What Do I Need to Do to Get You Monsters to Watch ‘Girls5eva’?

Listen up fives — and by that I mean fours. “Girls5eva” is now streaming on Netflix and you’ve run out of excuses. This heightened, hilarious series from “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” writer Meredith Scardino is exactly the kind of bingeable romp that Netflix users allegedly crave, so why aren’t you watching, rewatching, and recommending?

The title “Girls5eva” refers to a fictitious girl group from the late-90s and early-aughts, as well as their breakout song (cause 4eva‘s too short!): Dawn (Sara Bareilles), Summer (Busy Phillips), Gloria (Paula Pell), and Wickie (Renée Elise Goldsberry). The group disbanded after fifth member Ashley (Ashley Park) drowned in an infinity pool, but 20 years later they’re making a comeback.

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There was a time when “Girls5eva” would have been a surefire hit. It’s executive produced by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, the team behind “30 Rock” and “Kimmy Schmidt,” the latter of which surpassed super hit “House of Cards” in its first weeks of release, got its theme song stuck in everyone’s heads, and eventually did four seasons and a movie. Like both shows, “Girls5eva” is filled with riotous guest stars, irresistible songs, and cheeky social commentary. And if you’ve soured on either title because of how they portrayed racial minorities — there’s none of that in “Girls5eva!” The series allows its writers and performers to reflect on the misogynistic culture of America’s pop group heyday while learning and vowing to do better. The show is full of ridiculous catchphrases and easily meme-able, an area where few shows even come close to “30 Rock.” It’s also certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with critic scores in the high-90s for the first two seasons and 100% for Season 3.

Let’s just talk about those original songs quickly. Apart from the unskippable “Girls5eva” theme, there’s “B.P.E.” (big pussy energy), “Bend Not Break” (about changing friendships, but also aging knees), “At the Beep” (for loved ones you miss) — and that’s not including the non-Girls5eva tracks, from their beloved contemporary boy bands, Wickie’s solo career, and flights of fancy like Gloria’s inner sex monologue and “New York Lonely Boy.” Bareilles and Goldsberry get to be silly outside of their pop music and Broadway roots, showing a natural aptitude for making fun of themselves with expert timing while still belting out the high notes.

Interior shot of a minivan with a man driving nervously and four adult women as passengers; still from 'Girls5eva'
‘Girls5eva’Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

Times have changed, sure — “Kimmy Schmidt” was one of less than 15 total Netflix originals when it aired, and “Girls5eva” entered a saturated streaming market. The series originally aired on Peacock, where it was canceled before finding its new home. Representatives for Peacock told IndieWire in 2022 that the show underperformed (Wickie Roy never underperforms — overperforms, maybe!) in terms of viewership, and IndieWire’s Tony Maglio pointed out that Netflix distribution proved positive for “Manifest,” a show that was canceled for the same reasons on ABC. “Girls5eva” deserves “Manifest” treatment!

I understand that it’s intimidating to start a new show that has three seasons, but I also believe in you. You started “Succession” from the beginning because it was so buzzy. You text your “TV friend” (me) about specific subplots in “The Leftovers,” which you were too scared to start in 2015. If you love “Hacks” and “The Other Two,” “Girls5eva” hits a lot of the same notes when it comes to showbiz self awareness and deprecation. The episodes are all under 30 minutes, with only six to eight per season. You can literally watch them all in a day, with bathroom breaks, and probably still make other plans.

“Girls5eva” is ultimately about second chances, and this is a criminally entertaining show getting another shot at appealing to the masses. There’s no better time than the present, so “seize the tonight” and queue it up before it’s too late. Forever’s too short anyway.

“Girls5eva” is now streaming on Netflix. That’s the whole point of this piece!

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