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Girlfriends is an Americanmarker sitcom that premiered on September 11, 2000 on UPN and aired on UPN's successor network, The CW, before being cancelled in 2008. The final episode aired on February 11, 2008. The theme song to Girlfriends is sung by R&B musician Angie Stone. The show was created by Mara Brock Akil and produced by Kelsey Grammer and CBS Paramount Television.

When Girlfriends returned in fall 2007 for its eighth season in the same time slot, it became the longest-running live-action sitcom on network television at the time, as well as one of the highest-rated scripted shows on television among African American adults and women 18-34, including its spin-off The Game.

Overview

The series debuted on UPN on September 11, 2000. After airing several years on the network at 9/8c on Mondays, The CW moved Girlfriends to Sundays at 8/7c. On October 9, 2006, Girlfriends, along with The CW's other African American programs, moved back to Mondays. It aired in its original time slot.

When UPN was still airing new episodes of Girlfriends, the network began airing reruns on a weekday basis. When the show moved to The CW network after UPN conglomerated together with The WB network, My Network TV, which was created to take over UPN's former channel affiliate, picked up the rights to air the reruns of Girlfriends for a while and was discontinued. WEtv, a cable network currently has exclusive rights to airing extremely limited rerun episodes and imposed restrictions to not allow any broadcast television networks in the U.S. from buying the rights to air the reruns again.

Premise and pilot episode

The show's original premise centered around the lives of four African American women in Los Angeles, Californiamarker.When production began, it featured Tracee Ellis Ross as Joan Clayton and Golden Brooks as Maya Wilkes, as well as actress Persia White as Lynn Searcy and Jill Marie Jones as Toni Childs.

Characters

Main characters

  • Joan Carol Clayton (Tracee Ellis Ross) is considered the unofficial "den mother" of the group, as she frequently looks out for her friends even at the expense of dealing with her own problems. Joan met Toni when they were children, met Lynn in college, and became friends with Maya and William while working at a law firm. She has always had problems with relationships and gave up her law career to pursue her dreams. For much of Season 7, Joan mourned the loss of her friendship with Toni. At the end of Season 7, she became engaged to Aaron Waters. She moved into his home while Aaron was deployed to Iraq and rented her house to Lynn.


  • Maya Denise Wilkes (Golden Brooks) is a former assistant to Joan and a housewife/author. Maya is from Compton, Californiamarker and is married to her high school sweetheart, Darnell. They have one child, Jabari. Maya is the sassiest of the group, and is often at odds with Toni over her ego-driven lifestyle. She is a devoted wife and mother, and is frequently depicted with stronger religious convictions than the rest of the group. Maya is the most "working class" member of the group, especially in earlier seasons of the series. In the first few seasons Maya was more obviously "from the hood", with the associated stereotyped speech and mannerisms. However, as she becomes more successful and interacts more extensively with the legal and publishing industries, she exhibits fewer stereotypes; while still obviously from a different social background as the rest of the group, she is no longer as caricatured. In early seasons, Maya's marriage to Darnell imploded after she had an emotional affair with an acquaintance. Later, after she launches a career as a self-help author, they reunite. In Season 8, the couple endure a miscarriage.


  • Lynn Ann Searcy (Persia White) was Joan and Toni's roommate at UCLAmarker and lived with Joan for eight years before the series begins. Lynn holds five post-graduate degrees. Born to a black father and a bipolar white mother who comes from a wealthy family, Lynn was adopted by a white family in Seattle. She did not embrace her black background until attending college, where she met Joan and Toni. When Joan decides it is time for Lynn to move out of her home, Lynn reluctantly becomes more independent by taking on various, mostly menial job and moving into her own apartment. She produces a documentary on the HIV/AIDS pandemic, focusing on African-American women. While Lynn is depicted as the most sexually adventurous of the group (with frequent mentions of one-night stands, group sex, and sex toys), she also dates frequently. She is most attracted to artistic and spiritual men, and over the course of the series has relationships with a poet, a pastor, and a musician (the recording artist Tricky). After dating Tricky, she discovers that music is her passion, and starts a band called Indigo Sky. Lynn is often considered the bohemian of the group, due to her carefree nature and down to earth personality.


  • Antoinette "Toni" Marie Childs Garrett (Jill Marie Jones) had been Joan's friend since childhood, and they went to college at UCLAmarker together. Toni grew up in a poor farm family with an alcoholic mother in Fresno, California. Toni is considered the materialistic and self-centered one of her girlfriends and is the self-proclaimed "cute one" of the group. During the first season of the show she despises Maya, whom she considers a lower-class intruder. Toni is a real estate agent who eventually opens her own brokerage. Toni unexpectedly finds love with Todd Garrett, a white, Jewish plastic surgeon, whom she eventually marries after a short courtship. After a rocky year-long marriage, the two separate after Todd moves to New York. They divorce shortly after the birth of their daughter, Morgan Garrett. Raising an infant as a single mother raises new issues for Toni's self-indulgent personality, but she finds a way to balance her career and her parental responsibilities. After a protracted custody battle, she and Todd agree to settle their differences for the sake of their daughter. She moves to New York so that Morgan can be closer to her father, and is not a major part of Seasons 7 or 8.


  • William Jerrowme Dent (Reggie Hayes) is the girl's closest male friend. He is senior partner at Goldberg, Swedelson, McDonald and Lee. He is portrayed as somewhat of a "mama's boy" but possesses self-confidence and a dry sense of humor. After being left at the wedding altar by the woman he loved, Yvonne, he reluctantly gets back into the groove of dating, including the at-times vicious Monica Charles Brooks and senior partner Sharon Upton Farley. He later realizes that Joan is the right woman for him, but after three months of courting, the two end their relationship. He is also co-owner of the J-Spot restaurant with Joan. He is currently working on his marriage with Monica Charles Brooks. According to his mother, his middle name is spelled with two "R"s, and a silent "W".


  • Monica Charles Brooks-Dent (Keesha Sharp) is William's wife. All four of the girlfriends hated her until season 7 (Joan comes to see her vulnerable side and becomes her friend, and Toni moves to New York at the end of the sixth season.) In the seventh season, they slowly and later fully accept Monica as their friend as Monica does the same. Although engaged to William, the two date twice before; they meet at a bar the first time. Since the last time William proposes to her in Monaco, he has occasionally had doubts about ever doing so. Eventually he marries her, but on their wedding day he has too much to drink and confesses that he has had and still has doubts about marrying her. Monica leaves William in season 7 but returns shortly after the girlfriends go to Chicago to persuade her to get back together with William. On their visit, they discover that Monica, due to her father's dementia and her mother's power of attorney, has been cut off from her family fortune, so Joan offers Monica a job at the J-Spot. William is thrilled about Monica's return until she demands half of what he earned while they were married. They manage to slowly rebuild their relationship but constantly clash at the J-Spot. In the season 7 finale, they get back together. She is now pregnant. In Season 8, Monica is seen spending more time with the other three girlfriends, particularly Joan.


  • Darnell Leroy Wilkes (Flex Alexander Season 1, Khalil Kain Season 2+) is Maya's husband. He and Maya married at a young age and had Jabari. Darnell was an airport baggage handler, before becoming a mechanic at a local car repair shop. For a while, he was a NASCAR pit crew mechanic. After Maya's affair with Stan Wright the two divorce. He dated a woman named Lena (Chenoa Maxwell) whom Maya disliked because she still had feelings for Darnell. At Lena and Darnell's wedding Maya professed her love for Darnell. The two reconcile and begin living together again in season seven. In the end of season 7 Darnell accepts an offer to buy back his garage and get Maya and Jabari a new house in L.A.


Minor characters

  • Jabari Darnell Wilkes: (played by: Seasons 1-6 Tanner Scott Richards, season 7-8 KendrĂ© Berry) is Maya and Darnell's son. He was born when Maya was only sixteen years old. A running gag in the series is Toni's habit of mispronouncing his name by calling him names such as Jumanji, Gymboree, Jujube, Jacuzzi, Djibutimarker, Jabooboo, Jafifi, Jamiroquai, Jimmy Crack Corn, Jungle Jim, Juwanna Mann, Jeep Cherokee, Jolly Rancher and Jam On It. Toni has said his name correctly only twice. He was depicted to be a sweet innocent child but once he entered his teen years he seemed to be a little more rebellious and dimwitted.
  • Jeanette Woods: (played by Charmin Lee) is Maya's no-nonsense mother who won't hesitate to put a switch to her adult daughter. She babysat Jabari while he was younger, and also rented out her garage for Lynn and her then- boyfriend Vosco to live after Joan kicked her out of her house. She initially took an instant dislike to Joan's "siddity" behavior towards Maya's style (also labeling Joan as "classless" and "egregious" as Maya does), but eventually grew to accept her. She and Maya also butt heads when she decides to sell her home to move in with her boyfriend Earl (whom Maya doesn't like). Jeanette was seen throughout Seasons 1 - 7.
  • Ronnie: (played by Lamont Johnson) is Maya's cousin and hair stylist. In the series he helped sell her semi-biographical book "Oh Hell Yes!" He owns two beauty salons called Situations and Situations Deux. He is last seen at the ending of season 7 as Aaron proposed to Joan.
  • Peaches: (played by Shawn Harrison) plays Ronnie's boyfriend. He is a hair stylist at Situations and had a short stint as Joan's assistant and temporary confidante after Maya goes to work as William's secretary after William becomes Senior Partner. Peaches is last seen at the ending of season 7 as Aaron proposes to Joan.
  • Davis Hamilton: (played by Randy J. Goodwin) owner and operator of the girls' favorite restaurant/hangout spot, 847 (Season 1). He and Joan flirted with each other, and almost went away for a romantic weekend while both were involved with other people. However, during Season 4, in the aftermath of Joan's breakup with Brock, she runs into Davis at a movie theater. She learns that Davis had lost the restaurant and also ended his relationship with his fiancee'. They talk about how they missed the opportunity to start a relationship, and ultimately decide to just remain friends.


Guest appearances





Cast departures and changes

Jill Marie Jones left the show at the end of Season 6. Akil stated, "I would love for her (Jones) to come back, but Jill doesn't want to return. I don't know 100% why she made this decision. She didn't tell me. All she said when we talked was that she felt it was time for her to move on. The door is not closed. We've asked her to come back and have offered different ways for her to return. But I completely wish her well. There's no drama involved." The show will now deal with Toni's loss through Joan's struggles.

In a December 2007 interview with Wilson Morales, he asked Jill if she thought the character Toni had run her course. JMJ responded:

Richard T. Jones was featured in an early episode, which set up the premise that Aaron, a National Guard member, was called to Iraq. When AOL Black Voices columnist Jawn Murray asked Akil if "Ross' character Joan will be dumped again?" Akil responded: "Who's to say I'm getting rid of [the] Richard T. Jones [character]? Don't underestimate me!"

Main crew

Executive Producers: Kelsey Grammer, Mara Brock Akil. Co-Executive Producers: Michael Kaplan and Regina Hicks (occasional writer). Supervising Producer: Norman Vance Jr. Producer: Dan Dugan. Co-Producers: Mary Fuento, Tim Edwards. Consulting Producers: Mark Brown, Dee LaDuke. Head Writers: Karin Gist, Veronica Chambers, Michelle & Kevin Marburger

Episode list

Special episodes

# Airdate Title Overview
0 Unaired Pilot Joan Clayton is at the great peak of her life. She is almost 30, is almost junior partner at her law firm, and has a great friend circle. She hires a sassy urban woman named Maya Wilkes as her assistant, and has had a friendship with one of her colleagues, William, for over three months. But Joan is going crazy that she hasn't had a man for a year and her plan was to be married by now. Her friends, egotistical Toni Childs and lazy 27-year-old college student Lynn have to cheer her up and get her a man with the help of Maya, whom Toni calls "ghetto."
57 January 7, 2003 Howdy Partner* Joan and William vie for a senior partner position, and are shocked when the firm instead brings in an outsider, Sharon Upton Farley (Anne-Marie Johnson). They plan to demonstrate their outrage by walking out, but only one of them follows through with it. Meanwhile, Lynn and Maya help Toni deal with her fears after Todd asks her to take an HIV test.
133 April 17, 2006 The Game Joan's cousin, an aspiring med student, wants to give up her future for a pro athlete. (The backdoor pilot episode for a "Girlfriends" spinoff).
* This episode aired on a Tuesday night in an attempt to boost ratings for the new sitcom Abby, which was making its first airing on its regular night.

Other details

Spin-off

A 2006 episode of Girlfriends entitled "The Game" featured guest star Tia Mowry as Joan's cousin Melanie Barnett, an aspiring medical student, who wants to give up her future to follow her professional athlete boyfriend to San Diegomarker.That episode was the launching pad for The Game, a spin-off series which currently cancelled by The CW television network.It is speculated that BET will pick up the series for a 4th season but they said "We are currently in negotiations" to pick up The Game for a fourth season. The only hold-up at this point comes from CBS Paramount Network TV, which would need to release the rights to the series to cable. "The licensing issues are very complicated".

U.S. television ratings

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Girlfriends on UPN and The CW.

Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.

Season Network Season premiere Season finale TV season Ranking Viewers (in millions)
1st UPN September 11, 2000 May 14, 2001 2000-2001 #135 4.0
2nd September 10, 2001 May 20, 2002 2001-2002 #129 4.2
3rd September 23, 2002 May 19, 2003 2002-2003 #133 4.0
4th September 15, 2003 May 24, 2004 2003-2004 #128 3.6
5th September 20, 2004 May 23, 2005 2004-2005 #129 3.4
6th September 19, 2005 May 8, 2006 2005-2006 #135 3.4
7th CW October 1, 2006 May 7, 2007 2006-2007 #138 2.5
8th October 1, 2007 February 11, 2008 2007-2008 #150 2.1


Cancellation

The final two episodes recorded before the 2007-2008 Writers Guild strike aired back-to-back on Monday, February 11 at 9/8c. However, this was not a 2-part episode. The timeslot was planned to be moved to Sundays due to the writer's strike and the returning of The CW's reality series. On February 13, 2008, it was announced by a The CW representative that a proper series finale would not be done because it would be too expensive. The announcement confirms that the show has now been cancelled. A retrospective episode was to air on The CW Network to conclude the 8-year series. However, the characters' storylines wouldn’t get any kind of resolution but at least the sitcom would have a series finale. This is no longer going to happen. The network offered the actors half of their usual episodic salary to take part, but the actors collectively turned them down.

Awards

Year Award Category Recipient
2004 BET Comedy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Golden Brooks
2005 Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Mara Brock Akil, Mark Alton Brown, Veronica Chambers, Tim Edwards, Karin Gist, Dee LaDuke, Regina Y. Hicks, Kevin Marburger, Michele Marburger, Prentice Penny, and Shauna Robinson
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Tracee Ellis Ross
2005 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Reginald C. Hayes
2006
2007 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Reginald C. Hayes
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Tracee Ellis Ross
2009 Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Tracee Ellis Ross


DVD releases

Season Releases


The First Season
Set details Special features
  • 22 Episodes*
  • 4-Disc Set
  • 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
  • 7 Hrs., 51 Min.
  • Languages:
    • English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Rating:
    • Mature Theme
    • Language May Offend
  • No Features
* NOTE: Some music has been changed for this home entertainment version.
Release date
(Region 1)
February 27, 2007


The Second Season
Set details Special features
  • 22 Episodes*
  • 3-Disc Set
  • 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
  • 7 Hrs., 50 Min.
  • Languages:
    • English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Rating:
    • Mature Theme
  • We All Fall Down:
    • A Closer Look at Trick Or Truth?
  • Creating the Show
  • Getting the Girls Together
  • Episode guide
* NOTE: Some episodes may be edited from their original network versions. Some music has been changed for this home entertainment version.
Release date
(Region 1)
October 9, 2007


The Third Season
Set details Special features
  • 25 Episodes*
  • 4-Disc Set
  • 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
  • 8 Hrs., 43 Min.
  • Languages:
    • English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • It's What You Wear That Counts
  • Here Comes the Bride:
    • An Invitation Inside the Wedding
* NOTE: Some episodes may be edited from their original network versions. Some music has been changed for this home entertainment version.
Release date
(Region 1)
February 12, 2008


The Fourth Season
Set details Special features
  • 24 Episodes*
  • 3-Disc Set
  • 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
  • 8 Hrs., 23 Min.
  • Languages:
    • English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround)
    • English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • No Features


* NOTE: Some episodes may be edited from their original network versions. Music has been changed for this home entertainment version.
Release date
(Region 1)
July 29, 2008


The Fifth Season
Set details Special features
  • 22 Episodes*
  • 3-Disc Set
  • 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
  • 7 Hrs., 18 Min.
  • Languages:
    • English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround)
    • English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • No Features


* NOTE: Some episodes may be edited from their original network versions. Some music has been changed for this home entertainment version.
Release date
(Region 1)
October 28, 2008


The Sixth Season
Set details Special features
  • 22 Episodes*
  • 3-Disc Set
  • 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
  • 7 Hrs., 30 Min.
  • Languages:
    • English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround)
    • English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Includes the Backdoor pilot of The Game


* NOTE: Some episodes may be edited from their original network versions. Some music has been changed for this home entertainment version.
Release date
(Region 1)
February 24, 2009


The Seventh Season
Set details Special features
  • 22 Episodes*
  • 3-Disc Set
  • 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
  • 7 Hrs., 30 Min.
  • Languages:
    • English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround)
    • English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
    • Closed Caption
  • Mara Brock Akil comments on:
    • I Want My Baby Back
    • Hot For Preacher
    • Time to Man Up
    • Willie Or Won't He III: This Time It's Personal
    • What Had Happened Was...


* NOTE: Some episodes may be edited from their original network versions. Music has been changed for this home entertainment version.
Release date
(Region 1)
October 13, 2009


The Final Season
Set details Special features
  • 13 Episodes*
  • 2-Disc Set
  • 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
  • N/A Hrs., N/A Min.
  • Languages:
    • English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround)
    • English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • N/A


* NOTE: Some episodes may be edited from their original network versions. Music has been changed for this home entertainment version.
Release date
(Region 1)
January 19, 2010


U.S. broadcast history

  • UPN - Mondays @ 9:30 p.m./8:30C (2000-2001)
  • UPN / The CW - Mondays - 9:00 p.m./8:00C (2002-2008)
  • The CW - Sundays (2 Weeks) - 8:00 p.m./7:00C (2006)
    • The CW - Sundays (February 10) - 9:00 p.m./8:00C (2008)
      • The CW - Sundays - 9:30 p.m./8:30C (2008)


Worldwide broadcast information/Syndication



Soundtrack

Track listing

  1. Erykah Badu - "Vibrate On" (4:14)
  2. Jill Scott - "Golden" (3:52)
  3. Angie Stone - "Wish I Didn't Miss You" (4:32)
  4. Corinne Bailey Rae - "Put Your Records On" (3:35)
  5. Algebra - "I Know" (3:57)
  6. Amy Winehouse - "Stronger Than Me" (3:42)
  7. Estelle - "All Comes Back to You" (3:22)
  8. Chrisette Michele - "Girl Respect Yourself" (3:44)
  9. Chaka Khan - "Disrepectful" [Feat. Mary J. Blige] (4:46)
  10. India.Arie - "I Am Not My Hair" (3:48)
  11. Dre - "Soulmate" (4:22)
  12. Persia White - "Choices" (2:47)


References

  1. Stated in the episode Willie or Won't He II: The Last Chapter?


Sources



External links




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