When Girls was broadcast in the States, some applauded its rawness and refreshing realism. Others condemned it as self-indulgent and solipsistic. Long before it had bagged a single Emmy nomination, Girls had landed several thousand column-inches.
This viewer devoured the entire series in a day – jaw upon floor – and then wanted to proclaim it from the rooftops, to eulogise about it at the bus stop, to press illegitimate copies into the hands of glum commuters. I haven’t felt this way about a programme for a long time. Possibly since I was an impressionable teenager hopelessly besotted with Egg in This Life.
Still not convinced? Here’s why you should be tuning in…
...if you were crazy about Sex & The City
Girls is about four horny New Yorkers desperately trying to work out what to do with their lives. Sound familiar?
...if you couldn’t stand Sex & The City
Girls is set in hipster Brooklyn, not moneyed Manhattan. The women in Girls don't have glamorous careers or totter to chic parties or spend their day off fetishising Jimmy Choos. Three of them don't even have jobs. But the biggest difference: Girls isn't about finding Mr Right or fantasising about him. Mr Right ain’t on the agenda.
…if you’re partial to an unconventional heroine like Miranda
When the main character in Girls, Hannah Horvath, turns sideways you can see her. While this is unusual over here, it's downright revolutionary across the pond where you need gazelle-like limbs, granite abs and a pre-pubescent bottom to slip through the pearly gates of Hollywood.
Even more radically, Hannah's floppy body is flaunted: we see it in the bath, on the loo, straddling her on-off boyfriend. “Have you ever tried to lose weight?” he asks, squidging her belly. Any other heroine would instantly dissolve into a puddle; Hannah casually informs him she has other concerns.
...if you're still yearning for Frasier (and especially Niles)
Hannah may not mind her pot-belly but otherwise she's as neurotic as they come: endearing and infuriating in equal measure.
...if you're tickled by the ickiness of Him & Her
Like BBC3's cult sitcom, Girls is as likely to make you wince as giggle. In Him & Her that's because the central couple share everything from their bowel movements to chicken soup straight from the can. In Girls, it's because the nooky is eye-wateringly realistic. Instead of the romantic lighting and mood music rom-coms have conditioned viewers to expect, Girls has STIs, masturbation and sticky, messy sex so awful Hannah looks like she'd rather be plucking hairballs out of a plughole.
...if you were wowed by 30 Rock
Just as Tina Fey is both the face and joker behind 30 Rock, Girls is the brainchild of one woman: Lena Dunham. Executive producer Judd Apatow (The Cable Guy, Bridesmaids) was so impressed by Dunham's debut home movie, Tiny Furniture, that he offered her an HBO series and creative control unheard of – especially for a 26 year-old woman. As well as playing Hannah, Dunham is the writer, director and producer of Girls. Eat your heart out Larry David.
Girls begins with a double bill on Monday 21 October, Sky Atlantic, 10pm