Underrated but masterful, “The Girlfriend Experience” is probably one of the most audacious TV series you’ll ever see. The series is Starz’s adaptation of a 2009 film by the same name, and it recently finished its third season.
The Oscar award winner and executive producer of the show, Steven Soderbergh, goes on a fascinating expedition to explore the emotional complexities of sex work — among other themes. Each season introduces new characters but the plots are thematically connected in a beautiful way.
This article discusses the latest news and everything you need to know about this tv series.
What’s “The Girlfriend Experience” About?
“The Girlfriend Experience” is an American anthology drama series that explores complex subjects like — sex work, power and possession, the criminal justice system, and the coarse relationship between American politics and money.
The first season of the TV show stars Riley Keough as Christine Reade, a Chicago-Burnham law school student intern enraptured in a world of elegant prostitution. Fascinated by the lifestyle of Avery (Kate Lyn Sheil) — her fellow law student who makes thousand of dollars off rich male clients who pay her to have sexual encounters — Christine decides to tag along working as a high-end escort that provides “The Girlfriend Experience” under the pseudonym “Chelsea Rayne.”
The 13-episodes explore how Christine juggles her secret adventure as an escort with her work, especially her relationship with Erin Roberts (Mary Lynn Rajskub) and David Tellis (Paul Sparks) — both partners at Kirkland & Allen, the law firm where she interns. The major themes explored in this season are thought, character and control.
The second season is an absolute thriller that tells two parallel storylines; one written by Lodge Kerrigan about the characters “Erica and Anna” and the other by Amy Seimetz about “Bria.”
“Erica and Anna” is set in Washington D.C. This storyline follows the transactional relationship between a certain Republican political finance director Erica Myles (Anna Friel) who hires “Girlfriend Experience” provider Anna Garner (Louisa Krause) to help blackmail a high-powered fundraiser.
The other storyline, “Bria, ” is set in New Mexico. The story follows the life of a former high-end escort, Bria Jones (Carmen Ejogo), and her 13-year-old adopted daughter, Kayla (Morgana Davies). In an attempt to escape an abusive relationship, Bria joins a Witness Protection Program. However, she would later revive her career as an escort, opening her up to new threats.
Both storylines aired simultaneously, but the characters never overlapped, and the storylines never met.
Beautiful — right?
In the third season, original creators Amy Seimetz and Lodge Kerrigan didn’t return, passing the baton to Anja Marquardt. This time around, the Starz anthology series explores the relationship between sex and tech.
Is “The Girlfriend Experience” Real?
The show “The Girlfriend Experience” is a work of fiction. However, the storyline accurately depicts real-life experiences. There are thousands — if not millions — of Riley Keough’s character “Christine” out there. Just as commonly, you’ll find people like her clients who visit legal brothels or engage the services of high-end escorts for sex, connection, and intimacy with no strings attached — “The Girlfriend Experience.”
Therefore, while the storyline is not reality TV, it is still very relatable.
What Happened in Season 3 of “The Girlfriend Experience?”
With filmmaker Anja Marquardt in charge of composition, we saw an entirely different narrative — woven around sex and tech. What’s impressive is the show’s retention of its unbiased look at this version of sex work — “The Girlfriend Experience” — while exploring new frontiers.
Here is a quick highlight of two of the high moments of season three.
Iris uncovers the truth about NGM experiments.
Earlier in episode seven, NGM approached Iris about an experiment that would help collect data to train Emcee — an A.I. project Iris had been working on with co-worker Hiram.
However, the moment of truth came in episode nine when Iris found out her employers had blindsided her into believing the experiments she had been conducting with NGM were to collect data about her clients — it turns out it was collecting data about her.
Iris makes a u-turn.
Betrayed and perplexed, Iris sets out on a mission to destroy NGM and Emcee. However, in a dramatic turn of events, after meeting with the new Emcee — the A.I. prototype of herself — in virtual reality, Iris decides to barter for immortality. In negotiations with NGM, Iris proposes inserting a chip in her brain that will allow Iris and Emcee to integrate and learn from one another, perhaps forever. In return, Iris would retain access to the entire data collected throughout her life so she could preserve her digital self for generations to come.
How Many Episodes are in “The Girlfriend Experience” Season 3?
“The Girlfriend Experience” premiered for a third season on May 2, 2021. Altogether, the season has 10 episodes.
- Everyone’s Got a Price
- Control Shift
- The Kiss
- Black Box
- A Set of Lies Agreed Upon
- State of Mind
About the Cast of “The Girlfriend Experience” Season 3
“The Girlfriend Experience” season three is unique for casting actors of different descent.
Some of the cast of the show includes:
- Oliver Masucci: Oliver Massucci made his debut in 1992, featuring in the drama series “Andy.” The German actor is best known for his role in the film adaptation of the novel “Er ist wieder da” where he portrayed Adolf Hitler. He has also featured in movies like “Tribes of Europa” and “Enfant Terrible.” He is Georges Verhoeven in GFE.
- Frank Dillane: English actor, Frank Dillane, is best known for his appearance in “Fear the Walking Dead” as Nick Clark. The actor also appeared in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” where he portrayed Tom Riddle (also known as Voldermot). He is Christophe in GFE.
- Armin Karima: Iranian actor, Armin Karima, is famous for his appearance in the BBC’s “Tyrant” and “Waterloo Road.” He has also appeared as Malek Amir in “Sex Education,” a Netflix original series. He is Hiram in season three of the show.
- Daniel Betts: Daniel Betts plays the character “Rupert” in season three. The English actor has featured in films like “War Machine,” “The Canterville Ghost,” and more.
- Enzo Cilenti: Born in England, Enzo Cilenti is an actor and producer. He is famed for his role in films like “In the Loop,” “Guardian of the Galaxy” (2014), and “Free Fire.” He is Sean in season three of the show.
- Aidan Cheng: Chinese-born actor, Aidan Cheng, is best known for his role in “Harlots,” “You” and “Known for Devils.” He plays the character Maurus in season three.
- Rasha Zamamiri: Arab-American singer and actor, Rasha Zamamiri, is best known for her roles in “Instinct,” and “War Games.” She voiced the character Zelda in season three.
The following cast members also appeared in season three of “The Girlfriend Experience.”
- Lauren Douglin as Howie
- Tobi Bamtefa as Brett
- Talisa Garcia as V recruiter
- Charles Edwards as Elliott Stanton
- Jemima Rooper as Leanne
- Ray Fearon as Paul
- Alexandra Daddario as Tawny
About Iris Stanton
In the storyline of the third season of “The Girlfriend Experience,” we meet the character Iris Stanton. Iris is a Behavioral Psychology & Neuroscience major dropout who moved to London and joined a tech startup — NGM. In need of extra cash, Iris joins an escort agency known simply as “The V.” She soon finds a connection between her two jobs, providing a testing ground for her data-driven tech work.
The character is played by Hollywood actress and ballet dancer, Julia Goldani Telles. Julia is best known for her role as Sasha Torres in the ABC Family series, “Bunheads,” and as Whitney Solloway in the drama series, “The Affair.”
Is “The Girlfriend Experience” Season 4 Coming Out?
There is no word yet on whether “The Girlfriend Experience” will renew for a fourth season. However, given that after season two of the show the producers went on a three-year break before returning with a third season — expectations are high about the possibility of yet another season. Stay in the know of a possible premiere date by checking in with BuddyTV.
Where Can You Watch “The Girlfriend Experience?”
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Contributing Writer, BuddyTV