I’m not entirely sure what time warp I’ve managed to binge-watch my way into, but after five episodes of Netflix series Girlboss, I’m utterly confused and I can’t put my finger on why.
I’m also ready to throw the remote across the room – but I know the reason for that… I’ve completely wasted an entire evening waiting for this series to become something it’s not.
Chronicling Sophia Amoruso’s real-life rags-to-riches story (she went from eBay seller to CEO of clothing company Nasty Gal), this Netflix Original series had the potential to create an inspirational must-see show for women.
Instead, we’ve been left with a lead character who shoplifts and lies her way through each episode to get what she wants. The act is cute for about two seconds. And even then it’s just a bit too much.
But back to my confusion. The more I watch, the clearer it gets. While Girlboss is set in 2006, the lingo and dialogue used throughout the series is dripping with the clichés and internet language of now.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear I was listening to the girls of Broad City. This combination of old-school settings with new-school language isn’t just confusing, it’s frustrating and makes the series feel inauthentic and like it’s trying too hard.
Sophia never stops being unlikeable. She’s rude, shallow and brash. She shows no regard for her co-workers, friends or family, and doesn’t recognise or experience consequence. And that’s not real life. Sophia is an aggressive character. Negative, snarly, caustic. If anyone actually treated people this way in real life, they’d be left with nothing.
Yet Sophia has friends, a boyfriend, and a father desperate to see and help her succeed. It’s only when Sophia needs inspiration that she’s nice to her boyfriend. It’s only when she needs money that she shows her dad affection. Of course, Sophia interprets his offer of support as a measure of control and rebels against it. But I’m sure if Sophia could steal from him too – she would.
Not even the show’s supporting cast (including the one and only Ru Paul) can save Girlboss.
And this is coming from a gal who’s watched every season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race with more enthusiasm than a cheerleader on game night.
Netflix Originals has consistently created engaging shows with fantastic writing. But not this time. It hurts to say this, because Girlboss was written and produced by women, and stars a mostly all-female cast. I wanted it to be great.
I wanted it to be empowering, but Sophia spends most of her time arguing with her best friend, firing her only female co-worker, and battling a female cohort of online clothing sellers who are also plotting to take her down.
What I didn’t want to see was something that suggested even for a second that women can’t be strong, powerful, forceful or successful without being seemingly misunderstood or entirely brattish and calculated.
Sophia isn’t a character you love to hate – you just hate her, and Girlboss isn’t representative of millennials now, or in 2006. Sorry gang, like an eBay purchase from back in the day, this is one item I wish I could return.