Turns Out We're All 24-Year-Old Girls

I set out to hate Girls. I really did. All that nepotism and optimistic youth!? U.G.H. And what the hell are they wearing? Seriously, I thought I was going to have a new show to use in my arguments about self-indulgent narrative television. Well, turns out the opposite is true; it turns out we are all 24-year-old Girls! Or at least I am, at heart. And I suspect, from the GA-LOW-ING reviews that have piled up throughout the HBO freshman's first season, that other people eventually began to tap into that universally youthful vein, too.

To call out the “four ladies” trope right away was the right thing to do. Creator/writer/director/actress Lena Dunham referred to Sex and the City in the first episode, in a brilliant piece of self-reflexivity. I realized we weren’t in Carrie’s NYC anymore, thankfully. Not that SATC didn’t have its own amazing, zeitgeist-creating thing, but man, did it age quickly, and become a parody of itself; the Cosmo the “cocktail non grata” of the last few years. And with the end of Desperate Housewives, we were left with a “four ladies” void in entertainment, the formula having enjoyed much success over the last 20 years with the aforementioned series, plus, of course, The Golden Girls. My web of skepticism began to fall apart when I saw my own reflection in the intertwining stories of these four girls. That was the magic of all those other shows, finding a way to make four women living together, or in close proximity, relatable to a broad audience.

But Girls is different from that pack, really different. By Episode 3, it felt so self-assured, at once mature and immature, funny and heartbreaking, real, yet fantastical. Hannah’s frequent nudity has been the subject of much debate. Not so much the amount—there is far more in Game of Thrones or Spartacus—but the fact that Hannah has a real body, unmanicured and plump. Part of the verisimilitude of Girls depends on Hannah displaying her body, again holding up a mirror to us, challenging the TV status quo of only showing nude women (and men too!) with sculpted, gym-crazed, gluten-free physiques. For me, Hannah’s nudity is like being in the locker room at the gym, seeing all kinds of nude bodies, big and small, fit and flabby, old and young, and remembering that everyone doesn’t look TV ready.

Girls is also the first show, IMHO, that has successfully handled the modern trappings of technology; such as when Hannah tried to gauge her relationship with Adam based on his inconsistency in returning text messages. And then when he did finally answer, it was with a picture of his penis. Followed by a text saying, “That wasn’t for you.” Wow. Real. Weird. Awesome. And yes, been there, girl! Or when Marnie and Charlie split up, and she spent an entire episode in bed, stalking him on Facebook, looking at pictures of him with his new girlfriend. Again: Been there, testify! But finding new and interesting, and yes, even dynamic, ways of integrating the use of technology into the fabric of the show is masterful. It doesn’t feel gimmicky or tacked-on, but part and parcel to the world these people inhabit.

Though the Season 1 finale airs this weekend, Season 2 is already secured and in-progress, so these Girls will be back, love 'em or hate 'em. My only hope is that they keep it real. There is a reason that GCB and Pan Am fizzled: There was not a real bone in their characters' bodies. It was all made up. Complete confabulation. Lena Dunham and Co. have made a new high mark for episodic narrative television. Expect many pretenders to the throne in the months to come. I’m just happy to channel my inner angsty 20-something for half-an-hour each week.


Girls' Season 1 finale airs this Sunday, June 17 at 10pm on HBO.

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As a real Hannah, I never expected the HBO show, GIRLS, to be factually accurate, but I did hope for more emotional realism. So, I wrote a Dear John Letter for Lena Dunham. Check it out: http://janetmackenziesmith.com/2012/06/14/dear-john-letter-for-lena-dunham/
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Dude... You might be mind-reader or something. No, seriously, this is precisely what I told my friends. I saw the pilot and I tought: Boring. By ep.2 I was decidely annoyed, but I sat down to watch ep.3 just to give it the last chance. I got taken by surprise and amazed by the feelling of connection with this character. While in the beginning I tought this girl was a dilettante, now I think she's more like a visionary.
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Unable to get through the pilot. If there really are people like this, I fear for survival of the species.
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Keep trying... You won't regret it!

By episode 3 I turn from annoyed to amazed and simply wanted MORE...
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I didn't set out to hate Girls, but I did set out to 'meh like a son of a bitch' at Girls, and I pulled that off like a boss.



This show is real only in that as in real life, these girls' lives...are not interesting. When something good happens, it's not interesting. When something bad happens to them, it's not interesting...aside from the twitchy virgin and the crack. I do like her. Whoever the actress is (I don't really care), her range is pretty damn impressive, from dry lesbian in Mad Men to the as-said twitchy virgin, she's cool enough.



The main thing I give them points for is that they don't use voice-overs. I haven't quit the show yet (though I'm two episodes behind), and the lack of voice-overs can probably take the credit.



On a side note, for any women who scream something akin to "why are guys such jerks?" Refer to both Marnie and Hannah.
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I'm 25.
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feels like a familiar show, not because of other shows but from observing my peers going to and getting out of college, and it is spot on.



i'm waiting for a breaking point. the end of the last episode i think will carry into Hannah's position of being totally broke and she'll end up having to be brave and bold or going home. her struggle and capability to fall apart at any moment is really the only thing to admire about her...which is the point? i imagine this show is starting her character out as this flawed raggamuffin that will become, let's say, a better representation of normal civilian behavior. (but keep shoshanna as she is)



but i'm also 24, so obviously my self-centered ass would like it
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I'v seen all the episodes so far hoping to like it. I seriously tried but I just hate it. It's just so uninteresting, boring and generally meh. I can understand why people would like it but I think it's a bit overrated. I just feel that it has that feeling of "been there, done that before" and better. It has that MTV vibe of tv shows: crude, raunchy and unrealistic.
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That's right, the MTV vibe. I knew there was something familiar about it.
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It seems TV.com is making a huge effort to make a show of limited appeal such as girls sound cool and worth watching. I wish thus website would use half the energy to promote actually good shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm, now in its 8th season. And since now it's OK, to make vague generalizations of one's preferred show to pretend it's some sort of mirror of today's society or something, I'd say that deep inside everybody is a cranky Jewish TV producer in his mid-sixties. Sure, why not?
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Completely agree
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I'm not sure why everyone was so down on this show in the beginning. A young, award winning comedic filmmaker and writer teamed up with Judd Freakin' Apatow to make an honest, uncensored comedy. Where, exactly, was the issue?

The show was just as good as I hoped it would be, from the first episode. And it's one of those few shows that got even better by the episode.

Why don't we save some of that negativity for shows like The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother and Two Broke Girls? Shows from another era - a simpler, time when TGIF's entire lineup was full of predictable, repetitive, un-funny punchlines and catchphrases. If more shows like Girls come out, we're going in the right direction.
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The first issue was that the comedy isn't funny. It doesn't matter who makes something; what matters is what they make.



As for predictable and repetitive, this show is predictable in that we can predict that nothing interesting is going to happen. Repeat.
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still in my twenties (though not 24 anymore, sadly, lol), i saw myself on those girls. like the technology aspects you mentioned. but essencially the psychological ones. us girls aren't simple. takes a while to figure us out. and that's good. it's also nice to see that from across the world i have the same issues as NY women, even though the context is so different. Human nature links us together. Loed Girls and can't wait for the finale and for season 2. Season 1 went to fast.



my only dislike: Adam. he's not cute, he has a crappy personality, he's a pervert...i hope hannah and him break up and he doesn't show up on season 2.
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The Adam assessment might be fair (I'm a guy, and I don't care about his looks), but Hannah looks like that kid, Brick, from The Middle, and her personality is nothing I'd want to experience longer than an hour. There aren't many prizes on this show for anyone.
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well said Micheal Svoboda. I agree with you about everything you said! people who don't like it probably don't like to really look in the mirror.
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I have no problems with mirrors. Unless there is an episode of Girls on behind me, and then I would see it in the reflection when I looked in the mirror. That would defeat the whole purpose of me turning away from the TV.
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I'll give it a shot. Thanks TV.com.
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The show is fantastic! It has sooooo many haters for no solid reason that I can decipher, other than they cannot find a way to like the characters. I don't like the characters much either. Their selfish, snobbish at times, unnecessarily bitchy and mean, and even annoyingly self-pitying.



BUT, I'm still empathetic to these "Girls". And the humor is so quirky and tragic, while also making some real and raw poignant observations about young women dealing with the world these days. They're young women fresh out of college, floundering to find themselves in a patriarchal society. Not easy, I'm willing to bet. That's it...I'd call the show "hilariously poignant" if anything.



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This is a show that takes some time to adjust to but it is worth the wait. Now I love it!
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this show is awful. could barely make it through 10 excruciating minutes.
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I didn't go in expecting to not like it, but I was definitely apprehensive. The first half of episode one didn't do much for me, but everything from then on has been very enjoyable. Not a show for everyone, but definitely a show for me. I have been known to have quite a broad, and oft weird, sense of humour.



Girls doesn't play it safe, and I appreciate that. I'd take a show half this good over something like Big Bang any day.
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I just love it, and Lena Dunham is my heroin! Something worth watching (a last) on TV, well of course, except Game of Thrones.
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You are saying everybody is an American hipster 24-year-old girl with bad manners? What a narrow-minded view of the world. Every TV character has something universal in it, but that doesn't necessarily make it great. And, by the way, nobody ever sent me a picture of their penis, by mistake or not, and I've never spent a day in bed stalking a former girlfriend on Facebook (personally, that would be another story...) So, no I can say for sure I, like many other people I know, am not one of those girls.
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Just really an unoriginal, badly written, poorly acted hipster dramedy. Nothing to see here really.. gave it the entire first season so far to try and change my mind, but only became worse.
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i was not even able to watch 1st whole episode for me that worse it was simply hate that show
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Eh, the show has grown on me, but I still really dislike the majority of the girls. (Shoshanna is likeable. And I don't really dislike Jessa, I just don't care about her) They're slowly starting to seem more likeable, but it's not there yet for me. I'll still continue to watch.
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I set out to dislike the show and turns out.... I still dislike it. Nothing new/great/original about girls in their mid-twenties acting crass and being unapologetic about their weird/odd behavior. If this show was on Fox it would have been canceled already. Since it is on HBO, we are obligated (rightfully so) to give it a second look. Might as well call this Odd Unoriginal Sex in the City.
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I really wish I'd read this post before I posted my own. Oh well.
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