Life’s a Bitch and Then You Die
Resting Bitch Face
Payback’s a Bitch
Who Dat Bitch?
Five words perfectly sum up Netflix’s latest teen-ish comedy series. “Who is this show for?” Rated a 12, Boo, Bitch combines a litany of curses, absurdist and high school humour with a tone that swings wildly between an iCarly sketch and dark humour from something like The End of the F**king World.
The ensuing result is akin to eating a ham and pineapple pizza, drizzled with chocolate. Individually, the ingredients are great but all together it’s just a complete mish-mash of discordant flavour.
Having said that though, this is one of those shows that actually gets better the longer you stick with it, like an acquired taste.
The first episode in particular is almost enough to turn this off completely but those who persevere with this will actually find a couple of neat messages and nice moments sprinkled across the 8 episodes. The end reveal in the finale is pretty good, although the show certainly makes you work to reach that point.
For every good moment though, there’s an overdone gag or cliched plot point waiting in the wings to derail any good work in here. In one episode early on, we get a solid 12 minutes where a joke about ghosts needing to urinate is repeated constantly. It may have been slightly amusing the first time but by the end it just gets annoying.
At the heart of this show are two senior best friends at high school, Gia and Erika, equipped with dialogue that sounds like it was written by a middle-aged man that’s never heard “Gen Z” speak. Now, I do appreciate the writer for this also wrote On My Block (which is a great show) but it only makes it all the more baffling that the dialogue is so off the mark here.
Anyway, the drama really begins when Gia and Erika take the plunge and make a last-ditch attempt to blend in with their classmates, attending a big party. After getting a bit drunk, they head home but on the way end up crossing paths with a truck.
When Gia and Erika wake up in the morning, it would appear that Erika is a ghost… especially when they find her body has been crushed by a cow. How did this happen? How does everyone still see Erika and act like everything is okay? This forms the crux of the drama and mystery across Boo, Bitch’s relatively straight forward 8 chapters, leading to a final episode that lifts the veil and reveals all.
Along the way, we get a litany of curses, ranging from the F word through to bitch, muddled in with corny jokes that feel ripped from an iCarly or Drake and Josh sketch – with a big dollop of slapstick humour for good measure.
There are some subplots here too, but they include all the usual clichés, ranging from “popular, good looking guy likes the main character” to “jealous, bitchy high school bully.”
All of these players are pretty archetypal and there really isn’t a whole lot of depth to them either. To be fair, there is some work done late on to remedy that but whether you’ll make it that far or not remains to be seen.
The biggest problem with this show though comes from its target audience. The jokes and tone land somewhere in no-man’s-land between edgy teen comedies that push the envelope, cliched romcoms and an American kid’s sitcom. Trying to blend all three of those together feels like a recipe for disaster. I can’t help but feel this should have been a PG; change the name, cut out the swearing and lean into the silly humour, with a couple of adult gags or nods to the audience for good measure to keep adults watching.
Given the message at the heart of this about “being seen”, the underlying ideas in Boo, Bitch actually has a lot of heart and it’s a shame this is caught beneath a sea of unnecessary sludge.
In fact, my favourite part of the whole show came from the final 10 minutes, which feels like a very fitting way to reframe the entire show and end things on a high. Everything up to that point is a mixed bag of indifferent shrugs, forced smiles and missed opportunities. Boo, Bitch is definitely an acquired taste, but whether the audience likely to appreciate this mish-mash of ideas is big enough to get the big viewing numbers ‘Flix may be hoping for, remains to be seen.
Verdict - 3.5/10