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113 out of 137 people found the following review useful:

Fresh, funny, and also a bit depressing

Author: bayou_hannibal from United States
29 May 2012

I went into the first episode of Girls with pretty low expectations. I figured that it would maybe be another Sex in the City, with some pointless softcore porn here and there, but I decided to try it out. It is now, along with Game of Thrones, one of my favorite shows on television. In fact, when we get a fresh set of shows on the DVR, Girls is always the first show that I want to watch. It is fresh, funny, and also a bit depressing at times. This is definitely not Sex and the City. That show was glamour and lightheartedness. This show, on the other hand, is about that bad experience that lots of people have coming out of college called "the quarter life crisis".

The tone of "Girls" is somewhat dark, cynical humor. It is about four young women out of college a year or so. They live in New York City, but unlike the Sex and the City ladies, they are struggling financially and, overall, they aren't very happy people. There are Sex and the City posters in a lot of scenes, as if to remind you that you are NOT watching that show. Their jobs are deadend-ish in nature, or just plain nonexistent. They have lots of what looks like unsatisfying or awkward sex. There is an undercurrent of disillusionment and shattered dreams with all of the plot lines. Graduating from college and moving to New York City, isn't the world supposed to be your oyster? Since you still have youthful good looks, freedom, and income, shouldn't your 20s be the most fun part of your life? Maybe for some, but that's not how it works for a lot of people. For some folks, either men or women, the years immediately after college are when you find out that the world truly doesn't care about you, or that you don't have the talent to do what you wanted to do. It is when you grow apart from your college boyfriend or girlfriend and wake up one day to find that you have nobody of significant romantic interest in your life. It is when you find out that there are jobs out there that are horribly boring and unsatisfying.

I normally get annoyed by the excessive (and often boring and pointless) sex in HBO's original series, but it fits into this series just fine. This show centers around the trials and tribulations of young women in their early to mid 20s, and one problem that they all share is an unsatisfying sex life. Having been raised and gone through college with today's "hookup" culture, the men in their lives are lazy. They barely have to lift a finger to get laid and they don't need to be romantic to seduce a woman at all. They have sex and then somebody goes home right after. If you are looking for one big feature to distinguish this show from Sex and the City, I think that this portrayal of modern sex culture would be it. Sex and the City portrayed it as glamorous and empowering for women. This show (and I am not sure if this is intentional) portrays it somewhat the opposite. Hannah has been having sex with her partner, Adam, for a long time, but she barely even knows him. Marnie has a long time boyfriend, but she's not turned on by or in love with him. The relationships that these women have are shallow and unsatisfying.

The themes are interesting, and the writing is clever too. The one liners are usually funny. The hijinx are sufficiently wacky and unpredictable. If you have shared experiences with the characters in this show, then I think that you will "get" it, and that you will find it funny. If you haven't, then this show might not appeal to you. If you were turned off from the show by its marketing or because you didn't want to see another "Sex and the City", then I highly encourage you to give it a look. Especially if you feel that you can identify with some of the characters. As a 38 year old man, I still could, despite being older and, well, male. This show doesn't appear to be too popular, and that disappoints me, because I really want there to be a second season.

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136 out of 202 people found the following review useful:

Realistic and more than relevant to my generation

Author: Haether O'Shaunessey from United States
23 April 2012

I'm twenty three. My girlfriends and I have real conversations like this. We're poor, fresh out of college, and headed toward grad school (hopefully.) What I'm getting at is this show is relevant to our lives, it's realistic and actually funny. Not all women were like Sex and the City and it's been said that Carrie's extravagant lifestyle was not realistic, this show is. I hate to compare the two but Girls blows SATC out of the water. This show is fresh, funny, and so true that it hurts. Lena Dunham is not only a phenomenal actress but the entire premise is so new and amazing that it's hard to believe she writes and directs each episode. Love is so far and I recommend it.

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90 out of 125 people found the following review useful:

From a guy's perspective

8/10
Author: EddyOne from Frankfurt, Germany
28 May 2012

I am a straight (if that matters...) 30-something guy and I just watched the first five episodes of HBO's "GIRLS". So in a nutshell:

I really dig this show. I think it has an extremely unique vibe to it, that kinda reminds me of "How to make it in America" (with a pinch of Woody Allen). It's nothing like "Sex and the City"... well it's about a group of Girlfriends, that happen to live in New York City and well... yes Sex is an issue. But still, it's nothing like "SATC". It's much more down-to-earth, realistic and... different. I like all the girls and their facets. The casting is great. Though they work with some (New York) clichés in the show, I really have the feeling that I know people like that from my own life and experiences. The early 20s, an age where you're on your own for the first time of your life, grown up but still clueless about life and what to expect from it. It's kind of an adventure to figure out who you are, what you want and where to go. I really feel that "GIRLS" makes a great job capturing that feeling. Lena Dunham, creator, director and protagonist of this show is crazy talented. People will hear (even more) from her in the future. Mark my words.

Hopefully HBO won't axe this show as they did with "How to make it...". It's a great show and I really enjoy watching it.

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62 out of 80 people found the following review useful:

Commits the sins of being boring and unfunny.

4/10
Author: Ang L from United States
13 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have seen many complaints about Girls only being relatable to a small sliver of the audience. I have also read someone defending it saying that we can't relate to the characters on Dowtown Abbey but still love it. I like Downtown Abbey. I think of Mary Crawley as a bit spoiled, high-minded, even snooty but still good natured and I like her with her faults and I am far from a British aristocrat. The maids, footmen, valets, and cook - I can't relate to their situation either... Secret is we do relate to them through their experiences, like Daisy learning to stand up for herself in a respectful way. Enough about Downtown Abbey...

I think you CAN write a show about spoiled privileged self-absorbed white girls in their early 20's. Actually, that show could be really funny because on some level who doesn't like laughing at privileged sheltered girls stumbling through a big city? At the same time we are laughing, we are also being comforted by the fact that life isn't easy for anyone, learning from their mistakes, and watching them grow. I'm also not troubled by the fact that all the friends are white - I found this to be somewhat realistic. Even a boyfriend who is too nice can be upsetting - you want a partner, an equal, with opinions and not a puppy dog that follows you around. This sounds like I am going to start praising the show? All the main complaints about it don't bother me. However, my point of criticism was it forgot to be entertaining and the situations are poorly written. It isn't funny and I am bored to tears while watching it. The characters are also often just plain annoying.

I saw an episode one night not knowing what it was. It was so boring, drab, and lifeless, I kept thinking what is this? Is it a show? Who could produce something so vanilla, limp, and dull? Thanks to the info button, I learned it was 'Girls.' So I googled it and found rave reviews and decided to watch some episodes - maybe I couldn't appreciate the show without seeing the story that came before. I watched the first 3 episodes, that makes 4 total and 4 too many. The show just fails on multiple levels, mostly at the satire it tries to be. I admit there are brief moments when the show rises above and realizes its potential, again, very briefly. Sometimes the lack of comedic timing kills a scene. The dialogue and interactions are also very simplistic and there is never any subtext.

Things that bugged me in the first 2 episodes:

The lighthearted abortion party was a little disturbing and I am completely pro-choice. So the British girl isn't the type to be emotional but she doesn't show up to her abortion and just confessed to you that she does want children (the conversation about her wanting children was one of the most badly written scenes I have ever watched.). What is your response? You are worried about your friend who is facing a huge life decision and is unsure about her choices? Worried she may be somewhere needing your support? Nope, you are annoyed she stood you up. What? The situation could be funny but NEVER in the way it is presented. The show then wimped out and balked on the unwanted pregnancy. (Also, she would have had a pregnancy test and medical exam to schedule an abortion so was she miscarrying?)

Hannah makes a joke about date rape in her interview. OK, nose-diving in an interview should be funny and make you uncomfortable. Her date rape joke makes you cringe but not cringe at how out of touch Hannah is but cringe with who wrote this terrible show?

Hannah's lover during sex wants her to pretend to be an 11 year old girl that he took from the street and is going to send home to her parents covered in semen (they use the other word) while shoving his hand in her face. He's a jerk but still this one, I... don't... get.

Alright, it's all to character development and we aren't supposed to think they are the greatest people in the world - they are real with flaws. They certainly are not completely awful but whether we are supposed to be laughing at or horrified by them, we should be invested in their story. The characters inspire nothing. They aren't interesting, they aren't funny. I didn't like them or hate them and I didn't care. You don't have to like a character to root for them. I also had a nagging sense that the show was telling superficial people, it is OK to be this self absorbed.

You shouldn't have to be living in a narrow section of society to like a show and relate to the characters - most shows I watch are far from depicting me but I like them, I relate, I laugh, I cry. So when a large chunk of people think a show is not relatable, it's the show's fault and not the viewers. The shows biggest failure is it's boring. I didn't absolutely hate it despite it making me cringe at times. It's just a blank void as vacuous as its characters.

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55 out of 79 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely terrible.

1/10
Author: Katy Walker from Australia
29 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of the most unimaginative pieces of trash I have ever had the misfortune to watch. I am usually pretty open in what I try - I'm not all too picky, and I am an open minded woman - but this, this... ugh. I don't even have the words. How do people get funding for stuff like this?

The main character is bland and boring with the usual self-image troubles. She is also disgustingly reliant on other people - namely her parents - by the fact that she expects absolutely everything from them. The supporting roles are just as terrible - unrealistic, and frankly, they're nothing new - they are characters you expect, and dread, in every television show of this sort. The writers didn't disappoint in that way, at least, in providing generic, irritating characters who make you want to beat their heads in with a stapler as soon as they open their mouths.

The fact that it's supposed to be "spot on" to how girls of that age are (and speaking as a 20 year old female here) - I can only be astounded at the crap people produce, or the way that young ladies are obviously viewed. We don't watch each other poop, we don't have showers together... good lord, I could go on for a long while about how this is pretty much a writer's fantasy on what he hopes young women are like together, rather than providing something slightly truthful.

Maybe it's just the cultural differences - I'm from Australia, and I noticed that an English chap who also reviewed this has maybe said it's a cultural thing as well. I sincerely hope Americans aren't like this, because Australians certainly aren't.

What can I say about it? I want the 30 minutes of my life back that I lost while watching it. You'd honestly be better off watching a dog chase its tail.

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69 out of 107 people found the following review useful:

what is realistic?

3/10
Author: wordwench1 from United States
9 March 2013

I know it's only a show, but I am SO tired, bored in fact, with the laziness of writers and producers who, for the sake of entertainment (and advertising dollars)continue mining the same sad, vaguely misogynistic territory where women are laughable, but not funny.

It's like the underlying message is: never mind, woman are just silly, not to be taken seriously. Makes women less of a threat professionally, socially. You can't admire, cheer on, (or fear) women as flat out lost as Hannah and her friends.

Girls is no more realistic (or relate-able) than Sex In The City was - single women in NYC, w/o steady full time employment? Who IS paying their rent? (I am a single woman in NYC. Cheap,it's not)..Both shows take place in a New York City filtered through California goggles:where it's Summertime all year round (again, NOT the NYC I live in!)

There was a more pro-woman HBO series that came close to what I'm trying to say here: "The Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency". At least this was a show where a single woman (overweight and NOT a conventional beauty), who got her emotional grounding from her father,built her own business, bought a house, AND had a boyfriend. Imagine that.

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70 out of 110 people found the following review useful:

Get off your high horses, this is reality

Author: kelly-louise
11 May 2012

If you are looking for the next glamorous Sex and the City show, this is not it. In fact, it is the opposite. 'Girls' doesn't advertise glamour in any way, which is a complete deviation from the average American show. It is odd how much controversy surrounds Lena Dunham and her 'Girls', because she actually writes a common scenario in a very familiar way. On paper, it is quite a lot like 'Sex and the City': four women from NYC who struggle with acquiring their careers and finding love. However, there are no Manolo Blahniks or Mr Bigs. There are crummy apartments and player boyfriends.

Life after college is nowhere near glamorous, and Dunham knows this all too well. If you find yourself at that little lost place, post graduation, taking any job that comes along your way and despairing over the fact that you might never get that career you've always dreamt of, or keep ending up in a less-than-perfect relationship because you are willing to pick up any love you can get, these 'Girls' might be some comfort for you. If you are in the mood for some real-life drama that is not sugarcoated in any way, this show might find you intrigued. And if you are still convinced this show is fake and its characters are unrelatable, at least watch it for Jemima Kirke, TV's very own too-cool-for-you bohemian hipster. She's the it-girl you don't want to miss.

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98 out of 167 people found the following review useful:

Welcome to that part of society that you hate!

2/10
Author: Scout79 from United States
2 June 2013

This show is absolutely AWFUL! Read the other reviews - they indicate viewers kept going in hopes the show gets better. It doesn't.

This is an awful show made by awful people for awful people to enjoy.

Lena Dunham is not cute. She is not quirky. She is not pleasant. She really needs to stop - stop everything and work at a place where no one could see or hear her.

I am not taken aback by the sex and nudity of the show or any adult themes. I am taken aback by watching a bunch of hipster-esque jerks for humor. It is not funny. And Dunham highlights the "me generation" of it all. I imagine she thinks her "edge" highlights that manic pixie dream girl image - it doesn't. It highlights her character and writing style as a self-centered jerk.

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41 out of 56 people found the following review useful:

Mixed feelings

Author: CharWoman from Virginia
22 May 2012

I hadn't been following the show yet but decided to get caught up since all the episodes were available on demand, and since they are nice and short it didn't take much time.

I have mixed feelings about the show. I'm definitely not in my twenties anymore, and even when I was my situation was different from Hannah's (I was broke and struggling through art school without any family support, and not in New York). That was years ago--Hannah could theoretically be my daughter--yet I recognize and sympathize with a lot of what goes on in her world. A good bit of the show is funny and smart, and I do care about her--she's afraid and a little lost and going through a series of disappointments. I get how it feels to have something to say and find yourself (or others) questioning whether it really needs to be said, which must be really rough when you've spent the last few years in a crucible of complete focus on self-expression (grad school). I'm just not sure I like her. And maybe that's OK, since Hannah doesn't seem to like herself very much despite little bursts of ego and a chronic exhibitionism--but the occasional moments pop up where it feels like I'm supposed to cheer her on when I want to shake her instead. Her motives seem hollow, and too focused on trying to actively *impress* others, which could be intentional. It's hard to tell if she's having trouble being herself or if the trouble IS that she's being herself. Maybe the generation gap is to blame, or maybe there is no message and she's just packaging up and delivering a slice of life without any adjectives or claims printed on the box. And there is certainly more going on in the show besides the protagonist's character study.

I'll continue watching to see how Hannah progresses. There is value in the writing, and it's pretty original. Feels a little like a graphic novel (a la American Splendor), weirdly. Glad to see Zosia Mamet after being introduced to her on Mad Men, and hope her character (Shoshanna) is allowed to grow out of what appears to be comic relief. Also good to see Becky Ann Baker again, the warm and authentic mom from Freaks and Geeks. She's less cuddly here but just as real.

If you're in your twenties you may well like this more than I do. If you're {ahem}older you might like it more than me anyway. But it's certainly worth watching an episode or two to find out.

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81 out of 136 people found the following review useful:

Just Enjoy It For What It Is

Author: Avis Ramsey from United States
4 May 2012

I personally LOVE this show. It's incredibly funny and extremely refreshing. It's quirky and almost every dialogue makes me smile like an idiot. The sex is also a lot more realistic than in other shows (Since most of the time sex can awful and unsatisfying, not earth-shattering like they portray on romantic movies and also, not everyone is built like a model.)

I think people need to stop over analyzing the show and enjoy it for what it is; a heartfelt comedy about young women who traverse a complicated world filled with heartbreak and uncertainty with no one to lean on but each other. It's a unique take on an old idea and I will definitely stay tuned for more.

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