Middle age hasn't been kind to the members of the girl band Girls5Eva. Wickie, the diva of the one-hit-wonder group, is paying the bills by shooting geese at an airport. Summer misses her celebrity husband so much that she purchases a Cameo greeting from him. Gloria's current claim to fame is that she's one-half of New York's first gay divorce. Ashley died in an infinity pool accident.
Doesn't the gang who once harmonized on the unforgettable lines, "We're your dream girlfriends / 'cause our dads are dead," deserve better?
They do. And they get it in "Girls5Eva," a promising new sitcom from the folks behind "30 Rock" and "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt."
"The folks" would be Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, whose approach to comedy — cram as many jokes as you can into every minute — is on display throughout all eight episodes, now streaming on Peacock.
One moment, you're seeing a parody of reality-competition TV called "American Ninja Singer," the next a character is vaping smoked salmon. Many of the pop-culture targets are as dated as the Spice Girls. But if you're old enough to remember Tipper Gore, Tom Green and Anita Baker, you'll be howling.
The series may be about former MTV staples aching for a comeback, but the on-screen talent are all established stars.
"All my favorite people are a part of this," said Grammy-winner Sara Bareilles who plays Dawn, the moral center of the quartet. "It's been something out of a fantasy."
Other cast members include former "Saturday Night Live" writer Paula Pell, "Hamilton" veteran Renée Elise Goldsberry and "Cougar Town" scene-stealer Busy Philipps.
"It's just so wonderful to be around people that are great at what they do, and piggyback onto that, hoping no one notices," Pell said during a viral news conference earlier this year.
Fey may be the most famous name attached to the series, but the lion's credit for the zingers and the show's aspirations go to creator Meredith Scardino.
"I wanted to be able to talk about all the things you go through as a woman in your 40s," said Scardino, who previously wrote for "Schmidt" and "The Colbert Report." "It kind of came to me that it would be amazing to do it with this backdrop of pop music, trying again as a metaphor for being at this stage in life where you might be more inclined to sit back and get cozy and comfortable."
Also playing a major role behind the scenes is music supervisor Jeff Richmond (Fey's real-life husband), who gets a chance to expose the world to such should-be hits as "Daddy's Hot Friend."
No one seems to be having more fun crooning Richmond's lyrics than Goldsberry, especially when the action flashes back to her mercifully short stint as the star in a musical version of "The Mask." Her character, Wickie, doesn't want to be part of the Supremes; she wants to be Diana Ross.
Not everyone nails the comedy high notes as well as Goldsberry. Philipps' character, Summer, is one that's been punched up too many times on the jukebox. Bareilles is a terrific artist, but delivering fast-paced jokes isn't exactly her specialty.
Still, when four talented performers work with some of today's finest sitcom writers, they can't help but make beautiful — and hilarious — music together.
Neal Justin • 612-673-7431 •
Njustin@startribune.com Twitter: @nealjustin