Oh, Netflix, what have you done to us? You've given us another adolescent series that leaves us with so many questions. On the surface, Ginny & Georgia is yet another high school show reminding us that we are so happy Snapchat wasn't around when we were growing up. But rip through the frivolous layers of extracurricular activities, acronym clique names, and petty teens, and it reveals itself to be a story about a young biracial woman struggling with her identity while also touching upon self-harm, body image, and complex first sexual experiences.
In the series premiere, we meet almost-16-year-old Ginny Miller (Antonia Gentry), her gorgeous mother Georgia (Brianne Howey), and her younger brother Austin (Diesel La Torraca) as they're picking up and moving to Wellsbury, MA. It doesn't take long before we find out that picking up and moving is nothing new to the Miller family, but things in Wellsbury feel different for them. Ginny has a group of friends! Her first boyfriend! And an adolescent attitude that we have all admittedly been privy to. It feels like for the first time, Ginny is on top of the world. But what goes up, must come down, and with that comes some decisions.
Upon pulling into Wellsbury, Ginny is instantly smitten with Marcus Baker (Felix Mallard), the handsome bad boy who just happens to live across the street. And on the first day of school, she locks eyes with Hunter Chen (Mason Temple), the also-handsome, straight-A student in her new group of friends. Like any series that takes place in high school, Ginny & Georgia gives us a good old-fashioned love triangle. However, in this case, the question is not which guy should Ginny end up with, but rather which guy is less terrible for Ginny? Since there is truly no right answer here and we can all appreciate the drama that is being a teenager, two POPSUGAR editors have come together to dispute the Hunter-Ginny-Marcus affair like the mature adults that we are. Are you Team Marcus or Team Hunter? Let's dive into the latest edition of Ship Wars.
Yerin Kim: Let me just start by saying I know I'm of the unpopular opinion here. But to me, Marcus vs. Hunter is the age-old debate of Big vs. Aidan, Peter Kavinsky vs. John Ambrose, hot bad boy vs. nice guy . . . and damn, I just want us to choose the nice guy for once. Maybe they're not the steamiest couple, but if we're simply talking who's better for Ginny, I stand firmly in the Team Hunter camp. I do have conflicting feelings about Hunter as a character because, yes, he was cringey at times, but there's no denying he was a great boyfriend. He's the boyfriend that high schoolers dream of having. He is the actual embodiment of "If he wanted to, he would," aka TikTok's number-one piece of dating advice. I admit, his over-the-top birthday surprise was a lot and not my preferred display of affection, but Ginny loved it and it made her feel so special. Bottom line is, Hunter made Ginny feel wanted and was more than open about his love for her, whereas Marcus was constantly being shady, cheating (!) on his (sort of) girlfriend, and overall being scared to commit.
Perri Konecky: Damn, bringing TikTok into this!? OK!! So, yes, Hunter was the better "boyfriend," but that's only because Marcus never was her boyfriend. Hunter and Ginny's entire relationship felt forced from the start. The new girl dates the popular boy while being in love with the bad boy — it's a tale as old as time. Sure, they had the respectable timeline and a cute conversation where Hunter asks Ginny to be official, but every moment of their relationship was cringe-worthy. If Hunter was so stressed being at home with his guitar and his SAT prep, how did he have the time to organize a flash mob for her birthday? And I'm not even convinced Ginny liked it, he just consistently made it all about him while trying to make it appear to be for her (i.e. her birthday, the song). Hunter was a good guy, but he was too caught up in grand gestures to appear like a good boyfriend without actually getting to know Ginny. He's a good dude with a big heart, I just don't think he was the right person for Ginny. And that's not to say that Marcus was either, but the latter's romantic connection with Ginny was undeniable.
YK: You're right, I can agree that Ginny and Marcus had better chemistry, especially leading up to their first hookup. But any chance of romance is ruined for me when Ginny realizes Marcus is in a relationship or, since he refuses to commit to Padma, when she realizes he's not exactly available. To that point, judging by the way he treated Padma, I'm also not very convinced that he'd be a good boyfriend given the chance. I know he wasn't that into her, but come on, she definitely deserved more respect. I wouldn't trust a guy like that to be an amazing boyfriend to anyone, even if it's someone he really loves, like Ginny. There are some real sparks between Ginny and Marcus — fine, more so than between her and Hunter — but I do think the forbidden nature and secrecy of their relationship made their connection seem more thrilling, and their moments together that much more intimate and exciting. Hunter may not have the pull of a hot bad boy, but I don't think Ginny and Hunter had zero chemistry. They shared some cute moments (I thought the Battle of the Bands song and birthday dance were adorable and thoughtful!). But more importantly, Ginny seemed to feel genuinely comfortable and secure around Hunter, which is exactly what she was looking for and needed after so much instability in her life.
PK: Yes, Hunter did make Ginny feel special, but their whole relationship was so superficial. She liked the attention of her "first boyfriend" more than she liked Hunter as a human. And I felt like it was the opposite for Marcus, she genuinely liked him as a human more than she liked the reality of what their relationship was. Who am I to say what "chemistry" even looks like at that age, but I can tell you it's not a Snapchat video with a dog filter.
YK: That's a fair point, those Snapchats were not it. Ginny might have liked Marcus more as a human, but I think in the way that we're often attracted to people we know are bad news. Also, I will just never get over how Marcus treated Ginny after the first time they had sex and how inconsiderate he was about the entire situation. Yes, Marcus's character evolved throughout the season, but Ginny was truly so hurt by that experience, and no matter how much he redeemed himself, I don't think Marcus's concern and care for Ginny towards the end of the season erases the fact that he was trash in the beginning. Hunter, on the other hand, was beyond respectful and understanding during his and Ginny's first sexual experience.
PK: You are absolutely correct here and I have nothing to say to defend Marcus regarding his lack of respect for Ginny and their first sexual experience. Not only did he not tell her that it was also his first time, which would naturally assuage some of her nerves that they were experiencing this together, but did he even say one word to her and acknowledge the gravity of her experience? (Aside from asking her to keep it on the DL, of course.) Hunter wins this point by a long shot. I, too, cannot look past those first interactions, regardless of his character development.
YK: Yes! And not only that, but when Ginny started dating Hunter and seemed to enjoy their relationship, Marcus was such a bad sport. I'm not going to lie, I thought the scenes where Marcus rolled his eyes or groaned at Hunter's grand gestures were hilarious, but I was also like, "Sorry buddy, you missed your chance, can you focus on your actual girlfriend now?" I also think Hunter is a positive influence on Ginny overall. He's a great student who also likes to have fun, pushing Ginny to think about her future. There's a reason everyone loves him.
"He recognized his own trauma and used it to strengthen their relationship through open communication."
PK: True, and I agree that Hunter was a good influence, but that academic drive is also what drove them apart. Hunter saw Ginny as a threat to his straight-A, overachieving reputation, and the look on his face while she was reciting her essay could attest to that. He was wowed by her, as was every single viewer, but he was not willing to sacrifice his superlative as "best to bring home to mom and dad" to let Ginny shine academically. That's not to say that Marcus was a positive influence, but he knew her on a far deeper level than Hunter did. He recognized his trauma and used it to strengthen their relationship through open communication — such as asking her about self-harm and letting her know he was there for her. Of course, this was all in secrecy behind Maxine's back, but the deepest level that Hunter and Ginny reached was talking about college application requirements at his family dinner table, and that dinner conversation was one big cringe.
"The way she hid their relationship from everyone is pretty telling."
YK: I agree, Hunter was wrong to say he "deserved" to win the essay contest and ignore the undeniable fact that Mr. Gitten's disdain for Ginny was certainly rooted in anti-Blackness. That uncomfortable conversation led to the problematic "Oppression Olympics" scene where Ginny and Hunter accuse each other of being "too white" and not Asian or Black enough. It was extremely cringey, and Hunter completely invalidated and failed to begin to understand Ginny's lived experience as a biracial Black girl. That was Hunter's downfall for me and, unfortunately, we didn't see a more productive discussion between the two. However, to your point that Hunter's academic drive drove them apart, I don't think his reaction was from a competitive standpoint. I think he liked that she was smart and opinionated — in fact, he fell in love with her when she called out the syllabus full of white men on her first day of school. To your other point, you're right, Marcus did get to know Ginny more deeply and he was there for her, but I think the way she hid their relationship from everyone is pretty telling. And fine, let's say she had to keep it a secret from Max and the rest of MANG (LOL), but her mom, who she's always opening up to? Ginny knows there's a reason for her mom to disapprove of Marcus, while she's quite comfortable opening up to Georgia about her relationship with Hunter.
PK: I don't think that Ginny was hiding her relationship with Marcus from Georgia, I think she was hiding it from herself (Max and Hunter, too, of course), and as painful as it was to keep something this big to herself, telling her mother would make it a reality, and it was a reality she wasn't ready to accept. Haven't all of our moms tried to set us up with one of their friends' kids? I think if Ginny went about the situation properly, which she did not do, both Georgia and Ellen would've enjoyed the fact that their kids cared so deeply for each other. And yes, I agree that Hunter's downfall was building up through those last few episodes, but he ruined any chance at redemption during said "Oppression Olympics" scene. The things he said were horrific and downright unforgivable, and he did not for a second pause to think about the deep pain his words were evoking. The fact that the show didn't take the time to check in on Ginny's emotions following that conversation was just wrong.
YK: I agree. Addressing the microaggressions and sometimes blatant racism Ginny experienced was important, and I wish the show handled this conversation in a more productive, less cringe way that validated Ginny's experience and explored their differences and shared experiences as biracial teens. Though, regardless of how awful that argument was, there certainly needed to be some kind of communication (or breakup!) before Ginny went ahead and hooked up with Marcus. To be honest, based on the way Ginny spirals towards the end of the season, I don't know if she should be in any sort of relationship. A future with Hunter doesn't seem to be a possibility anyway, judging by how (understandably) hurt he was when he found out about Ginny's cheating, and I don't know if Ginny and Marcus's relationship can recover from that tumultuous outing. I'm just saying, Ginny and Hunter could have become a really strong couple had she given it more of a chance, but she didn't. And again, we're looking at who's less terrible here, right? In that case, I firmly believe Hunter deserved better. Assuming that Ginny doesn't actually skip town, here's hoping she takes some time to process all that happened with her mom, friends, and the messy love triangle, and moves forward on her own for a while.
PK: Well, there you have it! Of course, neither relationship was perfect, and like many scripted high school romances, these two pairings were about as dramatic, tumultuous, and over-the-top as it gets. From the way her relationship ends with both of these guys and the way she ends the season herself, we hope that if there is a season two, Ginny will take some time to work on herself, rebuild her relationship with Georgia, and reflect on what she wants in a partner. It would be great to see her offer a sincere apology to Hunter, Max, MAN, and Bracia. But again, we're talking about a 16-year-old here, so we'll just have to stay tuned.