Predictable and painfully unfunny. The premise alone is unforgivable in this YA comedy, but the production quality is also surprisingly weak. Avoid at all costs.
This review of the Netflix series Boo, Bitch season 1 does not contain any major spoilers.
Lana Condor broke onto the scene back in 2018 with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, stealing our hearts and to be fair, the entire franchise, with her relatable, likeable charm. Netflix looks set to capitalize on this once again, returning the much loved actress to the teen genre that made her, with Boo, Bitch. This eight part miniseries places Condor in the starring role as Erika Vu, a shy and reserved teenager, who finally decides to let loose and party during the last few months of her senior year, but unfortunately disaster strikes and she dies the night of her rebellion. Erika must now find redemption and complete her unfinished business as a ghost, so that she can ascend to the afterlife and avoid spending eternity as a ghoul.
She has BFF Gia on hand to help her out of this haunting predicament and a gang of misfit goths to provide all the paranormal knowhow a ghostly girl could ever ask for. Whilst adjusting to this supernatural conundrum, Erika finds herself locking horns with the school bully (Riley) and falling for the high school hunk (Jake C). This series may have a fantasy twist going for it, but Boo, Bitch still plays hopelessly into the standard teen conventions. Mostly ripping off Mean Girls in shameless fashion and following a by-the-numbers narrative structure.
It may sound like a deliciously entertaining or trashy premise, depending on your taste, but the writers manage to squander both these opportunities with some gaping plot holes and paper-thin, generic characters. To make matters worse, the production value for this Netflix original series is surprisingly weak. The show has the look and feel of a low budget B-movie, with a messy, eclectic wardrobe and dimly lit scenes. There’s also some questionable CGI in there and garish, jarring aesthetics, which make you wonder if they’re aiming for cult status or just working within their means. The quality is unusually amateurish for a teen comedy of this caliber and it really distracts.
Yet it is the writing that is the show’s greatest weakness. An Achilles heel of monumental proportions. This comedy is extremely unfunny and the show-runners seem happy to try any and every conceivable method of conjuring humor it can, whether it be detrimental to the plot or not. These major swings and embarrassing misses all aim at creating laughs, but fail drastically, meaning its teen cast do and say unforgivable things, act out of character (sometimes transforming into entirely new, off brand versions of themselves) and play into these clichéd roles hard. Their motives are unrealistic and at times, unbelievable. All the while the students talk in abbreviations and stilted slang, in a poor attempt to imitate teenage dialogue.
This desperate search for comedy ruins the character’s authenticity, but it is the overarching premise that is most offensive. The writers appear unable to consistently follow their own rules, carelessly making it up as they go along. The concept itself defies logic and makes a mockery of its audience (I’ll be discussing these gaping plot holes in more detail in a separate spoiler article). What you are left with is a predictable and lazy script that just doesn’t work on any level.
The odd moment lands and Zoe Colletti is an absolute delight as the kooky, sweet best friend Gia (I mean she is entirely wasted in this), but this show is a real oddity overall. A teen comedy that is painfully unfunny and quite condescending towards its target audience, with its flawed depiction of teenagers.
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