Oh man, the pilot episode of HBO’s new Lena Dunham scripted series “Girls.” I like love it and hate it all at once. Every now and then a TV show will come along featuring a cast of twentysomething gal pals that is supposedly “groundbreaking” and “a revolutionary gem” but really dissolves quickly into all the girls moaning the lack of marriage, babies, and soulmates in their lives. Doesn’t matter what age they are either, it’s always the same goddamn thing: a group of WASPy young women who aren’t really thrilled with the people they grew up to become despite the overwhelming advantages they have, have a fractured relationship with at least one of their main parental units, and have huge loft apartments in the city with zero rodent issues.
They are also usually grouped in groups of three or four with at least one Super Pretty Girl You Will Never Look Like Ever™, a sexually adventurous one to keep it spicy in all the ways that are more than one, a prude (you can’t say it better!), and one who is kind of the voice of reason but is really more invested in herself and her own needs than anyone else because she’s the main character and she knows it.
Shows like this suck because I literally never, ever see myself in any of the characters (though I do see my own close friends A LOT MORE THAN I’D CARE TO) but damnit dude if I don’t love watching this shit because it’s so addictive. Particularly within certain relationship arcs which are scripted so carefully that everyone feels the compulsion to throw their pretzels at the TV screen screaming simultaneously “DUMP HIM! HE FORGOT YOUR BIRTHDAY THREE YEARS IN A ROW!!!”
Girls is kind of similar to this. I have no doubt in my mind that I won’t continue to keep watching the series to see how things pan out for our reluctant leading lady Hannah (played by Dunham) and her motley crue of girlfransssss Marnie (Allison Williams, the pretty rich one), Jessa (Jemima Kirke, the worldly globetrotter) and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet, the kiddo who isn’t really a friend yet? I don’t think? None of that was explained clearly fyi.) How did the pilot pan out? I had my issues and not-issues as outlined below.
-In the pro corner, we’ve got yet another TV series set in New York City. This is a version of NYC that is in many ways different from the Carrie & Co. SATC version (the Bradshaw show is referenced in this episode which I’ll get to). I say it’s a pro because I like watching shows set in New York. The landscape is always changing which is a huge plus. What was popular in SATC’s heyday won’t be in the Girls world. Magnolia Cupcake? Nada. Hangin’ at The Strand? Totes.
-The episode opens with Hannah bitching to her parents that they need to keep giving her $1100 a month so she can keep working at a free internship heading nowhere and working on her memoir.
Already that sentence contains three things I hate:
1) Parents who fund 24-year-olds entirely.
2) 24-year-olds who don’t have actual paying jobs and live off the parental teat because they can (and the parents seemingly allow for the ragdoll treatment of their checking accounts.)
3) 24-year-olds writing memoirs. Shut up. Shut uppppp. What the fuck are you gonna write about, a traumatizing dodgeball gym class incident from the 4th grade? Been there, done that, totally got a pair of broken glasses to prove it.
Continuing on, Hannah’s parents lay down the law with their “adult” daughter: no more money because they are professors and can’t afford to fund her lavish (though not really) lifestyle. I’m amazed they kept it up for as long as they did tbh. If I ever asked my parents for eleven hundred a month for life purposes, they’d laugh me out of the house. I do have three brothers which financially pinches a lot of pursestrings but realistically speaking, even if I were an only child they still wouldn’t fund my world for me. Hannah IS an only child which she has the gall to bring up in the dinner with her parents as a point in her corner for why they should continue to give her money. It doesn’t work. Ahhh a backbone parentals! If only too little too late for your spoiled offspring.
-It strikes me as very, very questionable that Hannah has been working at her publication internship for an entire year and did not attempt to look for an actual full-time paid position on the side. Or attempt to learn more about certain areas that would benefit her “position” within the company and make her a more exciting candidate for possible full-time hiring like her annoying co-worker did with PhotoShop. Judging from what I’ve seen so far, Hannah appears to have accomplished the bare minimum of work expectancy and was kind of poking along hoping to land a fat salary for that alone. This is why I hate my own generation and am damn grateful I inherited my father side of the family work ethic in which we work ourselves to the bleeding, do all the things, bone.
-As Hannah tells her internship she can’t work there anymore and is dismissed almost instantly by her supervisor, co-worker who did do work and did get hired full-time asks Hannah to go grab her a Luna Bar and some Smart Water before she goes. Best don’t let the door hit ya on the way out ending remark I’ve ever seen.
-Let’s talk roomies and friends! Marnie is pretty but not “Victoria’s Secret Angel” worthy as Hannah describes her. She has a creepy boyfriend too, Charlie, whom I’m placing bets on for coming out of the closet soon.
-That, or keeping a big creeptastic collage of Marnie in his room under his bed.
-Across the way in Nolita, we have Jessa who is the definite of quirkyness with her big fedora and velvet coat and this combined with an accent and appetite for travel like, blows away her cousin Shoshanna whom she’s rooming with. Shoshanna, clad in a baby pink hoodie and sweatpants, talks Sex and the City with the very puzzled looking Jessa. Shoshanna is clearly the Charlotte of the group- she’s blown away when Shoshanna casually drops that she doesn’t have a Facebook. Sooooo kewl.
-Speaking of creepy dudes, we also have Hannah’s regular hookup partner Adam who instructs Hannah to never be beholden to the man right after mentioning that his grandmother gives him $800 every single month. Dude. Who are all these people casually flinging their offspring and relations all this dinero? Clearly I did not grow up in this kind of coddled environment and thanks to my student loan, I may never get the chance to benefactor anything ever for anyone ever. But I digress. Adam is amusing but I can already tell this will be ending in a poor shoulda seen it coming He’s Just Not That Into You way.
-Hannah and Adam have extremely awkward half-sex together. I’m never particularly thrilled that the girls who are bigger weight wise on TV always must be frustrated about sex. Can’t we just have a happy scene with this for once? Just once?
-For the record, Hannah makes several references to her not-hotness through the 22 minute episode. Christ. It’s gonna be one of dem shows where we’re hating on our figures all the damn time isn’t it? No offense to Dunham but if I ran the Girls world this would never happen.
-Hannah gets high on opium tea which is prepped for her to drink by an apartment dinner party visitor (I would like to invite that guest to my home for an impromptu din-din) all because she thought the dude said it would taste like “Twix” when he clearly said “twigs.”
-He clearly did say “twigs” btw.
-Just what kind of tea would ever taste like chocolate ‘n caramel candy?
-You know she wouldn’t drink it without including at least 3 references to her weight too.
-Hannah goes to visit her parents in their hotel room whilst high as a kite to beg for money. She passes out on the floor while they have a not-funny argument about what to do with their grown child. In the end, they decide to resort to babying and leave her money to continue funding her semi-boho lifestyle if but for 30 (31 tops) more days. Whatta charmed life.
Basically I’ll continue to watch this show simply because episode two is supposed to have an insanely awkward sex scene in it (I grew up with boys, what are you even expecting out of me at this point) but I don’t know how much I’ll grow to like it if I do at all. What I do like is the writing. It’s enjoyable and there are moments where it pokes fun at itself (not as many as I’d like but a couple is better than nothing.) Girls is not the most unique show on TV right now but HBO isn’t counting on uniqueness as much as they are on ratings.
SOMETHING has to tide people over till True Blood returns after all.