Even if you haven’t watched Girls, chances are you’ve heard about it. A lot.
Since it first aired in 2012, the New York-based dramedy about four privileged yet rudderless college friends taking their first steps into the adult world has triggered a new conversation about life as a 20-something woman.
Every Girls fan has a “moment”. It could be a line or a whole scene, but it’s the point at which they realise that, despite all the therapy-speak, the show’s smart, hopelessly self-involved characters were speaking their language.
For me, it came in season one when Hannah (played by the show’s brilliant creator Lena Dunham) discovers that her boyfriend has been sending explicit message to another girl. “I don’t want a boyfriend,” she tells him assuredly. “I just want someone who thinks I’m the best person in the world and wants to hang out all the time and have sex with only me.”
It may sound obvious, but set against a 21st-century dating landscape that seems to prize aloofness and promiscuity, it’s a bold statement. It won neurotic, vulnerable Hannah my love for all time.
As sociopathic boyfriends and unpaid internships come and go, the girls’ relationships with each other are their constant. They still argue and dish out fierce home truths, but that’s the point. This isn’t sugary female friendship.
It’s unpredictable and raw and all the more realistic for it.
Some (often financially secure adults) criticise the show for its “mopey” heroines and bleak themes: OCD, addiction, degrading sex shot from unflattering angles. That’s OK, it’s not meant for them. The show is for a young generation that’s fed up with airbrushed celebrities talking about their latest juice cleanse. Witty, moving and frank, Girls is a rollicking mix of contradictions — much like your 20s.
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