Gonna Be Hilarious 5eva: 'Girls5eva' Has Moved to Netflix for Season Three and It's Another Comedic Hit

This Tina Fey-executive produced music-industry sitcom follows a girl group making a comeback after 20 years — and now it's making a comeback itself.
Sarah Ward
Published on March 14, 2024

One of the funniest TV comedies of the 2020s is back with its third season, and as hilarious as ever. So what are you waiting five? If that question doesn't make any sense to you, then you clearly haven't yet experienced the wonder that is Girls5eva. It starts with a numerical pun-heavy earworm of a theme tune that no one should ever skip, then bounces along just as catchily and sidesplittingly in every second afterwards. A move to Netflix for season three — after streaming its first and second seasons via Peacock in the US, Stan in Australia and TVNZ+ in New Zealand — might just see the Tina Fey-executive produced music-industry sitcom switch from being one of the best shows that not enough people are watching to everyone's latest can't-stop-rewatching comedy obsession.

In other words, this a series about a comeback and, thanks to its swap to the biggest player in the streaming game, now it's making a comeback itself. Two years have passed for longterm fans since Girls5eva last checked in with Dawn Solano (Sara Bareilles, Broadway's Waitress), Wickie Roy (Renée Elise Goldsberry, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, and also a Hamilton Tony-winner), Summer Dutkowsky (Busy Philipps, Mean Girls) and Gloria McManus (Paula Pell, Big Mouth), but the gap and the jump to Netflix haven't changed this gem. Consider the change of streamer, which kicks off on Thursday, March 14, in the same way that Dawn and the gang are approaching their leap back into their girl group after two decades: as an all-in, go-hard-or-go-home, whatever-it-takes relaunch.

For new viewers, seasons one and two of Girls5eva are also now available on Netflix — and bingeing through all 22 episodes, with season three providing six of them, is the best way to spend a day, weekend or few evenings right now. With its non-stop jokes that reward multiple viewings because you're likely laughing too hard to catch all of them on the first go-around, deep-cutting pop-culture references, satire that's always both razor-sharp and raucously ridiculous, and supremely stellar cast, the series is a quintessential Fey-produced comedy. If her post-Saturday Night Live efforts were songs, 30 RockUnbreakable Kimmy SchmidtGreat News, Mr Mayor and Girls5eva couldn't make a better record. (Meredith Scardino, who created Girls5eva, is also an Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Mr Mayor alum.)

The riff for Girls5eva: parodying the pop-music realm as the titular group endeavour to stop wondering what might've been after their career fizzled out 20 years earlier, aided by their single 'Famous 5eva' getting thrust back into the spotlight via another artist. The takedown of the entertainment world that was at the heart of 30 Rock hums along here, too, as does calling out the treatment of women, especially by the media, that also fuelled Fey's first sitcom hit alongside Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Great News. Whether via Liz Lemon's dating life and quest to have a family, or in Mr Mayor's experienced deputy played by Holly Hunter (Succession), unpacking how women are perceived the moment they're out of their 20s and beyond has also echoed through the Feyniverse — and Girls5eva croons that tune with force and feeling.

Now firmly back together, the surviving members of Girls5eva — Ashley Gold (Ashley Park, Only Murders in the Building) died in an infinity pool accident — have taken to the road. So far, however, their big Returnity tour has been happy in Fort Worth. In the Texan city, their track 'Tap Into Your Fort Worth' keeps drawing in crowds, even if that's all that concertgoers want to hear. Also, the Marriott Suitelettes for Divorced Dads has become their home away from home, but resident diva Wickie isn't content just playing one place. Always dreaming huge, massive and stratospheric, she sets the band's sights on Radio City Music Hall, booking them in for a gig at a fee of $500,000. Cue a six-month timeline to sell it out — a feat made trickier by the fact that the show is on Thanksgiving — or risk ruin.

When season three commences in Fort Worth, and among weekend-only fathers buying forgotten birthday presents for their kids out of vending machines, the quality of Girls5eva's writing proves as gleaming as ever. Here, the pregnant Dawn can put pancakes from the breakfast buffet in her robe, and also get cosy watching The Crown, which has a storyline about Prince Andrew's stuffed-toy obsession. Gloria is on a mission to hook up with all 178 types of women, complete with a spreadsheet tracking her progress, which is a riotous source of amusement. "Always gonna never stop restarting, never gonna end not un-beginning, don't un-try to un-stop us now" aren't just lyrics for Girls5eva the band and Girls5eva the show, though. So, into the van the group hops, with Percy (John Lutz, 30 Rock) as their tour manager.

Girls5eva's big joke energy doesn't slow down when Wickie and company are drumming up cash at private concerts, battling with a state senator (John Early, The Afterparty) who doubles as a "Fetal Citizen Advocate" or trying to capitalise upon the fame of pop's current megastar (Thomas Doherty, Gossip Girl) — or when the series charts Summer's attempt to work out who she is without her ex-husband Kev (Andrew Rannells, Invincible) through a multi-level marketing scheme for teeth-whitening gummies. As that snapshot of season-three elements makes plain, the show's love of loopiness, hijinks and hysterical bits doesn't fade out, either. Flashbacks to the band's late-90s, early-00s fame continue to deliver gold, too, including Gloria and *NSYNC's Lance Bass trying to make a sex tape. Girls5eva isn't afraid of silliness for the comical sake of it, but it's also as savvy as comedy gets in lampooning the state of the world and fleshing out its characters while sparking never-ending chuckles.

Holding back or taking a beat isn't Girls5eva's style; if it was an album itself, it'd be wall-to-wall singles. (Its tunes, which continue to showcase the musical-comedy prowess of Fey's husband Jeff Richmond after 30 RockUnbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and the like, already make ace records.) Giving anything but 100 percent isn't Bareilles, Goldsberry, Philipps or Pell's style, either — and the series keeps benefiting. Bareilles' ability to ground every type of chaos remains essential but, away from New York and Dawn's family, that's no longer her main remit. Always at home when the show is at its most absurd, Goldsberry, Philipps and Pell have also never been funnier. ("Hi, this is Gloria, from sex!" is one of Pell's all-time great lines.) The only issue with season three: that this stint with Girls5eva's glorious on-screen talents is too short, just like forever versus 5eva. If it becomes a Netflix smash, here's hoping that it'll be famous at least one more time.

Check out the trailer for Girls5eva season three below:

Girls5eva season three streams via Netflix from Thursday, March 14. Read our reviews of season one and season two.

Images: Netflix.

Published on March 14, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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