COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2020
Welcome to Stars Hollow, Connecticut — sorry, I mean Wellsbury, Massachusetts.
Here we have all the trappings of TV's favorite effervescent mother, super smart-daughter duo: rapid-fire repartee, quirky New England townsfolk, high school frenemies, a father who drifts in and out of the picture …
Ginny & Georgia doesn't play coy either. It knows what it is and alludes to the inevitable comparisons within the pilot's first scenes: "We're like the Gilmore Girls, but with bigger boobs," Georgia tells her daughter.
You could dismiss Ginny & Georgia as a Gilmore Girls knock-off (the "GG" initials aren't lost on me) based on the sheer volume of similarities, but that would be a mistake. For while Netflix's new series seems to co-opt its predecessor's strengths, it also builds on Gilmore's weaknesses.
Teenage Ginny (Antonia Gentry), her little brother Austin (Diesel La Torraca), and her 30-year-old mother Georgia (Brianne Howey) are new in town, trading the south for quaint Massachusetts. Not every Wellsburian is perennially on the family's side though. The Millers are met with skepticism — and in biracial Ginny's case, racism. The dynamic between the family and many of the town's residents is more akin to that of Lorelai and Rory and the Hartford elite with whom they're forced to socialize rather than the familial Stars Hollow bunch.
Despite the setting, Ginny & Georgia doesn't have the diversity issue of its forebearer. The ensemble cast is inclusive, and in sharp contrast to Gilmore's blandly heterosexual universe, Ginny's best friend is openly gay (without an "It Gets Better"-tinged storyline in sight).
The show leaves the network TV norms of the early aughts where they belong (in the past), but it also adopts a tone that feels more relevant to both ~these times~ and the generation the series best caters to: Gen Z. While Ginny and Georgia are close in age and quick in banter, their relationship is hardly all shared Macy Gray CDs and coffee-guzzling trips to the local diner. Like most mothers and their teenage daughters, Ginny and Georgia are often at odds. And, in a twist that feels more attuned to the spirit and solemnity of the world's current state, Georgia has a dark secret (or 12).
I mean, can you imagine if Lorelai had a secret that actually held weight and wasn't like "I have a crush on the guy who pours my coffee"? Give us intrigue. Give us a cheery Southern gal with a shadowy past and a designer wallet filled with canceled credit cards.
We've lived through a pandemic. We've lived through an administration that not only failed to condemn violence but actually championed it. For me, at least, this has upped the stakes for entertainment. I can no longer feel fulfilled watching two brunettes name their favorite pop tart flavors and bicker over which Ivy League school is the best. I need festering lies and slap-worthy betrayals. I need gritty flashbacks and secret hiding spots. I need Ginny and I need Georgia.
Ginny & Georgia launches on Netflix Feb. 24.