HBO's 'Girls': Awkward, but honest
April 16th, 2012
09:34 AM ET

HBO's 'Girls': Awkward, but honest

When we first meet Hannah in Sunday’s pilot of HBO’s new series, “Girls,” she seems just as young as the title implies, shoveling food into her mouth at a fancy restaurant with her parents.

Two years post-college, Hannah’s still struggling to navigate the divide between kid and adult, and she gets a rude awakening at dinner when her mother bluntly announces they’re cutting her off financially. (“We can’t keep bankrolling your groovy lifestyle!”)

Her parents, both professors, are visiting her in New York City, but after their announcement she tells them she’ll be too busy to see them again before they leave - busy “trying to become who I am.”

If Hannah’s misadventures weren’t so funny, she might be annoying, but the mixture of bluntness and ridiculousness in the pilot episode of “Girls” feels so honest that it draws you in.

I can’t help but root for Hannah and her friends as they muddle through unpaid internships, awkward sex, disappointing boyfriends, reality TV, pregnancy scares, cupcakes, disastrous drug trips and complex friendships.

Hannah’s relationship with the three other girls in the show – Marnie (her best friend and roommate), Jessa (jaded college friend back from world traveling) and Shoshanna (somewhat sheltered cousin of Jessa) - has drawn many comparisons to that other lady-centered HBO show set in New York City, “Sex and the City.” But what is different about “Girls,” aside from all the texting, g-chatting and tweeting, is that the characters are still very unsure about what it means to be an adult.

While Carrie and the gang seemed sure they were fabulous Manhattanites, Hannah lives in Brooklyn and wavers between depending on her parents for security and creating her own definition of herself outside of them.

Hannah realizes she can’t continue as an unpaid intern, but is shocked when her negotiation with her boss for a full-time job doesn’t go quite as planned. Afterward, her not-quite-boyfriend comforts her by sharing that he too depends on his family for money. But the romance is somewhat shattered when his sexual demands lead to a misunderstanding, and a very compromising position for Hannah.

At a dinner party later that night, while Hannah plots how to get a little more help from her parents, Jessa tells her, “just tell them that you’re an artist.” Marnie counters with: "Tell them you’ll get a job, that’s much more convincing.” When Hannah eventually decides what to do after drinking some opium tea, the results are pretty disastrous.

At the end of the episode, Marnie and Jessa fight in a cramped bathroom after the dinner party winds down. They throw their opposing views about life’s decisions at each other until Jessa blurts out something that reveals she doesn’t pull things off quite as effortlessly as it seems.

So while “Girls” doesn’t reach any conclusions about who, exactly, Hannah is becoming - or any of the other girls, for that matter - the awkward path she takes is sometimes hilarious, and always endearingly authentic.

What'd you think of  last night's premiere?

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Filed under: television • TV recaps

soundoff (19 Responses)
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    March 23, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
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    April 25, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Leucadia Bob

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPYTPUOCGGc&w=640&h=390]

    April 17, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tim

    @Snorlax: totally agree.

    @Laura: not sure what utopia you live in but that's what kids are like these days (and i don't mean that in a snarky, insulting way). this show is painfully accurate in its depiction of our modern indifferent brats. the word of the generation is "awkward" and this show catches it spot-on.

    and the subtle humor makes is all palatable. my wife & I thought it was hilarious AND honest.

    April 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Laura

    The show lacked any character you could root for. They were all lazy and spoiled kids that live awkward painful selfish lives. Their lives are not interesting, just painful and boring to watch. Cancel the show now.

    April 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snorlax@Laura

      This is what we get when the "Participation Trophy" generation comes of age.

      April 17, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  6. @Tracie

    Lmao. You're sick.

    April 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. tracie

    Those four girls got really really big hips. Big pooooping hips. I bet they can make big elephant piles of number two.

    April 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sildokuz

    truthfully, I don't know how to feel about this show yet. I would have to see a few more episodes to see if I want to "stick with it." It is funny, which I like, and also very true. I can connect with the characters, but over all I still need to see the next few episodes.

    April 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. رهملا لتيليدلب

    @Observer,
    I would be more worrying about the fact that it highlights expectation that Western woman are drug taking harlots shamfully leeching from father and other man around them. They should be making children and dinner, not sinful chatter among themselfs.

    April 16, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Jenn

      So it's OK to leech off a man to whom you are married, but not your father or someone you haven't married? It sounds as if you're quoting religious doctrine, which is fine if you want to live that way, but not every person believes as you do – or should be expected to.

      April 16, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Observer

    Another show that is subliminally aimed at forcing us to lowere our expectations about our economic future.

    April 16, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. Patsy

    Awesome to see a smart show where the lives of young women are honestly portrayed. Definitely hit close to home and I think it will resonate with a lot of viewers. Very excited for this show. Also should be mentioned that the lead actress is also the creator, head writer and director. Amazing.

    April 16, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mr. Crankypants

    Talk about pretentious navel-gazing. Not a likable character in the show. But kudos to Dunham for finding a way to make Zosia Mamet even MORE annoying than she was on "United States of Tara."

    April 16, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  13. Meaghan

    Its too funny. Keep watching and you'll see what I mean. Better than The River, Walking Dead, etc. It is GOOOOOD.

    April 16, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  14. Laura

    Watching this just now not too impressed but I think I will stick with it

    April 16, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. Taylor Dedrickson

    Aaaah gag me now!

    April 16, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  16. Janns

    This is the best show I have ever seen. Funny, fresh, unique.

    April 16, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  17. Krystie

    I almost turned the episode off at the beginning of the show. It started off a tad slow. Now I wish they would have aired episode 2 as well. I'm looking forward to see what the story holds for these girls. I agree, it is real. And I saw a piece of myself in each character at that age. Television needs more real shows. We often find ourselves in the predicaments these girls faced. Rarely are we granted the 'easy life' that is portrayed in more than half of the television shows out there.

    April 16, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |

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