In the Pilot of Lena Dunham’s Girls, the viewer is introduced to Hannah Horvath: a twenty-four year old with dreams of becoming a published author living in NYC. Her parents have cut her off, applying the concept of ‘tough love’ and the episode sees Hannah struggle to come to terms with this prospect. She seeks comfort from Adam, who is an ‘actor’ (and by this we mean he mooches around and masturbates frequently) that she sleeps with. The initial 30 minutes also explore Hannah’s relationships with her friends, Marnie (a neat freak control freak) and Jessa (who is British and free-spirited).
Jessa has recently returned from her adventures and is staying with Shoshanna, her amicable but naïve younger cousin. The viewer is immediately introduced to the realism of Lena Dunham’s characters. Jessa is an intriguing character who seems to have a closet full of secrets. The dislikeability of Marnie – whose biggest problem seems to be that her boyfriend loves her too much – is established from the outset. Not only this, but Adam’s disinterest in Hannah is painfully apparent to the viewer, if not our protagonist.
The series’ seemingly banal nature is in fact its most brilliant aspect; many shows fail to portray realistic depictions of relationships, of friendships of life as an adult. We want the happy-ever-after for our fictional indulgences, but what Dunham gives us is real life. Providing the viewer with a fly on the wall insight into her characters’ lives, Girls looks set to detail what growing up is really like… with pregnancy tests, friends with benefits and questions about how rent is going to be made being hurled at the viewer in the first episode alone.
Words by Beth Kirkbride