GIRLFRIENDS is a sophisticated comedy series that invites viewers into the lives of four professional African American women living in Los Angeles who are struggling with the weighty issues of life - men, love, money -- and more men. As they search for happiness in all its elusive forms, the four girlfriends rely on each other for support, reality checks, advice and for the laughter that everyone needs to make it in this crazy place we call the modern world.
Like Living Single and Sex & the City, Girlfriends captures the warm camaraderie (and competition) between good friends. Succinctly balancing comedy with real-life issues, the sitcom returns for a strong third season. Joan (Tracee Ellis Ross), Maya (Golden Brooks), Lynn (Persia White), and Toni (Jill Marie Jones) are all back and they are as sassy and conflicted as ever. Over the course of the year, one of the girlfriends will lose her man, while another marries the unlikely man of her dreams. Tears may be shed for some of the more poignant moments dealing with AIDS and fidelity, but there is much more laughter, courtesy of the sharp writing and the warm chemistry shared between the leads. All 25 episodes from season three, which aired during the 2002-2003 television season, are included in this four-disc set. And viewers can see how comfortably Ross has grown into her role as the capable, sensible mother hen of the group. Joan could've been played as a cool beauty, but Ross injects a dose of insecurity into the role that rings completely true. Yes, we can see that with her combination of looks and brains, she has every reason to be confident. But like many women, Joan isn't completely sure of her worth. When she begins dating an actor who wants to keep their relationship a secret--purportedly for business reasons--viewers can sympathize with her desire to go along with it, even though she doesn't really want to.
This season, Joan and Toni have patched up their differences, with Joan throwing Toni a party for her birthday. As it settles in that she no longer feels the age she has been claiming to be, Toni seeks the services of Dr. Todd Garrett, a Jewish plastic surgeon who (like most men) develops a crush on her. Oddly enough, Toni finds herself drawn to Todd as well, but also questions whether he views her as anything more than an exotic diversion. (The two-part season ending will help clear this up.) Meanwhile, Maya finds herself separated from her husband and hopeful that their bouts of makeup sex will bring them closer together. As for Lynn, she is forced into adulthood and has to find (and maintain) a job to pay off debts. She also addresses her attitude on sex and love when she falls for a guy who intends on remaining celibate for a very long time. Executive produced by Kelsey Grammer, Girlfriends has just enough drama to make the friends' lives believable. But it's their ability to laugh at their lives--and themselves--that make these girlfriends so watchable. --Jae-Ha Kim