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Girlfriends: The Complete Series DVD Review

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“Girlfriends” is more complex than the standard sitcom.

Created by Mara Brock Alil, “Girlfriends” was an 8 season UPN/CW series about the tight-knit friendship between 4 L.A. African-American women (an attorney named Joan, Joan’s assistant (initially) Maya (who is also a mother and wife), the student/artist Lynn and real estate agent Toni) and their male friend (William). Among the plots viewers can expect to see throughout the series are: Joan and Toni’s friendship fallout, career advancements and changes, romantic interests, friendship feuds and drama, bad dates, holidays, Maya and Darnell’s rocky marriage, Maya and Darnell’s son, William’s romantic troubles, Toni’s marriage, characters’ families, Toni’s departure from the show, Lynn’s work struggles and music career, Maya’s book, pregnancies, feelings between William and Joan, and ex-lovers (who come back frequently). As tends to be the case with comedy shows, expect to see a host of guest appearances by Idris Elba, Common, Kelsey Grammer, Isaac Hayes, Mo’Nique, Omarosa, and a whole lot more.

Going into this “Girlfriends” DVD set (which I had never seen before), I was expecting a typical laugh track comedy with cheap jokes and plots we have seen time hundreds of times before, but that wasn’t the case at all. This was not a throwaway comedy series. It’s actually a rather down to earth character centric comedy and, more importantly, it’s about something (namely friendships, family, romance, lives moving in different directions, and sex). In fact, I’d wager this show was ahead of its time in certain ways as it was telling stories and approaching topics like friendship drama. In a normal serious, differences would be resolved after 1 episode, but in this series, problems linger on for a significant amount of time.

The cast is equally on point here. Tracee Ellis Ross (now starring on “Black-ish”) is a strong lead as Joan, Golden Brooks is fantastic as Maya (you can’t picture anyone else in this role), and Jill Marie Jones is almost the heart of the show as Toni. However, it’s Reggie Hayes (who plays the dorky friend William) and Persia White (as the quirky musician Lynn with the most interesting arc) who steal the show and provide the show’s most memorable moments.

As enjoyable as the show is, it’s not without issues. While not a fault of the series, it is a bummer there isn’t a proper conclusion. The show merely ends on just another episode. Also, as good as the writing is at times, concepts and stories are recycled quite a bit here. There’s so much on and off again relationships here that it can get tiring (especially after eight seasons).

Video/Audio:

Presentation: First 2 seasons are in 4:3 while seasons 3 through 8 are in 16:9. How do they look? Obviously, the last season looks the best here as TV technology and quality improves yearly. With that said, the quality of all the seasons is solid here.

Audio Tracks: First three seasons have a Dolby Stereo track while seasons four through eight have a 5.1 Dolby Digital track. How do they sound? The 5.1 tracks are of superior quality but the Stereo tracks are perfectly adequate too.

Extras: CBS trailers, season 2 episode guide, an episode of the spin-off series “The Game” called “Away Game,” featurettes on the episodes “Trick or Truth,” “The Wedding,” a featurette on the series titled “Creating The Show,” an extra about casting titled “Getting The Girls Together,” a wardrobe centric piece titled “It’s What You Wear That Counts,” and comments on “I Want My Baby Back,” “Hot For Preacher,” “Time To Man up,” and “Willie Or Won’t He 3” and “What Happened Was” by Mara Brock Akil.

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February 9, 2018 - Posted by | DVD review | , , ,

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