Teenagers are annoying, it is a fact of life, they are people still in the process of developing who they are, and who they want to be. We have all been annoying teenagers at some point in our lives. This is the reason teenager flicks are so popular. They create this perfect image of the teenage years, and they sell it to the public as a way of reliving those years, but in a better way, a more bearable and fun way. This type of movie and show will always exist as long as the need for that feeling exists in the audience.
However, sometimes a TV show or movie fails to sell that idea of the perfect teenage years and instead manages to sell back exactly all the annoyance and tiredness of that age in our lives. It is then that the movie or TV show stops being fun, and starts being just as annoying as it wasn’t supposed to be. We could say that, on one hand, we have Booksmart. A film that delivers everything we could have ever wanted from a teenage movie and on the other hand we have Boo Bitch, a show that wants to make us forget about it.
Boo, Bitch is a limited series on Netflix created by Tim Schauer, Kuba Soltysiak, Erin Ehlrich, and Lauren Iungerich. The show tells the story of Erika, a teenage student who has spent most of her life as an invisible part of the student body. For example, her only friend Gia is the only one that knows her real name is Erika and not Helen. Erika is tired of being a loser and decides to change things before graduation. Things start looking up for the young woman, but a big obstacle appears in her way. She dies.
However, even now that she is dead, she is able to communicate with her best friend Gia, and with other students. Erika must learn what is happening and what she needs to do in order to fix whatever is happening to her. The premise of a ghost being able to still communicate with their loved ones isn’t something new, but Boo, Bitch tries to give the old premise, a more modern flavor. One that can attract a new, fresh audience.
There are several problems with Boo, Bitch. Not all of it is bad, the show can be enjoyed on a very superficial level, as a way of killing a couple of hours. There are eight episodes and all of them have an average runtime of around 20 to 30 minutes each. The series can be watched very easily in a single sitting. It is funny but not that funny, it is thrilling but not that thrilling, etc. The giant issue is that the show feels like an old person trying to dress like a young person and thinking they are getting away with it. As if no one could notice it.
Boo, Bitch is plagued by the countless clichés that have served the genre for ages; our main character is in love with the prettiest boy in the school, and our main character is a loveable loser. Our main character has great parents and a great life, and she is still sad and depressed because she is not popular. All these clichés make for a very easy template to follow, but we are now in 2022 and every single element of the plot screams the early 2000s or even worse, late 90s.
The show tries to be hip and to appeal to the younger generation, and yet, it feels so out of touch with what kids do nowadays that everything feels forced. Even Lana Condor, who has proven time and time again to be an excellent and charismatic actress, feels like just another annoying hyperactive character from the bunch. The ability to deliver quips doesn’t make a good comedy, and the show really falls flat when trying to pass as a funny show.
Every single actor is also clearly way older than what their characters are supposed to be. Condor especially feels like she has been a teenager for so long in movies and other shows that it feels like she should move on into other types of roles very soon. The rest of these teenagers also look too much like people in their middle twenties. It is not even funny. It really takes you out of the story, and it makes the characters feel unrealistic.
Not that a show dealing with ghosts being able to talk to people has to be realistic, but the show’s own internal logic feels like an afterthought most of the time. The show tries to work in this hyperreality that could be closer to the one in South Park than to our own. And it really feels like the show is constantly trying to find its own identity but cannot make it, not even in the last minutes of the last episode. It all feels like a rehash.
Lana Condor is excellent, but she should move on to greener pastures. The rest of the show fails to achieve any sort of resonance, as it is trapped in a type of storytelling that was even not that good 20 years ago. In trying to appeal to a newer audience, Boo, Bitch shows that they don’t really get what this new generation is all about. They all should watch Eight Grade.