Produced by Kelsey Grammer ("Frasier") and created by Mara Brock Akil, "Girlfriends" is a NAACP Image Award and Emmy Award nominated sitcom that started in 2000 on the WB (now CW) network. Unfortunately, the series (one of only a few series left in primetime that featured an all African-American cast), was one that suffered most from the recent writer's strike, as when the strike ended this past week, it was decided by the network to focus its resources on shows that were in plans to return (this was to be the last season for "Girlfriends"), so fans of the show got the bad news that the remaining episodes of the season wouldn't be produced. However, spin-off "The Game" will carry forward.
While fans will miss "Girlfriends", DVD sets do allow fans to revisit old episodes and newcomers to catch up with the series. The show focused on the lives of four African-American women, as well as their male friend. The main character is Joan Clayton (Tracee Ellis Ross), a lawyer who became friends with her secretary, Maya Wilkes (Golden Brooks). Joan's other friends include college pal Lynn Searcy (Persia White) and real estate agent Toni Childs (Jill Marie Jones). The male component of the series is Joan's co-worker, William Dent (Reggie Hayes).
The series remains an enjoyable mix of comedy and drama as it follows the women and their personal and professional difficulties and successes. The third season of the series even improves upon the show's ability to move between laughs and drama, as the series appears to take a few more steps into dramatic territory in this third season as the cast has become more comfortable with their characters at this point.
There's certainly some laughs throughout the season, as well - such as Joan bonding with a guy she met at a "desperation party" over their mutual enjoyment of Costco ("Tonight, I sunk to a whole new low. I tried to build a future with a man because we were both Costco members.") There's also a nice scattering of little throwaway bits of dialogue that get a chuckle ("Listen Monica, we have your number." "Then you should have called first."; "My French toast tastes Polish."), as well.
The show's performances are terrific and are one of the reason the show is able to balance laughs and emotional moments as well as it does. Ross is especially winning and likable as Joan, but she's backed up superbly by Brooks, White and Jones. The women all have quite good chemistry with one another, and while the show's dialogue isn't without a couple of clunkers here-and-there, the group of women do bounce dialogue off one another in energetic enough fashion to smooth over some rough patches.
The show is very entertaining, but the disappointment here is that the back of the box does note that some episodes have been edited and some music has been changed (my guess is that some scenes have been edited due to music rights.)
45. 3- 1 047 23 Sep 02 Coming to Terms
46. 3- 2 045 30 Sep 02 Getting Our Act Together
47. 3- 3 048 7 Oct 02 Secrets and Eyes
48. 3- 4 051 14 Oct 02 Star Craving Mad
49. 3- 5 050 21 Oct 02 Don't Leave Me a Loan
50. 3- 6 049 28 Oct 02 Invasion of the Gold Digger
51. 3- 7 052 4 Nov 02 Blinded by the Lights
52. 3- 8 046 11 Nov 02 Handling Baggage
53. 3- 9 053 18 Nov 02 The Mommy Returns
54. 3-10 054 25 Nov 02 A Little Romance
55. 3-11 055 16 Dec 02 Santa v. Monica
56. 3-12 056 6 Jan 03 Take This Poem and Call Me in the Morning
57. 3-13 057 7 Jan 03 Howdy Partner
58. 3-14 062 3 Feb 03 Single Mama Drama
59. 3-15 058 10 Feb 03 Happy Valentine's Day...Baby?
60. 3-16 059 17 Feb 03 Sex, Lies and Books
61. 3-17 060 24 Feb 03 A Stiff Good Man Is Easy to Find
62. 3-18 061 24 Feb 03 Runaway Bridesmaid
63. 3-19 063 17 Mar 03 The Pact
64. 3-20 064 21 Apr 03 Where Everyone Knows My Name
65. 3-21 065 28 Apr 03 Too Much Sharin'
66. 3-22 068 5 May 03 Blood Is Thicker Than Liquor (a.k.a. Blood Is Thicker Than Water)
67. 3-23 069 12 May 03 The Fast Track & the Furious
68. 3-24 066 19 May 03 Wedding (1)
69. 3-25 067 19 May 03 Wedding (2)
VIDEO: "Girlfriends" is presented by Paramount in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality is excellent, as the picture appeared crisp and well-defined throughout the presentation, with only a couple of minor instances of softness on rare occasions. No edge enhancement was seen and only some very slight traces of artifacting were seen very infrequently. Colors appeared spot-on, with good saturation and no smearing or other concerns.
SOUND: Crisp, clear stereo soundtrack.
EXTRAS: A couple of brief featurettes: "It's What You Wear That Counts" and "An Invitation Inside 'The Wedding'" (a look into the making of the season finale.)
Final Thoughts: While the slight extras and music edits are disappointing, the audio/video presentation on this set is solid and the show itself remains entertaining. Recommended.