HBO’s Girls

Sometimes, you watch a show and it works. Its promising, you like the characters and you think, this is the next Six Feet Under, or the next West Wing. bad comparisons, those are drams, the closest thing i an compare Girls to is SATC and yet, this is a show completely unlike SATC’s glamorous New York lifestyle. If anything, this is anti-Image

SATC. What happens, when you get 4 millennial early 20’s girls who are trying to make it in the big apple and are not on a network like ABC or CBS where you need to have silly sitcoms… you end up then… with Girls.

There is far too much written about this show in the media and I probably don’t need to urge you to check it out. You know its good, im just going to tell you why I think it probably pushes the envelope too much too soon and then in the attempt to up the ante, loses the something that was making this show great… the something called… ‘real’

In the beginning, there is a lot to like. There is a lot of emphases on trying to make the stories feel connectable. With little to no fakery, the struggles that these 4 New York girls are going through are the struggles you and I would go through every day. Issues of trying to make rent, the troubles with losing a boyfriend, the trouble of trying to connect with friends whom you think are weird. The issues of dealing with what to do when your parents basically tell you, you have made a mistake with your life. When you have to take a break and decide if you really know what you are doing with your life and when small problems suddenly become the biggest thing ever. (And this is the good stuff!)

Set in New York, you get the feeling that this really could not happen anywhere else, not in any other city. Their lives are weird, the kind of stuff they are going through makes me wonder sometimes if there are liberties taken in storytelling or if this is a life people can live. You want to believe that they are real, for a while it seems possible. You want to believe that unlike Carrie Bradshaw’s column writing from SATC, where for some reason her stories are successful, in Girls, Hannah struggles to even get a day time job.

Hannah (who also happens to be the creator of the show – Lena Dunham) is a writer collecting stories, she writes essays and wants to sell a book, has worked for a year as an intern, but when she asks for paid work, is fired. That her boss tells her she can’t sell her book to him, and that this is not something he is really interested in, because she will not be around any more. The story of how the journal Hannah writes falls into the hand of her roommate’s boyfriend, and that is how he learns that she doesn’t really love him. There are far too many awkward, funny, sometimes sad stories. These are people in dysfunctional relationships and they don’t seem to get it, or even when they do… they need to be reminded about how bad things were before they ‘get over’ it.

But while initially the show does surprise because the characters seem like they could be real people… soon, the masks fall. The lead, Hannah, is not thin, is not attractive, she is like what Rose O’Donnell would be like. She is whiny and she is struggling, the other characters are all great too, but each has elements of fakery that, as the series goes on… become unbearable. Soshanna’s stories keep getting more impossible, the story of Hannah’s boyfriend makes no sense. Jessa’s romantic antics and mystery end up becoming a painful caricature of hollywood’s spoiled child, and Marnie’s pining for her boy friend reminds me that I need to do my laundry tomorrow, or maybe take a vacation… my point is, the stories are not very captivating. And the reason, the mad need to up the ante. It’s fun to watch, but you have to wonder if the ‘real’-ness could have somehow been salvaged. Maybe im just being too demanding. But, according to me, the magic of the first few episodes was lost as things went on and the craziness of each person’s life kept getting compounded.

Now, critically the show has been praised for showing real problems that women face – but I disagree, this is Hollywood through and through. And so I am conflicted… would it have been better to have stopped watching after episode 5? We will never know.


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