Did you know Chyler Leigh was in a legal drama in 2002? I have a feeling almost no one knows this happened, but yes in 2002 she was one of the three lead characters in Girls Club. The series was very short lived and was cancelled after just two episodes, but the first episode still exists on YouTube. Normally I wouldn’t direct you to what is a very low quality video that appears to have been recorded with a VHS tape, but Girls Club exists nowhere else that I can find on the internet and with the early cancellation it appears that only the very first episode was ever saved by the magic of the internet.
For those who have never heard of Girls Club, which unless you are my legal drama loving wife who went on a deep dive during our legal show related marathoning you probably have never even seen it anywhere, this series was meant to focus on three young women living in San Francisco who all work at the same law firm. Even though this is a series I can only speak to episode one and so can IMDb, which makes me think no one was even able to see the second episode or if they did no one was able to save it anywhere. Episode One, which sadly is just Pilot, acts as a basic introduction to the main characters.
We meet Lynne, Gretchen Mol, who is in charge of her very first trial case and her client is admittedly a creep. This plot gets very dark, but still the man she is defending no matter what she thinks has definitely creepy vibes. Jeannie, Kathleen Robertson, has impressed one of the partners and every time he interacts with her he rewards her with too much touching and ultimately a dinner initiation that based on the dynamic of the office is not something she can turn down, no matter how hard she tries. Admittedly these were not the plots I really cared about because they boiled down to very creepy male behavior that I did not want to experience.
The part I was there for and what you are probably also here for is Chyler Leigh in the role of Sarah. She is also an associate, like her friends, at this firm and has finally brought in her first client. She and another associate are in charge of writing a brief, but the other associate, Rhanda, has found a way to undercut Sarah. With intentionally bad advice leading her to think writing something verbose was what the partner wanted, Sarah is told her part of the brief is weak and winds up being relegated to a glorified researcher for Rhanda, even though this is Sarah’s client. We have already seen Sarah get very upset and angrily yell, in the office which is not great, about how terrible the partner is and Rhanda. When Sarah hits her breaking point she calls Rhanda a dyke, which even for 2002 is a weird insult choice. As a correction she then starts saying all of the reasons she isn’t homophobic and eventually winds up saying “I love homosexuals!” The reason I know that no one has see is this show is I have been at more than one queer convention and there has never been any merch or mention of a long haired young Chyler Leigh saying “I love homosexuals” on network television.
Now this plot isn’t great and I don’t like that they have the character of Sarah calling someone what is equated to a gay slur. There are some people who embrace this word and have for some time, but we as an audience are definitely being shown it in a negative context in this storyline. We only get one episode with Sarah ultimately saying that she might be a closet homophobe based on her outburst. While she apparently has a boyfriend, who we never see or hear, I would like to think that this moment in the first episode was meant to lead into at least a sweeps week style plot line for Sarah with her resolving her issue with Rhanda and the two getting together, even if it is short lived. It would work really well as an enemies to lovers plot and there are like a million file rooms shown in the first episode so they could be working on a case late at night when everyone else is gone and then romance ensues. I am not advocating for sex in the workplace, but the three main characters live together and this seems more likely to happen mid argument about the case.
If you did watch or even just hear about this show could you please let me know because it seems like it was just sort of a blip on the radar in 2002. I would also be very intrigued if anyone then wound up writing fan fiction about Sarah and Rhanda based just on the one episode that seems to exist or maybe someone found a way to watch episode two, since what I can find says the show was cancelled after episode two. While I don’t think the show would have been stellar, based primarily on the constant focus on creepy men being in contact with the three leads and some of the dialogue that is really bad, this includes a terrible vent from Sarah that made me go “Oh boy” out loud while we were watching it. If you are at all intrigued you can find the very grainy first episode of Girls Club hidden on YouTube.