31 Pilots in 31 Days: Girls 5eva

When it was originally on: 2021-present

Original network: Peacock

Where you can stream it now: Peacock, but it will be coming to Netflix at some point.

Had I seen it before: No.

What IMDb says: A one-hit-wonder band from the ’90s gets a second shot at fame when a young rapper samples their song.

Why I picked it: The last time I did an X Pilots in X Days exercise, Peacock was not a thing. I was curious to see what type of content this somewhat late-to-the-party streamer was using to set itself apart in an already crowded landscape. Would Peacock originals be any different from what NBC is already showing? Plus… Girls5eva just feels like a show I’d like, and probably would’ve watched by now if it was on a streaming service I was already paying for.

There’s also the fact that Girls5eva is now one of the latest shows to migrate over to Netflix after a less-than-stellar reception on a less-ubiquitous channel. Both You and Cobra Kai made this journey from Lifetime and YouTube respectively, and did quite well for themselves on Netflix. (And now I’ve reviewed both these pilots!) If Girls5eva follows a similar trajectory, I’m curious to know what that could mean for the future. Will Netflix continue shopping for under-appreciated content on less popular platforms?

What I liked: I think this is one of the best half-hour pilots I’ve seen in terms of quickly establishing 4 very big personalities who are quite different from each other, yet I’m still excited to watch all four. You have Dawn, who lives a relatively average life with her husband and child while working at her brother’s restaurant; Summer, who lives a wealthier life and has an Instagram influencer daughter (it’s unclear if Summer has an “actual” job though); Gloria, a recently divorced lesbian dentist; and Wickie, who’s trying to launch her fashion brands and regain her time in the spotlight.

Not only are these just four very, very different people who would be likely to clash anyway, they also have four different motives for wanting to re-unite Girls 5eva. Dawn seems to genuinely miss performing and making music, while Wickie seems to be much more motivated by the fame and regaining the celebrity status she once had. Gloria seems to be having a more generalized midlife crisis and is not THAT invested in music or fame, but does love the idea of a second chance at youth and maybe winning her ex back. Summer seems to be a combination of all 3. It’s a combination that naturally lends itself to all sorts of different conflicts, also gives all our characters room to learn from each other and grow as the series goes on.

I also think a lot of people can relate to this idea of sharing one super specific chapter of your life with people, but then growing into very different people later in life. The Girls5eva crew would never be friends with each other if they were just meeting for the first time today, yet they have this unique life experience that no one else can relate to outside the other group members. That means there’s damn near endless room for these four to butt heads without me asking “why don’t they just leave?”, They don’t necessarily like each other, but they need each other, both practically and emotionally.

There’s also a lot of comedic potential in watching grown adults try to pursue a career in music. If they do it right, the show will be a pointed critique of society’s obsession with youth, particularly in women. There’s a few jokes here that suggested they’re headed in that direction, and I for one am optimistic.

What I didn’t like: I’m honestly coming up empty. I think Girls5eva is a great example of how if you get your core characters right and clearly define what I can expect moving forward, little else matters.

Do I want to watch Ep. 2: Yes! Looking forward to continuing it come February.

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