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Bridger Cunningham's Look -- GIRLBOSS

Written with Grit by Bridger Cunningham





34 somewhat restrained sitcoms aired on primary networks this season with inevitable 18-49 Nielsen demographic declines.  Rather than allow sitcoms to wither on the vine, writers and producers are taking a gritty, realistic approach to delivering us entertainment.  Girlboss fits this trend and is a noticable "Crass-Com", or crass situational comedy.  It appears to share likeness to 2 Broke Girls, minus the forced toilet humor.  Marquee tour-de-force actress Charlize Theron attaches her name as executive producer along with Kay Cannon to tell the loosely based autobiography of Nasty Gal vintage clothing/ebay entrepreneur Sophia Amoruso's rise to financial success.  Every episode opens with the stylish disclosure: "what follows is a loose retelling of true events.... really loose."  Girlboss' protagonist is the vile, caustic Sophia Marlowe, brought to vulnerable life by Britt Robertson.  The primary ensemble is standard.  Ellie Reed plays edgy yet stable best friend Annie, Johnny Simmons plays grounded love interest Shane, and Alphonso McAuley plays bartender/Annie's love interest Dax.  

Sans Ellie Reed and Britt Robertson, it takes investment and time to invest in Simmons and McAuley, as there are too many peripheral characters straddled over fewer episodes who engrave their characters in viewers' interests.  As a viewer, it became evident Jim Rash's comic foil as shop owner Mobias, Cole Escola's devoted energy as gay pal Nathan, RuPaul Charles' antagonistically refreshing gay neighbor Lionel and Melanie Lyndskey's Puritanic yet neutral colored business rival Gail had more investment potential than Shane and Dax, who were noticeably absent from several episodes.  Memorable characters and settings are needed for viewers to return, and the pilot presented enough of that.  Perhaps Shane and Dax are needed to anchor the outlandish and colorful cast, making this show's electric ensemble a hit.  New York Times also cited the same concerns echoed in this article, yet also foreshadowed a future.  (Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/20/arts/television/review-girlboss-netflix-sophia-amoruso.html?_r=0

The setting is energetic and fast-paced San Francisco, beginning our tale in the not-so-long-ago 2006.  Fictitious Sophia Marlowe is an early 20's trainwreck, scraping by to make her unhappy life work.  She never fills her gas tank, back talks her boss as she cruises the net and dumpster dives for her next meal.  After a series of downbeat setbacks in the pilot episode which send a shiver up anyone's spines who endured financial and personal ruin, the last moments beam a light of promise.  They take a bold stroke and leave that reward for the last two minutes, yet leave an eclectic mix of music and backdrops to keep us from not tuning out.  Further innovations include stylish graphics to display texts, creative and budget-wise simulations of chats/forums and engaging monologues to aid the dragging of reading Sophia's computer screens.  These wise production nuances appear to offset the high-budget realistic outdoor scenery of San Francisco.  

Viewers also need memorable scenes and moments to return.  Sophia's upward climb and dancing down the street into her U-Haul full of loot presented one of the few G-rated moments to enjoy in this Crass-Com.  This dramedy drew with the title graphic mounted on this article, much like The Goldbergs' title card photo and the colorful portrait 2 Broke Girls displayed in their dreadful mustard yellow uniforms.  This viewer is drawn to color, and these stills managed to perk outlandish interests.  So much so that when 2 Broke Girls aired a Girlboss commercial, I rewound my DVR twice to watch.  The catchy promotions managed to hook myself into binge watching the 13-episode freshman dramedy inside one day.  Netflix picked the right show to promote Girlboss, as 2 Broke Girls shares several likenesses.

Girlboss features a young and emotionally prickly young woman struggling to be seen and heard in the big city.  She discovers her talent to do so inside the pilot episode, leading to triumphs and pitfalls along the way.  Outlandish characters traipse in an out of situations, and the lead is blunt, crass and rude.  Girlboss gradually layers Sophia's backstory throughout vs. 2BG's Max and Caroline being fleshed out inside three episodes.  Like 2BG, arcs are present in the way of a mild health issue, insurance, employment and holiday blues.  One criticism of Girlboss is Sophia's lack of chemistry with most of the characters she interacts with.  2BG thrived on the chemistry of Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs, and Britt Robertson still leaves much to be desired.  Her standalone performance as Sophia is entertaining and engaging, yet she fails to weave in her appeal with the surrounding cast.  Robertson has room to expand, which is a great problem to have.  A second season appears promising as Girlboss offers enough flaws for us to investigate as a whole character.

Crass-Coms are a welcome relief in 2017, as several viewers experienced setbacks, heartache and strife over the last 10 years.  Crass-Coms tackle poverty and straight-shooting thoughts in shameless fashion, as Girlboss does.In a sitcom world featuring the upscale ensemble of Friends, The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family, viewers need something different.  When the characters on Friends were bored, they simply went out on a date or tried out a new restaurant.  How does a person plagued with economic misfortunes as many of us have dodge boredom when we cannot afford a new restaurant, or to even go out.  Girlboss gets that, demonstrating simple pleasures such as the Starbucks factor.  They depicted the obstacles/burdens of gainful income and health insurance as many of us had to work through.  Crass-Coms are the next trend in sitcoms, and Girlboss will enrich that wave if it puts a little elbow grease into fixing its few flaws.

Viewer Score: 8 out of 10.