Thursday, April 19, 2012

HBO’s ‘Girls’ gone wild


I’m always looking for a comedy that’s actually funny.

It’s harder to find one than it sounds.

Sometimes, the shows that people pretend are funny really are just the opposite. You know, stupid and unfunny.

In other words, for every ‘Modern Family’ we must suffer through 10 shows like ‘Last Man Standing.’

I get that certain people like standard sitcoms – laugh tracks and all.

Generally, with a few exceptions – ‘The Big Bang Theory’ being the most notable – I don’t, however. I like my comedies to have a little more bite and a little less cheese.

So I tuned into Sunday’s inaugural episode of ‘Girls’ with a little bit of trepidation and a lot of anticipation. After all, everything I’d read about it made me think I’d like it.

I’d read that it was crass, realistic and, well, fairly foul-mouthed. Those are all things that appeal to me.

Every single review of the show I read warned that it wasn’t for the squeamish – and it’s not.

HBO’s ‘Girls’ is essentially a funny look at a group of girls in their early 20s. I’m in my late 30s now, but I still remember that time in my life, and I do think that ‘Girls’ does a relatively good job showcasing the highs and lows of that time period.

Created by Lena Dunham, who also stars as Hannah Horvath, ‘Girls’ doesn’t pull any punches and it is very gritty and realistic.

I know a lot of people say they don’t know anyone like the girls depicted in ‘Girls’ – but they’re either living in denial or just not opening their eyes to the individuals around them. When grouped together, girls can be as frank and gross as boys – actually, I think they’re worse a lot of the time.

The girls on the show are struggling with finding jobs in a down economy – even though they have college degrees. To go along with those college degrees, though, most of them have a mountain of debt in the form of student loans.

The opening scene of ‘Girls’ depicts Hannah – who has been working an unpaid internship for the past year while writing the book that she thinks could “speak to her generation” – getting told by her parents that they will no longer be subsidizing her lifestyle. In other words, she’s to get a paying job.

Hannah reacts like many of the spoiled and entitled kids in today’s society would – she tells them they’re lucky she’s not a drug addict and that she’s trying to find out who she is and not only should they want to help her do that, but essentially it’s their responsibility.

What I like about ‘Girls’ is that it doesn’t hide from the personality traits of the characters – even if it makes them unlikeable.

Hannah is funny and charming in some respects and lazy and obnoxious in others – just like a regular person.

The rest of the cast includes Allison Williams (daughter of NBC’s Brian Williams) as Marnie Michaels – Hannah’s roommate. Marnie’s biggest problem is that she has a nice guy for a boyfriend – and yet he makes her skin crawl because he’s too nice. Been there.

Then there’s Jemima Kirke and Zosia Mamet as Jessa and Shoshanna respectively. They weren’t as fleshed out as Marnie and Hannah – but the show is still in its early stages.

What ‘Girls’ does best – at least in the first episode – is tackle issues of sex and recreational drug use without making a big deal out of them. I know this will upset people who like “very special” episodes that show kids falling apart because they smoked a joint – but that’s not the real world.

‘Girls’ really doesn’t glamorize it, though, either. It just shows it and lets you make your own decisions – just like real life.

I do have one quibble with the show, and that’s the relationship with Marnie and Hannah. One of the early scenes shows Marnie and Hannah spooning in Hannah’s bed because Marnie doesn’t want to sleep with her own boyfriend.

In the next scene, it shows Hannah taking a bath and Marnie sitting on the lip of the tub while she’s doing it and shaving her legs.

Girls don’t do that. We don’t spoon each other, we don’t take baths together, we don’t shampoo each other’s hair. That’s some man fantasy that doesn’t happen in the real world.

Basically, ‘Girls’ is ‘Sex and the City’ for people who can’t afford $500 shoes and don’t live in ridiculous apartments they couldn’t possibly afford. All of the girls are a lot more realistic, too, especially given how all of the ‘Sex and the City’ girls were really caricatures.

I’m sure there are people out there appalled by the way the girls act and talk and they won’t rest until it’s off the air – but that will just make more people want to watch it so, I say bring it on.

The simple fact of the matter is that if the show offends you then you probably shouldn’t watch it. 

If you want a little realism that is funny without a laugh track and tired sitcom storylines – give ‘Girls’ a try.

Episode 2 of ‘Girls’ airs at 10:30 p.m. Sunday on HBO.

1 Comments:

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