Girlboss is not the fun, optimistic, girly show that its title insinuates. Girlboss is witty, sad, hilarious, edgy, quirky, and ultimately empowering.
The Netflix original series, which was released on April 21, 2017, is a story loosely based on the life of Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso, and draws from her 2014 book #GIRLBOSS. Amoruso, now 33, founded the online women’s retail giant in 2008 after building a following selling repurposed vintage clothing on eBay. The series (which has 13 episodes) chronicles Amoruso’s life in her early twenties leading up to the time she launched the site.
Britt Robertson (Under the Dome, A Dog’s Purpose) plays Sophia, a feisty young woman trying to navigate life in San Francisco in the early 2000’s. Everything is against her—she’s on the verge of getting evicted, she can’t hold down a job, and she has seemingly lost her way in life.
Challenges aside, there is something different about Sophia that separates her from other female leads: she’s unlikeable. Even though her circumstances make the viewer feel for her, her out-there behaviour and egotistical attitude easily turn you away. Oddly enough, it’s what makes the show so refreshing.
Likeable female leads are in abundance when it comes to TV dramas and comedies, so having one who is rough around the edges makes Girlboss stand out. Sophia is crude, uninhibited, and flawed—qualities that aren’t often featured on the small screen, especially when it comes to young women.
Watching her trials in love, business, and family as the series moves along makes this a show worth investing in. It’s a glimpse into a real life—a very unique one—but one nonetheless real. Sophia is imperfect, and the show doesn’t try to hide the fact that she makes mistakes. One minute you despise her character, and the next you empathize with her.
The supporting cast are equally as intriguing; Drag icon RuPaul Charles plays Sophia’s offbeat neighbour Lionel, who appears at just the right moments to offer up humour and nuggets of insightful wisdom. Dean Norris (of Breaking Bad fame) plays Sophia’s father, a thoughtful man who she tends to push away when he tries to reach out to her.
Comedy legend Norm Macdonald (Saturday Night Live) is one of the quirkiest, best additions to this series. He plays Rick, Sophia’s boss at her receptionist gig at an art school. His presence in the series is warm and inviting, and his character brings out a different side of Sophia that isn’t offered up in other scenes. He pulls an emotion from her that is unlike her usual demeanour.
Sophia’s best friend Annie (played by Ellie Reed) is a firecracker, and the perfect counter to Sophia’s sassy persona. They compliment one another, yet clash at times, making for a never dull friendship dynamic. Seeing their relationship take a toll during the course of the show is an honest, raw reminder of what real life friendships are like amongst young women, something that is rarely portrayed so accurately in TV and movies.
Johnny Simmons, who plays Shane, Sophia’s love interest, gives one of the most genuine and convincing performances of the whole cast. Their on-screen chemistry is undeniable, and makes it that much more tense to watch scenes of their rocky relationship unfold.
Every person Sophia meets along the way brings out a different side of her personality, leading the viewer to discover and unravel this unique character as the series progresses. Whether they are bringing out the best in Sophia, or the worst, Girlboss is full of randomly wonderful characters that bring this young woman’s story to life in a hilariously unfiltered way.
The show takes the viewer on an emotional journey as Sophia makes her way to finding her true calling in life. The end of the first season (which, without spoiling, is slightly obvious) leaves the viewer wanting a bit more of her story to unfold. A second season has not yet been confirmed, however the first is well rounded enough to stand on its own if it is left as a standalone season. The story plays out just enough to know where Sophia gets with all of her hard work, but doesn’t show the rest of her interesting climb to the top of the online retailing world.
The show, while quirky and in your face, is a welcome change for a program aimed at young adults. It gives hope to those who may need some inspiration, and adds in punches of humour and genuine scenes of emotion to tie it all together into a weirdly wonderful mishmash that leaves you wanting more.
The first season of Girlboss is currently streaming on Netflix.
(Featured Image: Girlboss, Netflix)