Unless you’ve been living under a rock with no Internet access for the past month, you know that “Girls” finally aired its first episode on HBO Sunday. The PR on this series has been relentless. Busses all around New York are covered in posters, and if you made the mistake of following “Girls” on twitter every time you refresh your feed #mistakesGIRLSmake seems to be everywhere. It’s been hyped up enormously.
I fall perfectly into the target audience of “twenty-something female trying to find her way in New York,” and based on a slew of good reviews from its premiere at SXSW, I approached “Girls” with an open mind. But when you get down to it, the pilot episode was pretty mediocre and conventional. The funniest moments were revealed in the trailer, and the rest just felt like filler. Trying to set-up a story line is one thing, but half of it could have been cut out and you would still understand what was going on. It’s impossible to discuss “Girls” adequately without spoilers, so here’s your warning.
You know how people say that when someone on a TV show is having a baby that means the show is nearing it’s end? Well, the resident jet-setting “bad girl” of the bunch, Jessa, is already pregnant here. How that happened probably would have made a more exciting story than everything else we saw. Best friend Marnie’s only real function throughout the show is to tell protagonist Hannah not to do things, and the only plot line Marnie (Who looks like a younger version of Lana del Rey) has to herself is that she’s become bored with her excessively nice boyfriend. Marnie is supposed to be the book smart one who pays all the bills, so why not scratch the boring boyfriend and show off her personality a bit more? She has the potential to be more than just the sidekick.
What I mean by potential is that plot lines like Marnie’s and several attempted jokes that could be really funny tend to be just a bit off. Sometimes it’s due to the writing, and sometimes the fault lies in the delivery. For example, when Jessa comes to live with her ditzy cousin Shoshanna, Shoshanna fawns over how hip Jessa is in a way that is just plain awkward. If the ditzyness of Shoshanna’s character had been toned down, the moment would have passed beautifully.
Predictability is also a major problem and all of your usual stock-characters are present: the self-deprecating protagonist, the over-protective best friend, the wild child, that one girl who is always trying to impress people, and the jackass “boyfriend.”
So far “Girls” feels like a weird version of “Sex and the City” just with the next generation, and wardrobe from Urban Outfitters instead of Barney’s. It’s supposed to be showing us the “real life” of young women in New York, but I can tell you I don’t lay in the shower naked with my best friend or show up at my parent’s hotel room high on opium-pod-tea.
There are a few redeeming one-liners that make me hold on to the idea that this could turn out to be a legitimately witty show that just happened to have an unfortunate pilot, like when Hannah, while under the influence of said opium, tells her friends “You are sex goddesses. When I look at both of you a Coldplay song plays in my heart.” While “Girls” has missed the mark in this first episode, the show still has potential to either become incredibly successful or crash and burn. I would say keep watching—either way it will be entertaining.