May 27, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Paper Girls “Growing Pains”

Episode One

It looked like, for a moment, that Brian K. Vaughn’s work might finally be getting somewhere outside of comics.  Two of his best-known series were getting adapted to television with Y: The Last Man eventually headed to FX and Paper Girls going to Amazon Prime Video.  Sure, it took a while for to finally get to the small screen, but that’s still something.

Then both series were canceled after the first season.  I had plans to check out Paper Girls anyway, and since I needed a couple weeks to fill in before the back half of the final season of Ttians started, here I am.

So, Paper Girls is the story of four girls, all roughly 12 or so years old, who have a paper route and meet up the wee hours of November 1st, just after Halloween, and get stuck in a weird sci-fi adventure involving teenagers fighting adults from different time periods as a very blatant war between the generations.  It was a really fun, often character-driven story where each of the various trades seemed to dig into each of the girls by turn, and that’s when it isn’t just a lot of sci-fi zaniness.  Yes sir, the comic book version of Paper Girls is fantastic stuff.

Then I watched the first episode of the TV version, an episode that ran barely over a half-hour (and the shortest episode of the batch), and let’s just say I have a good idea why this show was canceled after one season.

It starts off promisingly enough, introducing each of the four girls.  Erin Tieng, the youngest on her first day of the job, is a dutiful type with a mother who seems a little too anxious about the whole thing.  Tiff Quilkin has a comfortable home life from the looks of things, but her mother works a night shift in scrubs, either as a doctor or nurse.  The episode doesn’t say, and I don’t want to assume.  KJ Brandman is the athletic one, and her room is rather large.  No surprise it turns out her family is rather well-off.  And finally, Mackenzie “Mac” Coyle is a tough tomboy in a rough home.

So yeah, it starts promisingly.  But then the action starts and, well…it’s a lot of running around and frantic action that somehow took me out of the story.   The comic had a much more leisurely pace that allowed the reader to get to know the characters.  This one episode seems to jump through plot points for the first few issues, ending with the girls decades away from the 1988 they started off in and in an adult Erin’s house.  But between the running around, the pinkish purple skies, the utter confusion over everything that was going on, and the various blatant 80s references, it occurred to me that the people making this show were basically ripping off Stranger Things.  It even looks kinda like Stranger Things.  There’s no charm here that really grabbed me.  This isn’t like other shows with young casts where I can say it’s just not my genre but the acting and whatnot were fine.  This one actively disinterested me in its execution.

Quite frankly, if I wasn’t watching this show for this site, I doubt I would have moved on to episode two.  But yeah, I’ll finish it here.