Not everyone is going to love HBO's new dramedy Girls. There are several graphic sex scenes and Hannah, the show's not-always-sympathetic protagonist is bound to rub some people the wrong way. But ironically enough, it's these raw elements that render the show's familiar coming-of-age story completely fresh and real.
Among critics, this show about a quartet of women has been unfavorably compared to Sex and the City (even the show gives it a nod), but it becomes almost immediately clear that these Girls dont wear Manolos. Their apartments, wardrobes and relationships are all, well, kind of shabby. In the second episode, instead of meeting up for cosmos, they congregate at the free clinic for a friend's abortion. Needless to say, there is no Carrie-style voiceover.
VIDEO: Girls talk with Lena Dunham on her new TV show
It wasn't difficult for the show's creator and star, newcomer Lena Dunham
, to imagine what that world would be like — she herself is a 25-year-old living in New York City. In order to maintain the show's authenticity, she turned to her own friends and experiences.
"You need to keep your eyes and ears on what your friends are doing, and what people who are your demographic are doing," she says. "I just made sure that when I walked on to the set it looked like the apartment of people I knew, and when I wrote a line it sounded like something someone I knew would say."
For that reason, Girls can be uncomfortable to watch, but if nothing else, it's wildly entertaining and different. Still not convinced? Below, check out our 6 reasons we think you should give it a chance.
1. Because Lena Dunham and executive producer Judd Apatow have the same comedic sensibilities. Girls is by no means Knocked Up or The 40 Year Old Virgin, but it does have the same self-deprecating tone that has become Apatow's signature. Apatow served as Dunham's mentor throughout the production process, "helping her understand how to run a television show, how to use a staff and how to use a larger budget." But above all, he says he was Dunham's "creative sounding board" and describes them as "kindred spirits."
2. The most awkward, cringe-worthy sex you've ever seen on television. Girls portrays sex as something you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy. Hannah (Lena Dunham) insists on being overly analytical about intercourse — while it's actually happening. Her terrible love interest, played by Adam Driver, has a prominent fantasy that casts Hannah as an 11-year-old junkie who carries a Cabbage Patch Kids lunchbox. On another occasion, when she begins debating the logistics of anal sex, he suggests, "Let's play the quiet game." At times, it borders on being just sad, but like any train wreck, you can't look away.
3. Rather than depicting the 20s as a fun joyride of self-discovery, on Girls, it's an unglamorous struggle filled with disappointment. Marnie (Allison Williams) has a perfect boyfriend who is obsessed with her, but the sight of him begins to make her sick. Hannah is fired from an internship that she's working at for free. When she makes an appointment to get checked for STDs, her gynecologist sums it up best: "You could not pay me enough to be 24 again." True to form, Hannah responds, "Well, they're not paying me at all."
Check out photos of the cast4. The characters manage to be both self-loathing and self-aware.
Early in the first episode, in a scene that Apatow says "best represents what the show is about," Hannah's parents tell her they're officially cutting her off and she protests, "this feels very arbitrary." She later asks for "$1,100 a month, for the next two years" to finish a book she's writing. When her parents tell her "that's insane!" she responds, "You would
say it's insane! Who could live in New York on $1,100 a month? But I am so committed to this book that I'm willing to get thrifty on this." Viewers are left unsure about whether she's being derisive or sincere... which is the beauty of her calculated delivery. 5. The casting is incredibly on point.
If you ran into Jemima Kirke
on the street, you'd probably assume she was a free-spirited hippie that would have fit seamlessly into 1965. Her character, Jessa, is exactly that. Zosia Mamet
, who plays Jessa's roommate and cousin Shoshanna, is equally as believable. You'll quickly be convinced that in real life, she's just like Shoshanna -- a neurotic virgin that wears monochromatic Juicy Couture jumpsuits and blasts Kelly Clarkson in her bedroom. 6. Generation Y has become synonymous with oversharing, and Hannah's shamelessness is reflective of it.
She sits on her bed in a towel Googling "diseases that come from no condom for one second" and complains to a friend that since her period is so irregular her underwear is always covered in weird stains. Her unapologetic nature and brutal honesty will make viewers feel a little less alone when it comes to the secret shames we all share.Girls
premieres Sunday, April 15 at 10:30/9:30c on HBO.