For 2012, HBO had a large void to fill when episodes of the eight-season hit series Entourage came to an end. Now catering to a different crowd, the network may have found just the group to fit the part — this time, with girls.
“Girls,” the product of creator Lena Dunham and producer Judd Apatow, follows a tight-knit group of friends trying to land on their feet in New York City after graduating from college.
Unlike “Sex and the City” — which the show often gets reduced to — “Girls” goes where few have gone, by exploring the less-than-glamorous years between graduating and finding a successful career path.
Creator Lena Dunham wasn’t afraid to dig in the mud, putting mind and body under the spotlight to create a story that is at once unique and honest to reality.
The result is a raw, sometimes embarrassing and often hilarious storyline about the girls. Just the rags, rarely the riches.
The series begins with a dialogue between Hannah and her parents at a dinner in New York, where they've come to tell her she's being cut off financially.
For Hannah, the aspiring writer played by Dunham, the path to success is now a bumpy ride through dead-end jobs, unpaid internships and unsteady relationships with guys that turn out to be psychotic or gay.
“Girls” should resonate with college students in particular because the characters are all twentysomethings struggling to make it in today's harsh and unaccommodating job market.
The picture painted of post-graduate life for the girls suggests that sometimes the transition is more of a fall from grace, and it seems more and more to require faceplanting before learning to keep both feet on the ground.
Now in its second season, which premiered on Jan. 16 on HBO, the series does not disappoint.
Dunham addresses issues of race, in response to criticism that “Girls” featured only white people with almost no exception.
Hannah dates Sandy, a politically charged black Republican played by Donald Glover. Dunham and Glover address race head on, in a way that is both hysterical and provoking.
The show comes equipped with a character that bears a resemblance to most college-aged walks of life.
There’s Jessa, the carefree world traveler who got engaged and married to a man she met while drunk at a bar.
There’s Marnie, the responsible, selfish and beautiful best friend of Hannah, who was the most stable of the girls before she got fired and told she doesn’t fit into the art scene very well.
Shoshonna is the NYU student who talks a mile a minute and is just warming up to Ray, the disinterested coffee shop owner who “deflowered” her at the end of season one.
There are even a few common male figures on the scene. Charlie is the “whipped” pushover ex-boyfriend of Marnie.
Adam is the crazy ex-boyfriend of Hannah who still uses the keys to Hannah’s apartment to come over unannounced in the middle of the night.
Dunham received the recognition she deserved when she won two Golden Globe awards for her role as Hannah as well as her creation of the show and its unique cast.
Of course, the show can sometimes come off as a bunch of over-privileged, university-educated white girls complaining about love on the rocks and how tough it is to survive when chasing after dreams with New York, one of the most expensive cities in the world to inhabit, as their playground.
While Dunham never declared it to be anything more or less than that (the premise for the show comes from her own personal experiences after graduating from Oberlin College), season two certainly kicks off addressing more topical issues such as race, political ideology and homosexuality.
Now two episodes in, the series is still fresh, funny and richly provocative, in a way that should keep attracting viewers in the rest of the season to come.