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Thursday, June 14, 2012

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


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.


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

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • EVA

    I like Girls too! I just found it and watched all of the episodes over last weekend. The writing is good and the performances are too.
    PS I am a 61 year old woman retired from healthcare and sales

  • Rickity Rick

    For a 67 year old guy from the 60s who watches all of cable TV, this show was incredibly fresh, honest and totally different. It shows a young women’s point a view at the time of discovering life on her own and starting to deal with it. It’s gritty reality in dealing with sex, disagreements and value systems for the early 20s, is totally refreshing and rings true for any age. Lena Dunham is an incredible talent. The show is peculiar and shocking sometimes, but so entertaining and real. I knew these characters in the 1970s.

  • Sallycat22

    I will miss it! Hope it will be back

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tom-Malone/100001565334357 Tom Malone

    Divisiveness is a sign of all good satire. George S. Kaufman wrote that “Satire is what closes on Saturday night.” If a satire achieves universal acclaim, it has, in some way, sold out. Whether intentional or not, Lena Dunham’s “Tiny Furniture” was a dead-on satire of “The Graduate,” which was itself a satire of upper middle class folkways. Though I haven’t yet seen it, I gather “Girls” is an effective satire of “Sex and the City.”

  • GenXer aka Angry Middle Child

    SHOCKING that Baby Boomers enjoy watching a show about their similarly narcissistic Y progeny.

  • Marsha Lowell

    As a woman in my 20’s, I personally do not like to be
    compared to the characters in the show. I have had to deal with the similar
    situations that are seen in a few episodes, like getting pushed out of the nest
    by my parents. However, instead of acting like a toddler who lost her mom in
    the mall, as Hannah did, I dusted myself off, worked hard, and landed my job at
    Dish. These characters portray our generation as unappreciative people, who get
    everything handed to us; that could not be further from the truth. I’d like to
    see other generations try graduating into a broken economy where a college
    degree means nothing! I have not finished the season, but I am curious to see
    where these girls find themselves. I have them recorded on my Hopper DVR so I can
    get back to them anytime. That thing has tons of memory on it, so I might just
    stock up episodes and wait for Hannah to be completely done with Adam before I pick
    the show back up!

    • Youreannoying

      Did you really just plug Dish twice in your comment? Shame on you.

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