As a fifty-something baby boomer, I probably don’t fall within the target demographic for the critically acclaimed, endlessly discussed, highly controversial and wildly popular television series, Girls. But I certainly count myself among producer Lena Dunham’s biggest fans. I loved the YouTube videos she made when she was still in college, and thought her first feature film, Tiny Furniture, was awesome.
Last season, I couldn’t wait for Sunday nights so I could watch the half-hour episodes, which chronicle the post-college life of Hannah Horvath (played by Dunham) and her cool and quirky twenty-something friends.
Once again, I’m wishing time away in anticipation of the start of Season Two this Sunday night at 9 Eastern Time on HBO. If you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to check it out — especially if, like me, you have children in that age range. My colleague Lorrie Lynch, the mom of a 23-year-old daughter, and I will be blogging about the show every week throughout the season.
Here are five reasons we think you should tune in:
° It’s a window into the world of our kids. In the first episode, Hannah begged her parents (unsuccessfully) to continue supporting her so she could write her memoir. “I think that I may be the voice of my generation,” she told them. “Or at least a voice of a generation.” Certainly, only a handful of millenials live the edgy lifestyle of the Brooklyn hipsters on the show. But those women and their boyfriends seem to capture the universal experience of today’s young people who are stumbling toward adulthood at a time when the path isn’t very clear. Or so say my kids. That’s enough of a reason to watch.
° It reminds you what it’s like to be 25. Society is vastly different today than in the early 1980s when I was that age, but the underlying feelings associated with crummy boyfriends, experimental wardrobes, unsatisfying sex, starter jobs, crowded parties and annoying roommates seem very much the same. Suffice it to say that the unvarnished portrayal of this life stage will make you happy your twenties are in the rear view mirror. Maybe being in fifty-something isn’t so bad after all!
° It’s feels really groundbreaking. Girls moves the needle forward when it comes to dealing with issues that may not seem appropriate for TV, even HBO. Watching the show last season, there were plenty of moments that made me cringe. Like the time when Hanna’s jerk of a boyfriend … oh, never mind. (If you’re curious, you can see the first season on demand. Nudity alert! And that’s mild.) But as you watch, you will likely get the sense that the show is new and bold and different. Cultural markers? This feels like one.
° It’s as smart as it is funny. Critics have called Dunham a “wunderkind,” and with good reason: Few young people even come close to success she achieved by age 25. Some sour grapes suggest that’s because she and her fellow actors are well connected: Dunham’s real-life parents are highly successful artists, and the cast includes Zosia Mamet (whose dad is playwright David Mamet) and Allison Williams (daughter of television newscaster Brian Williams.) But while those kinds of connections may open doors, if you don’t deliver the goods, it doesn’t matter who daddy is. By my lights, Dunham has created a show that’s smart and insightful — and really, really funny.
° There’s a chance you will hate it. For all the awards and acclaim the series has gotten, Girls has earned plenty of criticism too. The blogosphere is filled with posts by Hannah-haters, and then there are those Twitter hashtags: #privilegedrichkids #spoiledbrats #getajob. In a recent interview, Dunham warned: “If you hated what we were doing last season you will hate it even more.” Love it or loathe it, Girls will elicit a reaction of some kind. Personally, I don’t think anyone can watch the show and think, meh.
We’re eager to hear your impressions, and hope you will log back on every Monday morning and share your reaction with us.