High Hopes For Girls

Judd Apatow + funny women = success. Or does it? It worked for Bridesmaids, and I am really really hoping it works for the upcoming Apatow-produced HBO series, Girls. Girls is about four female friends trying to make it in New York City. Sound familiar? My worry is that it will become another Sex And The City.

I am somewhat reassured because the series is created by, written by, and stars Lena Dunham, who was also the creative mind behind 2010's indie sleeper hit, Tiny Furniture. On paper, the film seems obnoxious: Aura graduates from Oberlin College, moves back home to her mother's loft in Tribeca, and tries to figure out her life. Whereas this sounds like a big-screen adaptation of White Whines, Dunham was so charming and "real" in her role it was enjoyable. Aura is definitely considered "hip," but within her world she is still insecure and very akward. Another reason is that I couldn't take my eyes off Dunham; she is gorgeous in a "real person" kind of way: no movie star body or face, but in real life (whatever that is) she would be someone you can't take your eyes off of. (Okay so, I have a girl crush.)

According to the press, Girls is not only supposed to be good, but it's suppoosed to be an important show, a game-changer for both women and for comedy. According to this in-depth profile in New York Magazine, Emily Nussbaum gives it nothing but praise:
I laughed out loud; I "got" the characters—four friends, adrift in a modern New York of unpaid internships and bad sex on dirty sofas. But the show also spoke to me in another way. As a person who has followed, for more than twenty years, recurrent, maddening ­debates about the lives of young women, the series felt to me like a gift. Girls was a bold defense (and a searing critique) of the so-called Millennial Generation by a person still in her twenties.
This is good news, but again, leaves me a little nervous. On the one hand, I'm glad it won't be some glossy, superficial, materialistic, cartoon Lipstick Jungle-esque show. Here are my hopes for the show:
  • It's great that it will show women who are not proper "ladies," that they can be gross and crass. But I hope it doesn't overdo it, like in, for example Are You There, Chelsea where the character is so crass that she's practically a sociopath.
  • For once, I hope this show set in New York City will actually depict a realistic New York City. I want to see tiny, dingy apartments, I want to see the horrible stress of living in a city. I want to see some of the inevitable loneliness that comes from being among a sea of 8 million people who are strangers. (Can you tell I lived in New York for a while?)
  • An obvious part of the women's lives is dating. Which, of course, is interesting. But I hope that the plot lines will revolve more around the growth of the relationship, and not ABOUT the relationship. I'd also like to see the "girls" talk to each other about things other than their dating life, and hopefully passing The Bechdel Test.
  • Lena Dunham's character, Hannah, is supposedly awkward. Which is great- aren't most of us? But hopefully she's not a bumbling fool whose purpose is to be pathetic for comedy's sake. Since this is not an ABC sitcom, I'm confident this won't be the case. I hope that the characters are depicted with flaws yet are still worth rooting for (see: Carrie Matheson from Homeland).
  • I'm about to get pretty hardore feminist: it bothers me that the show is called Girls. The term is infantilizing and diminutive, implying that these are not adults, and to me it has the implication that the show is meant to be a generalization of what "girls" are like. What if Entourage were called Boys? Actually, that may be accurate.
Some may think that being concerned about the quality of an upcoming premium cable series is a waste of energy, but this stuff means a lot to me. Women-centric shows have a long way to go, and I'm getting pretty impatient waiting for a good one.

Girls premieres Sunday, April 15 at 10:30pm on HBO.

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