HBO ‘Girls’ Review: New Series Faces Backlash Regarding Racism, Nepotism And More
HBO "Girls," dubbed the "most overhyped series in recent memory," debuted on Sunday, April 15, and the reviews continue to pour in. The intense promotional push brought in 872,000 viewers, a respectable number for a premium cable premiere. Despite the relatively successful debut, "Girls" has garnered an influx of negative feedback from critics who say the show boils down to "white girls, money [and] whining."
"I think that I may be the voice of my generation," Hannah Horvath, played by Lena Dunham, declares to her parents. "Or at least a voice. Of a generation." Hannah works as an intern, is hoping to complete a memoir, battles with body issues and cuts through all the muck with her three friends by her side. HBO's newest series is about a group of 20-something young women coping with life in New York City unsatisfied, unloved and underpaid. Some have called it the new "Sex and the City."
"The Lena Dunham-created, Judd Apatow-produced series presents itself as a window into a generation. But not everyone is liking the view," quipped Huffington Post writer Kia Makarechi.
Critics of HBO's "Girls" find fault with the notion that "Girls" represents a majority of young women living in New York City today, let alone a generation.
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"'Girls' is quite simply about spoiled White girls. They have so much privilege that they have developed a sense of entitlement. Meritocracy, which is continually applied to historically marginalized people is something that simply does not apply to them, though they do negotiate sexism. This a show about a privileged group of vapid women whining about being forced to be even remotely responsible for themselves," critiqued Renee of the blog, Womanist Musings.
The only African American character to appear during the premiere of "Girls" is a homeless man who pops up before the credits roll.
"It's yet another all White show, but because they didn't mean for that to happen it's okay. Why am I even complaining, when they did after all find a Black man to act as a homeless person in New York city, one of the most diverse cities on the planet? I suppose I should feel thankful that they managed to scare up a Black man 'cause they most certainly didn't find a single GLBT person," wrote Renee.
Others panned the "Sex and the City" comparisons. The Washington Post's Alexandra Petri noted that where "Sex and the City" offered escapism and fabulousness with real-life sex talk, "Girls" offers nothing but real-life awkwardness.
"It's awful! If I want realism, life is sitting right there. Why would I watch something just as rife with awkwardness as my day-to-day existence, featuring people of normal attractiveness and problems that resemble my own? It's like they think art is supposed to hold the mirror up to life. That is the last thing I want art to do. Who are all these three-dimensional female characters with problems that do not revolve around shoes? Don't they realize they're on television?" wrote Petri.
"This show falls squarely under the umbrella of First-World Problems. These are the problems of people without real problems. You worry that you aren't the voice of your generation but rather a voice of a generation. Your parents stopped paying for your dry cleaning. Your Klout score fell back into the low 50s. You wish there were a TV series about your life, but then Lena Dunham went ahead and nabbed it first."
Finally, the actresses themselves raised eyebrows, since each is the offspring of a celebrity parent. Lena Dunham is the daughter of artist Laurie Simmons; Allison Williams (Marnie) is the daughter of NBC's Brian Williams; Jemima Kirke (Jessa) is the daughter of Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke; and Zosia Mamet (Shoshanna) is the daughter of playwright David Mamet.
A doctored version of the main "Girls" promotional poster has gone viral online, with viewers shocked to learn that the cast of HBO's new show are children of famous people.
"The image is being shared all over social media, with people calling foul and saying that other actresses may not have gotten a real shot at being cast in the roles," reported Yahoo! TV.
"'Girls' is a television program about the children of wealthy famous people and s----- music and Facebook and how hard it is to know who you are and Thought Catalog and sexually transmitted diseases and the exhaustion of ceaselessly dramatizing your own life while posing as someone who understands the fundamental emptiness and narcissism of that very self-dramatization," wrote Gawker's John Cook.
Lena Dunham spoke to the Huffington Post about the whole "voice of a generation" label, and watered down the classification a bit.
"It's funny. The joke in the pilot, I kept being like, 'She's on drugs when she says it, so hopefully nobody thinks it's really my thinking.' But it's in the trailer so everyone thinks it's my credo. I think the concept of a voice of generation is becoming less and less applicable," said Dunham. "The world's getting more and more full. Our generation is not just white girls. It's guys. Women of color. Gay people. The idea that I could speak for everyone is so absurd. But what is nice is if I could speak for me and it's resonant for people, then that's about as much as I could hope for."
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