Unless you are living under a rock, or I guess unless you are living under a different rock from me, then you know that Lena Dunham’s new show Girls premiered on HBO this past Sunday. I of course didn’t see it until Monday, when the network very kindly put it up on YouTube. I wasn’t going to write about it, I mean it’s only one episode and though I enjoyed it I don’t know if I’m ready to say “obsessed” yet, but then I realized that over the course of the last two days, I’ve watched it 3 times. I think that means I have some thoughts about it.
The show, for those of you that don’t live under my “white girl just out of college living in a city” rock, is written by, directed by, and stars Dunham (whose first movie Tiny Furniture came out last year) and is about, well, living under that rock.
So much has been written about the show, that I’m not really even sure where to begin. I’m not going to dwell on the sex scene here, because one – my mother reads this blog (Hi Mom) and two – it’s been discussed to death already. (The Slate round up was the most entertaing for me.) And anyway to me the sex wasn’t the point anyway, it was the relationships between the “girls” that seemed to matter, which is probably I wouldn’t even remember the boys’ names if I hadn’t read so many reviews of this show. And I think that show really captures those dynamics really well. (I particularly connected to the jealousy that straightlaced Marni has for free spirit Jessa, it was so real, even if we don’t want to it admit it.)
I particularly enjoyed the rif on Sex & the City, which the Slate writers found contrived, but any girl my age knows that second four women are sitting at a table, it is almost inevitable you start categorizing yourself. (I’m a Charlotte by the way, for better or for worse. Except that writing this makes me kind of a Carrie right…etc). And other than just being hilarious it pointed out the central premise of the show, and to a certain extent my life, girls my age grew up watching Sex & the City and Friends we expected our lives to be like that after we graduated from college and “became who we are.” Even though logically we knew that those shows portray a lifestyle where everyone seems to magically have enough money to do whatever they want, it’s sort of ingrained in our heads that we will too somehow. And then we graduated into a recession moved into cities we can’t afford, or home to our parents’ houses. Girls is sort of the reality check, yes it’s still a privleged reality, but it’s still nice to see it portrayed in an honest, funny/heartbreaking way.
A lot of the criticism about the show has focused on the fact that it is about a privleged section of the population and ignores everyone elses – and I can’t really argue with that except to say that it really doesn’t claim to be about anyone other than Lena and her friends, who are a lot like my friends (to the extent where at times it made me cringe – is that really how spoiled we come across?)
Anyway I’ll be watching (and probably writing) for the next 10 episodes, I mean it’s also Judd Apatow’s return to TV (he’s Executive Producer) that’s enough for me right there.