'Ginny & Georgia': Why Every 'Gilmore Girls' Fan Should Give This Wildly Addictive Netflix Series a Chance
By Paige Gawley
COURTESY OF NETFLIX / Mitchell Haddad/CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images
Ginny & Georgiais not quite this generation's Gilmore Girls, but fans of the latter will be hooked regardless. Netflix's next YA series has been compared to the beloved show since it was announced, but the likeness between the two begins and ends with their central characters -- a young mother and her teenage daughter.
"There's a reason that Georgia in the pilot episode says, 'We're like the Gilmore girls but with bigger boobs.' They're so iconic," creator and executive producer Sarah Lampert told ET. "... I think that when you have any 30-year-old mom and 15-year-old daughter, of course the first reference that you're going to get is Gilmore Girls because that was the seminal example of that and such a beloved show."
Mom Georgia (Brianne Howey) and daughter Ginny (Antonia Gentry) are no Lorelai and Rory, though. While surface similarities certainly exist -- Georgia's less-than-stellar history with men and her complicated relationship with her daughter's motorcycle-riding father, to name two -- they're enveloped within a world that's most certainly not Stars Hollow.
"I would say that anyone who watches the show halfway into the first episode will say, 'Oh, this is its own thing,'" showrunner and executive producer Debra J. Fisher told ET.
While Gilmore Girls' beloved town is known for its quirk, Ginny & Georgia's small New England setting is all about the scandal -- and we're not talking stealing cornstarch after a first kiss. The teenage lives on Ginny & Georgia have more in common with those on Euphoria than at Chilton. The mother-daughter relationship holds more secrets than similarities. And the overall vibe of the show is much more Pretty Little Liars than Hart of Dixie.
"There are some similarities, but more so Ginny & Georgia is a much different beast. You notice that as soon as the show starts," Gentry, who binged the first three seasons of Gilmore Girls with her mom after landing the role, told ET. "It's completely different. It's very, very fun, and dark, and gritty, and I think that's what makes it fresh."
Howey, who grew up watching Gilmore Girls and found the comparisons "flattering," agreed with her onscreen daughter.
"I think pretty quickly when audiences are watching they're gonna notice that Ginny & Georgia is a little bit edgier and there's a little bit of a different message," Howey teased to ET. "Tonally it mixes it up."
Meanwhile, Sara Waisglass, who plays Ginny's best friend, Maxine -- a character that has little in common with Rory's BFF, Lane -- thinks the "only real similarity is that it's a young mother and a young daughter."
"I think Ginny & Georgia's its own thing. We deal with a lot more very dark things, and things that are happening now," she said. "Gilmore Girls fans can probably watch and they'll know right off the bat that this is not another Gilmore Girls, this is Ginny & Georgia. This is a new ballgame."
In addition to the tonal and plot differences between Gilmore Girls and Ginny & Georgia, the latter show makes a real effort to show diversity, something that the former series is often criticized for its lack of.
"We wanted all of our actors to be able to bring out their own unique lived experience," Lampert said, noting that Ginny, like Gentry who plays her, is biracial.
"[Lampert] asked me about my own personal experiences growing up as a young biracial girl. There are real stories, real scenes, in the show that have happened to me in real life... It's surreal to feel you have a voice that is actually being heard and is on a Netflix show," Gentry said. "... If I had a show like this when I was that age, I definitely would've had an easier time, so that's why I think it's super, super important right now."
On top of being racially diverse, Ginny & Georgia also features a deaf character and includes scenes with ASL. Waisglass, who's onscreen dad is deaf in real life like the character he plays on the show, celebrated the show's commitment to diversity.
"The inclusion of ASL was like a magical experience just on a personal note... We literally got to learn a new language for this role," she said. "It's absolutely unbelievable and it is inclusive. I just love that aspect of the show. I thought that was such a great thing."
While Gilmore Girls largely maintained its family-friendly nature by sticking to bad-boy crushes and college acceptance fears for its drama, Ginny & Georgia isn't afraid to explore sex, drinking and more.
"Some of these subjects are heavier and maybe taboo, but it's so, so important to destigmatize them," Howey said. "Especially with the young adult audience, they're our future. If Ginny & Georgia can be a part of that conversation, it's a privilege."
"I think the thing I love the most about the show is it's extremely honest about what's happening right now, and what this generation is like," Waisglass agreed. "It's complicated. It's tricky... I think that the way that they handle all of this stuff and the actions that everyone takes, I think it's so, so relatable and so refreshing, because that's literally what's happening right now."
Even with all the differences between the two shows, Lampert and Fisher, who both consider themselves fans of Gilmore Girls, were aware of the "potential ire from Gilmore Girls fans."
"I think what was really important for us was for the show to really stand on its own and to be its own thing, mostly because nothing can ever be Gilmore Girls," Lampert said. "That wasn't ever something that we even wanted to attempt to try."
Instead, the pair wanted to show a realistic mother-daughter relationship, a goal Lampert hopes Ginny & Georgia will inspire others to take up as well.
"I love the comparison," Lampert said. "I think it's fun, but I also hope that this opens the door for 18 more shows about mother-daughter relationships because I will watch them all."