Girls5eva isn't just silly songs and jokes: The stars explain the show's deeper meaning

Busy Philipps and Paula Pell opened up about the empowering themes in Netflix's quirky girl group comedy series Girls5eva.
GIRLS5EVA. (L to R) Sara Bareilles as Dawn, Renée Elise Goldsberry as Wickie, Paula Pell as Gloria and Busy Philipps as Summer in Episode 306 of GIRLS5EVA. Cr. Alyssa Longchamp/Netflix © 2023
GIRLS5EVA. (L to R) Sara Bareilles as Dawn, Renée Elise Goldsberry as Wickie, Paula Pell as Gloria and Busy Philipps as Summer in Episode 306 of GIRLS5EVA. Cr. Alyssa Longchamp/Netflix © 2023 /

On the surface, Girls5eva might seem like it's all fun and games. I mean, it's very unapologetic about its unserious sense of humor and front-facing silliness. (A man essentially becomes a wolf in season 3!) Even the theme song introduces each episode and greets the audience with the understanding that you're here for a good time.

But as the series awaits an extremely deserving season 4 renewal, the stars are opening up about the series, their personal connection to its themes of empowerment, and how the comedy has much more to offer than laughs.

In an interview with Variety's Awards Circuit Podcast, Busy Philipps and Paula Pell shared their perspective on the laugh-out-loud comedy and how it resonates far beyond how you might expect. Beneath the truly unmatched one-liners and mile-a-minute jokes flying left and right, Girls5eva really does have an empowering message about women following their dreams and making sense of new chapters in their lives as they age.

Philipps commended creator Meredith Scardino, executive producer Tina Fey, and all of the writers for the "hard jokes" and absurdity that make up the show's DNA and touched on the show's emotional resonance, especially how it's resonated with her personally:

"And yet, it’s also very grounded and has a lot to say about what it is to be a woman in this moment in time and of a certain age. And a woman trying to make their dreams come true. A woman trying to come to terms with the ending of their long term relationship and figuring out in their 40s who are they are. As as a person who is also in their early 40s, who has also found themselves divorced, I do think that there’s a thing that happens when you reach middle age where you do take stock of how other people’s opinions have influenced you. And whether or not that’s who you actually are and what you actually want to be."

Busy Philipps

She's 100% right about the universal themes the show explores in a unique way that only this show could. Girls5eva manages to pull off an impressive feat by balancing the show's heart with its over-the-top humor. It's not out of place when Dawn, Summer, Gloria, and Wickie take a beat to have a serious moment of self-discovery, but you know they will get right back to being the larger-than-life personalities we know and love. It's why I adore this show so, so much.

GIRLS5EVA. (L to R) Busy Philipps as Summer, Renée Elise Goldsberry as Wickie, Sara Bareilles as Dawn and Paula Pell as Gloria in Episode 306 of GIRLS5EVA. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023 /

Pell, too, shared her personal connection to the show's storytelling in relation to turning 60 and learning to tune out what others think and say. Gloria, her confidently outspoken character, doesn't have an issue with considering the opinions of others, though just like all of us, she does want to be accepted by her own community. Pell seems to have taken Gloria's confidence to heart:

"Those filters are falling off now a little bit. I used to be the most worried about what people think. And everything I said and did in my life. I was total codependent total people pleaser, and now I am really not at all. And I’m still a very kind person, but I just I just tell the truth."

Paul Pell

If you watched the show and wrote it off as a comedy that you didn't understand, or a comedy that's just a little too "weird," I would implore you to give it another shot and really take in what Philipps and Pell have shared about the show's humanity beneath the bells and whistles. And if you haven't watch it at all yet, maybe this perspective will inspire you to take the journey.

You will never walk away from an episode of Girls5eva without feeling like you can conquer anything. The show is such a special love letter to not only the power of female friendship but the unique experience of being a woman in any walk of life, no matter if your dreams are pop stardom, finding love, or simply being happy. And you get to laugh at the ludicrous shenanigans of the girl group and bop to their hilariously catchy songs along the way.

Watch Girls5eva seasons 1-3 only on Netflix (please!). Stay tuned for more news and updates about Netflix original series from Netflix Life!