So, I have just spent the last few hours watching the entire first season of Lena Dunham's self written, directed, produced and starred in HBO show Girls.
Let's talk about this.
It's too easy to compare it to Sex and the City. Sure, it's about four girls who live in New York, talk about their relationships, etc, and the main one (in this instance, Hannah, played by Dunham) is terminally self obsessed. However, the show is well observed and self aware without being overwrought, and Hannah's naval gazing is constantly called into question by her friends, on/off boyfriend and, of course, by herself.
The realism is reassuring. I have read reviews that if you are a white middle class twenty something struggling through an unpaid internship or a dead end job, this will not be easy watching. However, I think it is precisely the honesty in the discomfort that makes it worthwhile.
It's not all about the clothes and shoes and stuff – although a lot of it is about the sex. But, sure, when you're twenty something (or, actually, any age) when is it not about the sex? Even if you're not having any sex you're thinking about all the sex that you're not getting, right? And the way in which it is dealt with – the guys in the show are 3D guys, not porn stars or 2D arse holes a la SATC; there's a lot of time given to the moments between moments, the awkward silences, the taking off of tights and putting on of condoms – feels authentic.
The characters are not stereotyped – they are well observed from life. The situations are not groundbreaking, they are fairly mundane, everyday situations for a large quota of people. And the writing is good – very witty and often cringe-making, partly because (whisper it) maybe you've said something like that once too.
Dunham, still only 26, has written something real and directed and acted it with a lot of truth. She doesn't make it easy or pretty for herself – you'll know what I mean when you see the uncomfortable anal scene – but also in terms of the dislikability/vulnerability of her protagonist. As with your peers, you go through phases of liking her, disliking her, understanding why she's doing that, to yelling at her for being such a dick. I'm sure there's a relevant Chekhov quote here...
It's not for everyone, but try out this enjoyable scene from the early episodes: