TV Show ReviewsJosh Reviews Girls5Eva Seasons One and Two!

Josh Reviews Girls5Eva Seasons One and Two!

Soon after watching We Are Lady Parts, I decided to move on to another Peacock comedy show about a musical group comprised of four women: Girls5Eva!

Both are terrific shows, although they’re very different.  Girls5Eva is a much sillier, zanier show.  It was created by Meredith Scardino and produced by (among others) Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.  The show shares a comedic sensibility with Tina Fey’s shows 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  It’s a wonderful successor to those great shows.

In the show, Girls5Eva was a 90’s girls pop group that had one hit song (“Quit Flying Planes at My Heart,” which was unfortunately released on September 10th, 2001), and they broke up shortly thereafter.  But years later, their music gets sampled by a popular rapper, Lil’ Stinker.  Sensing an opportunity, the four women reunite and try to make another go at musical success.

I really enjoyed this show!  It’s very silly, and I quite enjoy this type of zany, joy-filled comedy (that is a specialty of Tina Fey’s).

The main cast is terrific — I loved all four of these crazy weirdos.  Sara Bareilles plays Dawn, the “chill one” in the group.  Dawn is the most normal and centered of the foursome.  This could make her the most boring character in the group, and yet somehow Ms. Bareilles’ charm and charisma made Dawn my favorite character on the show!  She’s the one I’m rooting for the most.  Ms. Bareilles is a talented singer and songwriter (with many successful albums, and she composed the music and lyrics for Waitress and she was also involved in SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical) and she is terrific on the show.  Busy Philipps (who I have been a fan of ever since her start on Freaks and Geeks) plays Summer, “the hot one”.  Ms. Phillips leans into Summer’s jovial dizziness, and she is so funny doing so!  Renée Elise Goldsberry (who originated the role of Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton, and who was so great on She-Hulk) plays Wickie, the “fierce one”.  Wickie is a self-obsessed loony tune; she’s the most outlandish character on the show.  Ms. Goldsberry brings such a fierce commitment to the role; she is incredibly funny!  Rounding out the foursome is Paula Pell (who has written for SNL and many terrific comedies, including Bridesmaids and This is 40), who plays Gloria, the “always working one”.  Gloria is a dentist who’s recently gotten divorced from her wife.  Ms. Pell’s deadpan delivery is hilarious, and she brings a lot of heart to the character.  Of the foursome, I’ve been most engaged by Gloria’s personal journey on the show.

Those four are surrounded by a fun supporting cast and array of guest stars.  Daniel Breaker is sweet as Dawn’s normal, civilian husband Scott.  Jonathan Hadary (who played Roy Cohn in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America) is a lot of fun as the band’s sleazy ex-manager Larry Plumb.  Ashley Park hits all the right notes as Ashley, the band’s dead former fifth member, who perished in “an infinity pool accident”.  Andrew Rannells (who originated the role of Elder Kevin Price in The Book of Mormon, and who was very funny in Paul Feig’s film A Simple Favor) is tremendous playing Summer’s dingbat sort-of husband, former boy-band star Kev Hamlin.  Grey Henson (who originated the role of Damian Hubbard in the Broadway version of Mean Girls) is endearingly dim as an executive at the recording company the band hooks up with in season two.  Dean Winters (Dennis Duffy on 30 Rock and “The Vulture” on Brooklyn Nine-Nine) pops up a few times as Dawn’s brother Nick.  Amy Sedaris (Princess Carolyn on Bojack Horseman, Mimi Kanasis on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and Neil Flynn (the Janitor on Scrubs) are hilarious as Summer’s exceedingly happy Christian parents.  And Tina Fey appears in one wacky guest appearance playing Dolly Parton, which an extremely bizarre notion but one that works beautifully.

There’s a lot of very funny original music on the show!  It starts with the very catchy, very memorable opening credits theme song (“Famous 5eva”).  In an era in which great theme songs seems to be mostly a thing of the past, it’s awesome how terrific (and hummable) this show’s theme song is.  I never skipped past the credits when watching this show.  Beyond that, almost every episode has a great, funny new song that the group performs.  I particularly loved “I’m Afraid (Dawn’s Song of Fears)”, “New York Lonely Boy”, and “Momentum”.  But they’re pretty much all winners!!  I love this aspect to the show, that they’ve actually created great and funny songs that we see the group perform.

Many of Tina Fey’s shows, particularly Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, have woven substance into the comedy, exploring what it’s like to be a woman in the United States in this day and age, and the regular hassles and indignities a woman must experience in the course of their normal daily lives.  That theme is all over Girls5Eva.  One of the very first jokes in the first episode of the show is when Dawn is told by her doctor at her mammogram that she has perfect breasts for a mammogram because they’re already so smushed.  This show is as much a story about these four women fighting for their dignity in modern society, and learning be unafraid to push themselves to achieve their potential, as it is a comedy about the music industry.

So far the show has produced two eight-episode seasons.  At the end of the second season, it was cancelled by Peacock, but thankfully Netflix has stepped in to support a third season.  (Interestingly, a similar thing happened with Ms. Fey’s show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, whose first season was developed for NBC, but NBC wound up selling the show to Netflix before it ever aired; Netflix supported it there for four seasons and one brilliant interactive special.)  I’m so glad this show isn’t over!

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