Is HBO’s Girls a pop culture phenomenon?
Critics have labeled HBO’s “Girls,” the new “Sex And The City” for the millennial generation. Created by and starring Lena Dunham, the program follows the exploits of a group of twenty-something women as they try to eke out a living in New York City. Despite several surface similarities, however, this show is entirely its own. Keep up with the show Sunday nights on HBO.
The brains behind the Girls phenomenon, Lena Dunham is every bit as fascinating as the show itself. Dunham has managed to capture widespread success in show business at just 26 years old, a difficult feat to accomplish even with connections in the industry (something Dunham definitely lacked going in). She began her writing career as a precocious 9-year-old student writing fiction, poems, and, eventually, plays.
Despite writing one of TV’s most popular comedies, Dunham tells The Hollywood Reporter she “never thought of [herself] as, like, a funny person.” But she quickly found that, even when she wrote “super earnest poetry and really intense short stories,” she was still able to elicit laughter from her readers. It was this talent for finding humor in the otherwise serious that has made Lena Dunham and her show so popular among today’s young professionals.
Reflections of an Economic Recession
Girls appeals to younger viewers because they can relate to the plights of the main characters. Unlike other programs, in which most characters appear immune to the recession, the women featured in this show have all struggled with the current economic situation in one way or another. New York City is a notoriously expensive place to live and play, something the show deals with head on. Set, not in glamorous Manhattan, but gritty Brooklyn these girls all have roommates and rent to pay.
Protagonist Hannah Horvath, is forced into adulthood after she is cut off from all financial support from her parents. She struggles with the desire to hang on to an unpaid internship she loves while needing to find a job that will pay the rent. Like so many college grads, Hannah’s attempts at gaining a professional job end in failure and she’s forced to take a job working at a coffee shop. And as her boss Adam says, “It’s not adult life if your parents pay for your BlackBerry.”
Young professionals and recent grads that can afford HBO, will be able to relate to the the girls’ struggles, although the characters themselves probably wouldn’t be able to spring for premium channels.
Girls takes the “traditional” romantic relationship and turns it on its head. The show’s characters find themselves just as confused with relationships as they do with their finances. This is a common problem in today’s society, with many young women complaining of a hookup culture that begins in the dorm rooms and now often extends past the college years. At the same time, the women featured in the show are largely comfortable with discussing sex in a matter-of-fact manner. The frank discussions surrounding bedroom exploits may be what most reminds viewers of Sex and the City.
And just as Sex and the City was the power female show of the late 90s, “Girls” may very well be the program of the 2010s that women look to to define their generation.
So, what do you think? Are you watching “Girls?” Is it the next “Sex and the City?”