HBO’s New Show, Girls, Is a Little Bit Irksome.

16 Apr

Would you like some wine with that cheese, young ladies?

HBO has been promoting the shit out of their new original series, Girls. Those annoying pop-up ads have been all over Jezebel, making me look forward to the show for weeks.  I just watched the series premiere, and my reaction lays somewhere between “blah” and “meh”. Created by Lena Dunham, a 25-year-old whose 2009 film Tiny Furniture made waves at SXSW, Girls is also executive produced by Judd Apatow.

The first thing that bothered me about Girls was its collection of actresses who would likely only be actresses due to nepotism. Dunham herself is the daughter of two notable artists, Laurie Simmons and Carroll Dunham. She is perhaps the most relatable out of the cast.  The other main characters are played by Allison Williams, daughter of Brian Williams, yes, THE Brian WIlliams, Zosia Mamet, daughter of David Mamet, critically acclaimed playwright, and Jemima Kirke, daughter of Simon Kirke, drummer for the band Bad Company. It’s really quite annoying when you realize how well-connected this collection of young girls really is. All of a sudden, any ounce of believability that these actresses have ever struggled, especially in the financial sense, like many 24-year-olds entering the real world, and like we should believe about these twenty-somethings trying to find themselves, completely leaves your mind.  These characters are mind-blowingly entitled and self-absorbed, and our main character, Hannah, just could be the worst.

Lena plays Hannah Horvath, a 24-year-old who’s been out of college for two years and only works an unpaid internship while her college professor parents support her.  In the opening scene of Girls, Hannah’s parents tell her that they’ll be cutting her off financially. Her whiny reaction makes any person who ever had a job before the age of twenty cringe in horror.  I was supporting myself at the age of 18 or 19, which is actually late for many people who do not have wealthy parents to support them, so Hannah’s bratty reaction is alienating to many young people. I have also had an unpaid internship, but unlike Hannah, instead of going to my supervisor and demanding that he pay me for fucking around on a Mac all day long, I went out and got THREE additional paying jobs.

I was looking forward to Girls very much, but if the apex of the show’s story is Hannah’s griping over her parents not giving her money to do whatever the hell she does other than look for a job, I will not become a fan.  There was one moment in which I did feel bad for Hannah. Her odd-looking carpenter boyfriend, Adam, practically deceives Hannah into having doggystyle sex on his couch, hinting that he might not be wearing a condom, despite her vocal request.

There are some bright spots in the show. I am referring primarily to the subtly sharp one-liners spouted off by Dunham and her father, played by Peter Scolari of Bosom Buddies fame.  After ingesting a large amount of opium-infused tea and ending up sprawled on the floor, her father suggests she drink a cup of coffee. Hannah yells at her father,  “Coffee is for grown-ups!” Scolari’s retort: “You’re going to drink a strong cup of coffee!!!”  Perhaps Apatow will use his magical comedy powers to bring us more varied and peerless guest performers in future episodes. Girls has promise, but no power. Who wants to cheer for a girl who literally begs her parents for money? Is this the generation I belong to? It’s true, we’re all doomed.

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