HBO’s “Girls” is Funny Because It’s True

March 27, 2012

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"Girls" HBO show poster

"Girls" HBO show poster

HBO, in collaboration with Xfinity and COM, screened an advance showing of its new series “Girls” Monday night. The screening included the first two episodes, free white-cheddar popcorn, a pamphlet on how to get Comcast cable and a surprisingly powerful mini flashlight (you have to remove the plastic thing on the battery!).

The swag was unnecessary because the show was good enough to make you forget, or at least ignore, your hunger and your fear of the dark, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly amazing enough to make you want to pay through the nose for premium cable.

To quote the second episode, “Is that painful?”

“Yeah, but only in the way it’s supposed to be.”

The show features four girls either in or a few years out of college trying to make it in New York with varying degrees of success. Hannah, played by director/creator/writer/producer Lena Dunham (of Tiny Furniture fame), is the main girl. She lives with her tall, beautiful best friend Marnie, played by Allison Williams. Jessa, played by Jemima Kirke (Tiny Furniture), is British, and her cousin Shoshanna, played by Zosia Mamet (United States of Tara, The Kids Are Alright), is 21.

While each girl could be described in one word – awkward, Type-A, stoner, cousin – they aren’t only that one characteristic. Each girl is just that – a girl, a human being. And none of them are particularly good humans, either.

“They’re not wholly good,” said COM senior Kari Koeppel. “They have flaws.”

Which is, according to Koeppel, what makes it so good. The show captures several very real slices of life.

But that’s also what makes it hard to watch. CAS senior Nora Conroy said, “You could see the situations happening to yourself or situations that you’ve already been in.”

Think Arrested Development, only instead of being painful in its hilarious absurdity, Girls is painful because it’s so relatable. At several points, Hannah won’t shut up. Your stomach hurts because you feel so bad for her, but the interactions are also riddled with intricacies that make the viewer want to keep watching the series, if only to find out what’s lurking in the back of these characters’ souls. Also it would make a lot of us feel better about our terrible decisions if the characters actually end up okay, considering we’ve done most of the same things.

One thing to look forward to is Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids, The IT Crowd), who won’t appear until later in the series, but is, according to one devout fan, a recurring character.