Pretty much every 20-something blog I read has been obsessing over the premiere of one specific show this April: Lena Dunham’s Girls, which airs on HBO Sunday nights. Lena Dunham has made a name for herself in the entertainment industry after releasing her independent movie, Tiny Furniture in 2010. She now writes for, directs, and stars in Girls, and she’s only 25.
Since I don’t get HBO, I had to wait until yesterday to watch the pilot episode, which revolves around four postgrad girls, Hannah (Dunham), Marnie (Allison Williams),Jessa (Jemima Kirke), and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) trying to make it in New York City. Media outlets are comparing the show to a younger, realistic version Sex and The City. While the show does center four main female characters living in NYC, that’s where the similarities end in my opinion.
For me, watching Sex and the City was almost the equivalent of watching a glossy magazine play out before my eyes. The SATC characters were glamorous, lived in gorgeous apartments, and always had money to spend in the hottest nightclubs or expensive shoes. I loved watching this show because it was an escape from reality, I never assumed that I would have the gorgeous Manhattan apartment that freelance writer Carrie magically can afford, or have Charlotte’s perfect hair. For me SATC has always been about pure entertainment.
Girls represent the opposite end of the viewing spectrum for me. It’s so incredibly real and gritty that I actually cringed multiple times throughout the episode. The characters are all flawed in their own ways, and I certainly don’t think people will be saying “I’m a Hannah”, or “I’m a Jessa” anytime soon, like they do with the SATC girls. Marnie, Hannah’s roommate, seems like she is the closest to having her life together financially, and even she is dealing with serious relationship problems. I liked that the characters dealt with real issues and I’ll definitely continue watching the series, even if it doesn’t offer the same glossy escapism as SATC and so many other shows set in New York City.
I think that as the season continues, the show will continue to receive mixed reviews from 20-somethings. While some will like that it brings common post grad issues into the light, such as unpaid internships and dysfunctional relationships, others may feel uncomfortable with just how close to home some of the issues hit.
We may not be requesting that our parents pay the full rent for our NYC apartment like Hannah does in the pilot, but have our parents ever paid our cell phone bill, or health insurance, or Netflix cost? We may not cringe at the sight of your boyfriend like Marnie, but I bet that at least some of us have wondered if our first relationship as a 20-something professional will last. Is it possible that a fictional show can actually be too relatable for comfort?
Did you watch the premiere of Girls? If not, you can find it here at HBO.com. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!