Let's explore another television series that takes place in the Big Apple. This one is centered on a group of women (with a writer amongst them) as they traverse the tricky minefields known as life and love. No, it's not the series you are thinking of. We will be tackling 'Girls: The Complete First Season.'
Hannah (Dunham) is an twenty-something aspiring writer who has been out of college for two years. She is living it up in Brooklyn, being financially supported by her parents while she interns at a company that doesn't seem to be in any rush to actually pay her. She is also in a very odd semi-relationship with a fellow named Adam (Adam Driver). Hannah's roommate is Marnie (Allison Williams), an art gallery assistant who is still with her college boyfriend Charlie (Christopher Abbott), though she has lost all passion for him. There is also flaky world-traveler Jessa (Jemima Kirke) who returns to NYC to see her friends. Jessa's American cousin Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) is a student at New York University who is self conscious about her virginity. She is a bit neurotic and obsessed with 'Sex and the City.'
Hannah's world is turned upside down when her parents cut her off financially and she leaves her internship. She is truly on her own and has to begin to make progress with her writing and life. The other young women are in their own precarious positions, whether it is in their personal or professional lives.
The 'Sex and the City' comparisons are inevitable. There are similarities but these characters are about a decade younger, not settled at all professionally and don't spend thousands on clothes for the sake of therapy. Having a number of consistent male characters instead of having a weirdo parade on display is a little more realistic and palatable, as well.
Speaking of that other show, this has very frank sexual dialog. There is a ton of nudity, sexual situations and other aspects which could turn off the squeamish. C'mon, this is on HBO! Anything goes. Just know that going in.
Judd Apatow's involvement is crucial to mention. He has proven himself to have a good eye for promising material and is a good guy to have in your corner. Dunham deserves the most credit. Not only does she act in this (fearlessly, by the way), but she wrote or co-wrote every episode and directed about half of them. Very few veteran actors are given the freedom to do this or even have the talent or work ethic to do this.
The characters and relationships evolve throughout the season, which is nice. At first, Jessa seems to be insufferable and selfish but she displays a human side as the episodes roll by. More importantly, the Adam/Hannah relationship is an odd one. Adam initially seems to be somewhat of a sociopath, but the tables seem to turn later. To give you an idea what to expect, many of these characters commit some serious professional and social mistakes which makes life all the more difficult for them.
Special features include: a conversation with the four lead actresses, looks inside the episodes, a conversation between Dunham and Apatow, and commentary.
'Girls: The Complete First Season' is very worthy of the attention bestowed upon it. The season wraps on an interesting note and it will be fun to see where it goes from here.
Not Rated 300 minutes 2012