Audiences recently bid farewell to HBO's Girls after six seasons, leaving a gaping hole in the hearts of Lena Dunham fans everywhere. Despite having its fair share of criticisms, #Girls charted some very new territory. It was confronting, honest and consistently funny, and explored the dilemmas of the modern millennial in a way that had never been done before.
But just as Girls wrapped for good, a new girl-centric series entered: Girlboss. Loosely based on the autobiography of self-made fashion magnate Sophia Amoruso, the new Netflix show tells the story of a fashion-savvy young woman living in San Francisco who discovers her knack for selling vintage clothing online.
While #Girlboss' Sophia is decidedly different to Girls' "voice of a generation" writer Hannah, the two shows actually share a number of similarities— and that's not exactly a good thing. In fact, it's these very similarities that may just be Girlboss' downfall. Let's take a look.
1. The Over-Exaggerated Struggle Of Being An Adult
The very first episode of Girls certainly set the tone for both the future of the show and its protagonist. Hannah Horvath sat down to dinner with her parents, imploring them to continue to financially support her while at the same time declaring herself to be an undiscovered talent just waiting to achieve great things.
It almost seems like the first episode of Girlboss took direct inspiration from Girls. While Sophia's conversation with the old lady on the park bench isn't a grand speech about her hopes and dreams of success, it still reeks of the same entitlement. Both Hannah and Sophia come off as lazy brats with little perspective of their own so-called problems. And while Girlboss is set over a decade ago, Sophia's plight still reeks of the same sad "millennial problems" cliché.
2. An Insufferable Protagonist
Seeing a character dig themselves even deeper into a bad situation with their own terrible decisions can be comedic gold if done right — just look at Curb Your Enthusiasm's Larry David. Unfortunately, both Girls and Girlboss are proof that it's not a guaranteed recipe for success.
As Sophia continues to make her own bad situations even worse, it becomes harder to sympathize with her. Much like Hannah, she seems driven only by her selfish impulses, either oblivious to those around her or simply unwilling to think of anyone other than herself.
As Girls drew to a close, viewers found themselves frequently asking the same question: "why should I care about this character?" What's worse is that this same question comes to mind during Girlboss' very first season. That's not a great sign.
3. The Portrayal Of Mental Health
Both Sophia and Hannah may be pretty damn unlikeable, but there's a very valid reason behind some of their more problematic behavior: their mental health issues. While it isn't an excuse for terrible behavior, it explains why the two characters struggle so much with gaining control over their minds and their lives.
This is where Girlboss really missed the mark. The real-life Sophia Amoruso candidly mentions her ADD multiple times in her book. It's something that not only caused issues for her in her younger years, but also helped to really drive her as she began to establish her fashion empire. And yet Girlboss completely omits this detail, opting not to mention it at all.
Nevertheless, it's clear that Sophia's plight is further exacerbated by her unaddressed mental health issues, even if the show doesn't explicitly mention it; a sad contribution to the myth that people with mental illnesses are nothing short of absolute nightmares.
4. Those Awkward Sex Scenes
If Girls's sex scenes were too extreme for more sensitive viewers, then Sophia's romps in Girlboss are exactly the opposite. While it's refreshing to see a scene that depicts a girl going home with a guy, deciding she doesn't want to sleep with him and then — shockingly — having her right to consent actually respected, the chemistry between her and on-screen flame Shane is tough to swallow.
Yes, she has a hernia that often complicates the usual maneuvers; no, the show's rating might not allow for as much gratuitous nudity as Girls; but seeing Britt Robertson eagerly roll away from her lover whilst still half-clothed is just as bizarre as Hannah's love of airing her lady-bits at any possible opportunity.
5. The (Un)Importance Of Friendship
As selfish as Girlboss' protagonist Sophia may be, the show really tries its hardest to demonstrate the importance of her friendship with BFF Annie. Their relationship is far from perfect, and Sophia struggles to keep things peachy between the pair as she find herself swept up in eBay success.
This is perhaps where Girlboss is most similar to Girls. Both shows attempt to push the importance of friendship through adversity; however, this proves to be a mere facade for the deeper and far more depressing meaning underneath it all: that people kind of suck. Girls wrapped with Hannah losing all but one of her friends. Even Marnie, the last remaining member of her social circle willing to put up with her, is shown to be desperate to escape Hannah's cloying presence in the show's final episode.
At its core, Girlboss is yet another example of that one person in the friendship group whose shit inevitably becomes too much for anyone to handle. Sophia and Annie's relationship isn't sacred or unconditional. It's a ticking time bomb waiting to go off, and sooner or later poor Sophia is going to be left wondering how the hell she ended up in such a lonely place.
What were your thoughts on Girlboss?