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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Girls: First Impressions

What it’s about: Hannah Horvath is trying to live in New York City after her parents cut her off. She has three female friends, and they don’t have life figured out yet either. It sounds like Sex and the City, only these are girls, not women. These characters are 22-25. This is a comedy and Judd Apatow is tied to it, which is surprising because it’s not at all like his movies. The titular girls are Hannah Horvath, Jessa (the British girl), Shoshanna (her cousin), and Marnie (the level-headed one with the boyfriend she doesn’t love). The show is 30 minutes per episode and is billed as a comedy, but it’s not our idea of a usual comedy. Maybe it’s a really dry comedy without jokes. An ironic comedy.

What we think of it so far: We had heard hideous things about this show. It's been getting heat for only featuring white girls and for depicting selfish twenty-somethings who don't have a lot in the way of wisdom. One of our friends posted a facebook status that said it was one of the worst shows ever. But we found it to be relatable. Maybe too relatable. It’s sort of nauseating as a 20-something girl to see these girls struggling through exactly what we are trying not to think about on a daily basis. Someone even mentions student loans and getting a job at McDonalds (which Ern would absolutely do). This is a realistic show. That can be a strength and a weakness. We go to TV for distraction, not to have it hold up a mirror.

Our stage in life isn’t covered that much on TV. There are lots of shows about career women and high school girls. There have been a few about college women and there was Friends, but those were older 20-somethings. The girls are not beautiful. They aren’t ugly by any means, but they are pretty average. Two of them are attractive. Ern likes this. We have enough good looking people on TV and enough good looking people having sex on HBO. Also, it makes them even more relatable. We aren’t uggos, but Vogue sure isn’t begging to photograph us.

Less relatable (for us) is all the sex, which is mostly devoid of any respect or even any fun. We hope this isn’t the sex our peers allow themselves to have. If you’re going to have sex, at least make sure you enjoy it, ladies. The show is peppered with references to our current culture (like vision boards, Twitter, and Kelly Clarkson). This show isn’t for everyone, and we’re concerned that if you aren’t a woman between the ages of 23-28, you’re not going to get it. It’s a smart show, but it’s not a crowd-pleaser. It's not super-eventful either. If you can relate to the show, you'll probably be too bummed and filled with ennui to watch it. If you can't relate, then you won't get it at all.

The writing is good and observant. We like the way the characters seem to be aware of their shortcomings, unlike Carrie Bradshaw and her friends who were just spoiled, wealthy sitting ducks for the viewers to pick apart. We just think the show needs to add a touch more sweetness, fun, and maybe some more conventional humor. Overall, we are going to keep watching this one for a while. 

It’s unlike anything else that’s ever been on TV and it definitely thinks it has something to say about our generation. Because it’s so unique, we feel like it’s going to grow on us. Our grades support that theory. Once the show covers the obligatory sex/pregnancy/job hunt ground and gets into the strong characters and their relationships, we think it is going to get really good. It's been renewed for a second season, so it's safe to commit and see where this weird, controversial little show is going to take us. We have a feeling this is going to be a cult thing. 

Comments on each episode:
We sympathized with Hannah right away. One of us is about to get pushed out of the nest (the other has been hanging mostly out of it for a while), and when you don’t have a job yet, in this economy, it’s scary. It’s not that people in their 20s want to live off their parents out of laziness; it’s that the jobs just aren’t there right now. And her boss was awful! We felt really bad for her after she slept with that douche actor guy. He was the worst. Ever. Possibly the worst guy on TV of all time. At that point, we were hoping to see a nice guy who wasn’t totally whipped and lame. We liked the British girl, Jessa, but we were afraid that we weren’t going to like Hannah very much. She seemed a tad pathetic. She needs to fill out a McDonalds application and not steal from housekeeping. 
Episode grade: B-

Vagina Panic
Hannah is still sleeping with that tool. If any man’s fantasy was that we were 11 while he was inside us, we would toss him out. The show gave us our first laugh when Hannah said, “That was so good. I almost came” without a trace of sarcasm. Jessa is doing drugs, even though she is pregnant, and getting an abortion. So that’s nice. So far, we kind of like Hannah’s clothes. Oh man, when she made that date rape joke in her interview, we cringed so hard. Painful. Then we find out that Jessa is not actually pregnant. That actually IS nice. Why is everyone so shocked to see a near-22-year-old virgin? It’s not that rare! Dang. Make virgins all feel like freaks, why don’t you? Hannah, jeez, stop making awkward jokes. Stop talking about AIDS! You peaked comedically with date rape! It was sweet when the doctor said, “You could not pay me enough to be 24 again.” We guess that’s the point of this show. It’s hard to be that young, clueless, and insecure. We know, show. We know.
Episode grade: B

All Adventurous Women Do
Marnie’s boyfriend looks way better with his head shaved. Douche actor is STILL on this show. Ugh, seriously? He’s encouraging her to lose weight. We can’t complain too much because our only actual chuckles from this show happen when he is around. We caught his name this week. It’s Adam. The episode threw in a near-PSA about HPV. Damn, one of us has to get that shot… We may not be boning anyone, but even if we wait until marriage, our husband probably won’t and we can get it from him. Jessa has a job watching children, so there’s that. We knew Elijah was going to be gay, so that wasn’t a surprise or particularly interesting. It was funny where they took the conversation though. “Nice to see you. Your dad is gay.” The little dancing scene at the end was cute.
Episode grade: B+

As for NYC-22, we hear that it's about two seconds from being cancelled right out of the gate, and it's supposed to be just another cop show. We already have Southland and Rookie Blue in our lives, and it has just been renewed for a fifth season! Yay! If NYC-22 gets picked up for a second season, then we will watch it. But for now, we don't have time for shows that have no chance of sticking around.