In praise of ‘GIRLS’

Michele Snow

We’ve entered a new era. The ‘Girls’ Era. We used to compare ourselves to Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte. Now we’re debating who’s more of a Hannah, Marnie, Jessa or Shoshanna.

‘Girls’ is ‘Seinfeld’ meets ‘Sex and the City.’ The girls are four twenty-somethings living in Brooklyn, and no, they don’t go to brunch or cocktails to giggle and gush about their weekends. They represent the real women of Brooklyn, the hipsters who are basking in the glory of living on the fringe. They have weird day jobs and financially depressing liberal arts career goals. Hannah eats cupcakes out of the fridge for breakfast and doesn’t know how to respond to sexts. The very first moments of the show are made up of Hannah struggling to eat spaghetti.

Lena Dunham, the show’s creator and star, has tapped into this generation of floaters, millenials, and overprotected children being released into the world and trying their best to “do what they love” without ending up broke or back at home with their parents in Michigan. This generation, those of us in college and freshly out of college, are struggling with conflicting messages. We’re told that if we “do what we love,” going to work won’t feel like work. And yet getting any job is hard enough, let alone a satisfying and fulfilling one. But part of our character and drive as an age group is that no matter how many times we hear how awful the job market is right now, we’re still pursuing our dream lives. We’re struggling, but we’re struggling uphill. And ‘Girls’ gets this.

The girls end up at a banger in Bushwick, they meet up for moral support at an abortion appointment, they stalk their recent exes on Facebook. Their conversations and their problems are real. Sometimes the situations are so awkward, they’re painful to watch. The humor comes from the fact that we’ve all been there. Lena Dunham is letting us laugh at ourselves. And also at her.

Welcome to the new era. Television just got a little more honest. In the pilot episode, Hannah claims to be the voice of her generation, then quickly modifies her statement. She is “at least a voice of a generation” – a line that has quickly come to define the show. Hannah really is speaking for her generation, and we’re letting her. ‘Girls’ is winning awards for a reason.