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Florida Girls

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Florida Girls TV Poster Image
Lots of drugs, language, laughs in female-centric comedy.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

There are a lot of regressive jokes that poke fun at character's (lack of) polish and sophistication, but this show also targets sexism, racism, entrenched poverty, and other social issues with a nuanced viewpoint. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are diverse in terms of age, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and body type. Much of the humor pokes fun at the poor and the ignorant, but also makes sharp points about oppression and intolerance, such as when Shelby's friend says that his neighbor's wifi password is "n-word, spics, and Jews. I tried to get her to change it, but she's a real closed-minded old lady." Most characters live hand-to-mouth, and though the show often mocks them for it, it also understand the perils of lacking a cash cushion. 

Violence

Violence is infrequent and cartoonish, and often carries with it points about social class, like when a group of friends steals a gold necklace to pay an electric bill and is set upon by another friend group as revenge -- we see them slapping and pushing and kicking each other, but the blows look light and are mostly laughed off. 

Sex

Characters are single and talk frequently about sex and romance, sometimes quite graphically, like when Jayla is asked if she would "blow" her (older, wealthy) boyfriend for money her friends need. 

Language

Characters curse frequently, usually for emphasis but sometimes as an insult ("bitch" is frequently thrown around): "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," "bulls--t," "dumbass," "goddamn," "bitch," "dick" (the body part), "dammit." 

Consumerism

Jokes and plotlines about scarce money make scathing points about poverty; characters frequently struggle to pay for life's necessities (like electric power). 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drug use is frequent, such as when characters share joints while driving and take LSD to go to a theme park together. Side characters sell drugs, and we see scenarios such as large rooms filled with marijuana plants (medical, not recreational, marijuana use is legal in Florida). Characters vape, though it's unclear whether it's nicotine or marijuana in the pens. A bar is a frequent setting; characters drink to excess and make poor choices (one character has a breathalyzer device attached to her steering wheel to keep her from driving impaired). 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Florida Girls is a comedy about four female friends who share a trailer in Clearwater, Florida. The tone of this show is ultimately rather sweet, but a lot of the humor and plotlines are mature. Characters frequently use drugs, including LSD and marijuana, including while they drive. A character has a breathalyzer device attached to her car to prevent impaired driving, but she also works in a bar and drinks as well as using drugs. We visit the grow room of a marijuana dealer (recreational marijuana use is illegal in Florida), and hear talk about "molly" and other drugs. A group of female friends are said to have started drinking at age 12. Other jokes target sex, such as a running gag about a man who likes to expose himself to bar employees, and a character asked if she will give her boyfriend oral sex for money. Violence is less frequent than content about sex or drugs, but in one scene two groups of female friends physically fight over a stolen necklace. Speaking of stealing, one character frequently steals; it's played for laughs. Cursing is frequent: "f--k," "bitch," "s--t," "dumbass," "goddamn." Though much of this show's humor punches down and mocks the poor and uneducated, characters are presented sympathetically and we gradually grow to understand the tragedies that lie behind many of their poor choices; the show also makes points about racism, classism, female friendship, sexism, and other topics. 

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What's the story?

Set in Clearwater, Florida, FLORIDA GIRLS opens as Shelby's (Laura Chinn) best friend gets her GED and a job, leaving behind Shelby and the rest of the roommates who share a trailer: Kaitlin (Melanie Field), Jayla (Laci Mosley), and Erica (Patty Guggenheim). It's enough to make Shelby wonder if it's about time she got more education and a better job herself, which makes Katilin, Jayla, and Erica question exactly where they're going in life (and if where they're going is somewhere they want to be). Is living in a Florida beach town and working at a local bar enough for them? And if it is, should it be? 

Is it any good?

At its best, this show rises above its regressive central "let's laugh at the poor people" concept to become a show about regular women who are there for each other in extraordinary ways. But before you get there -- and in between the sweet moments that make Florida Girls occasionally worth it -- there are a lot of jokes about crystal meth and trailer parks and Applebee's to wade through. Viewers who have no problem with Florida as a punch line will probably find the whole show absolutely hilarious, because the jokes are well-written, something that won't surprise those who guffawed over Laura Chinn's work on The Mick and Children's Hospital. But those who prefer the punch-up style of humor are likely to wince their way through the show's early episodes in particular. 

Lurking underneath the crass humor, though, is an easier-to-love premise of sisterly friendship and sweet support, and knowing commentary on issues like entrenched cycles of poverty, the politics of multiracial identity, and the ways that oppression affects women in particular. It probably won't surprise fans of the show that Chinn grew up in Tampa, Florida, and dropped out of high school at age 16, just like her quartet of main characters. She mines what she knows for her show -- and once she moves past the gators & tall boys schtick, what emerges is a comedy about true underdogs who are easy to root for. There are worse summertime pleasures to partake in. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about featuring inappropriate behavior as funny. Should things such as drug usedrinkingsmoking, and other risky behaviors be treated as funny or inconsequential, even if it's a comedy like Florida Girls? What consequences are there for these behaviors in this show, if any? 

  • Families can also talk about Florida Girls' use of stereotypes. When does a caricature go from being funny to being offensive? Where do you draw the line?

  • What are the risks of using crime, drug use, and socioeconomic stereotypes as a punch line? Does poking fun at people who make iffy choices downplay the consequences of their behavior?

TV details

For kids who love comedy

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