HBO's GIRLS, characters (L,R): Marni, Jessa, Hannah, Shoshanna

HBO’s GIRLS, characters (L,R): Marni, Jessa, Hannah, Shoshanna

Why are you not watching GIRLS?!

Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past year, you would have heard a whisper about a TV show. A TV show splitting its audience and critics.

GIRLS is HBO’s newest drama/comedy (or ‘dramedy’ if you will) which follows a close group of twenty-somethings as they chart their lives in New York City. Think Sex and the City but instead of Manolo shoes and Gucci handbags, the ‘girls’ of the title face the tough subjects of abortion and unemployment.

Written, directed, produced AND staring Lena Dunham (a 26 year old over-achiever) the 30 minute episodes portray a group of women rarely seen on screen.

GIRLS will be girls

Aspiring writer Hannah (Dunham) gets a shock when her parents visit and announce they will no longer be able to financially support her as they have done since her college graduation two years prior.

Left to her own devices in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, she and her friends navigate their twenties, “one mistake at a time.” –

  • Marnie Hanna’s best friend and roommate, responsible and serious.  
  • Jessa – Shoshanna’s British cousin and roommate. Bohemian and an unpredictable world-traveller.
  • Shoshanna Jessa’s bubbly and innocent American cousin, who’s a student at New York University, she is a virgin.

GIRLS is raw, refreshing, ferociously real and nauseatingly funny. I don’t want to give too much away because I think it’s best to just watch and scream with laughter at their situations.

Backlash- poster girl for telly racism?

Even though the show was recently nominated for four emmy’s, it has come to face some tough criticism, mainly on the front of race.

The internet exploded after the first episode aired. People were sat behind their computer screens ‘shouting’ about; Feminist Things, Racism Things, Classism Things, Brooklyn Things.

A list of ‘things’ never talked about when shows like Friends, or more recently How I Met Your Mother, went out to millions weekly. Both are popular shows, and both are set in New York AND all their protagonists are privileged white people.

Lena Dunham (who plays Hannah) in episode 1

Lena Dunham in episode 1

Lena has accepted the criticism that there is not enough diversity in the show (it was recently announced that Community’s Donald Glover- a black actor- will star as Hanna’s love interest in series two) but making her the poster girl for telly racism is too much.

“The argument [that] there is not enough minority characters to represent New York–that I couldn’t argue against. What I didn’t like was the angle that ‘therefore you are a racist, you are raised by racists, you come from a world of class and privilege.’” She recently told the LA times.

She also talked about her fear of not representing people of colour correctly.

There must have been rooms full of people involved in the commissioning process more powerful and knowing than her, a young 24 year old making her debut TV show. People who saw the casting and the daily rushes and thought “this is looking a bit white, why don’t you add a black character or even hire a black writer” but none of that happened. (I personally think adding a writer of colour would add so much to an already brilliant show.)

A new wave of feminism? 

BUT “She’s opening doors for other young women” the popular website Hello Giggles wrote. “Every time a young female writer or director is successful, it increases the chances for other young women to be able to do the same. Gender ratios in television and literature are still pretty heavily tipped to the male side, and there is still more of a medieval attitude towards women of “no one wants to hear from little girls” than you’d think, keeping many stories from being told, and the storytellers from being able to tell them. Dunham is proving that our stories are marketable, and that taking a chance on telling them is worthwhile.”

So I think that you should watch GIRLS and form your own opinions.

GIRLS is on Sky Atlantic Mondays at 10pm.

all video and picture content curtosy of HBO


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