Girls: TV For Average Twentysomething WomenApril 19, 2012 No Comments
On rare occasions, television does reflect real life. A new series that debuted on HBO last weekend, Girls offers a refreshing look into the lives of twentysomething women. From financial issues to terrible sex, Girls charters into unknown television territory, tackling the minefield of awkward, difficult yet essential struggles of coming of age in 2012.
Written, directed and starring 25-year-old Lena Dunham, Girls is bold, funny and honest. It peers into the lives of four women who are a part of the boomerang generation: educated and entitled but struggling to make their way in New York City. Dunham plays Hannah, a young woman trying to survive on an intern’s meager salary after her parents have decided to cut her off financially. Marnie (Allison Williams) is Hannah’s best friend and responsible roommate; Jessa (Jemima Kirke) is Hannah’s well-traveled and fun British friend; and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet), Jessa’s virginal and naïve cousin.
Dunham appears to give an honest glimpse into this generation’s struggles as opposed to Sex and the City — where women chase men, shoes and sex without worrying much about anything else. While Carrie Bradshaw may be idolized by women the world over, after the financial crisis, this is a reality most women of my generation will never know. Sex and the City also simplified the relationship between female characters and didn’t reveal their complexity. Marnie and Hannah have a supportive and caring relationship like normal women, without the drama. In my opinion, this is a positive step forward; it is nice to see original and real characters on television that my friends and I can relate to.
The perspective of the average twentysomething woman is forgotten on television. There is a vast array of male characters for male viewers to relate to; yet women are often left to choose between the good girl and the sex kitten, both that look like supermodels. Dunham could easily become the ambassador for the “average” girl — in that she bares her curvy body without shame even while engaging in an unpleasant sexual act with her neglectful on-screen boyfriend. She also embodies the contradictory relationship that many women have with their body: somewhere between acceptance, pride, resignation and self-consciousness, inadvertently giving us permission to accept ourselves as we are.
All in all, Girls is a genius comedy that doesn’t hide life’s unpleasantness from its viewers. It delves deep into the transitional age that is the midtwenties: no longer adolescents but not quite adults, we are left to float on our own while our parents wave at the shoreline. In the trailer, there is a scene that says it all: Hannah is having an internal health exam and the doctor says, “You couldn’t pay me to be 24 again.” Hannah replies, “They’re not paying me at all.”
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