TV Review: “Girls” – Strangely Addictive

Written by Mitchell B May 27, 2012

HBO’s “Girls” is a new comedy series from Lena Dunham and comedy genius Judd Apatow. It debuted a few weeks back to mostly positive reviews, and it’s not hard to see why. It certainly won’t be for everyone, as much of the humor comes from sexual encounters or fairly graphic discussions of sex, but I’ve found myself enjoying it quite a bit. Here’s why:

Let’s get the “Sex and the City” comparison out of the way early. Both programs are about the relationships/sexual escapades of four women living in New York. I have seen enough of “Sex and the City” to know that “Girls” is much more relatable. Perhaps it’s because of the difference in generational viewpoint (the “Girls” are in their 20s), but I can immediately identify with the girls on this show. I credit this to the writing of Dunham, who has crafted female characters who aren’t just “the girlfriend” or “the love interest” as we see in so many other programs. They are three-dimensional characters: intelligent and witty but also incredibly naïve and self-centered. These types of female characters are a rare occurrence and it makes them so much more human and therefore, interesting. Of the four female leads, only one is a real weak spot.

Dunham, Allison Williams, and Jemima Kirke play Hannah, Marnie, and Jessa, respectively. The acting from each is pitch perfect and really strengthens the show. The fourth member of the group, however, detracts from the realistic portrayal of these women. Zosia Mamet plays Shoshanna, the strange virgin who, thankfully, receives the least amount of screen time. This is no discredit to Mamet, who actually plays the part quite well, but more to Dunham. It seems as if after the first three characters were nicely fleshed out, the fourth was simply an afterthought. Maybe it’s because Mamet doesn’t receive enough screen time, but her character is mostly a one-note caricature, with very little development or deeper exploration. This isn’t a major issue though, as the three other female characters, and two male characters, make up for her.

“Interesting, relatable, and most importantly, funny”

If there is one main reason to check out this show it’s simply because it’s funny. The pilot was far from a bag of laughs, but it drew me into the lives of these characters and made me want to continue watching. The next four episodes were a breeze and had me laughing out loud on several occasions. Dunham’s character delivers plenty of notable lines – a “Forest Gump”-based fear of AIDs being one of my personal favorites. Williams also has some great moments, but much of the comedy derives from the relationships between characters. Dunham and somewhat-boyfriend Adam have plenty of memorable exchanges, most of them sexual in nature, which will either have you in stitches or just scratching your head at how someone can come up with these things.

Despite some of the situations bordering on the absurd, Dunham has created a realistic comedy series from the viewpoint of twenty something women. It may not strike you as something you should rush out to watch, but the characters are interesting, relatable and, most importantly, funny. If you’ve got an open slot in your TV schedule be sure to pencil in “Girls”, you won’t regret it.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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