Girls5eva

Four women on a bench

Credits

Cast

Network

Reviewer

Emily Clark

TV Series Review

In 1999, Girls5eva was the hottest girl group on the airwaves. And in the members’ minds (not to mention their lyrics) they were going to be “friends 5eva, famous 5eva and young 5eva” because “4eva” was just too short.

Fast forward 20 years, and the girls aren’t doing so swell. After their second album tanked (it featured some unfortunate songs about plane crashes and was released Sept. 10th, 2001), they all went their separate ways.

The group’s former songwriter, Dawn, works at one of her brother’s many failing businesses. Gloria and her ex were the first gay couple in New York to get a divorce; now, she’s a dentist. Summer (the “pretty one”) lives in a state of denial while her daughter becomes even more famous than she was back in the day. And group leader Ashley passed away long ago.

In fact, the only member of the group who seems to be doing OK is lead vocalist Wickie, who went solo after the group fell apart and now leads her own “fempire,” designing clothes, shoes and handbags…or so she says.

3gether Again

Of course, nothing is ever as it seems.

After an up-and-coming artist samples a Girls5eva song on his latest track, the gals are invited to sing with him on The Tonight Show. And being together again reminds the girls just how much they miss one another.

But if they want to reclaim the fame of their youth, they’ll have to make some major changes.

For starters, Wickie will have to come clean about how unsuccessful her life really is (turns out, there is no “fempire” and she shoots geese at an airport for a living) and quit blaming the others for her failures. Dawn needs to become confident and turn out some new, fem-positive lyrics that don’t objectify or tear down women. Summer has to stop living in the past, and Gloria has to embrace the changes that have happened in her own life.

And perhaps most importantly, the girls need to realize that they aren’t teenage girls anymore. They’re adult women. And that means making grown-up decisions.

Problems 5eva

Girls5eva is rated TV-MA for language—which is certainly warranted given the uses of everything up to and including the f-word. However, there’s plenty of other content to watch out for.

In revamping the band, the ladies realize how misogynistic and generally problematic their old songs were. (One of their former music videos called “Jailbait” showed them dancing in graduation gowns with gold bikinis underneath while talking about having underage sex.)

Unfortunately, even though their new lyrics have a stronger focus on empowering women and accepting imperfections, the ladies still have quite a few issues themselves.

All four women frequently talk about sex, and we sometimes see them in post-coital moments. (Dawn is thinking about having a second child with her husband, and Gloria is attempting to become a gay icon.) Summer debates whether she should divorce her own husband (a former pop star himself who lives in another state and whom she suspects is having an affair). And Wickie starts a relationship with a much younger man.

There is also an abortion joke that pops up in later episodes. And while it could be easy to brush this joke off, it’s said by Summer, who is portrayed by actress Busy Philipps who has been very open in the media about her own abortion, making it a much more impactful statement—and one we certainly wouldn’t want to ignore or normalize. So while Girls5eva is attempting to right a wrong by creating songs that make women feel good about themselves, the show has enough problems that you might feel bad about watching it.

Episode Reviews

May 6, 2021: “Pilot”

After an artist samples a Girls5eva song on his latest tracks, the former girl group is invited to back him up in an appearance on The Tonight Show.

People talk about sex (including same-sex pairings), as well as male and female genitals. Women wear revealing outfits. A woman removes her undergarment from beneath her clothing in an airport. A man talks about his former sexually inappropriate behavior and “air honks” a woman’s breasts. Gloria says her dad (who suffers from dementia) grabbed her leg inappropriately. A woman has a mammogram.

There are jokes about vaccination, toilet humor, death and prescription drug use. A woman says God gave her a beautiful voice. We hear uses of the f-word, s-word, “a–,” “d–k,” and “d–n.” There are also misuses of God’s name, including some pairings with the word “d–mit.”

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Emily Clark
Emily Clark

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

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