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HBO’s “Girls” Is More Honest Than Funny

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 04:  Executive producer J...

"Girls "creator Lena Dunham and executive producer Judd Apatow

Girls, girls, girls. They are everywhere on TV this season, with varying degrees of success and realism.

CBS has “Two Broke Girls,” Fox has “New Girl” and ABC has “Don’t Trust The B- in Apt. 23.”

Now HBO gets into the act with the boringly titled, only occasionally funny and more realistic “Girls,” which premieres at 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

This being pay-cable, the price viewers pay for the realism is nudity, crudeness, and language that would curl many a parent’s head.

It’s a younger, less attractive, less stylish and a much more raunchy version of “Sex and the City.” And that’s saying something.  

Lena Dunham, the creator, writer and director of the series, plays Hannah, an average-looking and awkward acting, 20something writer in Manhattan who learns in Sunday’s premiere that her parents are no longer going to support her.

This is a big disappointment for Hannah and perhaps the world. “I think I may be the voice of my generation,” says Hannah before correcting herself. “Or at least a voice of a generation.”

With limited job opportunities and big student loans, it is a lot easier to have sex in this generation than it is to pay the bills.

Hannah and her Sisterhood of friends include a pretty roommate, Marnie (Allison Williams), who is bored with her boyfriend of four years; an adventurous risk taker, Jessa (Jemima Kirke); and a 31-year-old virgin Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet). Hannah also has a sex partner, Adam (Adam Driver), who isn’t exactly a boyfriend.

The girls (except for the virgin) navigate a world in which they have bad sex, casual sex, demeaning sex, joyless sex and don’t yet realize their insecurities and low self-esteem are driving their behavior.

The plots include casual conversations about abortions, social diseases and genitalia that prompt a female gynecologist to note in a later episode: “You could not pay me enough to be 24 again.”

It is hard to disagree with that message. “Girls” initially tries to speak honestly to a generation fearful of the future, but veers off in later episodes to focus on the dark side of young adult experimentation.

Of course, this series isn’t exactly trying to speak to a critic several generations removed from Hannah’s voice.

It may be a more honest and scary look at 20something life than viewers will ever see on broadcast TV, but it isn’t a pretty picture or an especially funny one despite all of Dunham’s cleverly-written lines and ability to make Hannah and Her Sisterhood so likable and vulnerable.

Still, while you’d have to pay me to watch another episode of “Two Broke Girls,” I’d be happy to pay for HBO to find out what happens to these interesting, experimental ”Girls.” Rating: 2 and a half stars out of 4

Nice to see The Buffalo News give credit Thursday to Investigative Post for breaking the story that Common Council Majority Leader Demone A. Smith “is running afoul of state election laws due to lapses by his campaign committee.” It would have been nicer if the News identified its former reporter, Jim Heaney, as the founder of the Buffalo-based nonprofit investigative reporting center who wrote the story.

Channel 2 and Channel 4 have both won prestigious Edward R. Murrow Awards. Channel 4’s award was for its anti-bullying campaign. Channel 2’s award was for “overall excellence.”

Not surprisingly, HBO has renewed the hit series “Game of Thrones” for a third season.


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2 responses to "HBO’s “Girls” Is More Honest Than Funny"

  1. Doug says:

    I like 2 Broke Girls – Good show.

  2. Bob says:

    How about the low blow a former colleague tried lobbing your way in his review last week in The News. He tries too hard sometimes and it shows.

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