Living on my own has restricted my HBO viewing. Much like the twentysomething main characters in the HBO hit series Girls, I try to avoid a large cable bill. Thus I relinquished any premium channels, which is where some of the best original series rule the roost. I would mooch off my friends who did have HBO to watch True Blood, which was the only series I still indulged in. My parents recently gave up their premium channels, and for as long as I could remember, we ALWAYS had HBO. However, in the past two weeks, I took the bold step of subscribing to HBO and Cinemax for the next six months at a reduced rate. Why? Well, I really want to see Behind the Candelabra, the Liberace bio-pic starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon next month. And hey, I may just watch True Blood in the comfort of my own home for a change. But there was one series I had always wanted to check out, the aforementioned Girls.
When you are totally obsessed with TV like I am, it’s hard to avoid reading about a show you haven’t seen yet or you may never see it. It’s like being lost out in the woods with no cell phone signal; everyone told you there is one, but you have to keep searching for it and investigating it. By the way, with my newly acquired HBO subscription, I have full access to the HBO GO app, which if I’m being totally honest, it’s what I really wanted. So I took advantage of my new app access and I watched almost the entire first season of Girls and I was impressed. Yes, creator/writer/director Lena Dunham is a genius storyteller and I’m totally buying into it, and I’m jealous. I’m jealous because Dunham is a little over ten years younger than me. I was once considered “gifted”. Watching this series really does inspire the writer in me to get off my ass, well, I would be technically sitting, and write something, anything, other than a blog. Later this past Saturday night, I finished season 2, whoa! Though I’ll admit the season 2 finale didn’t hit me as emotionally as it was supposed to.
All right, the basic premise of Girls is pretty simple. Dunham plays Hannah Horvath, who is a struggling writer, and in the pilot, while having dinner with her parents, they let Hannah know that they will no longer be supporting her financially. After all, Horvath and her friends live in New York, but not Manhattan, Brooklyn. I’ve never been to NYC, but something tells me, I would find the other boroughs scary, but delightful. I’m sure this comparison was made when the show premiered a year ago, but Girls is a much grittier Sex in the City, which I only saw glimpses of over its six seasons. And yes, Hannah would be Carrie, Marnie (Allison Williams) would be Miranda, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) would be Samantha, and Zosia Mamet would be Charlotte. Okay, they wouldn’t exactly match up, but there’s four in each core group. All of the leads are good, but I would be amiss if I didn’t sing the praises of Adam Driver, who plays Hannah’s on-again/off-again weirdo boyfriend Adam.
Seriously, Adam is the real star of the show. He’s a constant, he’s horny, and he’s a for real idiot savant. I guess I should say his portrayal is the most real. Oh, and he doesn’t wear a shirt until halfway through the first season. I would say he’s possibly bipolar. It’s revealed in the last few episodes of season 2 that Hannah has major OCD, so bad that you probably read she cleans her ear so aggressively that she jabs a hole in her eardrum. Very painful to watch. Pressure, struggle, sex, and drugs are very clearly addressed. Another moment that almost made me heave, in an effort to come up with some freelance writing material, Hannah’s editor suggests that she experiment with cocaine. Okay, the part that made me sick, Hannah and her ex-boyfriend now gay/temporary roommate Elijah (Andrew Rannells) go on such a huge coke binge, they end up on their knees in a club bathroom snorting it and licking it off a toilet seat. I know it’s just a TV show, but I don’t even want to go there. However, it’s these moments where Dunham’s characters and writing shine. Is it a sitcom? It won the Golden Globe for Best TV Series-Musical or Comedy (I abhor that category), the series won Outstanding Casting in a Comedy Series at the last Emmy awards, and Dunham won Best Actress in a TV Series Musical or Comedy at the Globes. I would say there will be more awards in Girls’ future. It’s quirky, it’s blunt, it’s sexual, and it’s real.
On a personal note, I admire Dunham’s fearlessness in exposing her body. She’s zaftig, and her breasts are too small for such a voluptuous body. I can relate. My subscription is only temporary, but I’m going to try my damndest to keep HBO so I can see future seasons.