“I’m back!” This is what I imagine Raven-Symoné said once she got the lead role in her new ABC Family show State of Georgia. This show marks her triumphant return to television after That’s So Raven ended four years ago.
Raven plays Georgia Chamberlain and is an aspiring actress from the south who wants to become a big-time actress, so she moves to New York City with her best friend, Jo. The two girls get jobs at a department store selling perfume. In the opening scene she is pimping out Britney Spears’ perfume Curious. “Curious. Are you Curious?” We soon, like seconds later, find out that Georgia needs to go on an audition for her signature role of Lola in Damn Yankees, but is stuck at work. She cause her best friend Jo, who also works with her, to have an allergic reaction to perfume. I assume it was some fragrance by Fergie (who isn’t allergic to that?). She and Jo run out of the store to the “hospital” and cue credits! The credits play like an iphone (or android idk) photo album; it’s fun! and gives us a glimpse at all the fun! things Georgia and Jo get to do.
Once at the audition, Georgia lets everyone know that they are looking at a star. I wonder how many auditions the actual Raven-Symoné went on before landing this role. Can you say art imitating life here? Inside the casting room the agent is crushing dreams and overacting. I thought he was the worst actor in the short few minutes of the show, but then his ‘insanely hot girlfriend” stood up and I am pretty sure she was a robot. He goes out to the waiting room and picks Jo to audition next (she’s not an actress, I mean, on the show, in real life that’s still debatable). He makes a few remarks about her hair and she states that she has “uncombable hair syndrome also known as pili Trianguli et Canaliculi.” I am 100% positive that this hair joke is going to be a recurring theme. Jo also burps when she is “stared at.” She calls Georgia in and Georgia quickly takes over the audition. Starting right in on ‘Whatever Lola Wants’ the agent says she has a great voice and then puts her down again by making a few jabs at her weight. Georgia gives it right back to him cause she’s SASSY! “It’s not honey, it’s Georgia, with a ‘G’.”
Back at the department store the two are hocking Britney Spears’ perfume again, but this time Georgia is feeling pretty down and rejected. Jo starts to act weird when a man walks in. Georgia is convinced that Jo likes this man, but he is actually the head of the physics department that Jo applied to and then left before the interview because she was nervous. More hair jokes! The two girls head home and start arguing about why Jo should go back to the interview when Aunt Honey appears. Aunt Honey is played by the ineffable Loretta Devine, who plays this role like she just took one step out of bed. She also speaks every line as if she has just completed a 20K road race, completely breathy. Ah! Aunt Honey just had hours of sex! Maybe this will be a recurring joke too? I’ll report back on that later. Aunt Honey gives Georgia a pep talk and convinces Georgia to go back and talk to the casting agent.
Georgia enters the casting room with a basket full of fried chicken, gravy, and biscuits and starts to sell her assets…I mean breasts!! This apparently drives the agent crazy. He can’t focus on anything except chicken and breasts. There are some, or rather many, awkward moments here as she tries to seduce him into giving her an audition. This was undoubtedly the worst segment of the show. I wish the writers wouldn’t reduce Raven to using bad slapstick and horrible one-liners and let her act (lol jks, I know I can’t believe I said that either). While the agent is in the bathroom Jo calls up on the intercom to stop Georgia from having sex with him, but Jo is surprised by the agent’s robot girlfriend. Now here’s a tip from me to all you wanna-be actors out there: If this woman can get a role on a TV show, trust me, you can too. Don’t give up! Jo tells the robot that she is an undercover exterminator (so clever). The two head upstairs and Georgia might be in trouble! Oh no!
With one last tempting of the agent with her breasts (That’s So Not Raven!), she convinces him that she needs a callback and that is her cover story for when the robot comes in to the room to discover Georgia there late at night alone with her boyfriend. Apparently, whatever Georgia wants, Georgia gets (zing).
Georgia and Jo are back at the department store the next morning “smelling like Brit”. Jo is bummed that Georgia got what she wanted, but she didn’t…oh wait a minute…in walks the professor she needs to interview to get into the Physics Graduate Program. She convinces him with a funny physics joke and gets an interview.
The pilot episode of State of Georgia ends with a joke about Aunt Honey’s riding boots. Georgia says, “Aunt Honey, I didn’t know you rode horses” to which Aunt Honey responds, “Oh child, I’ve never been on a horse in my life!” Oh snap! The jokes don’t stop cause Aunt Honey lays one more joke on us to take with us. “I just wanna look at my singles ads.” Jo interjects, “Those are the obituaries.” Aunt Honey gives us, “They’re single now. Flu season has been good to me!”
I will be here all summer reviewing State of Georgia so please don’t miss an episode (Wednesdays at 8:30 on ABC Family) so we can discuss it over on Twitter where I will be live-tweeting each episode.