Everything is peachy for ‘Ginny & Georgia’


Alex Kendall

Illustration by

Casey Wiederhold, Associate Photography Editor

As it sits atop the current list of Netflix’s top 10 most watched television shows, “Ginny & Georgia” overtook my recent binges. The show is the story of mother-daughter duo Georgia Miller (Brianne Howey) and Ginny Miller (Antonia Gentry). The second season of the show was released on Jan. 5, grasping the attention of those who watched it as it first aired in 2021.

The episodes divulge into the lives of the titular characters as Ginny and Georgia  Miller navigate their lives in the fictional small town of Wellsbury, Massachusetts. Georgia Miller is a teen mom with a shady past, the more free-spirited type of personality, whereas Ginny Miller is the more mature one in the family. Georgia Miller goes out and gets what she wants, while also maintaining her “cool mom” status. Ginny Miller on the other hand, handles much more in her life.

I thought the second season of the show was much more intense than the first season. The episodes were filled with emotional intensity that I was on the edge of my seat for most of the show. I found that there were moments during the episodes where Ginny Miller would say something to Georgia Miller and from it stemmed an argument, then the episode would end on that note.

The series uses the mental health of Ginny Miller as a central plotline throughout both seasons, developing into a crucial storyline of season two. For example, she experiences acts of racism from her English teacher, and as a biracial woman, this creates more of an impact on her mental well-being. Being the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man, Ginny Miller realizes that her mother will never understand her struggles and eventually leaves the English class because she feels that she is targeted, as she is creating lesson plans to educate the class on African-American authors.

I believe that displaying mental illness in television shows has become more of a prevalent topic in 2023, with viewers starting conversations about mental health, and the subject is becoming more recognized in media. However, I feel that most shows do not portray mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety accurately. Directors and script writers tend to portray the mentally ill as unpredictable, angsty, restless or a variation of those behaviors. Until I watched “Ginny & Georgia” this was how I would see individuals with mental illnesses portrayed.

For example, a key point to Ginny Miller’s character is that she struggles with self-harm throughout the show, turning to an unhealthy coping mechanism to deal with the conflict between the protagonists. Ginny Miller suffers from anxiety and depression as a result of her chaotic childhood and high school experience. She confesses to her father that she was turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms and ultimately suffers from a panic attack. Her father suggests that Ginny Miller go to therapy and she hesitantly accepts the suggestion, knowing that her mother would stick her nose up at the idea of her daughter going to talk to someone.

I think the way the showrunners handled Ginny Miller’s struggles were shown in a graceful way. In other shows, such as “13 Reasons Why,” I remember hearing about how there was a scene cut because it was too graphic. In “Ginny & Georgia,” the scenes where these harmful actions are presented only display the facial expressions of Georgia Miller.

“Ginny & Georgia” has shown the traits of anxiety and they also show ones of depression. Felix Mallard portrays Marcus Baker, a character that suffers from depression. In episode eight of season two, the storyline shifts from the focus of Ginny Miller and Georgia Miller and keeps the central focus of the episode on Baker. In the earlier episodes leading up to this one, the audience sees Baker beginning to slip and start to consume alcohol. This reaches a peak and his family becomes worried about him.

The displays of mental illness from both Baker and Ginny Miller are representations of the mental health spectrum. There is Ginny, who turns to burning herself and then acts as though she is fine, and Baker who turns to alcohol, skipping class and other risky behaviors. The portrayals of mental illnesses in adolescents are shown from multiple perspectives, both sides of the spectrum, which is usually not a topic that we see everyday. In the media, harming and then acting as though everything is fine afterwards is a different end of that depression spectrum. To see both ends of this was very interesting, especially since the episodes shown had one from Baker’s and one from Ginny Miller’s perspectives.

As for the adults in the series, the only displays of mental illness that are shown are from Georgia Miller. Georgia Miller grew up with a shady past, and became a teen mom at the mere age of 15 years old, losing her teenage years to raising a child. On top of that, Georgia Miller’s childhood was not filled with rays of sunshine. She was in abusive relationships, and was even molested from a young age, until she ran away after giving birth to Ginny Miller. Georgia Miller devotes her life to protecting her two children Ginny Miller and Austin Miller, doing what she can to prevent them from ever having the life she grew up with, while still staying true to her secretive roots. The show briefly mentions that Georgia Miller used to suffer from panic attacks, though they have since stopped happening. However, once her past begins to catch up to her, she begins to suffer from the panic attacks once again.

As a person who suffers from mental illnesses, I found myself in awe of how this was portrayed. I became curious to see how the writers went about creating these storylines for the program. I found that the writers consulted a psychologist and worked with Mental Health of America in order to create these meaningful storylines because the showrunners wanted to do it right. The showrunners would send scripts to the psychologist, then wait to receive feedback on the episode in order to see what they could or could not have on television.

For all of the chaos that comes with watching “Ginny & Georgia” seeing an accurate portrayal of mental health was one of the better aspects of what was happening. I think it is important to have accurate portrayals of mental illnesses in the media, especially in television. Not everything in the arts has to be shown as good or bad necessarily because that is not how reality is. This was a refreshing take on television that I would hope to see more of in the future. The presentation of important issues such as this, made myself, as well as many others, feel seen.