at each other, this high school teen could climb through his neighbor’s window without her calling the cops and instead take her virginity. On paper, it sounds like a sexual fantasy, but in reality, there is a very small chance of it turning out the way that the show makes it out to be and he would more likely end up in jail.
A unique and satisfying feature of the show is how the audience becomes aware of Georgia’s life as old relationships resurface with the memories that come with them. Her memories help to understand her unfortunate past and develop a respect for how impressive it is that she pulled through many unfortunate circumstances. The pacing of these instances does not feel intrusive to the story at hand and flows well enough to enhance the understanding rather than take anything away from the impact.
The show’s theme was comical through realistic interactions but also had dark undertones because of the audience’s knowledge of what is going on in the characters’ home life. The soundtrack and story mesh to create a unique feeling to the show that is not often done well but works here. Its ambiance is highlighted in the Halloween episode in the middle of the season filled with a mix of humorous and creepy tones that creatively play with the style of the show. Horror tropes sprinkled throughout the episode made for a fun and artistic nod to the high-brow entertainment that it creates.
The climax of the season was the eighth episode as it tested relationship bonds, provided groundbreaking realizations, and sparked pervasive topics for discussion.
The season as a whole feels like a character study of what makes the people in this town who they are. It entertains and can keep the audience engaged, but takes a step too far with little explanation when establishing an important character. The first season of Ginny and Georgia deserves an 8/10.