About six episodes into Starz’s latest series The Girlfriend Experience something clicked.
Christine Reade (Riley Keough) is a second year law student, intern at a major law firm (with a curious and, it’s suggested fake, fascination with patent law) and a big bucks escort.
Listen to Laura Brodnik and Rosie Waterland break down The Girlfriend Experience. (Post continues after audio.)
Escort Christine is largely a vessel for other people’s expectations, desires and feelings. In her day to day life she performs a series of roles, from student to sister to sex worker.
In the very first episode, we see Christine perform for potential employers – she’s studied hard and she knows all the right things to say about the law firms she interviews with.
One firm calls her in for a shot at an internship, and then mocks her professed interest in their specialty field of law – medical patents.
They hire her anyway, which reinforces that how well you pretend determines whether you succeed or fail.
Christine’s escort friend Avery doesn’t get an internship anywhere, and that’s clearly because she’s stopped pretending to care.
The Girlfriend Experience, a good friend put forward, is really trashy.
“It’s just so ridiculous. When she’s at work her hair is up in a bun and then she’s all fancy with this flowing mane and it’s just…” she trailed off before the sentence finished.
I hadn’t watched it, and so I filed it under maybe later, after I’ve finished The Good Wife, Janet King, Broad City and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Then Matt Zoller Seitz, a TV critic who I usually find myself agreeing with, wrote a rave review. “I think it’s easily one of the best shows of the year, and a major work by everyone involved,” he said.