Is 'Ginny and Georgia' trying too hard to be the new 'Gilmore Girls'? A comparison of the mother-daughter duos
'Ginny and Georgia' deals with a lot more than mother-daughter drama. From racism to self-harm, the show treads where 'Gilmore Girls' hasn't
Fans of 'Gilmore Girls' have been looking for a similar show that will perhaps fill the void after the show ended. Netflix's new 'Ginny and Georgia' seemed to fit the bill. In fact, 'Gilmore Girls' is even referred to in 'Ginny and Georgia' trailer when Georgia says 'We're like the Gilmore Girls, but with bigger boobs'.
Sarah Lampert, who created 'Ginny and Georgia' talks about the influence 'Gilmore Girls' had on her creative process. She says, "My family is incredibly close. And the women in my life are strong personalities. Growing up, I was attracted to shows with strong female leads, like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Veronica Mars and Gilmore Girls. But I was also attracted to shows that took teens and teen problems seriously, and let them have dark feelings and storylines without turning their feelings into melodrama, like Skins and My So Called Life. But I also watch TV to escape and have fun, so all these things were swirling around in my head with Ginny and Georgia: strong women, fun escapism, and honoring the teenage experience. Those are the key elements that helped me create this show."
Looks like the former show even inspired the initials GG. 'Ginny and Georgia' has a beyond-her-years mature teenager, one glamorous mother who's just 15 years older than her daughter, there are even marathons with junk food and a lot of romance. But that's where the similarities end.
Unlike 'Gilmore Girls', the new show treads into rather a dark territory with Georgia's extremely damaging and chequered past. Georgia spends her life on the run from one place to another — first from her stepfather who abused her throughout her childhood and then from a series of men who she has a rather convenient way of getting rid of. The series begins with Georgia shifting towns once again, and this time, to escape the fallout from the death of her second husband, a yoga tycoon.
As Georgia and her family settle into a new life in the posh town of Wellsbury, more and more of Georgia's secrets come tumbling to the fore. From the abuse, having a family that she hasn't told daughter Ginny about to how her husbands have actually died, all the secrets slowly start to creep in.
While Ginny, at first glance, seems an angsty but otherwise smart and well-read teenager, we later get to see how the instability in her life has affected her. From self-harming to a deep rage at the overt and subtle racism she has faced at different points, young Antonia Gentry, who plays Ginny, tackles these issues with aplomb.
Executive producer Debra J Fisher talks about tackling such sensitive issues, "As far as Ginny’s self-harm storyline, we wanted to show a true, grounded representation of a
15-year-old struggling with mental health and self-harm. Early in the writing process, we worked with psychologist Dr Taji Huang, who specializes in therapy for self-harm behavior. She gave us amazing insight which helped further shape Ginny's arc."
It's not surprising then that Georgia is really nothing like Gilmore Girls' Lorelai. Sure, they are both teen mothers who obsess about their daughters, but Georgia simply can't afford to have the open heart that Lorelai does. Constantly on her guard and unwilling to trust anyone, she's also not particularly trustworthy herself. Georgia has no compulsions about lying or stealing money to keep a roof over her kid's head.
'Ginny and Georgia' isn't just 'Ginny and Georgia'. It's also Ginny, Georgia and Austin, Georgia's nine-year-old son and Ginny's stepbrother. Even nine-year-old Austin's character graph isn't simple. We see an incident where Austin stabs his classmate in the hand with a pencil because he calls his mother trash. Austin also is tired of seeing many men come and go in his mother's life and now wants it to be just the three of them.
The series also shows that even in a town that is overflowing with privilege at a time when every aspect of our lives is on display, teenagers, in particular, are under ridiculous pressure. It includes everything from taping their thighs together to look perfect on social media to looking happy even when they are cringing inside. Lorelai and Rory's lives on 'Gilmore Girls' certainly remind us of a simpler time. We guess that's why retro viewing is so comforting!
Murder, abuse, racism, self-harm — we guess you're now starting to see why 'Ginny and Georgia' isn't quite like the 'Gilmore Girls'. Lorelai's life looks pretty uncomplicated now! That perhaps is the biggest difference between 'Ginny and Georgia'. While in 'Gilmore Girls', the real struggle of bringing up a baby as a baby yourself is glossed over, in 'Ginny and Georgia', we constantly see through flashbacks that raising a child as a teenager may make for great TV but not for great reality. We see Georgia struggling with child care, health care and making ends meet. We also see the hard choices she's forced to make to keep her daughter with her. Whereas in 'Gilmore Girls', it almost seems that Rory just arrived perfectly formed into the world.
'Gilmore Girls' ultimately was largely a light show about a tough topic. However, 'Ginny and Georgia' seems to be taking the hard road and tackling all the hot topics such as race, gun control, sexuality and self-harm. So if you're in the mood for a reality check about motherhood, watch 'Ginny and Georgia'. If you're in the mood for something warm and fuzzy, we recommend 'Gilmore Girls' is the way to go.
And yes, it looks like 'Gilmore Girls' fans may still have to wait for a present-day Lorelai and Rory, if such simple characters still even exist. You can catch 'Ginny and Georgia' on February 24 on Netflix. Check out the trailer below: