Briony Smith breaks down each episode of the Netflix show chronicling Nasty Gal’s beginnings. Because we’re super old school that way.
By Briony Smith
YOU GUYSSSSSSS, welcome to our Girlboss recaps! Netflix just dropped 13 eps of the new show based on Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso’s bestselling book, #GIRLBOSS, and its pedigree is prime, y’all: Charlize Theron is co-producing alongside Sophia, and as showrunner we have Kay Cannon of Pitch Perfect fame. Britt Robertson, that bouncy blond of The Longest Ride and Tomorrowland, stars and goes brunette, donning Sophia’s trademark bangs to play the titular Nasty Gal boss.
So what goes down in the premiere? Sophia doesn’t start out so boss. We open on our girl careening around town in a beater so dusty it’s practically matte. Even less chic is her breaking down near the apex of one of San Fran’s godforsaken devil hills, only to have a trolley and a line of traffic snake down behind her as she attempts—in big-ass heels—to push her “shit burger” of a vehicle to the gas station.
It’s 2006, and, dear readers, Sophia is not keeping it tight. After this incident, she plops down on a bench to whine about how awful growing up is. As a curmudgeon who enjoys lecturing people about the importance of work ethic (oh, yes, I am that dick), my eyes narrowed into rageful slits at such entitlement. Is our hero…the worst? Cut to the old lady (Louise Fletcher!) on the bench beside her: “No, the stupid part is you whining about how awful growing up is.” “I’m not whining,” Sophia cries. “These are very carefully cultivated thoughts.” The senior citizen then slaps her in the face—and I squealed with glee. Bitch is gonna have to earn her fashion empire.
Sophia may be a total dick…but this nasty gal is starting to admit it. “Why am I such an asshole?” she wonders. She shows up at work 27 minutes late and then commits one of the worst sins known to mankind, i.e. gobbles up her coworker’s sandwich. Sophia goes dumpster-diving for more snacks later, then steals a carpet, then passes out in the park, causing her to be late for dinner with her kindly pops. Such revelations of just how grotesque our hero is usually dawn on them halfway through a season—or series—spurring an unrealistic lurch toward rapid, pristine self-actualization as some idealized Stepford babe (see: Trainwreck). Sophia realizing she’s kinda trash up front gives me hope that any self-improvement will be more measured, more real, and she can Become A Better Person™ while staying true to her nasty gal self instead of magically being bestowed everything in the third act after leveling a few pretend obstacles.
Already this is someone I want to hang out with. She has a cool best friend who has the mandated cute short haircut and sensible name. Annie (Ellie Reed) also dresses all mod in roomy sixties shifts, and is enjoying a fling with a wide-eyed bartender named Dex (Alphonso McAuley). As a die-hard sex-positivity advocate ever on the lookout for strong female role models who like to unashamedly get it on the regs, Annie and Sophia receive A+’s for their frank discussion of the length and girth of Annie’s new d (“huge”), and Sophia’s coolly setting her sights on cornfed white boy Shane (Johnny Simmons) drumming on stage at the bar as her ride for the night.
And once they get back to his place, the makeouts are v. hot, but she also has the balls to tell him that no, she’s not really in the mood for banging, TBH, but yes, he will make ocean sounds to lull her to sleep in the absence of a noise machine. Kinda a bitch move, but I love it. Could such ingenuity and wielding her assholery to her advantage be the key to growing up and achieving her own unique brand of success in other areas of her life? (Spoiler alert: yes.)
After conning a sassy bald gay dude out of a mint-condish East/West jacket for $10 and lamenting over the pathetic state of eBay sellers’ pics, she staples up that purloined carpet as a backdrop, slaps on some eyeliner and stages a mini-shoot to create her first mini-campaign to start moving serious product. The dollars begin to pile up—and so does her self-worth. She just might become a girlboss yet.
BEST OUTFIT OF THE WEEK:
This vest and burgundy flares combo with stacked heels and a silver belt. It is technically atrocious, but she somehow pulls it off. Being a 23-year-old with a ludicrous bod helps some.
WORST OUTFIT OF THE WEEK:
Of course the withered old boss at the shoe store is named Carol and of course she cinched her personality blouse with a large, large brown belt and of course she is wearing a beaded two-tiered statement necklace. Nightmare.
Other Good Stuff This Week:
-Sophia’s neighbour is RUPAUL. I REPEAT, HER NEIGHBOUR IS RUPAUL. He gets the line of the night, really, after catching Sophia splayed on her doorstep with her pants split up the crotch: “Damn, you just ripped yourself a new taint!”
-Sophia lives in one of those movie shit-holes that is small, water-stained and in real life would cost approximately nine billion dollars per month. (Also: quick shout-out to the blueberry iBook!)
-The episode begins with “What follows is a loose retelling of true events… Real loose.”
-It’s a good thing that Sophia starts out selling vintage stuff because fashion circa 2006 is rill dark.
-“Everything you want to know you can look up online. I can open a bottle of champagne with a sword!”
-“Sophia, get over here, you dirty slut!” “Are you trying to reclaim that word?” “No, it’s just fun to shout across a crowded room.”
-Annie suggests that Sophia move back home with her “hot dad.” Said hot dad is revealed to be bald badass Dean “Hank Shrader from Breaking Bad” Norris. (My partner: “Is he another one of your fucking disgusting character actor boyfriends?”)
-Hot Dad comes a close second to Old Lady On Bench for dishing out the brutes real talk: ““What are these dreams that you have, anyway? ‘Cause you’ve never given any indication to me that you have any.” Oh, daddy.
-Hat tip to the music supervisor of the week: Otis Redding crooning “Dreams to Remember.”
If you want to hear more of Briony’s grumblings, you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @brionycwsmith.