‘Girls5eva’ Team Breaks Down Sara Bareilles’ Emotional Season 3 Song ‘The Medium Time’

The team behind “Girls5eva” has gotten used to being texted song demos out of the blue. Series creator Meredith Scardino regularly sends music supervisor (and fellow executive producer) Jeff Rich- mond and his team voice memos singing her lyrics to the show’s latest absurd songs, such as “Home Alone Doorknob” or “Sweet’N Low Daddy.”

By season’s end, Sara Bareilles also gets in on the fun. It is a tradition that the Grammy winner, who stars as Dawn, writes a song to emotionally punctuate each finale. In Season 1, as Dawn began to harness her own songwriting dreams, Bareilles penned an ode to imperfection with “Four Stars,” and for Season 2, she was behind the empowering anthem “Bend Not Break.”

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Deploying Bareilles’ soulful style is always strategic for the series, which moved to Netflix for Season 3 after two seasons on Peacock.

“You want to wrap the emotion of the whole season up in a bow at the end, and I think that is where we always lean on Sara and her heartfelt, honest songwriting gifts to pierce that for us,” Richmond tells Variety.

Bareilles’ homemade recordings are a bit more elaborate when she sends them to the team, including co-stars Renée Elise Golds- berry, Paula Pell and Busy Philipps. “I’ll sing all the parts and do all the vocals, and then I’ll text it to the girls, which is always a really sweet moment,” Bareilles says.

For her Season 3 song “The Medium Time,” Scardino pitched Bareilles a tune that ponders the group’s relationship with fame, asking if there is satisfaction in shooting for the big time and landing somewhere in the middle.

“She came back with this gorgeous song, and I was in the Adidas store buying shoes for my son when I got it,” Scardino says. “I opened the file and held it up to my ear, and I just started tearing up in the store because her demo was so beautiful.”

In the finale, Girls5eva is scrambling on the eve of their biggest show yet at Radio City Music Hall. They booked the famous venue on Thanksgiving morning, programming themselves in a dead zone against Macy’s parade. Dawn, in particular, is wrestling with whether the hustle of this comeback tour has been worth it when she runs into character actor Richard Kind, who puts success into perspective.

“We always had this idea that Richard Kind is the ideal version of what it feels like to be a creative working person,” Scardino says. “There is a sweet spot where, as he says, ‘You’re constantly working, but not famous enough to get bugged at a deli.’”

She initially considered calling the song “Choose Kindness” or “Be Kind” for the obvious double meaning. But Bareilles goes with her first instincts when writing for the series, and the “medium time” angle hooked her.

“I wish my work for myself felt this free,” Bareilles says. “I’m less heavy when I’m writing for the girls because I’m really in a trusting place of wanting to create something that feels like a warm hug. Something that feels like the balm they need right now to just accept where they are in a loving way.”

It’s all in her lyrics: “Grow, trust time will know/That the middle is the riddle of it all/ And the medium time is just fine for now.”

Accompanied by Goldsberry, Pell and Philipps around a piano, Bareilles performs the song on stage to an empty venue (except their families and Kind). In a way, “The Medium Time” is just for them, if they want it.

Scarino wanted the moment to feel powerful “because you want to believe in this group and their journey, which has been kind of bananas,” Scardino says. “A song like ‘The Medium Time’ helps you earn the more absurd parts of that journey, and it makes you root for the group even more when you feel like they are good.”

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