The Girlfriend Experience: Season 1 Blu-ray Review: A Secret Life Has Consequences

The Girlfriend Experience is a show about Christine Reade (Riley Keough), a law student and law intern in Chicago who finds out that one of her classmates Avery is an escort who provides the “Girlfriend Experience.” An escort who provides the “Girlfriend Experience” also known as a “GFE” not only provides sex to her client, but also goes on dates, attends events, and provides the emotional support of an actual girlfriend.

Intrigued by Avery’s secret life, Christine gets involved and provides the GFE to clients while balancing law school and her internship at a high-profile Chicago law firm at the same time. Christine learns very quickly that living a secret life has consequences that impact her, and eventually her family. Not only does she take on more than one client, she also takes on much more than an internship at the law firm.

And in case you didn’t know by the subject matter, The Girlfriend Experience has sex, a lot of sex. Sex in every episode, sometimes multiple times. Of course, it shouldn’t be surprising that a show about a woman who provides sex would have a lot of sex. The trouble is, the sex is probably the most exciting part of the show.

I understand that this show is supposed to be a voyeuristic look into the forbidden world of escorts and GFE’s. As an audience member, we get to peer into places that we’re not supposed to look and see acts that are meant to be private. However, the co-creators of The Girlfriend Experience (Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz) don’t really write any likable characters. Christine comes off as not only cold and selfish but almost like a sociopath at times. The other characters are all self-involved. While I understand that this might actually reflect a lot of people, simply writing people as selfish and greedy is just boring to watch. A little backstory on any of the characters, especially Christine, would also be nice since I really want to understand these characters motivations and actually like them.

The show also throws a lot of different conflicts into the plot very early on and then doesn’t really address them at the end of the season. Some things get resolved, but other conflicts almost feel forgotten. I assume that the writers are leaving something for Season 2, but while this show has found its look, I don’t know that this show has found its voice yet. I am willing to see if Season 2 holds my attention better.

On a technical note, the audio is way too quiet at times. Thankfully, the show does not have a lot of music so I could turn it up to hear the dialogue and not be blown out by loud musical cuts.

The Girlfriend Experience is rated TV-MA and the Blu-ray set runs a total of 359 minutes. Season 1 features two discs. Disc one holds episodes 101-107 and disc two holds episodes 108-113 as well as the special features: “An Inside Look,” “What is The Girlfriend Experience?” and “The Look of The Girlfriend Experience.” These special features were clearly part of a promo package and are less then 10 minutes in length combined. They did not really add anything to my viewing experience.

Hopefully, this show will finds its voice and allow me to actually care about the characters. While sex and conflict can be interesting things to watch, they have to actually be interesting. Characters who the audience cares about would help a lot as well. Maybe this show can make the audience care about it as much as some of Christine’s clients care about her.

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Darcy Staniforth

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