Full of heart and contemporarily relatable
Review by Jennifer AJ
If the early 2000s had Gilmore Girls, then the 2020s has Ginny & Georgia. The tale of a feisty single mother raising her brilliant but headstrong daughter has morphed as a trope unto itself. Indeed, the two shows – though quite different in tones – can almost be each other’s companion in their representation of single parenthood, coming of age, and tight-knit small-town community. The latter, a Netflix show that debuted in 2021 in the thick of global lockdown, proves that the formula never goes out of style. With its soapy hijinks and lovable characters, the show became an unexpected hit, offering a brand new comfort show centring around family.
Ginny & Georgia, as you can surmise, is about a mother and daughter duo of the same name. Georgia Miller (Brianne Howey) is a thirtysomething mother of two: 15-year-old Ginny Miller (Antonia Gentry) and 9-year-old Austin Miller (Diesel La Torraca). After the death of her wealthy older husband, Georgia and her children relocated to the fictional affluent town of Wellsbury, Massachusetts to start anew. At the outset, the Millers seem like a conventionally attractive and personable family which immediately garners the townspeople’s attention. However, Ginny and Georgia hide a deep secret that threatens to undermine their new lives. As the Millers begin settling down in Wellsbury, their bonds will be tested by the new and old connections crossing their paths along the way.
Essentially, Ginny & Georgia marks the return of the female-centric soap opera that’s been missing from television after the era of Peak TV took hold. The show never pretends to be something cerebral or profound. Everything about it – from the production value, plotlines, and acting performances – screams Hallmark Channel and early days of the CW. In addition to having a volatile mother-daughter relationship, Ginny and Georgia must also navigate a web of love complications and battle their own personal demons. Throw in a subplot about the suspicious death of Georgia’s husband, some domestic violence past, self-harm, sex and drug-laden teen folly – now you’ve got yourself the ultimate soap that really knows its primary audiences; the ladies. Yes, it might be cheesy and been-there-done-that, but done right, it’s sumptuously addictive in the best possible way.
A big reason why Ginny & Georgia still feels fresh despite its old-fashioned premise lies in its two central characters. The show portrays the complexity of womanhood through two female leads at different stages of life. Georgia is a free spirit forced to grow up too fast due to abusive home and teen pregnancy. Now, she’s a take-no-prisoners badass mama bear who’d do anything for her kids. Ginny, every bit as strong-headed as her mother, is feeling the burden of her dominant personality. Especially as she herself is maturing into a teenager with her own set of problems, in particular being mixed race in a majority white town.
Unlike Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, Georgia and her daughter are not instantly likeable. They can both be so crass and act questionably. Yet in that way, the show portrays realistic women who often don’t meet society’s acceptable standard, but forge ahead anyway. They often do some “problematic” things, like Georgia punching the nose of her son’s bully and then threatening him into silence, or Ginny flirting with drugs due to peer pressure. It’s not supposed to be a good example, but we often don’t behave as good examples in real life too. It’s a snapshot of imperfect people trying to survive imperfect situations. Perhaps it is this unapologetic approach that creates relatability with audiences.
Full of heart and contemporarily relatable, this show is Gilmore Girls for the millennial and Gen Z age – proving that replicating classic templates with your own touch can create good TV.
Published on January 30th, 2024. Written by Jennifer Ariesta for Television Heaven.