Earlier this week, the trailer for the new HBO series Girls was released (check it out on Slate), and while there are some aspects of it that are appealing, a lot of it just felt like the same old same old.
Here’s an extremely brief synopsis: created by and starring Lena Dunham of Tiny Furniture fame, Girls is about twenty-something women who move to New York City and try to make it on limited funds and employment. Groundbreaking territory this is not, but there are a few good elements.
Let me start with what I like about the show (which of course is just based on the trailer). Dunham isn’t your typical glamorous Hollywood type, and looks like your good friend from college or co-worker from your first job. The dialogue also seems more realistic than shows like 2 Broke Girls, where every other word is a double entendre or dripping with sarcasm.
Now, the issues. Isn’t it time for these shows to be set in another city? I know, New York City is fascinating and the city where dreams come true and blah blah blah, but really, young people actually do live in other places. Want to keep the setting a big city? Try Chicago, Miami, Boston, Dallas, San Francisco, Denver… there are tons of major cities that are rarely featured on scripted series. Or, think outside the box and set it in some small, rural location, or even the outskirts of a major metropolitan area. The possibilities are endless, but television shows never go there.
Also, I don’t know if you know this about New York City, but there are so many cultures represented by residents that it’s actually pretty astonishing. Why then do all of these New York City-centric shows pretend they don’t exist? If I take a look at my core group of friends who still live in New York City (all of whom I met while at grad school), there’s a Hungarian, a Jamaican, a Pakistani, two Texans (one Asian, one Black), and a Caucasian from New Jersey. Throw me and my California-born self in there, and you have quite a mix of people. The beauty of it is, most groups of friends that I know in NYC are quite diverse, which is why seeing white people hanging out with white people and dating white people sticks out so much: it’s not really the norm.
So that’s that. I really can’t decide, based on this short trailer, if it’s more of the same or different enough to make a statement. I’d like to think this is a step in the right direction of having more women create television shows, but the things I took away from the trailer that bug me, really bug me. What do you think?