I’ve been getting a kick out of the second season of “Girls5eva,” which wraps on June 9 on Peacock. I learned, after praising season one, that some viewers find the show silly, a complaint that I can’t entirely disagree with. The show is quite silly, proudly silly — but all the silliness has a shrewd satirical edge to it, pulling exactly zero punches when it comes to upending the music industry, the ever-fleeting ways of fame, and bad taste.
Season 2 finds the four members of “Girls5eva” in “album mode” as they go into the studio to quickly bang out a new album in six weeks. They want to milk the attention they got at the end of last season, at the Jingle Ball, and they know all will be forgotten soon. Busy Philipps’s Summer deals with the end of her marriage to Andrew Rannells’s Kev (and, more importantly, the end of their joint Insta posts) — featuring great guest turns by Neil Flynn and Amy Sedaris as her religious Catholic parents. Paula Pell’s Gloria copes with knee surgery, while Sara Bareilles’s Dawn writes songs (including one that uses all 400+ meanings of the word “set”) and clashes with the producer.
And then there’s Renée Elise Goldsberry as Wickie. Even if “Girls5eva” weren’t densely layered with witty pop cultural references in the manner of “30 Rock,” so that rewatching is rewarding, and even if it weren’t buoyed by well-written awful songs, and even if it weren’t spot on when it comes to its 1990s flashbacks, I’d be smitten thanks to the Goldsberry’s performance.
Goldsberry makes narcissism fun as the biggest diva of the four. She nails every joke, supporting each of them — and there are many — with just the right emphasis and facial expression. At one point, we learn that Wickie has a Rolodex filled with a card for each of her vocal squiggles, and it’s funny every time she uses it. Wickie also has an entire arc involving the fact that she has one “bad” foot, which puts her in jeopardy with foot fetishists and experts everywhere. From Wickie’s disgust with “normies” — regular people — to her coat from the “Nicole Kidman Undoing Collection,” Goldsberry keeps the big theatricality fresh throughout.