There’s nothing subtle about Omni/APTN’s new half hour series Mohawk Girls. But beyond a few bouts of rocky acting and clunky lines, there are likable characters and a sense of fun and purpose to the show.
That purpose — showcasing an aboriginal community struggling against the dilution and misrepresentation of their culture — sits uneasily atop the comedy in the premiere episode, with a tone that hasn’t quite gelled yet. Labelled a dramedy by the networks, Mohawk Girls follows four young women trying to find love and musing over what their culture means to them.
The series, which name-checks Sex and the City and is clearly going for Sex and the Rez, is based on creator Tracey Deer’s feature-length documentary of the same name and centred around four 20-something women. Bailey (Jenny Pudavick, an especially appealing presence) learns her perfect Mohawk boyfriend may be her second cousin. Caitlin (Heather White) has a taste in men that has her friends questioning her self-esteem. Zoe (Brittany LeBorgne) uses her devotion to work and the “rules” of being Mohawk as a badge of honour. And Anna (Maika Harper) is the newcomer to the group whose New York background seems at odds with the values of the others.
There’s huge promise in the premise of these four women exploring their sexuality and identity, particularly if the show builds on the comedy of that premise more and allows the issues it raises to breathe instead of scream. In any case, along with Blackstone, Mohawk Girls is the kind of show that makes me suspect APTN has more guts and understanding of their audience than most other networks combined.