Bingeworthy: Girlboss (Netflix) (Spoilers)

Bingeworthy: Girlboss (Netflix) (Spoilers)

📅26 April 2017, 14:59

Girlboss tells the story of Sophia Amoruso, the creator of the online clothing retailer Nasty Gal.  Though it eventually became a large, well-known clothing company, the series takes us way back to the year 2006 to show how humble Sophia’s entrepreneurial beginnings were.  The show includes executive producers Kay Cannon (writer/producer for 30 Rock, screenwriter for Pitch Perfect and its sequels) as well as Charlize Theron and Amoruso herself.


The jacket that started it all. (Courtesy of Netflix)

What works?

  • It’s a fun trip back to the mid-2000s.  Remember the big pop culture elements from that time? Britney shaving her head and wielding a baseball bat? Marissa’s death on the season 3 finale of The O.C.? A world before iPhones were omnipresent? Or even smartphones in general? Many of those things are here.
  • The main character.  She’s young, brash, flawed, and pretty fearless.  She speaks her mind and isn’t afraid to take chances, even when the stakes are high.  Is she a role model? Not particularly, but she’s interesting to watch, and the creation of Nasty Gal from the ground up is an interesting process to witness as well.
  • Good guest roles.  Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men) is featured as the moderator of the Vintage Fashion Forum, which becomes relevant as its forum members begin to see their sales decrease while Sophia’s are rapidly on the rise.  One of the best sequences of the season is featured in episode 10 (“Vintage Fashion Forum,”) where we see the members of the forum gathered around a circular table reading their message board posts in real time (complete with meme GIFs, spam links, and other material one might find on a message board in the year 2007).  Dean Norris (Breaking Bad) stars as Sophia’s father, walking a tightrope between being caring and judgmental the entire season.  RuPaul plays one of Sophia’s neighbors, and Jim Rash (Community) appears as the owner of a consignment store that Sophia scours for vintage clothing that she can resell on eBay, including the jacket that started it all.
  • The soundtrack.  A solid mix of tracks from Bikini Kill (a very fitting “Rebel Girl”) to Rogue Wave (“Lake Michigan”) to Imogen Heap’s cover of “Hallelujah” (Sophia holding a wedding dress she’s hand-delivering in a parody of Marissa’s death on The O.C.).


The Vintage Fashion Forum. (Courtesy of Netflix)

What doesn’t?

  • Toward the end of the season, it’s revealed that Sophia’s (up until that point) nice boyfriend, Shane, is cheating on her with one of his fellow band members.  It feels shoehorned in for no purpose other than to create a personal trauma for Sophia as she is in the midst of formally launching Nasty Gal.  I think it would have been better to focus on other drama in her life juxtaposed with her impending success, perhaps maybe her troubled relationship with her dad.
  • Sophia and her friend Annie have a nearly friendship-ending fight over Sophia leaving Annie out of her “Top 8” friends on MySpace.  If their friendship really is as strong as the rest of that episode tries to show, then it shouldn’t be a big deal whether or not Annie’s a part of her Top 8 or not.
  • Pacing of certain episodes is not ideal (see episodes 6 and 11, in particular).


Bottom line:  If you’re looking for a fun show you can burn through quickly (13 episodes at ~29 minutes each) and appreciate pop culture and good soundtracks, this could be a good choice for you.  Give it a shot and tell me what you think!

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