On the evening of the 2nd season premier for the highly acclaimed HBO series Girls, creator/writer/star Lena Dunham remained busy collecting Golden Globes. The show’s debut season earned major awards for Best Television Series – Comedy or Musical and Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical (Dunham).
While the cast celebrated onstage, the rest of us were home to catch up where the gals left off, living and struggling in New York City. Besides a breakup here and a roommate switch there, not much as changed for this group of individuals striving to keep their sanity while making end’s meat. As Hannah (Dunham) finds herself in a new living situation, old boyfriends and new drama attempt to derail her pledge to take control of her love life.
The introduction of season two gave us every inclination that the show’s refreshing depiction of young women in their twenties remains hilariously intact. Hannah has recently moved in with her ex-boyfriend from college, Elijah (Andrew Rannells), who had revealed to her he is gay in the show’s inaugural season. When the reconciled roomies decide to throw a party, trouble seems to be lurking around every corner. Newcomer Zosia Mamet is once again hysterical as the ditzy yet innocent Shoshanna. A student at NYU, Shoshanna is forced to confront Alex (Ray Ploshanky), the man who took her virginity in season one. While Hannah’s best friend and ex-roommate Marine (Allison Williams) is recuperating after losing her job, Hannah’s good-natured demeanor persuades her to look after her injured yet emotionally unstable ex-boyfriend Adam (Adam Sackler). While booze gets the best of many of the partygoers, Hannah’s newfound confidence allows her to avoid Adam’s manipulative advances in order to pursue a new yet slowly budding relationship in her life.
Much like we saw in season one, the show’s driving force is the raw and honest portrayal of entitled young women coping with relationships, self-esteem, body image, sexuality, aspirations, unrealistic expectations, financial instability and their own self-worth in a cruel and unforgiving city. Dunham has been praised for showcasing such realities and hardships with authenticity and sincerity. We ache for the characters and therefore laugh along as Dunham finds both the humor and anguish of “millennials” facing adulthood and responsibility. Dunham is bold and fearless, bearing her insecurities and her body for raunchy sex scenes so awkward and real, it’s both hilarious and painful to watch. We have no-doubt found a comedic gem in this young actress, most likely taking some guidance from executive producer Judd Apatow.
The Sexy and the City comparisons will be inevitable (Shoshanna even has a SACT movie poster hanging in her room). But while those ladies represented the prosperous and established 30-something looking for love, Girls offers a more genuine, convincing look into the trials and tribulations young women encounter in a world where nothing is promised. Relationships will tragically fail. Hearts will be broken and jobs will be lost. It’s refreshing to know we’re not the only ones struggling to stay on our feet and believe in a better tomorrow. I think it’s safe to say HBO has a hit on their hands.
Girls airs Sunday nights on HBO.