Yes, Girls. As in, the HBO show! What did you think I meant?

Now, I know everyone and their mom is talking about Girls, and I really, really didn’t want to add to that noise… But I have to. I have to, because after watching Lena Dunham’s movie Tiny Furniture, I thought I was going to hate Girls. (To be fair, I didn’t hate the movie. I just didn’t enjoy it either.)

But I was wrong. I didn’t hate Girls. In fact, I kind of love it.

What’s it about?

Girls is an insightful look at the lives of a certain type of twenty-something. It’s smart more than funny, sexual more than sexy. The best part is, Lena Dunham (creator, writer, and star of Girls) isn’t afraid to “go there.” She isn’t afraid to go anywhere the characters take her. Even if it’s awkward or uncomfortable. Even if it’s “unlikable.”

As a writer, I really admire that. Like, I’m not as square as my mother thinks — although I am square relative to a lot of people — but I’m not always brave enough to write about my “rounder” experiences.

Naturally, people keep comparing Girls to Sex and the City. An HBO show about 4 women in New York vs. an HBO show about 4 women in New York — yeah, it’s inevitable. And I think it’s a fair comparison. I can even map the character types to their counterparts. Hannah = Carrie, Marnie = Miranda, Jess = Samantha, Shoshana = Charlotte. But those equal signs are deceiving.

Girls is like Sex and the City, but without Photoshop. It’s the model without makeup on. It’s life as seen without the rose-colored glasses. It is not cute, hopeful, or romantic. It just is.

(Note: I’m a big SATC fan. I’m not saying Girls is better or worse, just different.)

Oh, and for everyone who keeps saying Girls is about “hipsters,” you really need to learn what a hipster is.

Girls sounds like a bunch of privileged white girls worrying about boys…

A) Well, in a way, yes.

B) So what?

C) Don’t most of us, regardless of age, race, or income, spend a decent amount of time on relationships?

D) Anyone can write a dismissive one-line summary like that. As Patricia Wrede pointed out (in a completely unrelated but excellent post): “The Lord of The Rings” is about a short guy with hairy toes who throws a ring in a volcano.

Okay, but who cares about these “girls”?

I do. And I’m not alone.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: New Adult stories are in demand. Why? Because people in their 20s, like me, want to see art and entertainment explore this awkward transitional time in our lives. Just like people in their 30s want to see family life, or people in their 40s want to see midlife crises, or people in their teens want to see high school and first love.

Everyone wants to see themselves reflected in art and entertainment. That’s the whole point.

(So please stop telling us that we’re so much more self-involved than other generations. We’re not. We just have the tools to rub it in your face now.)

On a related note, a band of intrepid New Adult writers recently launched the site NA Alley. I’m not affiliated, but they did quote me in a few places, and I definitely want to support their endeavor.

I’m still not interested in Girls

That’s fine. Really. No one says you have to be.

Closing thoughts

• It’s still early. Only 3 episodes have aired. Yes, I like Girls now, but I’m also curious and hopeful about how it will grow. I mean, does anyone remember the first season of SATC? With all the interviews and the talking directly to the camera? Yeah, shows can evolve. Sometimes they need time to grow into themselves. (Which is a particularly ironic statement when you apply it to a series about New Adults.)

• Part of me thinks it would be a dream to write for the show. Part of me wants to email Lena Dunham and tell her about TWENTY-SOMEWHERE and beg/hope for an opportunity. The rest of me realizes how ridiculous that would be and figures I’m better off just enjoying Girls as a viewer. (I will not tell you which part of me is winning right now.)

• Favorite lines:

Marnie: “He’s so busy, like, respecting me, you know? That he looks right past me, and everything that I need from him.”

Hannah: “Okay, you are a 23-year old girl who’s had the same boyfriend for 4 years. You’re also allowed to be bored. That’s an okay excuse too.”

Jonathan: “I want you to know, the first time I f*ck you, I might scare you a little. Because I’m a man, and I know how to do things.”

17 responses to “Confession: I really like Girls”

  1. Les Avatar

    Hahaha, oh, hipsters.
    I haven’t watched anything on HBO, not even Game of Thrones which I really should before Todd kills me.
    Looks cute, similar premise to your serial, I can totally see you liking it.

  2. gingermandy Avatar

    This show makes me wish I had HBO, or any TV for that matter, because of all the controversy surrounding it. I just want to see what everyone is complaining about. So far all I hear is that it’s about privileged white girls, and I fail to see the issue there. Kind of like I failed to see the issue when everyone was so offended by the second SATC movie because it was “culturally insensitive” to the middle east.

    And you’re right, anyone who thinks the girls in that photo are hipsters has NO idea what a hipster is. And needs to read the plethora of cat-lady crafting blogs all over the internet.

  3. Kristan Avatar

    Yep, similar premise, but very different feel. 20SW is probably closer to Friends or SATC in tone. Girls isn’t “dark,” but it’s not light either.

    First episode is up in full and free on YouTube!

    I was hooked from the first scene, b/c I’ve had almost that exact conversation with my parents, but I will say that each episode gets better.

  4. Summer Avatar

    Thanks so much for the mention!!! :) We really appreciate it over at at the NA Alley!!

  5. Bailey Avatar

    First, thank you very much for the nudge and shout-out for NA Alley. This makes my heart sing a little bit (and my heart sings so much better than I sing, but unfortunately, I’m the only one who can hear it).

    Second, I’ve been wanting to watch Girls because such a variety of women whose opinions I really care about like it. Like, twenty-something women I’m sure would never agree on anything else, but they’re all agreeing on this show. This fascinates me in so many ways, and I wish I had HBO. Alas.

    Third, those lines at the bottom crack me up! As a 23 year old woman who’s been with the same man for 4 years, I laughed so hard. I think our biggest relationship struggle is battling boredom — but I think that’s my biggest struggle with anything I’ve done for 4 years (like undergrad and those long years in retail). I have to take that line out of context, but keeping things interesting is such a big part of the fun now.

  6. Juliana Haygert Avatar

    Hi Kristan, I’m one of the girls from the NA Alley. Thanks for the shout out!
    Well, now I have to watch that show LOL

  7. Jaycee DeLorenzo Avatar

    I so want to check this out now! Thanks for the shout out to NA Alley! :D

  8. L.G.Kelso Avatar

    Thank you SO SO much for the mention of NA Alley, Kristan! We appreciate it and are so thrilled about it!

    As for your post: You’ve made me curious. I don’t get HBO but I may have to see if I can find it online somewhere…


  9. Sarah Wedgbrow Avatar

    Kristan, I have to say I agree with you on every point. (except maybe what people want to read in their 30s. :p
    I wasn’t hooked on the first episode. There were parts of it so ‘close to home’ that it was uncomfortable to watch. But I have been compelled to watch it, and each episode has been better than the last. Do you follow Lena on twitter? She’s even funny and witty in 140 characters. So glad the show exists. Do you think the movie Bridesmaids (another Judd Apatow project) paved the way for this?

  10. Sonje Avatar

    As amused as I was by your suggestive post title, I know you well enough not to get my hopes up. ;) And also, with all the hoopla about Girls going around, I was pretty sure that’s what you were talking about. As a person without HBO, I have not seen it and probably won’t until it makes its way to DVD–if then.

  11. Juliann Wetz Avatar

    God, I’m old. I’ve never even heard of this show. It sounds interesting, but I don’t have HBO. Like Sonje, I’ll wait for the DVDs.

  12. Cori Avatar

    I love this show! I’ve only seen the first episode, the other two are languishing on my DVR with Game of Thrones and VEEP, and I still love it. I hope it goes on and we can see these characters progress. Unfortunately, working in the pay-TV industry, I know HBO’s business model. Pay to produce about 15 shows at the beginning of the season, cancel 13 of them by the end. I hope this one, and VEEP, make it to the second season!

  13. Jon Avatar

    Hmm, I’ll have to check out this show. Thanks for the review. Do you watch Downton Abbey? That’s my new obsession!

  14. Kristan Avatar

    For anyone who’s interested, the first episode of girls is FREE from HBO via YouTube for about another week:

    NA Alley gals-
    You’re very welcome! Thanks for taking the initiative. I look forward to seeing how things go. :)

    Yeah, my bf and I have been together for almost 7 years, so I know what you mean. I think the difference between us and these 2 characters is that we wanted to grow together; we wanted to get past the boredom and, as you say, learn how to keep things interesting. Marnie doesn’t want that. And as Hannah pointed out (yay!) that’s okay. It doesn’t make Marnie a bad person. It’s so important for young people to realize that relationships can fail and still be unregrettable; that they can fall out of love and still be good people.

    Lol I was making generalizations. I don’t follow Lena on Twitter, but I read some of her feed and she’s definitely clever. I haven’t seen Bridesmaids yet, so it’s hard for me to say, but I do think that Lena is benefitting from Apatow’s guidance and support, as well as the other women who have recently been blazing trails in television and film (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Whitney Cummings, etc.).

    Lol glad you knew better.

    I’ve been hearing great things about VEEP, and I’m so glad to see Anna Chlumsky back on a screen. :) Thanks for the heads-up about how things go in that world; I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Girls and VEEP escape the business model!

    Nope, but not for lack of people telling me to check it out. ;P

  15. Angie Avatar

    I really enjoyed it, and I like her more honest portrayal of the generation we’re in.

  16. Julia Avatar

    I’ve not heard of this television show, but I know what hipsters are: “Hipsters are the friends who sneer when you cop to liking Coldplay. They’re the people who wear t-shirts silk-screened with quotes from movies you’ve never heard of and the only ones in America who still think Pabst Blue Ribbon is a good beer. They sport cowboy hats and berets and think Kanye West stole their sunglasses. Everything about them is exactingly constructed to give off the vibe that they just don’t care.” Time magazine told me that, so it must be true.

  17. Kristan Avatar

    “The generation we’re in” – yes! It’s so hard to make judgments or reach conclusions b/c it’s still in-progress. But she’s telling it like it is, and I love that.

    Lol that’s not a bad definition. And yeah, these Girls are not those hipsters.