TV Review: Netflix’s Girlboss sees a caustic hustler-turned-throwaway-fashion success story

Girlboss is a series that may leave viewers feeling conflicted. While it’s great to see an underdog making good and pursuing her passion it’s also hard to root for a lead character who is so inherently unlikeable. This Netflix series is ultimately like a fun ball of fairy floss, it’s pleasant enough at first bite; but it’s also a little bit throwaway and lightweight.

The program is written and directed by Kay Cannon (30 Rock) and produced by Charlize Theron. The story itself is – by its own admission – a real loose retelling of true events. This program is essentially a biopic that tells the story of Nasty Gal founder, Sophia Amoruso and is based on Amoruso’s best-selling book of the same name.

Britt Robertson (Tomorrowland) stars as Sophia, a girl who turns up late to her job and spends the entire day stealing lunches, surfing the net and making personal calls. Sounds charming. It is only natural that she gets fired. While unemployed, she hits upon the idea of “flipping” clothes just as some people do with property i.e. to buy discounted stock and then sell it on for profit.

It is commendable to see a series starring and telling the story of a woman but it’s also hard to instantly fall in love with the idea because Sophia’s character can be quite repugnant and cartoonish. At best, Sophia’s character will appeal to our naughtier sides because who wouldn’t want to do what they love for a living and at the same time stick it to the metaphorical “Man?” It sure looks like fun but Sophia is certainly not someone you would want to hang around with.

In real life, Amoruso would rise up and become the CEO of this self-made empire but the dream didn’t last long because the company eventually went into receivership. There were also reports of some alleged incidents that are morally questionable like stolen designs and the firings of some pregnant women. It is unclear from these first few episodes whether these elements will be depicted in this show or whether the series will be pure hagiography.

At its most basic level Girlboss includes some great pieces of retro fashion making it one for fans of Sex & The City and Girls. It also boasts a soundtrack that’s great and is reminiscent of virtually any MTV program. There are also some good performances from Ellie Reed (2 Broke Girls) and Johnny Simmons. But the show makes the whole enterprise look so easy and Amoruso is so lucky that it virtually glamorises her success and foray into the fashion world and this may not necessarily be true.

Girlboss is an unapologetic series about a strong young woman that contains some funny and bitchin’ one-liners. The result is something that seems pleasant and kooky enough but it’s also lacking in emotional punch and drama. Girlboss is a series with some great potential but the first three episodes have some room for improvement because if there is little change then this light comedy series could fall prey to being a victim of the very fashion world it inhibits.

Review Score: THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Girlboss will premiere on Friday, April 21st exclusively in all Netflix territories.