HBO’s Girls premier: So what do you think so far?

OMG did you watch? Will you watch today once it shows up online? Did you recognize the India Street, Greenpoint neighborhood where Lena Dunham’s character lives, or the one near St. John’s in Prospect Heights where her awkward sex friend lives? Did you see the Brooklyn Brewery product placement in the bodega scene? Did you cringe at the scene where Dunham’s Hannah asked her parents for an absurd amount of money to live off of ($1,100 a month) or did you cheer her along in brokester solidarity?

We all sat down to watch the premier last night and realized it is hard, as a website staffed by broke and struggling 20-and-30 somethings, to not take the hype (and there was a lot of it) around HBO’s new series Girls personally, and to expect something big. And all told last night, we were left feeling a little … flat, but curious enough to keep tuning in. This has been a year of shows aiming to capture the broke-in-Brooklyn lifestyle, from CBS’ ghastly 2 Broke Girls to MTV’s glossy and smooth version in I Just Want My Pants Back. Of these, there’s no doubt Girls at least goes for the gritty jugular, portraying awkward, unfulfilling sex scenes and a slice of urban female friendship that involves eating cupcakes in the tub. But is this generation doomed to forever be portrayed in popular media as some sort of whiny, un-self-sustaining succubus class with a sense of entitlement, a “generational minstrel show,” as Dave put it? Then again, would any of you watch a TV show about 24-year-olds who work at Trader Joe’s, take Gotham Writers’ Workshop classes at night and start three blogs to try to get their writing career off the ground?

It is slightly annoying that, especially here in Brooklyn, where the sense of entrepreneurship is high and many people chase down their dreams through back alleys of shitty jobs and hard scrabble, we have to keep seeing people on TV who expect things to be handed to them, and sulk when they’re denied.

More thoughts on the show, from our 11-member Team Brokelyn viewing last night, noting full well that all we have been treated to is a half-hour long pilot that may or may not be representative of the show’s arc as a whole:

PROS

-Apatow-influenced clever dialogue, with great throw-away lines like: “Watching this is like watching Clueless.” “The TV show or the movie?”; or ”I’m really not into eating this week.”

-Unlike Sex and the City, the show actually acknowledges that different classes of society exist and that everyone is not a cocktail swilling socialite. Karina says this is evident in a scene where Hannah talks about getting a job at McDonald’s, and the idea that she’s too good to work there. “This is at least acknowledging that there are different rungs,” she said.

-Lena Dunham seems like a real person, not a glamified version of a pretty young person. Faye says: “I think it’s cool that that chick has a show.”

-Is there another show that actually depicts young people dealing with financial issues? “I’ve never ever heard somebody confess that they’re getting support let alone being totally dependent on their parents,” Karina says. “People lie.”

-Hannah’s sense of entitlement portrayed in the pilot seemed to contain some cognitive dissonance: Brad says he saw this as different than in Tiny Furniture, in that instead of Dunham’s character getting what she wants via privilege, she’s portraying Hannah as a failed entitlement kid, and we’re not meant to cheer for her to get a handout from her parents.

-The line, from Hannah’s mother: “Get a job and start a blog.”

CONS

-Kelly, the 23-year-old in the room, was the only girl who didn’t particularly like the show, even though she’s a fan of Lena Dunham and her movie Tiny Furniture. “I feel likeTiny Furniture came a cross as more genuine,” Kelly said. “This came across as more douchey and classicst.”

-So far the characters are of dubious appeal. Kenji says: “I feel like this is just he TV version of the blog WhiteWine.com. It’s white people problems.” Eric said: “I don’t now long a show that doesn’t have anyone likable in it can be sustained.”

-Not enough sex. Brief nudity was too brief!

-It’s a show about struggling and not relying on your parents for support, starring four actors who all have very famous parents.

-But seriously, please at least try to get a job. Caroline says: I’m excited to see her character flail around a bit more and actually try. That hasn’t happened in the first episode.”

 What did you think?

27 Comment

  • Post script: Is there a gender gap in the audience of this show? Most of the girls we watched with last night liked it, while all the guys were seething with a bit of hatred toward Hannah.

  • I agree with your general sentiment that it wasn’t spectacular, but is worth watching again. To be honest, although I can certainly relate to the poor in your 20s thing (livin it), I didn’t find any of the characters to be that likable. I’m hoping that changes with time but for now they were all kind of meh to me. Honestly, the jappy character from another town who idolizes sex and the city seemed like the most accurate/hilarious portrayal. I’ll still be watching, though, because I think it has potential and because I am a sucker for all things local.

  • Wait,
    Your contention is that there is a more appropriate depiction of white middle class generation-Y kids than “whiny, un-self-sustaining succubus class with a sense of entitlement”?

  • Has there ever been a great novel written by a kid? I don’t think so. I’m fine with shows about kids. I just don’t think kids can (or should) write them. The kind of perspective I would like to see in this is simply beyond Lena Dunham. It can be good at showing her perspective, but that perspective itself cannot be good enough. So, if getting an accurate picture of the world as seen by the kid that she is is all we expect to get, I think we are getting it fine. Expecting anything more is not realistic.

    • No! This is my fear manifested. Lena Dunham does not represent the viewpoint–or writing talents–of 24-year-old white kids in New York. We can and should expect more, and so far, she’s not cutting it.

      • I agree completely with Kelly on this one. Thus far, this show makes a mockery of young women in this city. No one interns for free for A WHOLE YEAR, and those that do intern supplement this with paying job(s).

    • “Less Than Zero,” man. Written when the author was like 19. Bret Easton Ellis, what up!

    • The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton! She was 15 when she wrote it, 17 when it was published. Truman Capote was 23 when he wrote Other Voices, Other Rooms, which is an excellent book, if not a great one. Tennyson was 20 when he wrote Timbuctoo. Byron wrote Childe Harold when he was 24. Percy Shelley was 29 when he DIED. Age isn’t inherently a hindrance to achievement.

  • news flash to the people saying characters are “not like-able”. real people in this age (while not exclusively spoiled brats) are often not like-able. they are selfish, it’s inherent to the age group. if anything its a benefit to the show that they are being honest about this.

    • Wtf? Ageism is bullshit. There are plenty of intelligent, generous, ignorant, smart, funny, successful, lazy, etc… people in any age group. Get over yourself.

      • Wait until you grow up, then you’ll be singing a different tune. Trust that shit.

        • I think you’re talking more about how people’s tastes potentially change when they get older. I wouldn’t say this means that young people can’t write good, truthful things. It means that YOUR definition of what’s good and truthful has changed.

  • No minority faces anywhere. (Wait, minority faces shown twice – one character was homeless and the other was a coworker.) Brooklyn is so diverse! Maybe not so much Greenpoint but definitely Prospect Heights. Wtf.

    • Dunham was asked about this during her online chat today. Her response:

      Lena Dunham
      “It was a complete accident that it happened this way, I wish that we were representing the population of New York in a more accurate way – and hopefully if we get to do a second season we will. ”

      http://connect.hbo.com/conversations/girls/lena-dunham/19078/

      • Whoa, the whole first season is like this?

      • It’s funny, I don’t think, nor would I accuse her of doing the casting with any kind of malicious intent, or consciously weeding out minorities from significant roles. That said, that it came out this way isn’t an “accident”, it’s a not hugely surprising result. But good on her for noticing it, and wanting to address it.

  • I think this may be the last thing I say about this show, because I think the hype/backlash/backlash to the backlash is just exhausting. It’s fine, it’s certainly better than Tiny Furniture because it’s more willing to laugh AT the characters. Andrea Peyser’s idiotic “get the fatties off my TV” represents the worst possible reaction to the show, coming in just ahead of “my generation was so much better than this one.” But I’m not gonna seek out any more episodes and will gladly let this culture rocket take off without me on it. On a related note, I can’t wait to head up the “Veep > Girls” debate.

  • I tried to like this. Maybe it’s because I can’t relate, but my twenty-something Brooklyn and New York friends are all struggling, taking jobs they don’t want because they HAVE to, living in sketchy places and dealing with it because that’s how you become a responsible adult. I like Lena Dunham but her characters are always so entitled. “Two Broke Girls” is terrible but at least shows them working at a job they hate because they have to. I think Hannah would snub her nose at a server job. Also, the fact that her character is writing a MEMOIR in her mid-twenties speaks to her selfishness and ego.

  • I’m a 23 year old white girl living in Brooklyn who has no interest in seeing 20 something year old white girls living in Brooklyn on television, the show is not just annoying but also straight up boring – i can watch white girls with white girl problems everyday (it’s called roommates) i don’t need to pay for HBO for that… there are so many underrepresented perspectives in the media, the young white privileged girl perspective is not one of them…

  • Wow sex anyone ??

  • show would become timeless if all the characters were murdered at the end of it’s run