Studio: CBS Television Studios
US Rating: Not Rated
Film Length: 4hrs, 31 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 – Enhanced for 16X9 TVs
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, English Stereo
Release Date: January 19, 2010
Review Date: January 10, 200
The Show: 3.5 out of 5
I’d like to reiterate my thoughts from the Girlfriends Season Seven review, that I am perpetually disappointed by the lack of diversity on television and in film. From what we are provided by network television, and on cinema screens from Tacoma, Washington to Trenton, New Jersey, it would seem that America is made up of 98% white folk, most of who have multiple white people, a black guy and an Asian girl as friends. That may seem a little hyperbolic, but seriously – what’s the deal? A show like Girlfriends, while not the best written or performed show that even an upstart, mini-network like the CW has aired, is such a rare gem – sharing the antics and anguish of African American woman – that it must be celebrated just for making it to the air – and sticking around. Sure, you can find a show here and there that focuses on an African American cast – but if you can count them on more than one hand, you have access to more channels than I do – and I don’t count Martin reruns either.
The show, a standard sit-com formula – sets, audience, predictable shenanigans, in its seventh season follows Joan Clayton (Tracee Ellis Ross), a by-the-book type A personality with a penchant for getting in too deep with men too quickly, Maya Wilkes (Golden Brooks), a feisty, self-help author (her book was called “Oh Hell Yeah”) who has a hard time ‘keeping up with the joneses, and Lynn Searcy (Persia White) – a hopeless unemployable free-spirit with a PhD in mooching. Their friend, William Dent, a proud a geek and a typical man (with an innate ability to associate everything back to money or sex) provides a little testosterone balance to the mix – though not much. The other major cast members are Maya’s mechanic husband Darnell (Khalil Kain), providing the real masculine balance, and Monica, William’s wife born of privilege and self-confidence.
In this final season, the Girlfriends continues to explore serious themes amongst its silly comedy. Subjects such as the war in Iraq, pregnancy, adoption, miscarriages, and the machinations of modern marriages are fodder for plots. Of particular note this season was the Iraq war storyline, as Joan’s husband is recalled for deployment to the war torn region. Weaving into the show’s wackier humor are serious conversations about the role African-Americans play in Americas military and the forgotten families of the deployed who languish in uncertainly and fiscal challenges while the rest of the country goes about its business (seemingly oblivious). Maya and Darnell, dealing with the miscarriage of their second baby, provide perhaps the most startlingly dramatic moments of this or any season, and remind just how valuable sit-coms can be when dramatic story threads take up more airtime as a series grows.
Despite its strengths, something is still amiss in this abruptly ending final season. Perhaps the weight of an impending writer’s strike wore heavy on those working behind the scenes; or perhaps this eighth season was the point at which the shows real signs of aging made it to the surface. Regardless, the show was less even than before, and the characters of Joan, Maya, Lynn, and William were pushed to the edges of what was reasonable even for them. Girlfriends is still funny; still charming, and still refreshing for featuring an all African-American cast, but besides lacking closure on key storylines, would likely have benefited from coming to an end this season.
Episode 1 – Range of Emotions
Episode 2 – Baghdad, My Bad
Episode 3 – Where Did Lynn-Digo?
Episode 4 – Losing It
Episode 5 – Good Grief
Episode 6 – Spree To Be Free
Episode 7 –Snap Back
Episode 8 – Save The Last Dance
Episode 9 – R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find Out What It Means To William
Episode 10 – Deck The Halls With Bags and Folly
Episode 11 – Adapt to Adopt
Episode 12 – What’s Black-A-Lackin?
Episode 13 – Stand and Deliver
The Video: 3.5 out of 5
CBS Television Studios presents this final season (season 8) of the popular CW Network comedy in its filmed aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16X9 and enhanced for widescreen televisions. I have seen each season of this show, and consistency is certainly a strong suit. This final season appears just as all the seasons before it, not perfect, a little soft at times, but perfectly appropriate for this TV show on DVD.
The Sound: 3.5 out of 5
This 13-Episode, two-disc set comes with both a Dolby Digital 5.1 and English Stereo surround option. As with prior seasons, the 5.1 doesn’t get much opportunity to shine outside of the occasional bass-laden song used and sparing incidental music. There are still good levels across the front speakers, solid quality from the center channel with the dialogue, and no issues to report.
The Extras: 2 out of 5
The sole special feature on this season is an episode of the spinoff show, The Game, called ‘Away Game’
The final season of Girlfriends was utterly mistreated as a result of the writer’s strike. After the strike was resolved, the show was cancelled, leaving up in the air several critical plot points and leaving a loyal fan base with nothing but open questions and disappointment. Perhaps a reunion special, or even a movie spinoff could be conjured to bring this series to a proper end. Sadly, this isn’t likely.
Fans of the show – snap this season up and complete your collection. Everyone else, I encourage you to discover this show from its first season and become hooked.
Overall Score 3.5 out of 5
Neil MiddlemissKernersville, NC