SXSW FILM 2012
By Don Simpson | March 13, 2012
Director: Lena Dunham
Writer: Lena Dunham
Starring: Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Christopher Abbott, Adam Driver, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet
Though I like Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture, I totally understand why some people find her onscreen persona to be incredibly infuriating. I suspect some viewers will have the same problem with her character in the new HBO television series, Girls; but, then again, a lot of people are going to love Girls too.
When Girls begins, Dunham’s character (Hannah) is not much different than Aura from Tiny Furniture. Hannah is a spoiled young woman who has never held a paying job. She seems proud of the fact that her parents have supported her thus far in life and expects their funding to continue ad nauseum. That is not to say Hannah does not work. Hannah is writing a book — an anthology of memoirs — and has held an unpaid internship ever since she graduated college two years ago. But then, only a few minutes into the first episode, Hannah’s parents tell her that they are cutting the proverbial cord, no more money as of…right…NOW! Oh no! Poor Hannah! What about her book?! And her unpaid internship?! And rent?! And…
Luckily, Girls is not just about Hannah; because even as a fan of Dunham’s, it might be difficult to maintain interest in a sitcom in which she whines incessantly about her over-privileged “problems” for 30 minutes every week. So, the principal cast is nicely rounded out by Hannah’s roommate Marnie (Allison Williams); Marnie’s “too-nice” boyfriend, Charlie (Christopher Abbott); Hannah’s pot smoking, hard drinking, world travelling friend, Jessa (Jemima Kirke); and Jessa’s Sex & the City-loving cousin (Zosia Mamet).
Within the first three episodes (which premiered at SXSW Film 2012), Girls unblinkingly discusses abortion, STDs, body image, drugs and alcohol, significance of modern communication technologies, boyfriends who are too nice, guys who are merely fuck buddies, and gay ex-boyfriends. Most sitcoms do not talk about stuff like this; so for some the content might be too shocking, while others will welcome Dunham’s “bold,” “fresh” and “young” perspective with open arms.
If you ever fantasized about a television mash-up of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Sex & the City, Seinfeld and Friends, then Girls might just be the show for you. I, for one, am intrigued enough by the first three episodes that I am curious where else Dunham will take these characters; but I am also very curious if there is enough of an audience to keep Girls on television for more than a season…