Pop TV's new foray into original programming is as delicious as shotgunning an ice cold 40 in the deli parking lot with your friends on a hot summer day. A loving ode to friendship set in the Sunshine State, Florida Girls takes four high school dropouts stuck in (the double-wide trailer side of) Clearwater and sets them on a path where they're forced to think about their futures. Created by The Mick alum Laura Chinn, who draws on her own experiences growing up saturated in peak Florida Man energy, Florida Girls is shaping up to be one of summer's most enthralling shows.
The eccentric buddy comedy sings due to impeccable casting. Chinn as Shelby is a pitch-perfect catalyst for throwing the dynamics of the group text in disarray. Shelby begins the series with a thirst for a better life and decides she's going to finally get her GED. The rest of her friends then start to wonder what's next for each of them, and the show unfolds beautifully into redefining what success looks like for an American subculture that's often written off as trash.
And yeah, maybe the four friends are garbage people in different respects — Shelby has to blow into a breathalyzer to start her car, Caitlin (Melanie Field) falls into her own piss after stranding a church group on an island, Jayla (Laci Mosley) wrecks her sugar daddy's car prematurely post breakup, and Erica (Patty Guggenheim) only wears jackets so she has pockets to store all the stuff she steals — but in all the ways that count, they show up for each other.
This is where Florida Girls really shines. Despite growing up together, these women don't always understand each other. Jayla spends an episode apologizing to everyone at a cookout for the way her white friends are acting. Caitlin can't admit how deeply it hurts her that Shelby thinks the life they live isn't good enough. Shelby has to force an ultimatum on Erica, either go on welfare to help with bills or stop sleeping on her couch for free. Shelby tries to force everyone into registering for GED class because she's afraid to do something on her own for the first time. These tensions — which deftly reflect class, race, and gender inequalities while also laughing in their face — are what makes every moment when these friends come together that much sweeter in the series.
And the show is sweet. Don't let the vulgar comedic vibes of the series fool you. Yes, you will see more than one blurred out vagina, but the parts of the show that will really put a smile on your face involve a different kind of tenderness. This a show about bad girls who are good friends, the kind who help each other even when they have no idea why one of them would want to leave the paradise of Clearwater, Florida. And that makes them good people. Maybe by the end of the series they'll even be better than the people they started the show as. But if there's one thing Florida Girls guarantees, it's that evolution will look drastically different on each of these women, and it would never occur to any of them to apologize for it.
TV Guide Rating: 4.5/5
Florida Girls premieres July 10 at 10/9c on Pop TV.