I signed up for Peacock when it first came out, because it advertised as a free streaming service. I haven’t watched a single thing on the service, because the advertising lied. You can watch like, three Parks and Recs without paying. On the surface, this seems like a genius marketing plan. Give the people a little something for free to hook them into paying for more. It’s how Homescapes used to talk me into paying $1.99 to finally beat a level labeled “Super Hard”.
The difference between Homescapes and Peacock is…well, it’s that Homescapes got me back when I had money, and now I have none. Unwilling to add another subscription to my list, I have hesitated to sign up for Peacock, even though it has a Psych movie (not to mention all the episodes of Psych). I’ve been inundated with ads for their new show, Girls5Eva, and I thought that I would give the first episode a shot and if it hooked me, I would spend $5 to watch the rest of the show. If you’re also considering this test before buying into Peacock – save yourself, keep reading.
I really thought I would like this show, I was planning to use that whole “the first episode hooked me” excuse to myself and my dwindling bank account. I was not prepared for the half hour long train wreck that would come across my screen. The show opens on four women, the only living members of a girl group that’s not even pretending to not be the Spice Girls. All of them reek of some version of Liz Lemon, a woman approaching an arbitrary “middle age” and losing her shit about it. The only exception is Busy Phillips, who is doing her best Jenna Maroney. It’s literally a repackaged 30 Rock.
I used to love 30 Rock when it was on TV (back in the day when things were still just “on TV”) but there is a reason why I’ve only seen it once all the way through – because I hate it now. Tina Fey’s sitcom humor is expositional, with main characters lobbing jokes like a wiffleball – impossible to miss unless you’re four years old. When the four living members of Girls5Eva contemplate reuniting without their fallen sister, Summer (Busy Phillips) asks for a sign. The construction crew in front of them is made of five men and one starts shouting that his wife is in labor and when he turns to leave his coworkers shout “we can’t do it with four!” and he shouts “yes you can!” Watching that joke play out on screen was about as funny as it was reading it (as in…it’s not….if anyone was out there chuckling to themselves while reading I figured you might need the explanation behind my joke).
Fey is also getting famous for jokes that just don’t quite land, like her reference to the band’s breakup coming after they released their song “you flew right into my heart” on September 10. 2001. In addition to her really misplaced funny bone, she throws in racially motivated jokes, like Dawn (Sara Bareilles) muting her voice when she references her drink (A Negroni) to Wickie (Renee Elise Goldsberry) claiming that she didn’t know the etymology of the word and didn’t want to be offensive. Given the backlash that Fey has faced over her past racial jokes (Blackface in 30 Rock and animated blackface in Soul) I would hope that she would look herself in the mirror and say “you know what, Tina? We’re not going to do a race joke in this one.”
I’m not saying Tina Fey should be cancelled by any means. Cancelling is a serious act, it’s pop culture’s capital punishment. Fey’s crimes are not that severe, she’s just really starting to rub me the wrong way. So after I spent a half hour of my life that I’ll never get back watching the intro to a show I barely liked, I decided that I wouldn’t spend the $5 to finish this show, even though the preview for the rest of the season looks somewhat entertaining (I’m only saying this because I saw Bowen Yang in a future episode). Believe it or not, putting reviews out into the void is not a booming business and I don’t have the $5 to spare.
If you’d like me to review the rest of Girls5Eva, please consider donating so that I can afford a month of Peacock. With your donation, you’ll also receive a bonus review of Psych the movie and probably a Parks and Rec rant. If you don’t have any spare change, just give this article a share.