Girlboss

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Girlboss TV Poster Image
Popular with kids
Nasty gal does what it takes in spirited bioseries.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 11 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Sophia has the notion that adulthood means you "become a drone" with a job and then quickly wither on the vine, but the show subverts those notions by following her (unconventional) business success. It's worth noting that the real-life Sophia's business wound up going bankrupt, but unclear if this series will follow her story through to this end. In any case, young entrepreneurs will be inspired by the business success of a square peg who did things her way. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sophia is reckless and can be kind of a jerk: She walks out nonchalantly after having sex with a relative stranger, she eats her boss' lunch sandwich, she stands her father up for dinner, and she steals from stores, but she's also impressively confident and sassy. "Ain't no shame in this game" she says with a wink when caught dumpster diving. 

Violence

Rare and generally comic/ironic, such as when an older woman on a park bench slaps Sophia in the face when she doesn't like what she's saying.

Sex

Sexual content and references: A couple who just met has sex with moaning and thrusting (no private parts are visible) and then discuss one-night stands and orgasms (in vague terms) while lying together in bed in their underwear; a woman calls her friend a "dirty slut" in jest; a woman briefly mentions having had sex three times the previous night with a main character (she calls it "boning") and graphically discusses his body parts. 

Language

Cursing: "hell," "s--t," "f--k," "a--hole," "bulls--t," "motherf--ker." Profanity is generally used in colorful expressions: "Isn't this a real s--t burger?" There are also vulgar gestures (Sophia flips a cable car driver the bird), off-color and insulting language: "Everything you're saying is stupid"; "You dirty slut!" Also: "douche," "boning," "dick," "turd," "balls," "taint."

Consumerism

Specific brands are mentioned: Kahlua, Anchor Steam, Popeye's, Tempur-Pedic. The eBay logo is shown at length, and eBay figures largely in the story. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Scenes take place at bars with adults drinking very specifically name-checked cocktails: dark 'n' stormy, brandy Alexander.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Girlboss is a series about real-life founder of the Nasty Gal fashion line and online business icon Sophia Amoruso. Sophia is depicted as a bit of a jerk: She lies, steals, disregards the feelings of others, and treats them indifferently; even though she's aware of her shortcomings and calls herself an "a--hole," she doesn't apologize for her actions. The show has mature content and sexual references: A couple has sex with moaning and thrusting (no private parts are visible) and then discuss one-night stands and orgasms while shown in their underwear. Cursing and strong language includes "hell," "s--t," "f--k," "a--hole," "bulls--t," "motherf--ker," and a lot of off-color words. Adults frequently drink cocktails; they make reckless choices while drinking and find being drunk funny. Violence is rare and played for laughs; in one scene, an older woman slaps Sophia in the face for saying something rude. All in all, Sophia is an imperfect role model, but she's also a successful entrepreneur who stays true to herself. It's an interesting watch. 

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymozarteide March 1, 2019

great

i watched this when i was about 12 and i didnt understand why its 16+
12+ if ur kid is mature
Adult Written byummayahaljibli76 September 19, 2018

Pretty sexual and it was honestly disturbing my mood is ruined

there is a clip where her boyfriend is getting a blowjob and there is a pop up clip where she finds a virus on her laptop and opens it up to see complete pornog... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bylittlepig1 September 16, 2017

Fairly entertaining but very sexual

So this is a comedy tv show that's about Sophia, an immature young adult who gets fired and therefore builds her own fashion store online. And although I d... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byBananajello May 12, 2020

Positive rolemodels

No nudity that I can recall. Strong feminine rolemodels. If your kid knows what blowjobs are and has heard cuss words, this show is golden.

What's the story?

Before she was the author of the best-selling book about "how to succeed in business without selling your soul" (also called GIRLBOSS) and the CEO of millennial fashion empire Nasty Gal, Sophia Amoruso (Britt Robertson) was a likable loser. Still searching for a path to follow in her 20s, she's burned though a string of jobs and is about to be evicted from her ratty San Francisco apartment, and her disappointed dad (Dean Norris) is urging her to move back home while she figures out what's next. But after she scores a great deal on a vintage jacket and notices that most retro clothing sellers don't seem to know how to price and market their wares, she decides to go into business for herself. Sophia's a powerhouse all right -- and now that she's found the right place to focus her prodigious energy, her star's about to rise. 

Is it any good?

Though in real life Sophia crashed and burned business-wise, her rise from shoplifting street rat to CEO is a whole lot of fun to watch, particularly since successful-women bios are rare. Go ahead, name five shows about women who are powerful forces in business -- and not just the wives and/or girlfriends of moguls who cause trouble behind the scenes. But here, Sophia is firmly in the driver's seat, even if she's in a crappy car that runs out of gas on a steep San Francisco hill in the first few minutes of the show's pilot and then must push that car, alone, uphill to a nearby gas station. Later, after she's been fired from a lousy shoe store job, she wanders into a used-clothing store, talks the bored clerk into selling her a rare antique calfskin jacket for peanuts, and stalks out obviously feeling like a million bucks -- and just about to make them, because she's able to sell that jacket, properly modeled and identified, on eBay for an exponentially higher price, which marks the beginning of her big-business-to-be. 

Watching a former loser make good can be pretty thrilling, and there are plenty of success stories to be told from the beginning of the online gold rush -- see The Social Network for one highly relevant example. But what really makes Girlboss special is the distinctly feminine focus behind and in front of the camera. Writer Kay Cannon -- best known for her work on 30 Rock and Pitch Perfect -- has crafted a rare show that makes self-actualization not boring and puts crackling quips in characters' mouths without sounding pretentious or improbable. Sophia scans as a real, fallible young woman who happens into a good thing due to a combination of smarts and being in the right place at the right time. She's a hero young viewers need and will like -- even if the real-life Sophia ultimately left a questionable legacy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Sophia shows perseverance and courage in Girlboss by starting her own business. Why are these important character strengths? What makes her launch the business? What makes her keep at it until it's a success? Does her success (and, in real life, eventual failure in the business) offer any lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs? 

  • Is the audience supposed to like Sophia, even though she's depicted as vulgar, crass, irresponsible, and even immoral? How can you tell? How common is it on TV shows to present likable characters with great flaws? Is it unusual that such a character is female? 

  • Once you know that this series is based on the life of a real person, does that make you want to find out about her? Does that ruin the "surprise" of the show? Does it affect your enjoyment? Can you think of another show or movie about a real person that departs from the real facts of that person's life? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love girl power

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