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Thursday, June 14, 2012

‘Girls’ — Is It The Voice Of A Generation?

(HBO)

The HBO series “Girls” wraps up its freshman season on Sunday. The show has generated an enormous amount of buzz, in part because of its young creator, writer, producer and director, Lena Dunham.

The 25-year-old also stars as the main character, Hannah, who along with three friends, navigates the post-college haze of life in New York City.

Hannah is an aspiring writer, who hopes to be the “voice of her generation,” or as she amends it in the pilot episode, at least “a voice of a generation.”

A Plethora Of Fans

The show has legions of fans, including a group of writers from Slate magazine, who blog about the show in two columns each week, appropriately titled, “Girls on Girls” and “Guys on Girls.”

“For me, the thing that makes the show different is how frank it is about certain kinds of sex, and a very imperfect relationship, and how it subverts romantic comedy’s expectations at every turn,” Slate senior editor Hanna Rosin told Here & Now‘s Robin Young.

And it’s that frankness that makes it different and more dour than Sex and the City.

New York Times television critic Alessandra Stanley writes, “Hannah is not a heroine fit for network television. She is plain, unshapely and unpleasant in ways that are only occasionally endearing.She’s a parasite sponging off her parents and a forgetful and sometimes unreliable friend. Her liaison with Adam (Adam Driver), an out-of-work actor, is debasing.”

‘Fighting The Urge To Throw Kale Chips At The Screen’

But some people don’t get the appeal, like Sasha Perl-Raver, a Gen-X’er who follows pop culture for NBC in Chicago.

She writes, “By the end of the pilot, I was fighting the urge to throw kale chips at the screen. Who were these despicable, foul people who ate cupcakes in the bathroom where the door was NEVER locked?!?”

But Dan Kois, a senior editor at Slate, said that one of the reasons he likes the show so much is that it consistently surprises him.

Case in point – Hannah’s boyfriend, Adam. At first blush, he appears to be a misogynistic, narcissist, only interested in Hannah for convenient sex. But it turns out the audience may have been seeing him that way because of Hannah’s limited vision.

“Instead of her putting him away, and dumping him and finding someone better, he has revealed himself to be someone better,” Kois said. “Maybe it’s she who doesn’t deserve him in a way. But maybe as the season finale comes up this weekend, they will find a way for both of them to deserve each other.”

As for the show being “a voice of a generation,” Kois deadpans, “Poor generation.”

“Girls” season finale will air on HBO this Sunday at 10 p.m. eastern.

Guests:

  • Hanna Rosin, senior editor Slate
  • Dan Kois, senior editor Slate

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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