Television Review: Girls, Sky Atlantic

Lena Dunham’s much vaunted HBO comedy-drama Girls made its UK debut on Monday evening (October 22, 2012). On the back of ecstatic praise across the Atlantic, British viewers were, at last, introduced to Dunham’s latest project, which follows a group of twenty-somethings living in Brooklyn, struggling to pay the rent, drinking coffee, writing screenplays, you know, cool things.

Crude comparisons to Sex and the City hasn’t hurt Girls rise to prominence across the pond, though it’s immediately apparent that Dunham’s show is an altogether different beast to Darren Star’s HBO behemoth. Remember Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha’s outrageously generous Manhattan apartments? Well, there’s none of that here. Hannah – along with best friend Marnie - reside in a modest space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, though she is literally forced to beg her parents after they decide against continuing to pay her monthly retainer. At dinner, she tells them, “I could be a drug addict. Do you realise how lucky you are? Ok my friend Sophie, her parents don’t support her, last summer she had two abortions, right in a row…I am so close to the life that I want.”

We get to meet Adam, Hannah’s aloof lover (Adam Sackler), a part-time carpenter and actor who appears to revel in keeping their relationship purely sexual. Their bond is likely to develop over the season, though for now it remains hilariously clinical. The first episode of Girls is wry, witty and hugely promising.

Despite the acclaim, Dunham has been given a hard time for the lack of black characters in the show. Though it’s a complex subject, it’s worth remembering the drama is about her own life, Dunham is a privileged white girl, whose mother is a photographer and designer and whose father is a pop artist. She went to school in Brooklyn, she studied creative writing, she recently signed a $3.5 million book deal.

Journalist Caitlin Moran briefly caused the internet to explode earlier this year, when, after one Twitter user asked if she addressed the lack of black actors in Girls during an interview with Dunham, she replied, “Nope. I literally couldn't give a shit about it.” It’s a subject that’s going to run well into Girls’ second season, though, for now, it’s important to know that Girls is very, very funny, and very, very, good. You should watch it.


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