This is my first television review to post on this blog, simply because it is unusual for me to watch the pilot of a series and feel the powerful need to write about it. Frankly, I am not often “hip” enough to catch onto a TV show before it gets trendy, therefore overwriting the purpose of posting a review once I jump on the bandwagon.
Alas, I was lucky enough to have the forethought to set my PVR to record the Girls premiere last night on HBO. The half-hour comedy-drama series is created by 25 year old actress/writer/director Lena Dunham who also stars as the show’s lead protagonist, Hannah.
In the opening episode, Hannah proclaims that she is “the voice of her generation… or a voice… of a generation”. This is true for Dunham too, who has miraculously created a show about twenty-something girls, for twenty-something girls, written by a twenty-something girl. In fact, the show has caught the zeitgeist of today’s college/post-college generation; women attempting to create themselves, enthusiastically and zealously.
In the pilot, 24 year old Hannah learns from her parents that she is being cut off of all financial support. She is two years out of college and is completing the present day right of passage known as an unpaid internship, while working on her “memoir” – which she cannot complete because she “still has to live”. She shares an apartment with best friend Marnie (Allison Williams) and Marnie’s all-too-loving boyfriend Charlie (Christopher Abbott), and decides mid-way through the episode that she can survive in New York City for 3 more days – 6 if she doesn’t each lunch – without her parent’s money.
She seeks comfort in the all-too-familiar male, a shirtless/jobless philosopher who hasn’t figured out how to text back. Awkward sex scenes ensue, but it is clear Hannah doesn’t see how jerky this part-time boyfriend is. Of course, like every relatable show about a girl, she has the typical, yet not so typical, onslaught of quirky best friends. Marnie: A mother figure best friend who practically sleeps and showers with Hannah, while feeling like the touch of her boyfriend reminds her of a creepy uncle; and Jessa: A snobby British globe-trotter who touches down in NYC to offer Hannah the advice of embracing her poverty like Picaso and Elvis did.
Girls, though being highly amped in the press leading to its premiere, has since seen criticisms ranging from “terribly unlikeable” (BuddyTV) – though this review was written by a guy; I just don’t think males would understand this show! – to “awkward” (CNN) and “a difficult show to love” (Los Angeles Times). However, I find it is always difficult to judge a show in the first 22 minutes it is on the air. That being said, I would have to agree with Tim Goodman’s review in The Hollywood Reporter when he said Girls is “one of the most original, spot-on, no-missed-steps series in recent memory”.
Whether Lena Dunham is the voice of our generation, like the Michael Patrick King (Sex and the City) of 2012, or just another 25 year old trying to create herself, is up for debate. One thing for sure, if you are a broke, unemployed twenty-something woman having sex with inappropriate men, and who wears opaque tights – i.e. 80% of us – you will see yourself in this show.
Girls airs Sundays at 9:30pm pacific on HBO