Lena Dunham's "Girls" - did you watch?

April 17, 2012 

There’s been a lot of buzz in the news lately about Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow’s new comedy for HBO, Girls.

It’s been called the indie Sex and The City.

If you don’t have HBO, like me, you can watch the first episode on YouTube. It begins with Lena Dunham’s character, Hannah, wolfing down a plate of pasta while at dinner with her parents – a scene familiar to any post-college person. If your parents are picking up the dinner tab, you always make sure to bring an appetite.

Hannah’s parents are visiting to tell her that they cutting off her allowance. She’s spent two years since college working at an unpaid internship in publishing and working on her memoirs – but as of that moment, she gets no more money.

She argues them about it, telling them that the living in New York during this economy is not easy and that lots of her friends are getting help from their parents. She’s a good daughter, she argues. She’s working hard and trying to become somebody – can’t they support her?

I totally see where she’s coming from. The economy does suck. When you’ve been a good, goal-achieving person your whole life, you feel like you deserve to be recognized for it. You should get what you want.

At the same time, I can’t help thinking Hannah is a whiner and a privileged baby.

That was how I felt for most of the episode, mostly when watching Hannah. When she said she didn’t want to work at McDonald’s because she had a college education, I thought: Exactly. If you go to college, you shouldn’t have to work fast food – otherwise, what’s the point of spending all that time and money?

…but, at least fast food is a job that pays, unlike Hannah’s publishing internship. If you work someplace for two years without a paycheck, that’s not paying your dues – that’s being a doormat. Why hasn’t she been looking for a paying job all this time? She had to know that her parents’ money would run out eventually, right?

If Girls is the new SATC, then I’m probably a Marnie – Hannah’s practical, cautious and somewhat mothering roommate. Sure, she wants to break up with her boyfriend just because he’s “too nice” and bores her to death, but at least she pays her share of the rent on time and tells Hannah she should reason with her parents rather than demanding they support her art.

Girls isn’t a definitive picture of 20-something life – all of the main characters are white and living in New York City – and I don’t know if I would consider it comedic. I didn’t laugh very often, but I liked it. It felt honest.

Some other random thoughts I had while watching the episode:

-- Did Marnie's boyfriend just beg to hold her nightguard -- that retainer-like thing that's been in her mouth, all night? Ew. Yeah, this guy is too nice. Like creepy nice. Shudder.

-- Why is Hannah eating a cupcake in the bath? That’s sounds…soggy. I would have gone with frozen yogurt. Cupcakes are so 2007.

-- I love the dialogue in this show. It's snappy in the right places, without being too precocious and over the top.

--Showing up to your parents’ hotel room in the middle of the night high on opium tea is not the way to get more money. Unless you steal the money left behind for housekeeping.

Did you watch Girls?

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