After watching a certain YouTube channel that makes videos about fandoms- specifically the ones about reading fan fiction, I decided to delve into the fanfic site least familiar to me, AO3, otherwise known as An Archive of Our Own. Since I've already perused all the stories about the Netflix show Ginny and Georgia on Wattpad, I've decided to search for AO3 stories about the characters. After reading stories that portray the main friend group, MANG, quite differently- one accurate to the show and one not, I've decided to share my thoughts on how these portrayals reveal what was missing in the group's dynamic on Ginny and Georgia that prevented them from truly bonding as friends. As well as a large side note about Norah and how "token Asian characters" like her deserve to be delved into more, especially when they have such rich backstories to pull from.
In Wellsbury Tales, the MANG girls basically act just like their show counterparts. One thing I noticed that was consistent with the show was that when Abby texted the group chat subtly crying out for help, or trying to get feelers out there, or straight up asking for support, Max groaned and was like "Ughhh, not now" and that really showed how she viewed Abby and her problems. Abby went through a lot over the course of Season 1 and since she didn't let on any of it to Max before that big Blue Farm confrontation, Max had no reason to suspect that bigger things were going on, and maybe went off of prior knowledge that maybe possibly sometimes Abby is dramatic about the small stuff. But…I don't know, I feel like she could have checked in at least once, just to make sure that wasn't the case. I mean, this is her best friend we're talking about. And even if it was over something small, wouldn't you feel like you were doing your part as a friend to see that your bestie had somewhere she felt comfortable talking about it with? These girls give me the sense that they process problems by talking with other people, and idk I feel like knowing that your BFF has an outlet to talk about things when they're bothering her, big or small, is important. I feel like them making up in this story was too abrupt and I feel like it could have went a little bit longer so they could really touch on the issues that were going on in that friendship. (This is SO unrelated but thinking ab Blue Farm makes me kinda miss bagels with cream cheese.)
In Flipped things are a lot different. For one, Abby and Ginny are actually nice to each other. Abby brings up that she's noticed stuff about Ginny that the other girls don't, and Ginny reveals what her stepdad did to her. Abby in turn confides in Ginny about her parents' fighting (and eventual divorce). They actually act like real friends to each other. Ginny invites Abby to her house for a girly sleepover where they do facemasks and Ginny braids Abby's hair, and Abby bonds with Austin. And that made me so happy because in Ginny's birthday episode, Abby said she liked the day Georgia planned because it was nice to relax and be pampered (and we know that Abby especially needs this because of what's going on at home) so it was really nice that Ginny in Flipped invited her over to do that.
Max is basically the same except Ginny tells MANG upfront that Marcus and her had sex/kissed, so there's no tension of hiding that secret from Max. She's basically like ewww but still supportive. And she doesn't like Marcus sitting at their table sometimes while Ginny and Marcus have their little flirtationship (he is still dating Padma at this point) but basically she tells the whole group about what happens between the two of them so Max reveals the past encounters between Marcus and the other two girls.
Abby hid under his bed and saw him naked one time (lolll) and Norah was partnered with him on a field trip when she was younger and she was a scared, rule following, shy girl while he was rebellious and prank pulling and wanted her to sneak off and do stuff in the theme park they were at. She talks about how scared she was and how they were a bad match but that story kinda makes me wonder what they would have been like as a couple. Since they were complete opposites. It would add more dimension to her character. In fact THIS added more dimension to her character. She talks about her current BF, Jordan and how he's "her safety blanket" cause he's more of an extrovert but understands her and she can really be herself around him and he brings her out of her shell when they're together. That's really cute- I wish the actual TV writers gave more attention to Norah and character building and growth rather than just having her be the token Asian friend who reacts to stuff. Norah doesn't really do anything for the plot in the show. She's just there so MANG wouldn't be a duo before Ginny comes to town. And it sucks because she's played by a Filipina actress and I always see us in shallow token roles if we're there at all. Also it's never specified where she was adopted from. Is she canonically Filipino in the show, or are they having her play another ethnicity (I hate when that happens) but like the adopted experience is super valid too and it sucks that the show didn't go into that (I hope it does in the future though.)
It's so nice seeing MANG be real, true, good friends to each other because that wasn't the case in the show. They were so fickle and had poor communication skills. Since Abby and Ginny are truthful about their issues from the start, the girls are able to truly confide in each other, support each other, and interact in a meaningful way. In this portrayal of them I see true sisterhood, and the kind of friends that they should be to one another and that you'd want to tell your secrets to.