Season 2 of Ginny & Georgia Deserves Praise For Its Depiction of Mental Health
Mental health is one of those subjects that needs to be handled delicately, especially in media, and season 2 of Ginny & Georgia does just that.
Season 2 of Ginny & Georgia premiered on Netflix on January 5th, starring Antonia Gentry and Brianne Howey as the titular characters.
Unlike season 1, this season dives deeper into the relationship between Ginny and Georgia and how that affects their romantic and platonic relationships. Season 1 felt more like a high school teen drama, whereas season 2 takes a step back to analyze the underlying issues between the two.
This season starts just two weeks after the end of season 1, with Ginny and her brother Austin (Diesel La Torraca) living with her dad, Zion (Nathan Mitchell), after running away from home. Eventually, Ginny confesses to her dad that she's self-harming, and he convinces her to go to therapy.
Ginny's plea for help introduces the season's central themes - mental health, depression, self-harm, and the importance of therapy. All the main characters are depicted as dealing with something that only the audience is privy to. Ginny was too scared and distrustful to tell Georgia about her self-harming. Georgia is such "a force" taking care of everyone else; she has no time to take care of herself against the new character Gil, Austin's dad. Marcus spent so much time loving and supporting Ginny that he couldn't focus on maintaining his mental health.
The best-acted scene in the season is when Georgia confronts Ginny about her self-harming and therapy. Through her genuine concern, anger, and disbelief, Georgia demands to see where Ginny has been hurting herself. I prepared to wince through my tears while waiting for the burn's reveal, but it never came. Ginny showed her scars off camera, and we only see Georgia's heartbreaking reaction. There was no need for shock value because the scene was already so emotional and impactful that a potentially triggering reveal was unnecessary.
What impressed and moved me was when Ginny and Georgia were in therapy. Despite her previous dislike for therapy, Georgia takes the session seriously. More importantly, the session provided the needed third-party mediation for the duo but was not the magical fix for all their relationship issues. They still had to be vulnerable and gain trust of one another, which ultimately improved their relationship over time.
Still, the best depiction of mental health growth and deterioration is in episodes 8 and 9. Through the stark contrast between Marcus's and Ginny's lived experiences throughout three days, we saw their mental health journeys. Episode 8 is from Marcus's perspective, starting with a monologue describing his spiral into depression. As viewers, we are drawn into his gloom alongside him, and it's palpable just how much he's trying and struggling to help himself.
Episode 9 shows the same three days as episode 8 but now from Ginny's perspective. Some of the shot-for-shot comparisons show where each character is mentally. Ginny is healing and working through her pain while Marcus is soaking in it. Although she's still met with obstacles, she has found poetry as a healthy coping mechanism to work through her emotions. The more Ginny heals, the more grateful she feels to have Marcus support her, but her healing makes Marcus feel unworthy of her love causing him to delve further into his depression.
When tv shows tackle mental health subjects, they have to teeter the thin line between artificial and triggering storytelling to find the sweet spot of authenticity. Season 2 of Ginny & Georgia found the balance and focused on how mental health can affect relationships and behaviors. Through each character, they reiterate that everyone is going through something we don't know about.