The TV adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang comic series Paper Girls is a sweet and exciting teen sci-fi story and showrunner Christopher C. Rogers shared that Jason Mantzoukas loved it before landing the role. Rogers told Den of Geek in an interview that the actor “gave the comics to Ali Wong and said, ‘You should read this’ before there was ever a TV show, before there was ever an opportunity.”
While fans are unsure if there will be a season 2 of Paper Girls, season 1 has many meaningful quotes, from characters discussing the rules of time travel to thinking about their future lives.
“You think it could be aliens?”
Tiffany is skeptical in episode 1 “Growing Pains”
Before the four main characters are transported to 2019 in the pilot episode, they hide in one of their houses and stare outside at a vibrant pink sky. Tiffany shows her no-nonsense personality when she suggests that whatever is happening, it couldn’t possibly be aliens because they don’t exist.
Tiffany is intelligent and wants to find a logical and scientific explanation for this strange situation. Instead of admitting that she is just as lost and confused as her new friends, she asks a sarcastic question.
“How do you know my name?”
Adult Erin is shocked by the four main characters showing up at her house
There are several likable Paper Girls characters, including Erin and her adult self. When Erin, KJ, Mac, and Tiffany walk into Adult Erin’s house, Adult Erin is shocked to see four pre-teens and scared that they seem to know who she is. It takes her a minute to realize that her 12-year-old self is standing right in front of her.
This is one of the best quotes as it’s the beginning of the journey that the main characters go on. Erin is about to realize that when she grows up, she helps her mom through an illness, lives in her childhood home, and stops talking to her sister. Erin has no idea the kind of pain that she will feel in the future and she’s upset and scared to make these discoveries.
“I realize how… rough our childhoods were.”
Dylan tells Mac that they had an “unacceptable” childhood
In one of the most heartbreaking parts of season 1 of Paper Girls, Mac learns that she doesn’t have a future because she will die of cancer. Mac is thrilled to get the chance to catch up with her brother Dylan, who is now a married doctor with kids.
Dylan explains to Mac that they had a tough time growing up and that their dad needed to take care of them properly. Dylan wants Mac to realize that she can change and stop being such a harsh, mean person who insults others. The characters have a meaningful dynamic as Mac begins seeing her life differently.
“It’s not that I’m mad, I’m just… disappointed.”
Grand Father shows up at the end of episode 4
Grand Father is in charge of the Old Watch and he makes a surprise appearance at the end of episode 4. This is one of Jason Mantzoukas’s best TV roles as the character is hilarious and unforgettable, cracking jokes and while also explaining the rules of time travel or, at least, what he thinks that the girls should know about.
Grand Father makes a grand entrance and it’s clear from his interaction with Prioress that they care about each other but have some complicated tension as well. Grand Father loves being in control and feeling powerful, which makes Erin and her friends nervous around him.
“KJ never gets that perm.”
Mac jokes around about changing their futures
When Mac wonders if it’s possible to go back to 1988 and change the future so they’re all much happier, she jokes about KJ never getting the perm that she does when she’s older. This is a great quote and breaks up the tension that everyone has been feeling throughout all of season 1.
While Mac is rude and cruel at the beginning of the story, she realizes that she has been wrong, and she cares about Tiffany, KJ and Erin, but has bonded with KJ the most. It’s moving seeing Mac and KJ connect with each other.
“Think about your life like it’s your favorite mixtape.”
Grand Father explains time travel
The rules of time travel feel a little bit more vague in Paper Girls than in other sci-fi shows, but it’s still fun watching Grand Father explain how changing one thing changes everything. He explains that “Every moment in your life is like a different song in the mix” and if a song gets changed or recorded over, everything shifts.
This is a hard truth for the young characters to swallow. They want to go back home more than anything, but they’re also upset about the futures that they will have and they wish that they could ensure that they get what they want.
“What will I become?”
The four main characters on Paper Girls are likable female teen characters, and when Tiffany watches her valedictorian speech with a smile in episode 7, “Some Kind Of Burping Trash Hole,” she’s proud of the words that her older teenage self says. In the speech, Tiffany asks what kind of person she will be after sharing her desire to have an important career.
When Tiffany meets her older self, she finds out that she will drop out of MIT and stay in Stony Stream, two things that she never thought would ever happen. Tiffany goes through an emotional journey of trying to comprehend that her life will become complicated and hard, but ultimately realizing that she’s going to be alright even if she has to go with the flow more.
“I’m still the old me, Mac, but I’m this me too.”
Dylan tries to show Mac that it’s okay to grow up and change
While Mac loves seeing her brother again, she’s unsure about how much things have changed for him. She judges him for being a wealthy doctor and living a seemingly perfect, charmed life with his family and feels insecure, telling him that she doesn’t belong in that future.
Dylan shows that he’s a caring and supportive sibling by telling Mac that it’s okay that he has gotten older and that his life has turned out differently than either of them anticipated. This is a huge moment of growth for Mac as she realizes that she doesn’t have it all figured out.
“What do you want with the future?”
Grand Father asks KJ why she wants to go to another time
When Grand Father asks why KJ wants to go to the future, KJ admits that she wants to see if there’s a cure for Mac’s illness. This is a sweet scene that shows that Mac and KJ end up having one of the best TV friendships and KJ is determined to help Mac, even if it means standing up to the intimidating leader of the Old Watch.
While Grand Father is willing to talk to KJ, he doesn’t think that she is as smart as him and makes it clear that he doesn’t think that she understands the rules of time travel the way that he does. It’s fun seeing KJ stand up to him.
“If you can stop bad things from happening, you have to try.”
KJ is strong and tough
KJ wants nothing more than to alter things so Mac doesn’t get sick or so, if she does, there will be a way for her to get better. At the end of season 1 of Paper Girls, KJ says this meaningful quote about trying her best.
KJ is kind-hearted and feels bonded to her new friends, as they have been through a life-altering situation together. KJ’s words might sound sweet and innocent, since life is always going to be tough sometimes, but it’s inspiring that she wants to do what she can to help Mac.
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