Paper Girls is acutely aware of how much growing up means, whether it's time war or no

Paper Girls is acutely aware of how much growing up means, whether it's time war or no ...

The worst thing that happens to childhood is, without a doubt, the rapid, humbling destruction of adulthood. Over time, someone-your-ages childs oldie becomes a dusty oldie, pointing back to the Mesozoic era when an iPod had no screen. It simply looms over you in perpetuity. Kind of like tax season.

Amazons Paper Girls, a fairly faithful adaptation of the well-known 1980s comic by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang, is, despite its shammy sci-fi outfits, a tender tale about girlhood and unpredictability, of becoming and eventual unbecoming. Like its tiny but powerful leads, the show oscillates between nostalgic 80s coming-of-age yearning and bizarro intergalactic theater, wherein youth must confront the deadly energy of 2000s tech-

Mac (Sofia Rosinsky), Erin (Riley Lai Nelet), and KJ (Fina Strazza) begin their journey in 1988. They use a buddy system on their routes to avoid confrontations with aggressive neighborhood boys until, in the middle of an escape, they encounter aliens. Suddenly thrust into a future where the sky oozes a syrupy Pepto Bismol pink, the paper girls rush to return home to the 80s and purchase a room for the night.

As they try not to lose hope of ever returning to the bikes they abandoned in the pasts suburbia, the girls find themselves at odds with their older self in exchange for a roof over their heads. Oh, and they have accidentally entered the middle of a space war between veiny-faced spaceship technicians and pterodactyl-controlling supervisors. And while the politics of the said war remain hidden in anonymity, the girls become enemy number one by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Mac, a troubled, tough-talking wannabe punk who is in need of a babysitter, is a great choice for a show that engulfs the viewer with epic battle robots, dinosaurs, and intergalactic murder. Even in less capable hands, Rosinsky never allows Mac to deviate into cliche tear-jerker histrionics written specifically for Emmy Awards shows.

KJ, a wealthy kid struggling with self-articulation, is forced to face the possibility that her future self might be completely different when she grows older. KJ is both attracted to the kind of social expectations that she has only recently begun to poke at as a teen, and acutely aware of her future selfs unconscious approach to romance and self-liberation.

Jones is equally fantastic as Tiffany, a strong-minded brainiac who wants to go to Harvard and receive valedictorian degrees. Her conversations with her older self, a dropout DJ with a sick apartment, are sobering in their implications about institutional racism and what it means to be Black in predominately and historically white spaces. Jones copes with the newsflash of her adult life with a stubborn defiance, indicating that her future may not yet be fully established.

And then there's young Erin, the newest paper girl on the block, who navigates the treacherous terrain of adulthood with equal parts courage and naivety. She nails adult Erin's triumph in a raw, dressed-down performance every stand-up comedian must be contractually obligated to deliver at least once in their careers. Wongs Erin is stuck in every sense of the word. She still lives in the house she grew up in, treading on a slippery slope of

Adult Erin demonstrates that growing up is a constant process of new, sometimes conflicting, beginnings. Only when confronted with the specter of their younger selves do older paper girls have the capacity to confront the unrealized goals and worldly perspectives that come from aging. For others, the confrontation between then and now provides a necessary wake-up call.

Although each actor exerts his weight, they are repeatedly let down by shoddy visuals that vanish in comparison to their source material. Paper Girls is a cotton-candy fever fantasy of neon hues and dazzling machinery. Its hard not to wonder what sort of visual magic might have occurred if the show had a Stranger Things budget or if the live-action sequences had been animated rather than rendered in the flesh.

Paper Girls is a classic comedy that despises the very existence of girls, but also ones that instills a sense of wonder and adventure within the cast. I often forgot that the girls were being chased in the first place.