READ: The Problem With HBO’s ‘Girls’

On Sunday night, the much buzzed about new HBO dramedy (?) Girls premiered. 1.1 million tuned in to see HBO try to win back the female audience. For months and months and months and months the pilot had been buzzed about online. It was a must watch. So, we watched.

Firstly, this show is not just for Girls. The title is a deterrent for a lot of you, I’m sure, but this show is for either gender. Leading up to the premiere I was quite excited for the show. I watch a lot of TV, but very little of it speaks to me. Right now, for the 20-30 demographic, there is something missing. Maybe it’s just me? A lot of the television I watch though has to do with adults and about adults. And I don’t watch Jersey Shore or any of that nonsense because that’s not for or about me either. How To Make It In America was close, but not really. So this, this seemed like something that would have tapped into the struggling, artistic, 20-something, age group who is just trying to find themselves.

Girls is good. Don’t get me wrong. I loved a lot about the premiere. The first 3 minute of the show? I thought was not only genius BUT also my life story. I’d assume a lot of us had had that talk with our parents. For Christ’s sake, the line about being on the same plan for her cellphone as her parents because it was cheaper for them? Once again, my life. And that is why the show works so well, in those aspects. These people, their jobs, their relationships, the references, everything is so accurately depicting my generation.  I’ve never seen something so gritty and so honest about being a young adult. It was in the little things too. “Joy Lin knows photoshop”. And when she asks Joy Lin what she wants as a snack and she lists 4 types of drink? My generation in a scene. Again, fantastic.

But for all the honest, realistic paint strokes that fill the screen, there is a lot missing from the narrative and it took me a couple of days to figure it out. I actually went back and watched the pilot again because it bugged me. For me, what the show is missing is heart.  A lot of it, and that surprises me because mot of Apatow’s work has A LOT of heart in it. But here, we’re given this raw, stark, cold, dark depiction of today’s reality and maybe it’s too much? I don’t care what’s happening to these characters and I don’t know if it’s because they don’t want me to care or they don’t care that I don’t care because we’re not supposed to care.

And I seem to not be the only one with a problem with the shows pilot, which again, very surprising. Of course I’ll go with it as every critic’s review I’ve read says the episodes only get better and better. The thing is, I’ve never seen such a strong reaction… TO A PILOT of a show. It’s really kind of crazy that within a couple of days people went from fawning over this show to giving it some side eye. And I really don’t know why which is why it’s taken me a couple of days to write this and which is also why this post is so incoherent.

But this is where we are, with Twitter and Facebook and everything else, our responses have become so immediate and sharp that shows aren’t even given a chance anymore. Do you honestly think Buffy would have survived in this era? When things are too light-hearted we harass it for not containing any realism. When things are too dark, well, f-ck, make me laugh a little. I blame this all on Christopher Nolan and The Dark Knight, but that’s for another day. All I’m saying though is that there needs to be a balance when you’re providing me with this authentic view of the world and an age group and a period of time.

I’ll continue with girls because with so many news shows this year being disappointing, it most definitely is a bright spot. It needs time though. And maybe we need to allow it have time. I do wonder though that if this show was entitled Boys, about a bunch of guys, would everyone have been so quick to jump?

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One comment

  1. As I said in another comment, I’m still on the fence about Girls. I disagree (and I think you do too after watching the second episode) that they have any resembelance to girls my age, which is their age. to have an aborition episode as the second episode was risky, and those assholes took it too lightly. The british girl needs to go away and the main girl (WHO DRESSES LIKE THAT) but I’ll keep the pretty one who hates her boyfriend and the lonely virgin cousin.
    I HATE people like the main girl, self entitled, I’m so much smarter thatn you can I’m so articulate and misunderstood, IF YOURE ARTICULATE THEN YOU SHOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM BEING UNDERSTOOD. But I peed my pants in the second episode when she joked about the guy being a rapist.
    Sorry it’s a little long!! ❤

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