TV Show ReviewsJosh Reviews Girls5Eva Season Three!

Josh Reviews Girls5Eva Season Three!

Girls5Eva centers on the four women who were, briefly, part of a one-hit-wonder girls’ group in 2000.  Unfortunately, their song “Quit Flying Planes at My Heart” was released on September 10th, 2001, and that was that.  Two decades later, the women decide to reunite and make another attempt at the stardom that eluded them when they were younger.

The show began with two terrific but little-seen seasons on Peacock in 2021 and 2022.  When Peacock canceled the show, Netflix rode to the rescue (the way Netflix used to do!).  The two original seasons of the show are streaming on Netflix, and a new short third season was commissioned.  (This new season is six half-hour episodes, even shorter than the first two eight-episode seasons.)  I loved those first two seasons, and I am thrilled that Netflix has brought the show back to life!

Girls5Eva is a terrific show, and I hope that more viewers will find it, now that it’s on Netflix!

The series is overseen by Meredith Scardino, who was a writer for The Late Show with David Letterman, The Colbert Report, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt The series is produced by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, who of course also oversaw 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Girls5Eva has a lot in common with those two shows.  They all share a comedically flexible universe in which all sorts of ridiculous things might happen, a strong sense of the silly, and a dizzyingly high volume of jokes per minute.  As was the case in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Girls5Eva also has a lot to say about what it’s like to be a woman in the present day in the United States.  This is a very silly, very funny show, but there’s a potent undercurrent of anger running not so deep beneath the jokes.  (A highlight of this season is a show-stopping sequence in which one of the characters’ ultrasound procedure is interrupted by the appearance of a state-mandated male “fetal citizen advocate”.  It’s a crazy moment… but also one that is scarily not so implausible…  Oh, and I should mention the hilarious commercial for “Spaghetti for Her”…!)  These moments bring a bite to the silly comedy that is exhilarating to see.

The cast is spectacular; each one of the four main leads is a comedic powerhouse.  Sara Bareilles (Waitress) plays Dawn, who is newly pregnant and having trouble engaging with the hard work of going on tour, when all she really wants is a little break from her child-rearing responsibilities at home.  Busy Philipps (Freaks and Geeks) plays Summer, who has finally split from her fake showbiz husband and now needs to figure out who she is on her own, when she’s never even picked out her own outfits before.  Renée Elise Goldsberry (She-Hulk, and she originated the role of Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton) plays Wickie, who is desperate for fame by any means necessary, though she’s beginning to discover actual human feelings for her band-mate and her “normie” (non-famous) boyfriend.  Paula Pell (who has written for SNL and many terrific comedies, including Bridesmaids and This is 40) plays Gloria, who is newly divorced and looking to play the field with lesbian groupies while on the road, though she quickly discovers it’s more difficult than she expected to have a “no strings” fling.

John Lutz (30 Rock) joins the ensemble as Percy, the group’s weird driver/road-manager, and John Early is very funny as the above-mentioned “fetal citizen advocate”/Senator.  Also popping up in small roles are: Daniel Breaker as Dawn’s husband Scott; Andrew Rannells (who originated the role of Elder Kevin Price in The Book of Mormon, and who recently starred in Gutenberg! The Musical!) as Summer’s ex-husband Kev; and Dean Winters (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) as Dawn’s brother Nick; Chad L. Coleman (The Wire, The Walking Dead, The Expanse) as Wickie’s sort-of boyfriend Sheawn.  Adriane Lenox and Ron Canada are terrific as Wickie’s painfully normal suburban parents.  Richard Kind (Mad About You, Spin City, A Serious Man, Inside Out) also appears, playing himself, in a fantastic and critical scene in the season finale.  (There’s also a terrific running gag about Jon Hamm, who doesn’t appear but pops up in photo form several times.)

It’s been several years since the two seasons on Peacock, but Ms. Scardino & co. have brought the show back without missing a beat.  The tone is spot-on, and the show is as delightfully funny as ever.

I enjoyed this season’s story about the band’s attempt to mount a tour (called “Returnity”).  That’s a terrific story concept, filled with comedic potential.  There are so many new great running gags, from the broke band’s frequent reservations at a hotel called “Divorced Dad Suitelets” and meals at “Macaroni Rascals”, to Dawn’s obsession with a version of The Crown focused on a stuffed-animal-obsessed Prince Andrew.  There’s a biting scene in which Wickie tries to sell her (self-serving) documentary to a streaming service, and finds the executives are getting replaced before she can complete a sentence; it’s a sad — but very funny — assessment of today’s TV landscape.

One of the highlights of the show has always been its fake songs, and this season gives us a tasty new batch of hilarious fake music for the band.  I loved their “Tap into Your (Fort) Worth” anthem that makes them heroes in that small Fort Worth market; the goofy “No Strings” song with which Gloria serenades one of her attempted one-night-stands; their embarrassing 90’s ode to marrying a wealthy dude called “Sweet’N Low Daddy”… Summer’s tune about not understanding The Witcher... and so many more!  Bravo to Jeff Richmond, Meredith Scardino, Sara Bareilles, and the rest of the team who created these comedic musical gems!

I wish this new season lasted more than just six episodes!!!  The season tells a satisfyingly complete story, with strong character arcs for all four main characters, and for the band as a group.  And yet, it feels like we’ve barely scratched the surface.  I’m glad they found ways to squeeze in appearances from great supporting characters such as Dawn’s husband and brother, and Wickie’s boyfriend, but there’s barely room for them.  (The storyline with Wickie’s boyfriend Sheawn is particularly rushed, as it’s not even clear if they’re broken up or not when Wickie first calls him on the phone mid-season, and their reconciliation seems to happen off camera.)  All of these characters are great, and they could easily support a longer season.  Many longer seasons, in fact!  Please make it happen, Netflix!!

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