“Love is parasitic, it’s painful, and it’s inconvenient” – this, mind you, came out of the mouth of a 16 year old. Ginny & Georgia, Netflix. There is so much to unpack here. Ginny & Georgia is a post me-too, post racial awakening, post new wave feminism, post inclusion, post diversity, post equality, and most importantly, post – well, nah, patriarchy will never, unfortunately be post, but it won’t stop us from trying.

Ginny & Georgia tries to be everything to everyone. And because of that, it has some great moments and poignant writing, and some cringeworthy ones. It’s a great study how every attempt to change the system, or social injustice or cultural issue has to come from an authentic place. We have many tools to instigate the change; taking a civic action, or creating art that tackles those issues. Film being the foremost way to invoke the much needed change solely by the amount of eyes and ears it can reach, has a special duty to do it genuinely.

When writers don’t take time to build their characters and just out of the blue give them lines to throw around to touch subjects of inequality or racial justice – it’s not creating space for change. It’s actually making the issue cartoonish and taking from its gravity. More on that later.

I’ll say it again. Ginny & Georgia tries to be everything to everyone. It also tries to be Gilmore Girls on steroids. While trying to be Weeds, Desperate Housewives, Dead to Me. With a touch of Euphoria. It’s patronizing at times, it definitely caters to women, in such a way of portraying most male characters as too simp-y, confused, not up to pair with women’s scheming or intellectual abilities. Or needs, for that matter. After a long history of tv-shows and films being written by men, about men and catering to men; creating content by women for women’s perspective, and not in a shy but an assertive way – it’s needed, it’s welcomed. Only, again, it has to come from an authentic place and not pack everything in underdeveloped, just  to cater to the current social climate.

Ginny & Georgia needs to be watched, but look for hidden treasures. This show is about a 30 year old mother and a 15 year old biracial daughter, moving to another city while navigating life and their own parent/friend trap of a relationship. Antonia Gentry, the actress playing Ginny, the daughter is an absolute powerhouse. Here come hidden treasures, and there’s plenty: the way she dresses is way different from what we see from young women today. She’s not in tight clothes, barely has make up on, and with all the insufferable trends of over-plumped lips, boobs and instagram make-up faces, it’s such a refreshing take on a normal teenager. My soul just went on vacation, experiencing that.

In comes a boy, naturally. His acting chops need more work and perhaps more experience, or maybe it’s me and I can’t seem to accept we can’t find that grit or tortured misfit character of 90’s stars anymore, both on screen and off. The look is one thing, but the grit of Brad Renfro or River Phoenix or Heath Ledger is hard to come by today, with an exception of Timothée Chalamet or Tom Holland. This generation’s diagnosis of social media eagerness fundamentally makes it next to impossible to have those type of actors struggling to fit into prescribed cultural norms – exactly what makes them great actors. BUT Harry Styles did pick out this boy to play him in Happy Together, so I’ll give him a chance to grow into more substance.

He’s an obvious breakout draw of this show, actor Felix Mallard, playing Marcus, a mix of Johnny Deep “before he went rotten” in a way that he’s allowed to ask Cry Baby’s Johnny to give him HIS face back; a bit of Skeet Ulrich and defo the Jordan Catalano attempt of little words, many getaways. With that face, I really hope he grows into full package, and loses the agreeableness of today’s meh stars.

This is where it gets interesting for me. Girl meets boy, he has a face like that, you expect there will be others to complicate to plot, and the whole season will be spent longing until we wait for them to kiss or hook up or the combination of the two. In the fashion of American high school dramas (hey, this isn’t Normal People, and I didn’t expect much), but then he (spoilers ahead!) jumps through her window right away, you expect banter that will continue all season long but no, banter is few seconds then he kisses her, not that well (how dare you waste that face on a kiss that bad) then she decides to lose her virginity with him right then and there but its not fireworks or anything, he’s weird and awkward and he fingers her (?), not sure exactly what happened under those sheets; it was so brilliantly terrible I tuned it out, out of sheer excitement for its fuckery (pun not intended).

As opposed to other shows doing the whole high school situationships, this was so bad and so brilliant and different it allowed his character to go backwards, toward Johnny (pre-busted, pre-rotten, pre-asshole phase), or towards Catalanoesque trademark obsessive disinterest.

That part is fun.

But then we get to the Opression Olympics. My god. Ginny gets with another boy while we wait out the emotional development of Marcus (and better sexual skills), the other boy is half Taiwanese, while she’s half black. Racial issues are not easy to cultivate authentically on film. And its a social responsibility to do it right. Not everyone can be Ava or Shonda. And this part falls so flat, its almost insulting to watch. Or as E. Alex Jung wrote for Vulture, titled: “My Spirit Left My Body Watching This Ginny & Georgia Scene – You will not be poorer for not knowing the journey that leads to “Oppression Olympics: Let’s Go!”

I can’t explain the offensiveness of this one to you. This simply needs to be watched. In short, Ginny and her boyfriend who so far until that moment showed a depth of a slug, throw racial slurs at each other with him announcing the whole sparring that will follow with: “Oppression Olympics: Let’s Go!”, trying to showcase who gets it worse where he, half-asian, tells her:

“Sorry I’m not Chinese enough for you, but I’ve never seen you pound back jerk chicken. Last time I checked, [one of our white friends] twerks better than you. And I liked your poem, but your bars could use a little more work, homie. So really, how Black are you then?”

Yes someone actually wrote this and gave it to this boy to say it. When you’re trying to create art that will take on racial oppression but you end up being more offensive than the oppression you’re trying to showcase, and hopefully dismantle – time to read the room and go back to the writers room (pun intended).

The only authentically poignant sentence that came out of this cringe-worthy scene is Ginny’s:

“Ok, so together we make a whole white person.”

Hidden gems, and why you should watch this show is Ginny’s moments, example, the essay she wrote. Wait for the delivery:

Or the passion vs. power concept:

Georgia:

“There are two things you can get from sex with a man, passion or power. But you better make sure you’re gettin something. Otherwise you’re just getting screwed.”

Ginny:

“Passion or power. Power is cold, it’s about control. It’s a game, there are winners and losers. If someone has power, that means intrinsically that someone else does not. I always thought that when the time came for me to have sex, I’d want passion. Passion is hot. But now, I think you only want passion until you’ve been burned. Then power starts looking really good. Never let your guard down – I get it now. I guess in the end you’re still just getting screwed. For the first time in my life, I think I finally started to understand my mother. ”.

And my Holy grail:

Ginny:

“Is that why you so strong?”

Georgia:

“Because i was abused as a kid? No, i’m not a Game of Thrones character. I would’ve been way stronger if i didn’t have to spend so much energy dealing with that shit. I’d be a freaking president.”

This part is what did it for me. Remember all those people trying to convince you that the issues you have with your parents or family and the support and understanding you lack from them made you stronger and you should be happy you had it so hard, and that’s exactly why you achieved something (enter those parents who at this moment circle back to your life and claim that achievement caused by their “tough love”) – “But I made you strong, the way I’m with you and the tough love and issues I put upon you and all the ways I made your life harder than it needs to be, it  was all for your own good, and that made you that much more stronger!”

Uhmm, no it didn’t.

It made me spend so much energy on fixing your wrongs and dealing with your inadequacies as parents that I’d be a fucking president if I had that time to work on my achievements, instead of spending it dealing with you.

All for opening this conversation up. Kudos to this part.

Ginny & Georgia. Chaotic, intense, at times offensive (Taylor Swift unnecessary dab), trying to be so much to so many, but since they are jabbing everywhere, you will find some that will lick your specific wound.