The Girlfriend Experience - S2

2019-05-31 13:46
Riley Keough in The Girlfriend Experience


This captivating anthology drama follows several women who lead double lives as professional escorts. But it's not just about the sex - they provide much more. Strictly no under-18s.


The Girlfriend Experience has all the makings of a great show; drama, suspense, intrigue and sex, but the second season fails to use these aspects to make a great watch.

It feels as if season two's directors were trying to go for a House of Cards type feel but without any of the nuance or great character development. It felt as if it was pandering to an audience who were just there for gratuitous sex scenes and pretty women.

The first season of the show was good, I don’t personally agree with other critics that it’s Emmy Award deserving, but I suppose it also comes down to personal preferences. Riley Keough’s character Christine Reade is much more real and guarded and unlikeable, than the characters in the second season.

The dual storylines in season two could have been done much better. It feels obvious that there are two different directors working on two separate stories and it feels this way, because the stories alternate episodes.

The second season follows three new female leads in the form of Erica, Anna and Bria who all have their own great stories, but I felt they were poorly told.

Erica is a Republican financier, and Anna is an escort who Erica uses to secretly tape a powerful client who, in Anna’s words, is "…a misogynist and a fucking pig. He deserves whatever he gets."

Bria is a former escort who is placed into the witness protection program after she revealed secrets about her abusive, criminal ex-boyfriend.

Both stories are shot beautifully, and the cinematics and sound of the show will delight film nerds, but the performances themselves left some things to be desired. While Christine in season one seemed distant and unlikeable, she was still a fully formed character, and there were things about her that made you want to keep watching to see what she would do next. The characters in the second season honestly bored me most of the time and didn’t have the same level of character development that Christine had. Perhaps this is because the two separate storylines didn’t allow it, or because the writers didn’t know how to achieve this task while telling two different stories.

Also, neither of these storylines immerses themselves in the details of sex work like the first season did and instead uses it as a reason for the show to exist instead of why the story is being told.

I do applaud the fact that there were more people of colour in this season and that one of the storylines was about lesbian relationships, but it is evident that these stories were not told by people who had anything in common with the characters and was more reliant on the drama and titillation than a good story.



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