Boo, Bitch introduces us to Erika Vu (Lana Condor) through voiceover, postmortem, having been crushed by a moose in a freak accident, before jumping back 48 hours later, PREmortem, to show us where it all began — with Erika and her best friend, Gia (Zoe Margaret Colletti), wanting to live their best lives before they graduate high school.
“I can’t believe we have two months of high school left,” Erika says. “KMNBMIASG.” The acronym appears quickly on the right side of the screen, with its meaning (Kill Me Now Bury Me In A Shallow Grave) as she says each letter. These long acronyms appear throughout the series and sound absurd. Teenagers don’t talk like that in real life, but they do in the movies. Erika wishes they could hurry their diplomas so they could skip all of the “end of school bullshit,” but Gia is looking forward to prom, declaring it will be the best night of her life.
Gia suggests going to a party, telling Erika it’s fine if she hates that idea because “it’s not going to hurt my feelings because I am on Lexapro.” Boo, Bitch normalizes mental illness and antidepressants in a way that fits with modern teen humour without actually diving into it. A few scenes prior, Gia was teasing Erika with, “Maybe it’s time you try Wellbutrin. Give your anxiety a little vacay.” Although she was hesitant at first, Erika comes around to the party when she realizes no one knows her real name due to a mishap with popular girl Riley (Aparna Brielle) in freshmen orientation, who dubbed her Helen Who and warned that she had better make herself invisible or she’ll do it for her. Erika can’t believe she’s gone through high school paralyzed by Riley’s threat and had played it safe and kept hidden for four years. And so, Erika and Gia go to the party and have a great time, until Erika wakes up dead the following morning.
Boo, Bitch is a quick, easy watch that will be a hit with Gen Z. It’s predictable but also brings in its own originality with an entertaining premise. Unfortunately, any uniqueness is undermined by Erika obsessing over the wrong thing and letting popularity go to her head. It was a pleasure to see Condor take on a comedic role where she got to play a mean girl for a while, but it’s a tired trope with Erika’s death being used only as a gimmick in a tired, unoriginal formula.
The writing alternates between being sharp and witty and being stupid and lacklustre. Some of the drama is boring and unfolds slow enough to affect the pacing and demonstrate poor writing, as the audience is often a few steps ahead. There’s a serious lull in the middle of the series sandwiched between the first two and last two episodes, which are the strongest by far.
The characters, played by an appealing cast, are mostly the stereotypical teens we’ve all seen plenty of times before in every rendition of this plot. Popular guy Jake C (Mason Versaw) was the most likeable and genuine character, and Colletti was excellent in a standout role. The humour mostly hits, and having these teenagers swear a lot feels very realistic.
Boo, Bitch is well-shot, brightly lit, has excellent costume design, and features vibrant colours. It feels fun and exciting, exactly how a teen comedy should. It’s a limited series with eight episodes that are around 20-30 minutes each. It’s just enough as the plot wore thin at times. At its heart, the series has strong themes about staying true to yourself and your friends while striving to live your best life and make the most of life experience.
Boo, Bitch premieres on Netflix on July 8
by Toni Stanger