Why all the attention is drowning out the voice of our generation
by Valerie Heinmets
I’m hesitant to add to the multitude of literature already dedicated to Lena Dunham’s show Girls, now in its second season on HBO, but I’m going to do it anyway, if only for your sake. After refusing to give into the hype at first, I caved and watched the first season – not a difficult feat at only 10 half-hour episodes – during an especially boring period in the summer.
I’ll preface this by saying that I greatly enjoyed it, and my goal in writing this is to make you watch it as well.
That being said, I still refuse to read any reviews, recaps, criticisms, praise, summaries, spoilers, or editorials on the show or any of the people involved. Obviously hypocritical now that I’m writing this, isn’t it? I’m willing to look past it if you are.
First things first, Girls is smart, realistic, and surprisingly funny for a show about characters you grow to hate. It’s a painfully true look at the less glamourous side of growing up.
The self-awareness of the show really is the genius of the entire thing, much to the credit of Dunham, who has not shied away from any material, or nudity, in the making of what can only be assumed to be a very semi-autobiographical series.
But all that aside, why you should really watch Girls is because it is specifically pertinent to you, student living in New York City. I’m sure it’s relatable across the map to young people and those who can remember their struggling twenties, but it is a scarily accurate portrayal of the world you are about to enter.
I first dreamt of coming to New York to become Tina Fey in 30 Rock, a successful if not somewhat crazy person. I live in New York currently facing the reality of actually being Dunham and her friends, who, for all their shortcomings, certainly posses the potential of achieving successful lives, but are really just not there yet. To be honest, I think you probably do too. (Gabelli aside. I’m just assuming you’re all already on Gossip Girl.)
When you do start watching Girls, don’t forget that it is still essentially a happy show. Although it isn’t the same yuppie New York dream offered in The Devil Wears Prada or Sex in the City, the characters on Girls still live relatively fun lives in an exciting city and doing interesting things. Maybe not always, but on the whole, there’s some encouragement to be found for us. Because New York City is great, and the show is a celebration of all it has to offer us, good and bad.
So keep ignoring everything that’s written about it, this article aside. I’m just roping you in. The constant debate over Dunham’s status as “voice of her generation,” and debate over her clothes, portrayal, and general persona simply become irrelevant. That isn’t to say there is nothing of value being written in the deluge of opinions on the groundbreaking show, but most of it serves only to dilute and try to give cultural importance to what is an innovative yet harmless show about people like us.
So just watch it, trust me. Its funny, smart, sad, and occasionally uplifting. Oh, unless you have a thing against nudity. Then maybe don’t.