I learned about Girls in two separate but equally important ways. The first was an interview (or perhaps it was a tweet) several months back done by Lesley Arfin that mentioned she was going to be a staff writer for a new HBO series. The second was more recently, as a promo during my (millionth) On Demand screening of Sex and the City, which was genius on HBO’s part. I’ve enjoyed following Arfin’s writing from Dear Diary to her more recent Rookie contributions, so I knew I would at least want to check this show out. Couple that with learning Judd Apatow is one of the executive producers and my interest went from “probably going to watch an episode or two” to “definitely going to watch”, and I’m glad I did.
This show is similar to I Just Want My Pants Back in terms of highlighting the “plight” of all the early to mid-twentysomethings from a generation who is known for its sense of entitlement. However, unlike Pants the focus here is primarily on the girls, as the title would suggest. I’m going to jump into why you should watch this show, but before that I have one gripe with the people in charge of scheduling over at HBO: Game of Thrones and Eastbound and Down are great, but they aren’t really a natural segue for a show like Girls, perhaps it would have been smarter to NOT cancel How to Make it in America, which would have made a great pairing.
- You can relate to the premise. Or rather, I can relate to the premise, but I’m sure a lot of other girls (and guys) can as well. The main character, Hannah Horvath (played by Lena Dunham) is a writer and only child who relies exclusively on her parent’s generosity to survive, until they cut her off. She’s been at her internship a year and is expecting it to turn into a paid job any day now, except it doesn’t. In fact, the mere mention of receiving money for her hard work gets her “fired” or as fired as one can be from a job that doesn’t pay them. The feeling of “Oh crap, what do I do now?!” is something many of us will be able to identify with.
- The writers and subsequently, the writing. The aforementioned Lena Dunham is not only the star, but she also joins Apatow as one of the executive producers and no doubt brings her writing talents to the show. There were several bits of wit sprinkled throughout the pilot, but my favorite would have to be when Hannah notes that texting is like “the lowest form of communication on the totem of chat” and her roommate Marnie (played by Allison Williams) clarifies that it goes Facebook, G-chat, texting, e-mail and phone, with face-to-face as the ideal.
- The show is self-aware. Instead of shying away from the Sex and the City comparisons (four girls in one NYC), Girls immediately addresses them. First with the huge poster in Shoshanna’s (played by Zosia Mamet) living room and right after when she notes Jessa’s (played by Jemima Kirke) Carrie/Miranda/Samantha/Charlotte tendencies. Who among us hasn’t called themselves a “Carrie” or a “Samantha” before?!
- Pop culture references. “Watching this is like watching Clueless.” Whether it be the show or the movie, the mere mention of Clueless never fails to bring me joy.
- Facepalm inducing moments. As you listen to Hannah discuss why she is too good to drop fries at McDonalds because she has a degree and watch her crawl all over Hank, the guy who treats her like crap yet has every bit of her attention, you realize how idiotic it is when you do the exact same things. Just as we learned (or are still learning), dream jobs don’t just grow on trees and just because a boy (or girl) makes you momentarily feel good doesn’t mean they’re good for you. We’re all aware of this, which makes it that much more fun watching someone else make all of your mistakes. This could also fall under the “relateability” section.
- “When I look at both of you, a Coldplay song plays in my heart.” (See: The writers and subsequently, the writing)
If you’re still unconvinced, watch the pilot for yourself and check out Girls next Sunday on HBO (10:30/9:30c)
Nicole is a TV junkie and TVDM helps her feed a lifelong addiction. She can be found here, providing biased commentary (sprinkled with a few Pop Up Video-esque insights) on her favorite shows, every week.