Culture | 11:33 am | April 10, 2012 | By Danny Serna

GIRLS: First Reactions

Lena Dunham plays Hannah, a young writer whose parents finally cut her loose.
Lena Dunham plays Hannah, a young writer whose parents finally cut her loose. Photo by YouTube.

Last night, I ended up in Loria, at an advance showing of Lena Dunham’s “Girls,” a new HBO series starring Allison Williams ’10.

The show follows four young women living in New York City. Dunham’s character, a young writer named Hannah, has been working for no pay for two years. The series opens as her parents decide to cut off the money, and Hannah is set adrift, looking to friends like Marnie, played by Williams, and Jessa, played by Jemima Kirke, for advice and opium tea.

I can’t decide exactly what I thought of “Girls,” so I enlisted some friends I saw at the screening to offer opinions. Here’s what they’re thinking:

Lindsay Gellman ’12: From the pilot, I can tell that Girls is smart. Lena Dunham’s voice is real and refreshing. Dunham has guts— At moments, the show hits so close to home that it hurts—and then there’s nothing to do but laugh. I predict that Girls is going to be big. I’ll be watching.

But it also has big shoes to fill—the media has reconstructed around Girls the same ultimatum-esque sense of urgency that preceded the release of Bridesmaids: that the future of smart comedy written by and featuring women rests on its shoulders. I don’t think this is entirely true. As long as there’s been television, there have been funny women on it, and, regardless of Girls’ reception, I don’t believe that will change any time soon.

Lauren Oyler ’12: TV manages to make most things look glamorous, including this blah blah blah, should-I-txt-him-or-not “gritty realism.” It was funny – probably would have been funnier if everyone hadn’t been laughing so loudly as to obscure post-joke quips, AHEM – but part of me just wants to find things wrong with it. This is probably because I’m resentful that I don’t get to make money by being a witty, deadpan-delivering “urban female” with hyper-neurotic tendencies, and if I do manage to do that, I am automatically a cliche because this show exists, so thanks for that, Lena. (And because I’m dying to see a one of those media-savvy postgrad protagonists whose parents can’t or won’t support her while she works an unpaid internship in New York for two years, ack, blegh, gag.) Also, I thought the male characters were one-dimensional and reductive, which is not a good step forward for lady media, I have to say. Nevertheless, I didn’t hate it, which is really something for me because I’m generally disdainful about most things, especially most things that target my demographic.

Eliza Brooke ’13: The next time I’m 24 and get high off opium tea made by my roommate’s dopey boyfriend’s annoying friend, I really hope I don’t wake my parents up to beg for money to write my memoirs.

Austin Bernhardt ’12: “Girls” was almost exactly what I expected, which is by no means a negative. HBO tends to choose their programs wisely (“Luck” notwithstanding — sorry, David Milch ’66), and in the realm of comedy, they’ve done an admirable job of carving out a specific youth niche. It’s quirky; it’s understated and over the top where it counts. There was only one cringe moment to speak of, when Marnie (Allison Williams ’10) explains to Hannah (Lena Dunham) the hierarchy of romantic communication ranging from Facebook message to face-to-face contact, and only because it exemplifies the kind of “trendifying” tendencies that would keep me from becoming a regular viewer. Much more insightful are the sadder moments, like when Hannah is denied a paid job because she doesn’t know how to use Photoshop. Too true, Ms. Dunham. Too true.

Snigdha Sur ’12: I loved it, but like I said, I’m really hoping I can catch more of it in an easy accessible way or I might not be able to keep up with the show! I thought Alison Williams was fantastic and I could really relate to her, especially in the scene in which she tells Hannah to be logical and tell her parents she lost her job and thus needs a bit more support. Or when she tells her the order of acceptable contact (facebook, gchat, email, texting, in person, etc.).

Comments