PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Girlfriends: The Final Season

The series that was once dubbed “the black Sex and the City” for its insistent sexual themes is now almost devoid of characters who wish to capitalize on their sex appeal.

Girlfriends: The Final Season

Distributor: CBS
Cast: Tracee Ellis Ross, Golden Brooks, Persia White, Reggie Hayes, Keesha Sharp, Khalil Kain
Network: CW
Release Date: 2010-01-19

The L.A. girlfriends, Joan Clayton (Tracee Ellis Ross), Maya Wilkes (Golden Brooks), and Lynn Searcy (Persia White) are just as glamorous as ever in Girlfriends: The Final Season. However, the series that was once dubbed “the black Sex and the City” for its insistent sexual themes is now almost devoid of characters who wish to capitalize on their sex appeal. Comfortably situated in their 30s, the women of Girlfriends are simply not as randy as they once used to be. (For more on the sexuality of Girlfriends, please see my PopMatters review of Girlfriends: The Seventh Season.) As they return for an eighth and final season, it appears that Joan, Maya, and Lynn are getting older.

In Girlfriends: The Final Season, growing old is characterized by career success, engagements, marriage, and pregnancies. Aging also seems to correspond with a decrease in sexual activity. Despite the show’s decline in sexual content, however, there are still a few episodes that manage to humorously interrogate the characters’ sexuality.

“Adopt to Adapt”, for example, finds Joan missing her fiancée, Aaron (Richard T. Jones). A member of the National Guard, Aaron has been unexpectedly called to Iraq. When Joan confesses to honorary girlfriend, William (Reggie Hayes) that she has been fantasizing about other men, William refers to Joan’s longing as nothing more than an “itch”. This sets the stage for repartee on the benefits of “self-scratching”. Signaling, perhaps, a mellowing of character, Joan, who had no problem with “self-scratching” in the past, now finds herself unable to do so.

That the girlfriends aren’t as spry as they used to be is also the subject of “Save the Last Dance”. In this episode Lynn calls her friends out for being “old” because, rather than going out to party, one prefers to stay home and watch It’s Hip to Knit on television while sipping chamomile tea, and the other looks forward to a good night’s rest followed by an early morning excursion to Costco. To remind us of the characters’ more youthful days, the episode is full of ’80s and ’90s pop culture references, such as Morris Day, Taylor Dane and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. In the end, Joan and Maya decide to meet up with Lynn at a nightclub and spend most of the night snacking on french-fries, while laying on a divan located in the middle of the dance floor.

Girlfriends: The Final Season also continues the series’ established tradition of touching upon political themes. Topics this season include the US occupation of Iraq, adoption, and going green, to name a few. There are, of course, requisite references to racial politics, as well. In “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find Out What it Means to William” William, who is partner in a law firm, is faced with subtle discrimination in the workplace. After his pregnant wife, Monica encourages him to stand up for himself, William decides that he will go one step further and quit.

Back at the office, however, William neither stands up for himself, nor quits. Though it’s clear that William is acting as a responsible father-to-be who doesn’t want to risk his family’s financial security, the resolution might cause some to wonder if William is a sellout. In any event, the message is that though much has changed in terms of race relations in America—despite socioeconomic advancement—African Americans still endure indignities on account of race.

In another racially themed episode, “What’s Black-a-Lackin’?”, Lynn comes down with a case of the biracial blues. The episode, which originally aired in February 2008, might well have been a reference to the 2008 presidential contest and conversations regarding the racial identity of candidate Barrack Obama. Lack of black authenticity is a charge commonly leveled against biracial black people, and it was certainly leveled against Obama during his campaign. In “What’s Black-a-Lackin’?”, Lynn is also found to be not 'black enough'.

With her music career in full swing, Lynn has landed a record deal with Dirty Girl Records. Once signed, however, Lynn is contrasted with R&B singer, Chrisette Michele, who makes a cameo appearance as Dirty Girl’s newest talent. While Michelle’s recording is “fast-tracked”, Lynn’s career is put on hold because the company’s white executives are not sure how to market her biracial identity.

After the Writers’ Strike, Girlfriends: The Final Season was canceled. Consequently, there are only 13 episodes on this two-disc set. The special feature, “Away Game”, is the first episode of the television series, The Game, which revolves around the lives of NFL women. The brainchild of Girlfriends’ creator, Mara Brock Akil, The Game is a spinoff from Girlfriends: The Sixth Season. The Game stars Tia Mowry as Joan’s cousin, Melanie Barnett. Melanie is engaged to Derwin Davis (Pooch Hall), rookie NFL player for the fictional San Diego Sabers. The Game premiered in 2006.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Jefferson Starship Soar Again with 'Mother of the Sun'

Rock goddess Cathy Richardson speaks out about honoring the legacy of Paul Kantner, songwriting with Grace Slick for the Jefferson Starship's new album, and rocking the vote to dump Trump.


Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (excerpt)

Ikette Claudia Lennear, rumored to be the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar", often felt disconnect between her identity as an African American woman and her engagement with rock. Enjoy this excerpt of cultural anthropologist Maureen Mahon's Black Diamond Queens, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maureen Mahon

Ane Brun's 'After the Great Storm' Features Some of Her Best Songs

The irresolution and unease that pervade Ane Brun's After the Great Storm perfectly mirror the anxiety and social isolation that have engulfed this post-pandemic era.


'Long Hot Summers' Is a Lavish, Long-Overdue Boxed Set from the Style Council

Paul Weller's misunderstood, underappreciated '80s soul-pop outfit the Style Council are the subject of a multi-disc collection that's perfect for the uninitiated and a great nostalgia trip for those who heard it all the first time.


ABBA's 'Super Trouper' at 40

ABBA's winning – if slightly uneven – seventh album Super Trouper is reissued on 45rpm vinyl for its birthday.


The Mountain Goats Find New Sonic Inspiration on 'Getting Into Knives'

John Darnielle explores new sounds on his 19th studio album as the Mountain Goats—and creates his best record in years with Getting Into Knives.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electrosoul.


Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.


Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.


Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".


John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.


The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.


Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.


In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.


Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.