You HAVE To Watch: Girls5Eva
Gonna be famous 5eva
‘Cause forever’s too short
Gonna be famous 3gether
‘Cause that’s one more than together!
Those lyrics from the theme song should tell you whether or not you’d love Girls5eva.
So tempted to end this post there… But I can’t.
What Is Girls5Eva?
20 years after 90s girls band Girls5Eva’s one hit left the charts, the four surviving members of the band start planning their comeback. This musical comedy takes an earnest look at the music industry, the creative process, feminism, and friendship, while managing to be funny, endearing, and producing ear worms that capture the loveable cringe of bands the show parodies.
Is It Sooooo Good?
It is soooooo good!
Girls5Eva gets its subject matter. Not satirizing any specific band (I do get serious All Saints vibes, but that might just be me), Girls5Eva parodies the 90s prefabricated bands with 4-6 singers/dancers in stylish music videos. As Who’s Line Is It Anyone once said “You’re not a band unless you play an instrument.
However, instead of casting the main characters as useless or clueless, the show balances making fun of the trend and acknowledging that we did enjoy it.
It’s easy to root for the characters. Our main character, Dawn (singer/actor Sara Bareilles), moved on to a normal life. However, she’s a talented song writer. When rapper Lil Stinker samples a Girls5Eva track, leading to the band appearing as his backup singers for an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel, the creative bug bites Dawn hard.
Summer (Busy Philipps) married a 90s boy band singer, and never left the lifestyle her minor celebrity netted her. But, she didn’t do anything in the band. Like Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson or Posh Spice, Summer only sand back-up with no clear reason for even being in the band.
Gloria (Paula Pell, best known as a writer) has a lot in common with Dawn, but more so in every direction. She moved on the furthest from her days in the band (a point the show drives home by making her the only actress who doesn’t play her younger self in flashbacks), but is most enthusiastic for a comeback.
Finally, Wickie (musical actress Renée Elise Goldsberry) embodies faking it until you making it. On the Internet, she acts like she parlayed her Girls5Eva fame into a glamorous life as an influencer. In reality, she’s a mess. Even when the band finds out, she does everything she can to live to lie, even if that means living way outside of her means.
Girls5Eva knows how to land a joke. Character comedy, satire, a touch of absurdity, a taste of raunchiness. Rated 16+, the show only occasionally dips into the adult humour the rating allows, making those jokes that much more effective.
In one of my favourite scenes, Wickie can’t get through airport security because she’s wearing an expensive bra with water support. Given the “throw it out or drink it here” option, she chooses to drink the water out of her bra cup. Despite the ridiculous scenario, there’s a logical foundation grounding it. That, and Goldsberry’s performance of the sad reality of her life sinking in, effectively stacks layers of different comedy and a cocktail of emotions.
The unsung hero of Girls5Eva is composer and executive producer Jeff Richmond. The show works because the music feels straight off a 90s girl band album. The word play of the lyrics make the songs funny, but also catchy and fun.
I’d listen to a Girls5Eva CD. I might track down a playlist of the show’s original songs and listen to it today.
In the U.S., Girls5Eva streams on Peacock. Apparently Peacock is the punchline of the streaming service wars. I’m not sure, we don’t have Peacock in Canada. I watched Girl5Eva on a StackTV free trial. But the vibe I get makes Peacock sound like the prototypical bandwagon jumper. Which is a shame. I’m not denying that the number of streaming services got out of hand in recent years, but if Peacock greenlit Girls5Eva, the service offers at least one original content winner.