TV Show Review: Netflix’s Girlboss

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Harald Groven.

As the central character of Netflix’s Girlboss, Sophia Amoruso (played by Britt Robertson of Secret Circle fame) is plagued with character flaws. She’s the sort of young adult who can’t seem to grow up, demonstrating deep-set emotional issues, untempered rage and a penchant for pettiness in the show’s pilot episode alone. Amoruso is the most ruthless and unlikeable heroine you’ve ever seen … and in spite of every misstep and every character flaw, she’s exactly the type of protagonist you can’t help but champion.

A loose retelling of real-life Sophia Amoruso’s autobiographical bildungsroman of the same title, Girlboss illustrates Amoruso’s rise to Internet celebrity in the early-to-mid 2000s through her online retail venture, Nasty Gal. Amoruso’s character explains Nasty Gal’s business model best: “You know how people flip houses? Well, I flip clothes.”

Launched on eBay in 2006, Amoruso moved the fast-growing retailer to its own flagship website in June 2008, The show documents Amoruso’s struggles to become a businesswoman first and foremost; even as her company grows into a successful enterprise, Amoruso grapples with her own hotheadedness and lack of financial know-how. 

Her quick rise to fame isn’t without a slew of mistakes: the budding entrepreneur makes more enemies along the way than most, but she comes out the other end stronger, honing her people skills through trial and error. At times, Amoruso’s fiery temper is unrealistic and clearly dramatized for audience enjoyment. It’s true to character, though; Amoruso never loses touch with that spark of passion, the very same spark that ignited her business idea in the first place.

Of course, Amoruso amasses a team of fun sidekicks throughout the show’s run, including her cute drummer boy-toy, Shane (Johnny Simmons) and her fabulously flamboyant neighbor, Lionel (the one and only RuPaul). Most notable is her BFF Annie (Ellie Reed), whose fun-loving but pragmatic personality grounds Amoruso in reality. The two share countless bouts of banter and witty one-liners, bringing levity to a comedy that skews toward drama almost too frequently for comfort.

Girlboss has the heart, soul and spirit of Amoruso herself. She’s one strong, feisty woman with a dream who won’t take shit from anyone. The show is on track for renewal for a second season, a fact made all the more interesting by real-life Nasty Gal’s file for bankruptcy in 2016 (and subsequent buy-out by British online fast-fashion retailer BooHoo.) 

As Nasty Gal reaches its peak around 2010-2014, the question remains: how will Amoruso cope with being the head bitch in charge of a wildly successful enterprise? The answer remains to be seen …

Girlboss is available for instant streaming on Netflix.