It was made by one hell of a girl…
Lena Dunham, 26, has had the biggest breakout in US TV comedy since Tina Fey played Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live. The creator of Girls became the first of the YouTube generation of filmmakers to hit the mainstream after her home-made debut film earned her a contract with HBO. Tiny Furniture basically involved Dunham padding round her parents’ Tribeca loft doing life, dating and self-loathing like a female Woody Allen for generation Y. Her HBO show Girls is that, multiplied by four, plus attitude, minus the bland sitcommery that killed Friends. Dunham co-writes it, stars in it, occasionally directs it, and exec produces it along with major comedy player Judd Apatow. That’s a level of creative control that makes Woody look like a twentysomething newbie.
… who acts in it herself, instead of being played by a younger, skinnier, prettier girl.
Girls was nominated for four Emmys and is among the most talked-about shows on TV, but Dunham’s thighs have almost eclipsed her talent. Pale, tattooed, with chunky legs and a floppy tummy, her body is big news because it’s totally normal. A realistic girl doing realistic things, jogging or even going to the toilet without being caricatured is a rare sight on TV. Which is probably why it has revolted thousands of poor deluded souls who have been raised on the myth that the girl next door looks like Jennifer Aniston.
No one has a cool job or Manolos.
SATC’s Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte were successful fantasy women for the generation that partied hard, worked harder and forgot to have babies. Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna and their pals work in coffee shops and rubbish McJobs, babysit the SATC generation’s Petri dish kids and can’t pay their rent without help from their parents. It’s a more neurotic and more honest moment for a comedy to be in right now.
It’s not just for girls.
The punchline, without which Girls would be just another piece of emotional screen-filler for laydeez who love too much, is that it’s really, really funny. It’s funny in the way your friends are funny – not in the way Friends was funny. Its characters are so real that you sometimes want to smack them. But Girls itself isn’t smackable, because it makes fun out of its characters’ quest to ‘become who they are’, preferably without having to work too hard. ‘I don’t want to freak you out,’ says Hannah to her parents, ‘but I think I may be the voice of my generation. Or a voice. Of a generation.’ Girls isn’t the only voice of that generation, but it’s the sharpest one out there.
The season one finale of Girls screens on Friday November 9 at 11.30pm on OSN Comedy.