I am, for the most part, the most irritatingly judgemental person when it comes to TV series and the new ‘hit’ box sets. I am the heady mix of cynical, picky and downright wimpish when it comes to taking the plunge in a new fictional world. Breaking Bad? Sounds too messed up. Six Feet Under? Too sinister. Homeland? Well ok, I watched that, but since every episode induced a mini heart attack, it was hardly a box set for an afternoon off sick. Really, nothing since the West Wing has tempted me on such a scale, even though I’m sure The Killing is as good as everyone says it is. I have been mourning the West Wing since it ended it 2006. I watch each series over and over, in the hope of recapturing the magic of the first time, and wondering if ever again a TV series will have me glued to my screen and sofa in the same way.
Well it might be of a different ilk, but hurrah for Girls! I was late to the party, having neither access to the US HBO channel or Sky Atlantic, but after finally sitting down with some time on my hands (thank you, stomach bug) I caught up and loved every cringe-inducing minute of it.
I love lead character Hannah (brilliantly written and played by Lena Dunham), I love the prim and proper (sometimes…) Marnie and I REALLY want to be Jessa. I haven’t warmed to Shosanna so much but her time will come, I’m sure. The writing is truly brilliant, and whether it’s because I am a) a girl and b) not long out of my early twenties, I find it all the more identifiable than say, Sex and the City, which I was obsessed with, but in a way that made me crave escapism in Manhattan with Samantha’s salary, not in a way that borrowed scenes from my life. Girls may not be literally comparable to personal experience, but it has the slight tinge of *almost* being there, or least via the six degrees of separation with past friends, colleagues and flatmates. I smile wryly at the conversations Marnie and Hannah have about what they really want from a man, I laugh at Shosanna’s attempts at ‘playing hip and cool’ and I watch through my fingers as the girls get often used and manipulated by each other or by men, in a way that feels uncomfortably familiar (although the party line is of course, I would never say/do/act like that…) but manages to still toe the line of modern feminism and doesn’t portray any of the girls as deliberately silly and naive. Although sometimes we are silly and naive. And that’s just the reason Girls is such good viewing.