The first season of Girls5eva carried on the comedic legacy of the Tina Fey/Robert Carlock productions 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and the second season further cements the show as a successor to those earlier sitcoms. Produced by Fey and Carlock and created by their frequent collaborator Meredith Scardino, Girls5eva delivers another witty and absurd comedy paying homage to the weirdness of New York City and satirizing the absurd world of showbiz. It’s also full of funny and likable characters who have deepened over the two seasons without sacrificing any of their inherent ridiculousness.
Girls5evaThe first season of introduced the former members of a 1990s girl group, who find themselves in the spotlight when a rapper samples their only hit song. Dawn (Sara Bareilles), Summer (Busy Philipps), Gloria (Paula Pell) and Wickie (Renée Elise Goldsberry) decide to capitalize on the momentum by bringing the group together, while resolving their past conflicts and strengthening their bonds as friends and collaborators. With this inner restlessness away, Girls5evaThe eight-episode second season presents the four main characters as a more united front, and the stars continue to have wonderful comedic chemistry in all of their setups.
The four members of Girls5eva are still struggling to reconcile their daily life before with a return to the world of music, but there is no longer any doubt about the sustainability of the group. After a triumphant performance at the festival at the end of the first season, Girls5eva landed a deal with Property Records, a label owned, of course, by the Property Brothers. They only have six weeks to write and record their comeback album, which puts particular pressure on Dawn, the band’s most down-to-earth member, who has taken on the role of lead songwriter.
The album process doesn’t provide as many extreme ups and downs as the initial meeting of the first season, but there are still plenty of wacky setbacks related to writing, recording, and promotion. This season, the focus is more on the personal relationships of the characters, both within the group and with their various loved ones. Andrew Rannells returns as Summer’s ex-husband Kev, who gets several hilarious musical numbers and clashes with Summer over their impending divorce. Gloria struggles to reunite with her ex-wife, while Wickie becomes a little less self-centered and Dawn balances her mundane family life with the renewed demands of being a pop star.
As with the first season, Scardino and composer Jeff Richmond create impeccable pop music parodies in a variety of modes, including very specific subgenres like the CD-era filler track. The first season largely established Girls5eva’s ’90s work, so there are fewer new songs that evoke that period. However, Scardino and Richmond are finding just as much success crafting songs for Girls5eva’s comeback album, which perfectly captures the sound of former teenage pop stars trying to make “mature” music.
The songs are smart and fun while still being believable, and it’s not hard to imagine Girls5eva singles like “Momentum” and “Bend Not Break” ending up rotating on adult contemporary stations alongside efforts. recent acts from artists like the Backstreet Boys and Christina. Aguilera. When the characters write a song in tribute to Ashley (Ashley Park), the fifth member of the group who died in an infinity pool accident in 2004, it’s really moving but still full of humor.
These emotional moments are satisfying, but they don’t turn Girls5eva in a dramatic comedy. It remains a consistently brilliant joke-focused show in an era when far too many streaming “comedies” barely attempt to make audiences laugh. Like previous Fey/Carlock shows, Girls5eva is fantastic for creating jokes from extremely accurate references, from Nicole Kidman’s coats to The defeat to the Criterion Channel movie streaming service. The spectacle world is heightened and silly, but it’s also thoroughly immersive and compelling.
While Goldsberry, best known for her work in theater and on stage, was the star of the first season, Philipps gets the best spotlight this season as the often infantilized Summer slowly learns to assert her independence. Amy Sedaris and Neil Flynn guest-star as Summer’s traveling preacher parents, and Girls5eva is particularly incisive in parodying the hypocritical intersection of Christianity and celebrity. Amber Ruffin, Heidi Gardner and 30 Rockby John Lutz are among other guest stars as Girls5eva builds its stable of quirky recurring characters.
Pell is somewhat underserved as Gloria, with a somewhat truncated romantic arc and a rushed subplot about getting a knee replacement after injuring herself onstage. Bareilles is too often stuck playing grounding to her bandmates, like Fey did as Liz Lemon on 30 Rock, and Goldsberry sometimes bulldozes her, similar to how Wickie does Dawn. However, the four stars get their moments of glory and Girls5eva works best when they’re together, harmonizing perfectly both musically and comically.
The first three episodes of Girls5eva’s second season premiere Thursday, May 5 on Peacock, with subsequent episodes debuting each Thursday.
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