I’m always a late adoptee of cult TV shows – I’ve still got The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Boardwalk Empire on my ‘Need to Watch’ list. One show I have got round to watching fairly early on, however, is HBO favourite ‘Girls’.
Only in its second season at the moment, Lena Dunham’s self-penned and self-directed series is already attracting a lot of attention for its unusually coarse approach to the depictment of life as a twenty-something female in New York.
There is quite a lot of nudity (from girls over size zero, shock!), swearing (from ladies, shock!) and a liberal smattering of drug-taking and promiscuity – both without any obvious negative consequences (much like life, shock!).
I am really enjoying ‘Girls’ and find certain aspects of it very relatable and refreshing. I also like the fact that the characters don’t try to be likeable or perfect, and if anything Dunham relishes showing the worst side of both the girls and the boys.
However, I also think that it’s not as far removed from some predecessors as some would like to think. It’s being touted as an egdy alternative to more glitzy comedy dramas such as ‘Sex and the City’, but more often than not ‘Girls’ runs in parallel with the themes of SATC rather than against them.
It’s no surprise that most popular dramas are in some way aspirational, and ‘Girls’ is no different, only whereas SATC had it protagonists running around in Manolo Blahniks and going to high-end restaurants, ‘Girls’ instead has its characters working for a pittance (if at all), desperately trying to act like grown-ups whilst still being reliant on their parents for money and extolling the virtues of being single whilst constantly trailing after men – it’s like a precursor to Carrie’s glamorous life as a columnist rather than a step in the other direction.
None of this is a criticism of course; ‘Sex and the City’ caught the Zeitgeist of the moment and ‘Girls’ is merely doing the same thing – I just look forward to the next show to come along which will hopefully offer even more in the way of iconic and inspirational female characters.