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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Boo, Bitch’ On Netflix, Where Lana Condor Plays A Teen That Dies But Still Has To Finish High School

Decider.com
Decider.com
 2022-07-08

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Lana Condor has been a reliable go-to for Netflix since she starred in the massive hit romcom To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before in 2018. Now, they’ve given her an entire limited series for her to play a wistful teen who wants to be seen and find some love. But the twist here is that she’s going to try to do all that while she’s very, very dead.
BOO, BITCH : STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
Opening Shot: A shot of tall trees from the ground. A voice says, “I always dreamed of living an epic high school life. But even as a senior I was hiding in the shadows until one fateful night.”

The Gist: Then we see some colorful platform Chucks sticking out from under a moose. “They’re mine,” says the voice of Erika Vu (Lana Condor). “Do the math. OK, I’ll do it for you. I’m dead… ish.”

We go to 48 hours “premortem”, where Erika is bemoaning to her bestie Gia (Zoe Margaret Colletti) that they’ve made no impact on their high school, which usually suits Erika just fine, especially now that they’re only two months from the end. But she gets pissed when she looks in the yearbook and sees the name “Helen Who” under her picture. The moniker was given to her by popular girl Riley (Aparna Brielle) after a literal run-in with Erika on the first day of freshman year, and it stuck. Even Erika’s student ID cards say “Helen Who” on them.

Gia convinces Erika that they still have time left to make their mark on the school, and convinces her to go to the senior blowout party one of their classmates is throwing. Erika gets excited, because she knows her favorite out of her class’ many Jakes, Jake C. (Mason Versaw) will be there, even though he and Riley have been dating on and off through high school. Erika’s parents (Cathy Vu, John Brantley Cole) are thrilled because she finally has a social life.

A lot happens at the party: Jake C. finally breaks up with the selfish Riley for good; Gia finds a prom date with one of the other Jakes; Erika has an epic beer pong session and gets the entire crowd on her side; Jake C. turns his eyes towards Erika, which isn’t a stretch because it seemed he kinda liked her all along. They almost kiss, but get interrupted by Erika’s need to puke. But they seem to be poised to continue where they left off, when Erika gets hit by a moose who was hit by a truck as she and Gia walked home.

She wakes up hungover the next day, and she and Gia wander into the woods to find the necklace Gia gave her. But they also find something else: Erika, under a big moose. Than how come Erika can still walk, talk, touch things, and interact with the living world?

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Photo: ERIK VOAKE/NETFLIX

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? Boo, Bitch feels like a cross between Never Have I Ever and Dead Like Me . It also has a similar tone to Awkward. , which is also from Lauren Iungerich and Erin Ehrlich.

Our Take: Boo, Bitch is certainly meant to showcase Condor, who has spent the last few years as Netflix’s teen romcom queen, in a genre that’s mostly familiar to her, but with a bit of a morbid twist (Condor is also an EP of the show). It mostly works. She does a good job of running through Erika’s conflicting emotions: Happy that she’s finally being seen by her high school class and frustrated and confused that she’s dead — or dead-adjacent, at least.

The first episode doesn’t really go into how Erika is dead but can still walk, talk, and essentially exist among the living; it’s the second episode where she and Zoe start trying to figure out the rules of this and why she’s still hanging around. There’s some unfinished business she needs to attend to before leaving the earth, and she doesn’t quite know what that it. She wants it to be a big kiss with Jake C., but who knows? We also know she can effect the temperature and electronics; it’ll be fun to see her try to harness this as she navigates the rest of her senior year.

That’s the rub, though: Once Erika figures out enough of the hows and whys to be useful as an undead upperclassman, we’re going to want to know how she’ll use this knowledge. Will she just go for it and become super popular because she has nothing to lose? Will she be able to manipulate outcomes to finish her unfinish business? Or will she be just as powerless as before? That’s going to be a high-wire act for Iungerich and Ehrlich, to incorporate those paranormal elements in what might end up being a run-of-the-mill coming of age story.

Again, Condor is up to the task, as is Colletti. The friendship between Erika and Gia is a strong one, complete with acronyms only the two of them understand, and the two actors look like they’re having fun playing off each other. We’re sure there will be some conflict at some point — that’s the way of the romcom — but we enjoy the chemistry Condor and Colletti have with each other in the scenes where they’re together.

The rest of the cast feels like generic high school stereotypes, so we’re hoping they can surprise us as the limited series goes on. But even if they stay generic, the ghostly storyline and the interplay between Condor and Colletti will be enough to make the show enjoyable.

Sex and Skin: Mostly innocent high schooler talk. No actual sex happens on screen, just kids partying, which in the day and age of Euphoria , feels almost like Little House On The Prairie by comparison.

Parting Shot: “Why is that dead girl wearing my shoes?” says a panicked Erika as she sees her body under the moose. Then she and Gia face each other and scream.

Sleeper Star: Aparna Brielle does a credible job as the stereotypical “bitchy popular girl arch enemy” in this series, though her character right now is about as deep as a thimble.

Most Pilot-y Line: “Meet you here in 5 or 50, depending on the bathroom line,” Gia says to Erika. While it’s pretty true, it’s also pretty depressing to think of wasting 50 minutes of a party waiting to pee (and also the torture of waiting 50 minutes to pee, well, just makes us want to go pee right now.)

Will you stream or skip the Lana Condor ghostly comedy #BooBitch on @netflix ? #SIOSI

— Decider (@decider) July 9, 2022

Our Call: STREAM IT. Boo, Bitch is a show whose main characters do more than enough to carry a show that has mostly generic secondary characters in an overdone genre. Without Condor and Colletti playing the main roles, the show would have been very forgettable.

Joel Keller ( @joelkeller ) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com , VanityFair.com , Fast Company and elsewhere.

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