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Guest Post: People Cannot Stop Talking About Girls

Women and Hollywood By Samantha Gray | Women and Hollywood June 6, 2012 at 11:45AM

It’s impossible to read a pop culture blog or check out a review of your favorite TV show without noticing commentary about HBO’s most talked about series this year, Girls. That simple single word title has been the subject of explosive debate, speculation, and analysis as TV critics and everyday reviewers take to the comments to vent or gush about the show.
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What I’d really like to talk about is the entire Girls conversation itself. I can’t remember the last time a major cable television network released a show that ignited such a fierce dialogue among viewers. Girls is a show that will make you feel something one way or the other; it doesn’t pull punches or make excuses. You will see men and women naked, and they might not be the classic Hollywood beauties touted on most other shows. You will see uncomfortably honest conversations about stagnant long term relationships. You will hear pitch perfect dialogue that captures the parlance of a twenty something today. And yes, you will hear characters complain about their “poverty” because they can’t get their parents to bankroll their life in New York City.

Unlike many typical coming of age TV shows, many of the main characters have qualities that paint them as less than perfect. For example, the main character Hannah (played by Lena Dunham) has a toxic relationship with Adam, a sexually perverse guy who clearly uses her for sex though she sees their relationship as more substantial. Hannah also has a sense of entitlement about her life in New York, as early on in the pilot episode she tries to convince her parents to pay for her living expenses so she can pursue her dream of completing a book of essays. Hannah’s friend Jessa (played by Jemima Kirke) is a young world traveling libertine with few responsibilities; she gets a babysitting job simply because she’s bored, and she’s quick to excuse any reckless indulgence in her life.

So yes, the characters on Girls are less than perfect, and sometimes you can get quite worked up about what they do during the course of an episode. This isn’t a show where the purity and innocence of the main characters is constantly challenged by stereotypically “bad” foils; every character on Girls makes mistakes and carries their flaws, just like everyone does in real life. There’s something appealingly unappealing about Girls, something that rings true through all the mid-twenties angst, the somewhat hipster NYC backdrop, and the constant handwringing about guys. To be sure, the show doesn’t capture the essence of any one generation or group of women, but it certainly tries hard to portray a genuine human experience. And in this age of escapist genre TV, that’s something worth noting.

Better yet, it makes Girls something worth talking about.

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Samantha Gray is a freelance writer.  Her writing often focuses on providing information about obtaining an online bachelor degree. She also writes writes poetry and short fiction. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to samanthagray024@gmail.com.

This article is related to: Girls, Lena Dunham, HBO , Television