The central premise of the new US TV show “Girls” might seem familiar: four women in New York sharing friendship in their journey through relationships in the city famed for its frenetic lifestyle.
Yet “Girls” is no “Sex and the City”. Its women are far younger, its tone more quirky and the half hour comedy drama show is being applauded as the most realistic portrait yet of young women, sex and femininity.
Distinguishing it even further, it is created, written and directed by Lena Dunham, aged just 25, based on exaggerated episodes of her own life, with some media watchers branding her the voice of her generation. It opens on cable channel HBO on Sunday.
“This show couldn’t exist without ‘Sex and the City’, both for what it opened up for women on television and because these characters were raised on ‘Sex and the City’,” said Dunham. “What is similar is the constant struggle to define yourself, it is set in this urban jungle — if we want to call it that — and the strong relationships between women.”
But “Girls” is less glossy, less glamorous fashion, more hip, capturing the semi-privileged lives of young, white, city women. The characters have post-college conversations in the bathrooms and bedrooms of their apartments about getting a job, making rent, sex, and digital culture.
It also makes references to today’s harsher economic times, more loosely defined gender and sexual identities and is wrapped in a style more Woody Allen than Michael Patrick King. “What’s different is that these characters are in a different phase in their life than those women were — and there is a tonal difference between ‘Sex and the City” and this,” said Dunham.
“Girls” came about when Dunham’s 2010 indie film, Tiny Furniture, captured the eye of Judd Apatow, Hollywood comic writer and director and now the show’s executive producer.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2012.
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