By Zoe Talbot
The town of Wellsbury, Massachusetts is small, homey and seemingly full of people that never stop smiling. When Georgia Miller (Brianne Howey) moves in, people aren’t sure what to expect. Georgia has two kids from two different men, and has just moved in from Texas after her husband died unexpectedly. She had her daughter, Virginia “Ginny” Miller (Antonia Gentry) when she was only fifteen years old, and her son Austin (Diesel La Torraca) is socially awkward with violent tendencies. This Georgia peach is not what she seems, and people are determined to find out her secrets.
The show initially focuses on Ginny and Georgia, as the title suggests. Their sister-like relationship is sweet and intimate, and they tell each other everything. Georgia has worked hard to give Ginny a life with opportunities she never had because of her pregnancy, and is especially emphatic that her daughter be careful about sex. Ginny is angsty and angry because of how their family is constantly relocating because of men, especially after seeing her mother having lunch with the handsome mayor (Scott Porter) on day one in Wellsbury. Ginny is also trying to navigate emotions when she sees a skateboarding bad-boy type is her new neighbor. Marcus (Felix Mallard) is a troublemaker and twin brother to Ginny’s new best friend Max (Sara Waisglass), which makes everything infinitely more complicated.
When not in Wellsbury, the show uses flashbacks to inform the audience of Georgia’s dark past. These flashbacks inform us of her life’s philosophies, secrets and clever ways of making it in the world. They also allow the audience to see her relationship with Zion (Nathan Miller), a seventeen year old photographer, and Ginny’s father. The teenagers in love undergo a lot of hardship trying to raise a child together, and it is just another stepping stone in Georgia’s traumatic life that made her into the person she has become.
The show also addresses sexuality, racism, mental health and other factors of life that others do not get to see. One of the things that “Ginny & Georgia” does extremely well is depicting that everyone has problems and things they do not talk about that affect them, whether it be a subtle moment or the center of an episode. One of the broader topics is how Ginny, a mixed teen, is in a high school with less than ten other Black students, and is constantly feeling singled out by her teachers and other students.
She talks very openly about her double-consciousness, and even performs poetry about how she is able to fit into the “box” that people want her to fit into. She’s finally found a town she likes, but even Wellsbury makes her feel like an outsider in her worst moments. Especially with her unconventional family, she feels out of place when with her friends’ families or when discussing college decisions, constantly feeling behind because Georgia is not a normal “Wellsbury mom” who does things like go to back-to-school night or help with bake sales.
Ginny and Georgia are both enormously complex characters who talk often about passion and power, desperate for control and belonging, having gone their whole lives without it. Ginny feels as if her mother could have anything she wanted because she is beautiful and knows what men want, but deep down, Ginny wants to feel that type of control too. Neither of them are particularly great at relationships or knowing what they want in love, but are passionate and crave it regardless. These two women are cutthroat and headstrong, but the real question is how far they are willing to go to have everything go their way.
Each and every character in this show has a depth that some cannot achieve with their main characters, and I adore it for that. It is clever again and again, plants seeds throughout each episode that flourish at moments you would never expect. There is dramatic irony, danger, redemption and a million other qualities that make the show ten episodes of intrigue. I feel as if you can’t compare it to any other show without doing it a massive disservice because I’ve never watched anything that does everything with such finesse and in such a tight, clean fashion.
If you like societal commentaries, dark shows about secrets, quirky friend groups, betrayal and love triangles, you’ll find it all in “Ginny & Georgia.” Somehow this show manages to be about a million different things, and it very rarely, if ever, feels overwhelming. Everything is interconnected and feels deliberate, making everything from high school theatre to local politics endlessly fascinating. Thrilling, funny, and jaw dropping, this show is certainly not another “Gilmore Girls.”