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Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching, why it’s worth checking out, and where you can stream it.
The Series: “Ginny & Georgia”
Where You Can Stream It: Netflix
The Pitch: If “Gilmore Girls” and “Big Little Lies” had a snarky little baby, it would be “Ginny & Georgia.” Strap in and don’t let the idyllic New England town fool you — this mother-daughter dramedy has blood on its hands, PTA meetings to attend, and lots of emotional turmoil to unpack. The series follows free-spirited single mother Georgia Miller (Brianne Howey) as she relocates her family (for the millionth time in their lives) to a small Massachusetts town where they can do something they’ve never tried before: put down roots. But the road to new beginnings is a lot bumpier than expected, especially with a colorful past like Georgia’s.
We get a soapy series about the family’s attempt to settle into Wellsbury: Georgia tries to win over the locals with her southern charm, while her teenage daughter Ginny (Antonia Gentry) tries her damndest to survive high school. And while it might seem like her little brother Austin (Diesel La Torraca) is facing the easiest obstacle of them all at his elementary school, not a single character in this show is devoid of their own specific trauma. There’s a lot more going on — a mayoral race, a PI digging into the illegal activity of Georgia’s past, a racist teacher who plagues Ginny’s school life, and plenty of small-town love interests for both women to choose from — but as the title implies, the mother-daughter duo is the heart of the show.
Why It’s Essential Viewing
“Ginny & Georgia” is two shows for the price of one. Is that a little absurd and occasionally jarring? Absolutely. But it works, all the same.
In Ginny’s corner, you have all the trappings of a typical teen drama: a new group of friends who don’t always embrace her with open arms, a school she struggles to find her place in, anxieties about drinking, first kisses and wearing makeup, plus, of course, a love triangle. Ginny immediately catches the eye of two potential boy toys —the bad boy from next door (*gasp* he owns a motorcycle?!) and the sweet musician who sometimes struggles to voice his affections for her (you’ll be shocked to learn that he eventually communicates via song). It goes about as well as you expect, which is to say, extremely messy. Because despite what she screams before slamming her door every so often, Ginny isn’t as different from her mother as she thinks. She’s still figuring things out and can’t help but stumble into bad situations that she’s convinced she can handle herself.
And then there’s Georgia’s side of the story, which is split between flashbacks and present day. In the past, we see how Georgia became the woman she is now — who keeps a gun in her purse and knows her way around a scam, but also charms basically everyone in her vicinity with warmth and easy conversation. Unbeknownst to her children, Georgia comes from an abusive household and has been taking care of herself since childhood. It’s a life of hardship that she never wants her children to endure, so if she has to cheat, lie, and occasionally kill to make sure they grow up feeling loved and privileged, then she damn sure will.
‘You And Me Against The World.’
Ginny and her mother have always been close; “It’s you and me against the world” is a common refrain from Georgia, who had her daughter at just 15 years old, and sometimes considers her more like a sister. But by the time the first season kicks off, years of always being the new girl and never sticking around long enough to make friends have begun to weigh on Ginny. She resents her mom for the reasons all teenagers do — “you don’t understand me,” “you’re so uncool,” “why can’t I make my own life decisions,” etc. — but mostly, because Ginny doesn’t understand why Georgia does anything she does.
She doesn’t know what her mother has endured to get them where they are. As far as she understands, her mother’s just flighty and selfish. Meanwhile, Georgia doesn’t understand why her daughter is pulling away, seeing only an angsty, rebellious child. So for better or worse, finally settling down somewhere gives this family time to figure out its fractures. And we get the pleasure of watching all of the emotional, soapy, twisty drama unfold.
If you’ve yet to watch the series but the title is ringing a bell, then I’m guessing you’ve seen the memes. When the first season dropped in 2021, the internet quickly latched onto the out-of-context insanity of “Ginny & Georgia”: most infamously making fun of the (rightfully) maligned Oppression Olympics scene, unpacking that one very uncool Taylor Swift joke and pointing out that the series is a try-hard modern take on “Gilmore Girls” (which the show very much realizes, given episode 1 features Georgia gleefully proclaiming, “We’re like the ‘Gilmore Girls,’ but with bigger boobs.”) And fair enough. The first season is far from perfect: though an extremely binge-able show with a solid hook, plenty of intrigue, and more than enough drama for 10 episodes, the show often stumbled under the weight of its heavier storylines. But in season 2, “Ginny & Georgia” reaches a comfortable stride, seeming to have absorbed all the criticism for the better.
Season 2 Is Sharper, Smarter, And All-Around Better
Say what you will about season 1, but it’s the addictive kind of trash that the Netflix algorithm prizes — the streaming numbers speak for themselves. And honestly, if “Ginny & Georgia” had returned for a second season that was exactly the same as the first, I would’ve happily watched. But to my surprise, the second season steps things up a notch. This time it not only basks in the melodrama but embraces the darker side of Ginny’s angst and Georgia’s trauma. Smarter, sharper, and more empathetic, it gives a lot more room to storylines like Ginny’s biracial identity, Georgia’s abusive upbringing, and instances of self-harm, depression, and eating disorders (many of which are handled way better than lots of teen dramas that have come before).
By far my favorite thing about the show is that it never shies away from exploring how each of its protagonists sees the world. There’s a gap between Ginny and Georgia, in experience more so than age. Protecting her children from all that she endured means Georgia doesn’t really make sense to them — especially her teenage daughter who can’t begin to fathom what makes her mother fearful enough to abruptly move from one place to another.
But at the same time, just because Ginny doesn’t share Georgia’s experiences, doesn’t mean her life is devoid of problems. She’s still a person struggling to come into her own while battling mental health issues, insecurities, and off-the-cuff racism. As soapy as this show can be, it’s surprisingly grounded in emotion. So whether you want to satiate your need for darkness or pure, frothy drama, “Ginny & Georgia” will deliver.
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