Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso’s 2014 autobiography #Girlboss was a huge success, so much so that “Pitch Perfect” writer Kay Cannon created a Netflix series “loosely” based on Amoruso’s story. But despite the book’s appeal, after the show’s April premiere, TV critics weren’t jazzed about the “unlikable” fictional Sophia (Britt Robertson), and wondered why the character wasn’t given more to work with.
“’Girlboss’ aggressively wants you to like it,” Vulture’s Jen Chaney wrote. “Actually, to be more accurate, this Netflix series aggressively wants you to like its main character, precisely because she’s the kind of rebel who does not care if you like her.”
The show’s supporting star Ellie Reed ― who pretty much steals every scene she’s in as Sophia’s best friend, Annie ― doesn’t understand the criticism, considering it basically implies that a flawed woman can’t entertain as much as, say, a flawed man.
“I was a little surprised when people reacted as harshly as they did just because, in my experience, there have been so many unlikable male characters on tons of TV shows,” Reed told HuffPost during a Build Series interview. “So, perhaps naively, I never thought it would be such a big deal to watch a woman ― a girl ― come up and make mistakes, and treat people like crap, and do all the things these male characters do ― these adult male characters. I just never thought it would be that big of a deal. I thought, ‘Oh, yeah, I know girls like this. Everybody does. Everybody’s behaved like that at some point.’”
Reed believes the reviews say a little bit more about the culture we live in rather than “Girlboss” itself. Can audiences not handle watching a woman who has “some issues,” as Reed explains it?
“If they can’t handle that then that’s pretty sad,” she asserted, “and it doesn’t leave a lot of room for girls who are trying to do something like Sophia ― trying to make their mark on the world and be really original. It doesn’t feel like they get any room to make mistakes, and I think that’s sad.”
To see more of what Ellie Reed had to say about “Girlboss,” watch the full Build Series interview below. The show is now streaming on Netflix.