This show is absolutely hysterical. I had more laugh-out-loud moments while watching this season that I can count. Brought to us by Kelsey Grammer (Cheers, Frasier), Girlfriends is a comedy about a group of four stylish and sophisticated black women living in Los Angeles and how they tackle the ups and downs of life and love.
Joan (Tracee Ellis Ross, daughter of Diana Ross) is a successful attorney, but one who is filled with self-doubt and is the consummate people-pleaser. Her best friend since childhood is Toni Childs, real estate extraordinaire who is completely selfish, self-absorbed and childish. She speaks of herself in the third person constantly, but she is pretty funny to watch. They are joined by Mara (Golden Brooks), who is Joan's razor-tongued secretary and the only one of the group who is married and has a child. Finally, there is sexually-liberated Lynn, who has five college degrees and no job.
Having not seen the first season, I was a bit lost at first, but the inital episode of Season Two does a fair job of catching you up. Toni cheated on her fiance and Joan accidentally spilled the beans, so we start the season with Joan walking into her home to find her boyfriend Sean, a recovering sex-addict, wrapped in a towel and her best friend Toni, scantily clad on the couch. Joan immediately realizes that Toni was trying to set her up and hurt her and this begins a major story arc for the season - Toni is bad for Joan and she needs to be cut out of her life.
As things progress, Joan begins losing her hair from the stress, seeks the assistance of a therapist (Fred Willard) and eventually does kick Toni out of her life. A pivotal episode occurs when Toni asks for Joan and God's forgiveness in a rather moving church meeting. Joan will need Toni's support, as well as the other girl's, as she breaks up with Sean mid-season. As the girls reconcile, Mara begins to have troubles in her marriage. Her husband, Darnelle, is a blue-collar man and doesn't like her hanging around with her girlfriends because he says she is changing. He doesn't want her to go back to school because he wants to start his own business first. All of the turmoil sends Mara into the figurative arms of a handsome newcomer to L.A., Stan. Over the course of several episodes, Mara develops strong feelings for Stan, and is emotionally cheating on Darnelle. Eventually they kiss and he is a bad kisser, so she dumps him, getting Lynn to do her dirty work by telling him. Stan retaliates by becoming best buddies with Darnelle and is constantly threatening to tell Mara's secret. Eventually, Stan decides to leave her be, but not before the riveting season finale where Darnelle learns of Mara's unfaithfulness and kicks her out.
In the meantime, Toni reconnects with her fiance only to find him sleeping with another woman in her own home. Turns out he just wanted to hurt her and get his revenge. It is at this point that she and Joan reconcile. Lynn, after meeting Voscoe in Jamaica at the end of Season One, brings him to L.A., sneaking him into Joan's house to live. They eventually get caught and move into Mara's mother's garage. Lynn gets a job at the sushi place the girls frequent and Voscoe never gets a job, much to Lynn's chagrin.
The funniest character in the show is William (Reggie Hayes), a straight-laced Bryant Gumble type who is an attorney working with Joan. He has his share of turmoil as he plans his wedding to Yvonne, demands that she quit her job as a cop, buys a house to surprise her, and eventually gets left at the alter by her. This guy is a complete scene-stealer and a brilliant comedic actor.
The chemistry between all of the actors is just amazing and the dialogue is fantastic. This show pulls no punches when it comes to the raunchy humor, but it's funny stuff if you are an adult. In fact, it's freakin' hilarious. There are a couple of special features that are nice for fans that tell you how the show got started, how the actors were selected and talks about the pivotal episode, Trick or Truth, where Toni's ex-fiance exacts his revenge. The thing with Girlfriends is that they will mention something in one episode and keep referring back to it in future episodes. So when you miss a week or two, you miss a lot.
Even if you are not a fan of the show, Girlfriends: The Second Season is worth picking up if you enjoy funny, sophisticated and sometimes raunchy humor. Highly recommended.