A few weeks ago, the second series of the critically acclaimed US show Girls hit the stands on DVD. Girls is the show that you’ve heard of but possibly not gotten round to watching yet; the one that follows the four New York 20-somethings throughout their friendships, loves and endless mistakes.
Many have branded it the Sex and the City of the modern age…but far more ‘real’. The first season was ground-breaking; it shocked, humoured and wowed its audience, but the second series promised a lot more. Upon watching, I found that HBO (and the genius that is Lena Dunham) had unveiled a funnier, grittier and in many ways darker ten episodes than the last.
Girls can, admittedly, be hard to get in to. Before delving into the new boxset I had been watching True Blood. Filled with blood, gore and sex, it is action packed and exciting. After this, Hannah and co. can feel a little, well, boring, and the inaction is evident. But the golden rule with Girls is to persevere, and when you get it, you get it. It’s real. It’s uncompromising. It’s awkward. And it takes no prisoners.
Lena Dunham is the brains behind the show. In series two, her character Hannah becomes more self involved and troubled than ever. She makes endless mistakes throughout the ten episodes, which repeatedly reminds and reassures young viewers that post-university, with the frightening prospects of the unstable, real world, it is normal and quite okay to constantly fail at life until you find your way.
My favourite episode from the series has to be ‘One Man’s Trash,’ which appears midway in the series. Hannah strikes up a short-lived affair with a man she has literally just met; the seemingly perfect Joshua. The two days they spend together are full of lust, lots of sex and the sort of domestic bliss only found in Hollywood films.
Watching it, you feel this huge sense of relief and joy for Hannah after so many cringe-worthy failed flings. But being familiar with Hannah, viewers are just waiting for her to mess it up somehow, and that’s exactly what she does. Witnessing her ‘self-discovery’ in which she sobs in a robe on the bed of a man she has just met (to his utter dismay and quite frankly, disgust) creates the type of cringe-worthy, uncomfortable, peeking-out-from-your-pillow kind of TV that Girls has become known for.
But this is what makes Girls so unique; it has the ability to make you cringe and is continuously difficult to watch with some very unlikeable characters (I’m looking at you Marnie and Jessa), but simultaneously, it’s difficult to stop watching. This is largely due to the fact that it is hugely relatable and deals with real issues such as troubled female friendships and crippling OCD.
The penultimate episode of series two is arguably the most painful to watch, and includes an excruciatingly uncomfortable violent sex scene, a highly embarrassing rap turned ballad performance and THAT Q-tip incident. All in all, it sums up why Girls is such a great show: it doesn’t pretend to be thought-provoking, it just is. And if this doesn’t convince you to start watching, there’s always the incredibly loveable and non-threatening Shoshanna and her hilarious one-liners!