HBO’s Girls is one of those “lightning rod” shows – loved by some, criticized by others. Described as the millenial generation’s rebuttal to Sex and the City, it revolves around Lena Dunham’s character Hannah Horvath, a 23-year-old cupcake-loving recent college literature grad living in New York with ongoing employment issues and a history of not-so-healthy relationships, including her current one with an oddly aloof actor-turned-carpenter.
The show, nominated for five Emmys last year (winning one), and two Golden Globes this year (winning both), is in its second season, and is heralded for its frank and remarkably honest portrayal of modern 20-something young women and its rough-around-the-edges characters. Its score of 87 on Metacritic (an aggregator of film and television reviews) indicates “universal acclaim.”
A particularly lucid review came from The Hollywood Reporter, who said the show conveys:
“real female friendships, the angst of emerging adulthood, nuanced relationships, sexuality, self-esteem, body image, intimacy in a tech-savvy world that promotes distance, the bloodlust of surviving New York on very little money and the modern parenting of entitled children, among many other things—all laced together with humor and poignancy.”
However, the show is not without its detractors. A columnist for Gawker described it as:
“a television program about the children of wealthy famous people and sh*tty music and Facebook and how hard it is to know who you are and Thought Catalog and sexually transmitted diseases and the exhaustion of ceaselessly dramatizing your own life while posing as someone who understands the fundamental emptiness and narcissism of that very self-dramatization.”
Of course, being a funny names blogger, I couldn’t help but admire the names of her co-stars, who shine in their roles as alliteratively-named characters:
- Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath, the series’ protagonist
- Zosia Mamet (daughter of legendary playwright David Mamet) as Shoshanna Shapiro, an innocent and socially awkward NYU student
- Jemima Kirke as Jessa Johansson, Shoshanna’s cousin, who is an unchained bohemian and world traveler
- The boringly named Allison Williams as Marnie Michaels, Hannah’s very responsible best friend, with a steady job and steady (but passionless) relationship
Perhaps partly due to those names, I side with the majority in calling it an excellent series. Dunham’s decision to participate in several nude scenes despite her slightly overweight, non-idealized figure has been the subject of constant discussion, with some calling her a modern feminist icon while leaving others – perhaps unused to seeing “imperfect” female forms in the buff on the silver screen – very critical and uncomfortable. While many love the realism of the show, others dislike characters that remind them of the “spoiled” and “entitled” youngsters they frown upon. Whatever their opinion, people are talking – often a good indicator of a groundbreaking series.
The irony is that 26-year-old Dunham (the daughter of two artists) is anything but the unmotivated, confused character she portrays. Previously known as the director of 2010’s Tiny Furniture, Dunham is the creator of Girls, and her job duties include directing, writing, starring in the show, and making me feel like the most unproductive 26-year-old this side of Topeka.
Oh, and in case you’re looking for another reason to watch: Hannah’s ex-boyfriend appears in a recurring role portrayed by none other than…
Woohoo! Off to watch more episodes of HBO’s Girls. (I wish… that would be the best Monday morning ever!)
Hats off, once again, as you’ve (once again) educated me in the world of pop culture. Sounds like a fun show, but somehow passed me by:-( though Tiny Furniture was a cool find.
Yay! I love feeling significant 🙂 I actually haven’t seen Tiny Furniture, but I’ll have to watch it soon.
speaking of blogs (and we were, yes?) you must get yourself back to foodforfun for cornbread and connections–I’ve giving BoFN a shout-out, my friend
I must stop leaving comments on my phone–never comes out right: I’ve given
I actually saw that… but not in the way you’d expect. I was randomly reading through the “Spam Comments” folder today for the first time in months, and randomly your “pingback” ended up there. I’m not sure why… they should have a rule that if someone who is an Editor of this blog links to a page of ours from another of their blogs, it’s not spam. Oh well. Thanks for the shout out! Mmmmm…. cornbread! I’m hungry. I’m sure Crescent is delighted with all the buzz we’re giving her. It’s great when people’s goals can work mutually together!
Pingback is not spam–this is an outrage ;-0 Just wanted you to be there when my posts came full circle with Crescent’s story. She’s an extremely cool lady and I have you to thank for knowing her. Thumbs-up for working together, yes. You, too, I know as you’re the one with multiple correspondents 😉
I saw the Golden Globes and the Grammys but did not understand Lena’s significance. Thanks for bringing us up to speed.
You’re very welcome! She’s an interesting, emerging star, that’s for sure. I’ve also learned to admire (rather than resent) people my age who are significantly more accomplished, so it’s great to see someone in their mid-20’s shaking up the world stage by offering a fresh voice 🙂
Dave!! You, out of all people, do not need to have a case of Lena-envy. See Friday’s comments re: your level of busy-ness for confirmation 🙂
Also: when you have a moment, I would be very appreciative if you would be so kind as to share your television viewing list with your attentive readers, please and thank you, good sir. (Superlative enough for you?)
Haha, alright, that’s good enough. 🙂 Let’s see… in no particular order (although I’ll aim to put the biggest ones first):
Dexter, Community, Nip/Tuck, Forensic Files (nonfiction, but I’ve seen more episodes of it than any other show), Friends, 30 Rock, Homeland, Damages, Big Bang Theory, Lights Out (boxing+good drama, but only lasted one season 😦 ), Cougar Town, Bones, Girls, Crossing Jordan (dorky, but a good combo of medicine and forensics plus a lovely Ukrainian-Canadian star), Twin Peaks (slow, but engaging, and I get a lot of Kyle MacLachlan doppelganger comparisons), House, Louie (good for the right occasion)
and for non-drama/comedy shows: Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, HBO World Championship Boxing, HBO Boxing After Dark, Showtime Championship Boxing
I think that’s it… for now! A friend has been suggesting I watch Freaks and Geeks lately
Such a good list (and I’m not just saying that because it’s very similar to mine!) Your friend is very wise – Freaks and Geeks is great. Plus, it stars a future Bones cast member! Jill Hennesey is gorgeous – did you know she’s an awesome musician too?
Well of course… I’m an absolute sucker for Ukrainian women who can act and sing. (Jill Hennessy, Milla Jovovich)
Who is the future Bones cast member? Or is that my job to find out? 🙂
Anyone in that bottom row look familiar?
I recognized Busy Philipps immediately, but that wasn’t related to your question. To be honest, I had to cheat and look up the cast before I realized that it was Sweets! I would not have recognized him!
wherever do you get the time to follow all of those shows? (talking to you, too, amber)
I actually have Corporate World to thank, believe it or not. Since I’m in telecommunications, I get a very pretty discount on my tv and internet services. Helps make maintaining my tv show addiction much more affordable 🙂
I tend to watch them in spurts. I’ll get really into a show and watch an episode or two (or four) a night. Watching them on the computer is the only way I can pull it off. For example, I only got into Friends during the past year (don’t tell Amber!), but the episodes only run 22 minutes or so, so I could knock down three in an hour, or 6-9 episodes if I get a few hours free. Lights Out was only a single 12-episode season, so it required about 10 hours to watch the whole series. It’s all very doable if you have access to the shows online (Hulu, etc.) or through DVDs (my brother finds a lot of good shows at used record stores), or through other, less kosher methods that I’ve cut down on recently.
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