Sweet Magnolias: Serenity vs. Gaffney

Sweet Magnolias: Serenity vs. Gaffney

Tricia Blackwood, Staff Writer

Serenity is a fictional small town in South Carolina where the Netflix original “Sweet Magnolias” takes places. A town where everyone knows everyone, and gossip travels quicker than a wildfire. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Well, as similar to our small town of Gaffney as it sounds, Gaffney doesn’t have the same charm as Serenity. The Netflix show is also very outdated, even though it’s supposed to be a “current” show. All of the sweet manners and “cute” accents, to the floor touching dresses, it has sort of a “Little House on the Prairie” vibe to it. Sweet Magnolias is a play on old timey southern charm made modern. The show is meant to be sweet, hence the name, “Sweet Magnolias”, which is what the friends and family of the three main charaters refer to them as. Helen Decatur, Dana Sue Sullivan, and Maddie Townsend are the “Sweet Magnolias”. The three became friends in elementary school and are now in their forties raising families together, while also continuing their friendship. The Netflix Series is actually based on an eleven part book novel by Sherryl Wood’s, who actually went on to become an executive producer of the hit show. The first novel, “Stealing Home” was released in 2007, while the last, “Swan Point” was published in 2014.

The sweet fictional town of Serenity recently just got more screen time due to Netflix finally releasing a second season. The first season was released in 2020 and the second just about a months ago in January of 2022. The series highlights the amazing things that come from being raised in a small town such as childhood friends growing into adulthood friends. The show also highlights how great it is to be part of a community, prioritize small businesses, and simply just how much you should care about your small town. However, with every good thing that happens in Serenity , a bad thing makes up for it. When a bad thing occurs in Serenity, the citizens of the town all work together to help one another recover. In this aspect, the show thrives at spreading awareness towards heartbreak, while also celebrating the good things. Meanwhile, the only time that everyone in Gaffney will come together is to disagree with one another on Facebook chatterboxes. I guess another time that Gaffney will come together is to celebrate football, as we saw that this past year. As Gaffney succeeded this season being undefeated and going onto win the State Championship, everyone celebrated and rejoiced. Football in Gaffney is the Baseball of Serenity, and well, basically anything else in Serenity. Citizens of Serenity always work together to do what is best for one another and for their town, it is very wholesome to see a small town thrive so excellently; its just sad because our small town is falling apart more and more everyday.

Small towns have such beautiful potential, and both the book series and Netflix do a great job portraying that in Sweet Magnolias. Overall, Sweet Magnolias is a very good show, and I imagine it would be an even better book series (based on the reviews). If you are looking for a new show to watch on Netflix, I highly reccommend Sweet Magnolias, and If you like to read, the books have excellent reviews and are fairly cheap, going at roughly $8 a book. The series will have you feeling all sorts of emotions, from crying your eyes out, being fearful of what is to come next, extremely joyful, and etc. Sweet Magnolias and the town of  Serenity are both so very wholesome.

I wish that Gaffney could be half of what Serenity is. Older generations often tell stories of what Gaffney was in the past, and it seemed like such a happy place. Personally, when my parents and grandparents talk about their life in Gaffney growing up, it sounds like such a fun place to live. Gaffney seemed so exciting in the past, but what happened? Where did everything go? Now when people who live in Gaffney imagine excitement its only at the thought of leaving. Our restaurants are closing, the Mall is dead, too many criminals hang out around the skating rink, downtown is dangerous, cruising is illegal. Whats left of everything Gaffney used to be? The biggest issue about everything falling apart in Gaffney is that no one in the town can get along for long enough to discuss the issues. When no one can get along, nothing will ever get fixed, which is why we continue to fall on a downhilll spiral. It would be so nice to see the people of Gaffney actually work together and pull through to make Gaffney a beautiful town again. We have so much wasted potential, that should start being used for good. Serenity is inspiriring, and hopefully one day Gaffney can be as well.