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Let’s discuss the the new Judd Apatow produced – and Lena Dunham created – show on HBO, Girls. It is wrapping up it’s 10 episode season one this Sunday, so I figured what better time than now to write this. I’ve had many feelings – good, bad and ugly – toward this show, and they have evolved over the last few weeks especially, so that’s how I am going to arrange this post –
Before the Show Even Started - It was early 2011, and HBO announced they were picking up the Apatow produced show entitled Girls, following a bunch of 20-somethings trying to figure out life in NYC. Dammit! See, in my post college, writing-for-fun infancy, my sole idea that seemed mass producible was a Sex and the City for my generation. I was sick of girls my age – mid-20s – wasting their time adoring a show, and the consequent movies, that were outdated and stale. The SATC ladies were already 40-something when the show started in the 90′s, and in my opinion wasn’t relevant to the current generation’s sexual promiscuity, sexting and dating dilemmas. As a result, I set out to write a pilot and fill this void, based on my college house and experiences.
Probably a third of the way through the endeavor, I was struggling. There was a slight oversight in my plan, and that was the fact that I am not a girl. I don’t know chick dialect, don’t know chicks thought processes – or lack thereof – and I clearly don’t know anything about their nethers. It was still very much something I wanted to get finished though, and then this show got picked up … The result was mixed emotions; a bit of success for me, in the sense that I knew I recognized the opening in the market, but it was also a lot of jealousy, as I was pissed I didn’t have the wherewithall, finances and connections to make my concept a reality.
As the Show Started - Still reeling from the blow of this - perceivably – being my idea, I put off watching the program. It was my plan to wait awhile and bang out – pun intended – the first 4 or 5 episodes of Girls on a weekend. Luckily Memorial Day was around the corner and so hesitantly, after frying my skin like a quesadilla on Sunday, I stayed in, and went to work Monday …
Episodes 1 – 6 - First impression, shock and disappointment … The muted colors, the lack of fashion, the overall dryness of the show; this is clearly not the Generation Y Sex and the City, nor the show I had in my head. Turns out, really for comparison sake, this show is more along the lines of an Alway’s Sunny - or Workaholics - for chicks, what with the dysfunction, dark comedy and all. But beyond all that, I didn’t like the sporadic storytelling – if in real life, you or someone gets an STD, it is more than an one episode arc – and the detached character relationships. I struggled with these first episodes, maybe because the show was too real, and generally I like my television to be an escape, but probably because my expectations were just too high. I pushed through however and then …
Episode 7 - Bushwick and those damned warehouse parties. For those unfamiliar with NYC, this actually happens, regularly. A bunch of snot nosed punk kids, go to a big ass repository – who knows who owns it – in a trendy Brooklyn neighborhood to drink, dance, and recreationally enjoy some drugs. And this is when the show all came together for me! It had all the components that were missing up until that point; the group together, a party, a creepy old guy trying to get some from his hippy babysitter, the post break up troubles, accidental drug use, drunken fights … This was the funniest episode so far, and what I had been hoping to see. The ending, with Hannah and Adam beginning their official relationship was a great, and true to life close. Also, when Hannah falls off the bike, after demanding Adam to stop, I lost it. So freakin’ hilarious in that awkward, feel bad, but yet have to laugh way. The show has since built from here.
Episode 8 – 9 - The Hannah/Adam relationship now in full gear. The ever so attractive Marnie depressed and in despair. Jessa showing some compassion, engaging Marnie and her issues. Shoshanna allegedly meeting her match, though she clearly isn’t in the show enough and I find her to be quite the breathe of fresh air when she is. Everything has finally hit it’s stride and they ended this past week on a great cliff hanger. At last we get some girl on girl arguments and some passion going in the show! Granted, a show entitled Girls should have drama from wall to wall, and to us it took a little too long to get there, but better late than never. This particular fight, with the most ladylike of punches – throwing a toothbrush, “You masturbated 8 times daily…” et al. – left me stoked for the season finale, which I may have to watch live for once.
Predicting the Season Finale - It is my assumption that season one will end with Marnie moving out, and the subsequent blackout coming as Hannah looks as sad as a lost puppy. Jessa will somehow do something stupid with the Dad, and Shoshanna is finally gonna get her pipes cleaned. All the seemingly tidy, yet unsettled, spots for the main four before season two. As far as Adam, not sure what he will be doing; push ups, water ballooning, or clown college, you really don’t know with this guy.
Best Character - And that brings me to a special discussion I want to have about Adam. This bastard was a creepy, gross, and terrible – yet scary accurate – projection of today’s 20-something male at the start of the show. I hated him, I hated Hannah for associating with him, and all this animosity came to fruition – when he did, on Hannah – in episode six. I was shocked as anyone that Hannah would even waste her time, but then again, we have discussed my overall lack of knowledge about girls in general. It was – like the show – in episode seven that Adam came together for me. We find he is enrolled in alcoholics anonymous - which to me, explains why he never left his house, why he took up wood hobbies – and he finally is up front and vulnerable towards Hannah, “What do you want from me, to be your boyfriend?”. Adam’s many idiosyncrasies had been seemingly random to start, but have since been sorted out and layered, like a fashionista in a Minnesota winter. Truly. he seems like a real dude, stoic and unsure, and has developed into the best character on the program. Honestly, I feel he deserved an honorable mention in the HBO character power rankings we did earlier this week.
Girls is clearly not what I had expected nor the pilot I have half composed on my desktop. It is however, a well written, well executed program from a unique brain trust in Dunham and Apatow. I will continue to watch and soak up knowledge on the fairer sex, while crafting my pilot – now centered on dudes – accordingly. Stay tuned, as one way or another, I will have my debut show on television soon.
Realistically a dilettante, Mike ‘Box’ Elder is never bitter, and quite the go getter. Also a rhyme spitter, and a trendsetter, he is not much of a quitter nor a dog petter. Follow him on Twitter, @mikeboxelder.
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