“Girls5eva” Season Three Is Gay and on a Mission

This review includes mild spoilers for Girls5eva season three.


Girls5eva back, and gayer than ever! After almost losing our beloved girl group to a Peacock cancellation, Netflix has delivered them back to us on a sparkly platter. And thank goodness, because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye; after all, we’re supposed to be together 5eva, ’cause 4eva’s too short.

And luckily, the change of network hasn’t changed the core of the show. There are signs that Netflix has taken over — for example, the Black Mirror streaming service Streamberry makes an appearance — but overall the show keeps its humor and heart, with ridiculous antics, amazing yet hilarious songs, BPE, and plenty of call-backs to previous seasons.

Girls5eva: Busy Phillips as Summer, Sara Bareilles as Dawn, Paula Pell as Gloria, and Renée Elise Goldsberry as Wickie. Cr. Emily V. Aragones/Netflix © 2023

I love them, your honor. Cr. Emily V. Aragones/Netflix © 2023

The general premise of the season is that Girls5eva is going on tour. On their own terms…and their own dime.

They start in Fort Worth, where the song they wrote about the city has taken off. They’re doing well, but Wickie can sense everyone digging their heels in and being unwilling to move on. So she books them for a Radio City show in November, and now they have a fire lit under them. And of course, the tour hits road bumps at every turn, because it’s Girls5eva — if things went smoothly it would be weird.

While on tour, Gloria is determined to make up for lost time. She spent a lot of years closeted, and then married the first woman she was with. So while her and Caroline are separated, she’s determined to sleep with every “type” of girl, from “pre-Friends Courtney Cox type” to “cigar mommi.” The problem is, she’s bad at one night stands. She tries to send one woman balloons, writes another a song. She got married to Caroline on their second date, after all. But she is determined, and has a spreadsheet to fill out. (A gay after my own heart. I love a spreadsheet.)

Another fun gay subplot is when they end up in the Ozarks, and Gloria is afraid it’s a “boob desert” and won’t find any queers in the middle of nowhere. But she soon learns what we’ve been trying to tell networks for years: If you show up for the gays, the gays will show up for you.

Paula Pell as Gloria in Girls 5eva.

Look at that bisexual lighting!! Of course the gays showed up! Cr. Emily V. Aragones/Netflix © 2023

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Girls5eva premiere last week here in New York, which was purple and sparkly and fun. At the screening, I met two of the nicest lesbians I’ve ever met in my whole life, and even though they only sat next to me for five minutes until they went to sit with their close personal friend Busy Phillips, our interaction was very memorable. (And not just because I learned via Instagram that one of them is Jen Tullock, who was in Severance and also was the wedding planner Shane slept with in Gen Q.) This is not particularly relevant except to say that Busy Phillips keeps excellent company. And also that the universe is funny that way, that of all of the people in the Paris Theater, I was (temporarily) seated next to some fellow gays.

ANYWAY, at the afterparty, I met two other women, presumably straight based on the myriad questions they had when they learned I wrote for an LGBTQ+ website. They were so sweet and genuinely curious and one question they asked me was, “What do you think about the representation in this show?” And my answer to them was this:

I love that Gloria is just one of the titular Girls. Just like not all of Dawn’s storylines revolve around her being a mother, not all of Gloria’s storylines revolve around her being gay. Her stories are treated with the same combination of ridiculousness, respect, and depth as everyone else’s. Her side antics could be about a woman she slept with, or a stray animal she found. That said, it’s also not that they had one Big Gay Episode and then never mentioned Gloria’s queerness again. I don’t think you could watch a single episode of Girls5eva out of context and not know Gloria is gay. And I think that’s really important! I think this show strikes the perfect balance of making being gay part of Gloria’s personality but not all of it, which is how most of us exist in this world. It informs who we are, but it is not all that we are. Which I know is a result of having queer people in the writers room, including but not limited to Paula Pell’s real life wife (and on-screen ex) Janine Brito.

I also love the way the rest of the women don’t treat her any differently. She’s not The Gay One any more than Wickie is The Diva or Dawn is The Mom or Summer is The Blonde One. They’re all a little bit archetypical, in a comedic way, but it’s not all they are, and it doesn’t always define how they interact with each other.

Paula Pell as Gloria in Girls 5eva

Gloria and I have a lot in common and I love that for us. Cr. Emily V. Aragones/Netflix © 2023

This season is full of hilarious storylines, including but not limited to a 90s nostalgia party, Gloria having the same male pattern blindness affliction as I do, Summer having to learn who she is without a man, and Wickie revealing things about her past she has been…misleading about.

There are some really fun guest stars, and, of course, there are amazing and creative songs along the way — some new, some familiar, all brilliant. And no matter how ridiculous the song, you know those four are going to bring the talent. I don’t know whose idea it was to have Sara Bareilles and Renée Elise Goldsberry — two of the greatest voices of a generation — sing together on a TV show, but whoever they are deserves more awards than they currently have.

The girls5eva girls on a private jet

I would kill to spend one afternoon on set with these four. Cr. Alyssa Longchamp/Netflix © 2023

As a person of a certain age, I also love that this show is about adults. I love a teen drama as much as the next WB-raised TV lover, but there’s something really refreshing to see women in their 40s and up living their best lives, having fun together, being sexy and silly and complicated and messy. And the core relationship on this show is their relationship with each other, and with the band. They all have romance subplots, but the most romantic songs in all three seasons of this show are about their friendship, and that’s very important to me, personally.

I hope Netflix renews them for more, because I cannot get enough of these ladies or this music. If you need me, I’ll be rewatching these eight new episodes, and you should do the same. What are you waiting five?


Girls5eva season three is now streaming on Netflix.

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Valerie Anne

Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 548 articles for us.

2 Comments

  1. I appreciate the reminder about this new season! I enjoy the show when it was on Peacock, but had forgotten the new season was coming out on Netflix. (And my Netflix account is largely watched by my 7 year old, so the recommendations on it are less than helpful.)

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