As the Girls’ Season 2 premiere approaches, I feel the need to announce to the world that I love this little show. I don’t know why I feel so protective of a series that is doing quite well. To be critical, I’ve found the episodes are sometimes uneven, and the characters are mostly a homogenous mix of privileged white kids. I don’t know the creator, Lena Dunham, personally, and this is not a show I’ve worked on, nor is it even in my genre. And yet…
Perhaps I’m rooting for Dunham, because of her age and relative experience. Dunham is 26 years old, and she has written, produced, directed AND starred in a successful television series for HBO. The first season of a television series is often plagued by characters who never really gel, and is burdened with having to create and introduce an entire universe to the audience. Dunham delivers a fully-baked and authentic depiction of the challenges of life after college. This was an incredibly strong first season for any series, never mind her first out of the gate.
I am thrilled that Dunham has a voice so early in her career. When I was 25, nobody in the industry was even listening for a voice like mine or my friendship circle. It is a mark of progress in the industry when a filmmaker like Judd Apatow, who has built a career largely on male coming-of-age movies, sees the potential in storytelling from a young woman’s perspective and then champions it at HBO.
“I think that I may be the voice of my generation—or, at least, a voice of a generation,” announces Hannah, the aspiring writer protagonist played by Dunham herself, in my favorite line of the series.
Nobody tells you how difficult the 20s are going to be: the pressure of having to do something great and meaningful; to find a partner and play house with him; and to have an awesome career that will afford you a BIG LIFE. These were the challenges that I faced at 25 having just hit the restart button on my life and moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn (where much of the series is filmed). At a time when I thought I was supposed to have all the answers, I never felt more adrift. Dunham’s series explores all of these trappings and angst as well as the audacity of youth in a way that has had a surprisingly profound effect on me.
So maybe it’s that intimacy of shared experience that makes this more than just a show I like to watch. When I heard last year that Girls was picked up for a second season, the news made me…proud.