Hannah, a 24-year-old girl, asks her parents to support her New York lifestyle for two years at $1,100 a month so she can complete her memoir. This is necessary because she believes she is the voice of her generation, or at least “a voice of a generation.” That pretty much sums up HBO’s newest series, Girls.
The half-hour comedy(?) premiered Sunday at 10:30pm, and if it was a true window into creator and star Lena Dunham’s generation, then this country is doomed. I’m not much older than the characters on the show (I’m 30), but in today’s fast-paced age of technology where your iPad becomes obsolete six months after you stood in line for it, six years is several lifetimes.
I watched the premiere of Girls after reading many positive reviews raving about its gritty, realistic tone. That might be true, but that doesn’t make it good. Instead, I just felt depressed after it was over. You can check it out for yourselves now, even if you’re not an HBO subscriber.
Hannah and the other girls on the show (they can’t be called “women” because they’re in a state of arrested development), are entitled, obnoxious and terribly unlikeable. Hannah has already written four essays and she hopes to have a total of nine to complete her memoirs. The only problem is she needs to live them first.
Girls feels less like a commentary on this generation and more like an indictment on it. These characters have been raised believing that they’re special and that they can do anything they want. The problem is that none of them seem to want to do anything. There’s nothing particularly special about Hannah’s life, no reason that her memoirs would be remotely interesting.
There’s a moment where Hannah accidentally quits her internship because her parents cut her off and she can no longer work without getting paid. She asks her former boss if she can still send him her book when she’s done, but he explains that if she’s gone, they’ll have no one to read it. That’s a particularly poignant moment, because it highlights my biggest problem with the series: This show is written by a specific group of people FOR a specific group of people. The only people who might find joy in Girls are the people who also believe they are the voice of their generation, an entire subculture of stunted children who believe they are the most important people in the world.
They’re not, and even though I seem to be praising the way Girls realistically chronicles and indicts the most useless generation of navel-gazing kids, I’m not. It just makes me angry that anyone would make a show about these horrible people. These kids believe their lives are epic before they’ve been lived. They probably also believe that the participation ribbon they got for playing soccer in elementary school means they’re the next David Beckham.
Girls is just no fun to watch. Like the characters themselves, the show doesn’t seem to want to try at all. Instead, it just lays there like Hannah during a particularly awkward sex scene.
If you want a vastly superior and more entertaining look at this generation, you should’ve checked out MTV’s I Just Want My Pants Back, a comedy that recently ended its first season. That show features characters at about the same age in the same location (New York City), but at least it tried to be funny. Its hipster-filled dialogue served as a much better condemnation of this generation (the characters mocked an invite to James Franco’s ravioli party and the frontman of a Green Day cover band).
That show had what Girls lacked: a sense of fun. Watching Girls is like watching the real-life struggles of narcissistic 24-year-olds in NYC who are so delusional that they believe their lives are more interesting than those of other people. They’re not, and while the HBO series might be brutally honest, that’s not the same thing as being good.
(Image courtesy of HBO)