Monday, April 16, 2012

HBO's Girls has a Sex and the City Vibe with Angst

Like it or not creator Lena Dunham will hear a lot of people compare her new television series Girls to former HBO series series about four women in New York City, Sex and the City.  My guess is that based on the dialogue Dunham admires the former HBO series.  Dunham created this show; she wrote, directed, and stars in the series as well.  In the first episode her friend Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) welcomes back the groups friend Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and while asking about Jessa's conversation Shoshanna talks about the girls from Sex and the City and that she is a Carrie, but sometimes she acts like a Samantha.  This interaction sets the scene to establish one of the most basic premises within this show four girls battle it out with the great city of New York and being in your 20s.

Enter creator Lena Dunham who while she may admire the former HBO series sets her show a part.  Girls has incredible wit while balancing the seriousness of growing up today.  Lena plays Hannah who like Carrie Bradshaw is hoping to be a journalist and write a memoir.  Hannah like apparently many young people in their 20s are being supported by their parents in order "make something of herself."  Hannah sits down to dinner with her parents only to have her mother abruptly and hilariously cut her off completely.  Hannah retorts "you are lucky I am not doing drugs."  In a great twist of fate Hannah ends up in her parents hotel room a day later high on opiates hoping her parents will change their minds.  Hannah wakes up to find forty dollars-two twenties in two different envelopes as though they are gestures of good faith and a parting gift.

Allison Williams plays Marnie and in her words she is Hannah's "best friend."Marnie appears to be "normal" whatever that means within this world, except she no longer has any feelings for her longtime boyfriend Charlie (Christopher Abbott).  Marnie and and Hannah discuss the different ways and levels in which someone can break up with someone.  As this occurs Charlie appears to know their love is dwindling but wants to hold onto Marnie as long as he can.

The show is a product of Dunham's mind and is produced by the typically male oriented frat boy humor Judd Appatow (Bridesmaids is the rare exception). Dunham's show is a clever/witty piece of work that looks to go nowhere but up.  Dunham has been described as the female voice of this generation.  Dunham certainly represents this "pre-adult" and what Kay S. Hymowitz refer to as the rise of the "knowledge economy."  These women in this show represent a rising culture of women who are using the opportunities to buck the traditional and play different roles, while dealing with their own femininity.

While Dunham has done a great job representing the voice of the twenty-something woman she has received some criticism about not representing a diverse voice.  I have to simply say one person should not represent the voice of the many, and its impossible for Hannah and her friends to be everything.  I do hope Hannah expands her vantage point, and bring a diverse perspective to the show.  In the meantime check out this wonderfully well written show.

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