Review: HBO ‘Girls’ bleakish, awkward and with promise

<EM>New series "Girls" airs on HBO, Sunday nights at 10:30, Eastern and Pacific times; 9:30, Central time.  </EM><EM>Created by Lena Dunham; Judd Apatow, Dunham and Jenni Konner, executive producers; Bruce Eric Kaplan and Ilene S. Landress, co-executive producers.</EM> <P></P> <P>Self-aware writing and wincingly brave performances served up with deadpan delivery, HBO’s "Girls" flashes with moments of keen insight and wry humor, but a "laffer," to borrow some hackneyed Variety <A href="">speak</A>, it’s not.</P> <P>In the premiere, Hannah, played by creator/star Lena Dunham, faces off with incredulous parents as she lobbies for more dough, only to be laughed off and given the reality check: Grow up girl, get a job.</P> <P>Hannah is living in Manhattan working as an unpaid intern, on the dole from mum and dad. Those days are now over. Hannah rebounds with the classic kid guilt trip: “All my friends get help from their parents. This is nuts.”</P> <P>The series is the anti- <EM>Sex and the City</EM>, inspired by said series, where four young women, all bound to each other in some way, are navigating a post-feminist world where the landscape is nearly as bleak as the <EM>Mad Men</EM> generations, yet filled with more expectations for women to deliver.</P> <P>’Bleakish’ is the feeling I got watching the series. Entertained for sure, but not in any comedic sense, just reaffirning my relief that A) I do not live in Manhattan, and B) I am not in my 20’s anymore.</P> <P>The latter point brought home by Dunham in a scene where her possible S.T.D./ob/gyn checkup sees her doctor utter the same sentiments.</P> <P>“Sex and the City” made its mark with weekly romantic failures and successes glossed over in flashy eyecandy trappings. “Girls” is romantic failure served inside even more failure and New York City stresses. These girls are not from New York. </P> <P>The Jimmy Choo fantasy from HBO known as <EM>Sex and the City</EM> shaped a generation of women to expect larger-than-life fabulous dreams realized in the Big Apple, as long as the girls hung in there and supported each other through the relationship gauntlet.</P> <P>What Dunham brings us is awkward horrid sex with odious boyfriends, less than sympathetic employers, and angst about weight and looks. With ridiculous Manhattan rents attached to boot. There’s always tomorrow! Which brings even more misery for these young women</P> <P>The other girls in <EM>Girls</EM> are roommate Marnie (Allison Williams) hipster Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet).  All of them have their ways to mooch and finagle money from parental types.</P> <P>Hannah is given the ray of hope she may be “the voice” of her generation. But nothing new comes from her travails. If she removed herself from the blocks, namely New York, the rotten men she fancies and the lack of focus she is mired in post-college, she’d have a fine life. But then there’d be no TV series either.</P> <P>Low expectations and urban malaise work for FX’s brilliant comedy "Louie," but for "Girls", the action and premise have to fine tune it more to bring the "entitlement" generation mockery point home in a more compelling way. </P> <P>I liked it, but as it is, "<EM>Girls</EM>" is not for everyone.</P><IFRAME height=315 src="" frameBorder=0 width=560 allowfullscreen></IFRAME>Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.