“Girlfriends” — Season 1

By Jae-Ha Kim
Amazon.com
February 27, 2007

Like Sex & the City, Living Single, and Friends, Girlfriends focuses on a group of best pals whose lives are forever intertwined, for better or for worse.

On the first season of Girlfriends–which aired during 2000-2001–we are introduced to a comely group of women. There’s Joan (Tracee Ellis Ross, daughter of Diana Ross), a sensible attorney who’s unlucky in love; her sassy assistant Maya (Golden Brooks); Joan’s happy-go-lucky roommate Lynn (Persia White); and their man-eating friend Toni (Jill Marie Jones).

That the women are African American is incidental, because their stories are universal. The adore each other, but each is seeking love and validation, not that the two necessarily go hand in hand. While their escapades lead to many laughs, the writers include enough poignant moments that prove the show has some heart.

Even when Toni goes on a date with Joan’s ex–a major violation amongst any group of girlfriends–the women manage to work their issues out in a way that is realistic enough to be recognizable, but comedic enough that we laugh at their antics.

The four-disc set includes all 22 episodes from its debut season, including “Never a Bridesmaid,” in which Joan and Maya collaborate to coordinate a wedding together.

Executive produced by Kelsey Grammer (Frasier, Cheers), the sitcom is smart and well cast. There is genuine chemistry between the four leads, and Reggie Hayes has wonderful comic timing as their much-put upon best male friend William.

Ross, who shares her mother’s fine-boned beauty, proves to be deceptively good with physical comedy. That she is gorgeous is lost on Joan, who in real life would be working her looks to her utmost advantage.

More than just girlfriends, Joan, Maya, Lynn, and Toni are great friends.

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