Contemporary New York, a bunch of female friends, modern life trials and tribulations, haven’t we heard it all before?
Of course we have, which is why when a new show aimed at women gets a lot of hype in the media I’m only really interested if it’s from a decent source and HBO, the American powerhouse of cult TV, is pretty much trusted to deliver. That said, flagging a series as the new Sex and the City with a bit of grit thrown in, is a more than a lot to live up to. I’m unashamed to say I’m a great fan of Carrie and her friends, so I was wondering if this new batch of New Yorkers would live up to the towering Manolo heels of their heritage. And this is why I began watching Girls with a soupçon of ennui.
So what’s Girls about?
Well, there aren’t many surprises in the set up; it’s a group of four close knit friends with career and relationship dramas who are supposedly ‘living the dream one mistake at a time’.
The colourful cast is made up of four female lead characters and their associated love interests:
|Lena Dunham is a great new talent, definitely one to watch and hot on the heels of Tina Fey, although she has Woody Allen tendencies as she writes and directs the series and already has an acclaimed film credit to her name in Tiny Furniture; as Hannah, her ambition is to be a great writer but in reality she is living off her parents and doing a free internship while trying to exploit any situation she can, including a boss who sexually harasses his staff but claims it is his personal style.||…||
Hannah Horvath (10 episodes, 2012)
|Allison Williams is the stalwart of the group, a typical home loving girl with everything in its place but her life begins to unravel as she discovers that steady isn’t very exciting||…||
Marnie Michaels (10 episodes, 2012)
|Adam Driver is the dysfunctional some time on/off boyfriend of Hannah, an out of work actor who spends too much time alone in his apartment, lifting weights and exercising his own body parts to hilarious effect||…||
Adam Sackler (10 episodes, 2012)
|Jemima Kirke is the travelling legal alien in New York, an opinionated quasi Brit she is a sassy femme fatale, and she’s always in some kind of sexual stew||…||
Jessa Johansson (9 episodes, 2012)
|Zosia Mamet is the 22 year old virgin and some time peeping tom who can’t use it or lose it||…||
Shoshanna Shapiro (8 episodes, 2012)
|Christopher Abbott is the overbearing, over protective boyfriend of Allison who wouldn’t understand ‘over’ even if it hit him in the face||…||
Charlie (7 episodes, 2012)
|Alex Karpovsky Christopher’s best friend and agent provocateur when it comes to the relationship between Hannah’s diary, Christopher and Allison||…||
Ray Ploshansky (6 episodes, 2012)
The show is contemporary yet timeless, delivering an authentic, unglossy vision of the New York I remember from hanging out there; that sentiment has been echoed by my American friends sot it’s a winner for me and I will keep watching.
Girls delivers more punch and subversiveness than its predecessors at a surprising 30 minutes an episode. Episode three was eye wateringly, laugh out loud funny and left me guffawing grossly into a cushion so I didn’t wake my 12 year old daughter.
The four main characters are young and in their twenties, well educated, ambitious and creative but because the series is set in the right here and now they are beset with so many more problems that their 90s counterparts from SATC. New York careers are no longer highly paid and jobs are scarce, women have a lot to live up to as they are now expected to earn the dough and yet still be ‘all woman’ from the inside out. And here lies the premise for a hilarious sequence of events which beset the cast.
The characters are surprisingly unpolished; they don’t go to high class events or run up overdrafts on designer clothes, their lives revolve around paying the rent, getting out of dead end unpaid internships, getting out of dead end relationships and generally trying to keep life and love afloat in NYC. Their image is contrived to look like now, their clothes are vintage or run of the mill stuff they’ve acquired over the years or borrowed from each other It’s artful but never overdone. The series is shot in a very understated way, no gloss, fake tan or surgically enhanced bodies.
Girls is a great antidote to hyper stylish soaps like Friends, Will & Grace and Glee, issues are handled with humour and panache without being sanctimonious or worthy. There are so many scenes full social embarrassment and cringe worthiness (Hannah’s HPV diagnosis and Jemima’s friends gathering at the abortion clinic are just two examples) that it makes you glad to be out of that age group, but then again, it’s funny to relive some pretty funny situations vicariously through the TV set. It’s definitely worth a watch – but don’t tell your teenage daughters!
If you want to see for yourself, Girls is on at various times on Sky Atlantic in the UK . I dare you to watch it without laughing. If you don’t find it funny, you haven’t lived.
Note: George Galloway, a much more controversial MP appeared on Celebrity Big Brother to generate awareness of himself was not suspended.
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