Going Through Time with the Paper Girls

I will start off by saying that I missed the Paper Girls comic during its original release. I never bought the comic book series and to be truthful I stopped going to the comic book stores for a few years once my children were born. During my comic collecting hiatus, I missed a lot of great books and storylines that were released. I am watching Paper Girls without any knowledge of what happens in the comics and I am all in. If this is the visual representation of the comics, I need to go out and buy these books!

I have been lucky to watch the entire series of Paper Girls a few times and I want to say so much about the show but I want to keep this spoiler-free. I will say the first episode was insane. I had to watch it twice because I felt that the final few minutes were so busy and hectic that I wanted to make sure I understood what was going on. The way the first episode ended I went straight to the second episode and then the third and so on and so on.

Growing up I was lucky to have many television shows and movies that showed boys my age or older going on adventures. I had The Goonies, Explorers, Stand By Me, and The Outsiders. These movies were great to see because I was able to relate to some of the characters. I was able to see myself on the screen and dream of having adventures like these for myself one day. I never took into account that while these movies were great for me the girls in these movies were treated as background characters or a plot point to move the story along. Paper Girls not only breaks that mold but will resonate with millions of young girls that will see themselves in Cam, KJ, Tiffany, and Erin. This is the coming of age show that young girls need to see.

One of the great aspects of the show is the insight that we get into each character’s life. In various episodes, we spend time with one of the characters and really get to know what they are going through with their uncertain situation. Imagine meeting your future self and either being disappointed in who you have become or being in awe of the person you are. These moments are fantastic because it is presented in a way that makes you connect with their happiness or sadness. These are the moments that make Paper Girls stand out from the other nostalgic shows that are out there.

As a father, I am watching this with my daughter, who is the same age as the young girls on the show, and am elated to see that she has four strong young girls she can relate to. She connects with each of them in her own way and the show brings up great discussions after each episode. We talk about how things were during that time and why people act certain ways to the characters. We talk about the issues at that time and how much things have or have not changed from then til now. Paper Girls has become our show and I am thankful that I am able to have this experience with her.

Paper Girls is a fantastic show that not only has four great leads but also doesn’t cater to the nostalgia factor. It shows us that albeit those times were great, how we grew up from that time will determine the type of person we will become. If we go into the future will we see that we made great use of our time or did we just stay stuck in the past and never moved forward? Even though there is a sci-fi element to the show: time travel, laser guns, robots, and prehistoric creatures, the show is grounded in these young girls learning to accept each other and who they are. Their stories are the heart and soul of this series.

In the early morning hours after Halloween 1988, four paper girls—Erin, Mac, Tiffany, and KJ—are out on their delivery route when they become caught in the crossfire between warring time-travelers, changing the course of their lives forever. Transported into the future, these girls must figure out a way to get back home to the past, a journey that will bring them face-to-face with the grown-up versions of themselves. While reconciling that their futures are far different than their 12-year-old selves imagined, they are being hunted by a militant faction of time-travelers known as the Old Watch, who have outlawed time travel so that they can stay in power. In order to survive, the girls will need to overcome their differences and learn to trust each other, and themselves. 

Based on the best-selling graphic novels written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Cliff Chiang, Paper Girls is a high-stakes personal journey depicted through the eyes of four girls, played by breakout leads Camryn Jones as Tiffany Quilkin, Riley Lai Nelet as Erin Tieng, Sofia Rosinsky as Mac Coyle, and Fina Strazza as KJ Brandman. Ali Wong also stars as the grown-up version of Erin, with Nate Corddry as Larry, and Adina Porter as Prioress.

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