‘Girls5Eva’ review: Don’t call it a comeback (it’s a comeback) but this girl-group comedy is an absolute banger
Who knew that all someone needed to have the best new comedy of 2021 was a Grammy winner, a Tony winner, an Emmy winner, a comedy icon, and a New York Times best-selling author? Now that the accolades of this cast have been listed, perhaps everyone. Girls5Eva is a hysterical look at the dynamics of pop groups from the late 90’s framed in this tale of an all-girl group who was a one-hit-wonder. Sara Bareilles, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Paula Pell and Busy Phillips are a perfect comedy ensemble and a huge reason why this story of a failed girl group attempting to recapture their fame will resonate.
Dawn (Grammy winner Sara Bareilles) is a 40 something suburban housewife who works at her brother’s restaurant, Wickie (Grammy and Tony winner Renée Elise Goldsberry) is living a lie as an Instagram influencer when in reality, she shoots geese at the Van Nuys airport to pay her bills, Gloria (Emmy winner Paula Pell) is a dentist who is recently divorced from her wife, and Summer (Busy Philipps) stays at home with her daughter Stevia. In contrast, Kev (Andrew Rannells) works as an entertainment reporter in Tampa, Florida. While on the surface, each character seems to have found their way post music career, they long for the excitement that came from appearances on TRL, performing, and for some … hooking up with Derek Jeter.
While on the surface, the premise seems silly as hell Girls5Eva, and at times it is, but the show is much more than seeing if Paula Pell can gyrate. The show is about never giving up on dreams, no matter how ridiculous they might be. Do not let anything stand in the way. Even though each group member has found their path after fame, they all feel this group gives them an identity. No matter how many years have passed, the desire to perform has never left them.
Show creator Meredith Scardino, executive producer Robert Carlock, and Tina Fey have crafted a show with the perfect blend of heart and hilarity. It has the same sharp wit that 30 Rock did. If the Peacock network is looking for a show to build its brand around, they’ve found it. This isn’t a show NBC could have aired due to some of its dialogue, but Girls5Eva isn’t so over the top that it would turn people off.
Paula Pell is terrific in the series as Gloria. The storyline of how she’s longing to reconnect with her ex-wife is one of the best of season 1, and of course, Pell’s over-the-top antics make it even funnier. Busy Phillips does wonderful work as Summer too. I loved the storyline of how she met Kev (Rannells). Every teen magazine in the ’90s talked about how members of boy bands were dating members of girl groups. Phillips and Rannells on screen together are comedy gold. However, Bareilles and Goldsberry steal the show in the first season of Girls5Eva.
Bareilles’s and Goldsberry’s characters are the perfect foil for one another. Dawn is grounded and at times too realistic, while Wickie thinks that her life should be full of luxury and catering to her. Each is so incredibly over the top in their respective roles that it leads to the biggest laughs during season one. Hearing Dawn try to explain how a situation is so messed up using a perfect example from Thomas the Train and Wickie staging fake Instagram posts had me in stitches. Saying these two were impressive would be an understatement.
There is no point where the first season begins to lag. All eight episodes are tightly constructed, and each packs a massive comedic punch. There is a reason why Peacock waited till now to unveil the show. They knew how good this was and wanted to make sure it had the potential to create the maximum amount of buzz. Mission accomplished!
Girls5Eva premieres on Peacock May 6.
Photo: Heidi Gutman/Peacock