While at SeriesFest 5 in Denver recently, I had the opportunity to attend a fascinating panel featuring showrunners and series creators under 40.
In addition to the creators and showrunners of This Close on Sundance and Joey Slamon of Tru TV's I'm Sorry was Laura Chinn of Pop TV's Florida Girls.
If not for that panel, I might have skipped over the latest Pop series, but Chinn was a hoot. Her series captures her essence, and Florida Girls is must-see comedy.
You might not know about Chinn, but she's been lurking behind some good shows including Grandfathered and The Mick.
With Florida Girls, she has taken her personal story and blown it up for the world to see. It's not exactly her life, but her life is its inspiration.
Before this review begins, let’s be clear. Reviewing comedy is not my thing, and I am not a comedian.
What you read about the show in no way negates that hilarity you’ll encounter while watching.
I can’t do it justice with words on a page the way Chinn brings it to life on screen. I sound hollow while Florida Girls is robust and bust-a-gut funny. It stays with you well after you watch.
So, let me try to give you the gist, and you can watch to get the full Florida Girls flavor.
By day they wait tables, tend bar, and swim in the oversized fish tank dressed as mermaids at Barnacles, a local dive bar that puts the dive right into the middle of the action.
If the tank was big enough to support such strenuous activity.
The locals who frequent the place are derelicts who do whatever they can to help out the girls, such as flashing their penis because what girl wouldn't get a confidence boost knowing she gave a guy a hard-on?
Chinn plays Shelby, a biracial girl who passes for white to the point she doesn't fit in with the black crowd although at times she tries desperately to look the part.
Cornrows don't do much but make her look a bit more like Bo Derek.
Melanie Field is Kaitlin, the hard-loving woman who loves her cushy, no responsibility job and an oil rigger named Devo (Scott MacArthur).
Patty Guggenheim is Erica, a homeless, illiterate kleptomaniac.
She doesn't live with the others, but she's got a permanent spot in their trailer nonetheless meaning their possessions are never quite safe.
Laci Mosley is Jayla, who shirks a job at Barnacles for a part-time position to Harold (Chris Williams), her married boyfriend, and her ticket out of Clearwater.
The series begins when their fifth ride-or-die, Mandy, chooses to ride off all the way to Ohio after getting her GED.
That one of them made it out is the catalyst for the others to reexamine their place in the world, or at least in Clearwater.
Shelby is so thrown by the events that she begins her quest for her GED, something her friends don't hold in high esteem.
Their lack of support is her greatest obstacle as they want to use available funds for fun and parties and consider her time their time.
Shelby wants so much to transcend her lot in life, and her struggle to tear away from her friends long enough to gather the appropriate funds for GED classes and attend said classes is as close as it gets to pathos on Florida Girls.
Kaitlin’s character arc is her relentless search for the next big party.
Everything she does is with the hope that her reward will make it worth her trouble.
Her relationship with Devo is manic with heightened lows and towering highs.
Whether caring for their bunny or screwing in the streets, they do it all with lowbrow passion.
Field has been scooping comedic roles lately from Heathers to Shrill, and it’s hard to believe with her depth that Florida Girls is only her fifth on-screen role.
She has terrific timing and adds believability to even the most exaggerated roles.
The standout in this group of characters is Jayla, and Mosely plays her to perfection.
Jayla’s the only of the friends to step out of their comfort zone on a regular basis, and the fish out of water feeling Mosely delivers through Jayla is something to behold.
Jayla shuns a traditional job not recognizing that her job on Harold’s arm requires a lot more work than waiting tables at Barnacles.
Mosley can take Jayla from a vocal ten to a mere high-pitched whisper to great effect.
She sets the screen on fire with her performance.
Chinn has managed to ensure that every speaking character has a purpose whether to ruffle the feathers of the girls or put another obstacle in their place.
Wasted lines are few with most packing a punch.
There is a lot of data to be mined from our lives, and Chinn takes full advantage of the gifts in her toolbox.
The Florida girls quickly become both oddly endearing and utterly exasperating as you wonder if one day they'll see beyond their small world or if they'll be forever in the dark about society at large.
It's raunchy, over-the-top comedy fun perfectly suited for hot, humid summer nights. Turn off your brain, and enjoy!
Florida Girls premieres on Pop TV Wednesday at 10/9c on Pop TV with two new episodes. Don’t miss it!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.