April 16th, 2012
09:34 AM ET
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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