Girl Parts is a 2011 web series that explores the life of ex-actress Ashley, a former child starlet. Its plot revolves around both her life as an assistant at a Hollywood talent agency, and her life at home – a small apartment shared with three other actresses, all of sub-par talent. Its conflict arises brilliantly as they all audition for the same part.
It was the winner of the 2011 ITVFest’s ‘Audience Choice’ award and was a top 10 finalist in 2012’s Indie Intertube Audience Choice Awards.
Using the classic set-up of having people who dislike each other cooped up and unable to escape, Girl Parts is about professional rivalry, personal delusion and private worries (and Bill Murray sex dreams). I found my liking of the series plummet and crescendo as if I was on a roller coaster of comedy, with each lurch all the more disorienting than the last.
The first episode is a statement of intent. It sears the character personality types across your frontal lobes in a desperate rush to establish itself. Eva! She’s the slutty one who gets all the breaks because of her looks! Katie! She’s the hyper-emotional idiotic one! Sam! She’s the one obsessed with acting; super keen to learn every trick in the book! Ashley! She’s the voice of reason who gets all the sardonic lines! Aaaahh! That we get pummelled with short-cut characterisation straight off the bat is indicative of a web series that knows it is playing with limited time.
Even with limited time, Girl Parts struggles to fill all 11 of its 5 minute episodes. The plot is one continuous story line about all the girls auditioning for the same role (as a boyish young woman to star in a national dog food commercial) and whilst sometimes this showcases some standout corkers (like the girls’ miserable audition performances), other times – like the characters who don’t get the part becoming hysterical and kicking about the house whilst waiting for the successful party to return and brag – are lacking in any defining moments that make them worthwhile. I think Girl Parts could have happily been 8 or 9 episodes, and been stronger for it.
If all this sounds rather negative then I think that is because Girl Parts frustrated me. Much of the time I thought it was fantastic and there were several moments that really made me laugh out loud. There’s a couple of great jokes than intensify thanks to them getting a few call backs as the series progresses. Ashley was a child star actor, but now works in for a tiny talent agency that consists of her and her boss, Pete; a man rather predisposed to effeminately threaten to ‘cock-slap’ people who annoy him. I loved their eye-rolling working relationship, especially when Ashley keeps answering the phones with disparaging ad-libbed slogans like “Uber Talent? There’s no ‘U’ in ‘D’-List, but if you’re calling us then that’s probably what you are.”
In fact, Ashley (played by Kelsey Robinson, who also wrote and produced the show as well as starred in another 2011 webseries “Fumbling Thru the Pieces“), has all my favourite moments. In one episode she muses that her psyche must have switched back on to ‘acting mode’ because her sex dreams have changed to feature Bill Murray, ‘because of his subtle performances’. This is a joke built on by the next episode featuring a groggy Ashley waking from a pleasant night-time experience in a Ghostbusters t-shirt. She also gets the best non-sequitur and cut-away gags, which the show sprinkles with intelligently considered restraint.