I must first admit to some bias. I approached Girls, HBO's new series about the aimless youngs of Brooklyn, with more than a little snide skepticism. Here is a show that purports to be a very realistic depiction of a particular experience — young broke post-collegers trying to do something creative in an exciting yet daunting city — that I myself lived very recently. And here was Lena Dunham, the show's creator/star/writer/director, a girl with a sense of humor not unlike my own, and ambitions — blogs! TV scripts! alt comedy! — that are (were?) basically my ambitions. For me, this show comes jam-packed with things to dislike, to take personal affront to, to stir the battery acid curdle of dark jealousy within me, only to have it manifested externally as a kind of haughty eye-rolling.
Meaning, it's easy to outwardly harsh on Girls for one glaring reason: Though the show is about young women struggling in New York, those young women are all played by scions of veritable New York creative royalty. Dunham is the daughter of the well-known artist Laurie Simmons, who let her daughter shoot her breakthrough film Tiny Furniture in the family's stylish TriBeCa apartment and who sent that daughter to the $33,000/year Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn Heights. Dunham knows from broke-assery how, exactly? And her costars! There's Allison Williams, daughter of dashing but funny anchorman Brian Williams. There's Zosia Mamet, whose dad David is, y'know, only one of the most important playwrights (and, arguably, filmmakers) of the past century. And finally there's Dunham's old Saint Ann's chum Jemima Kirke, a queen bee of downtown Manhattan and the daughter of a member of the band Bad Company. She's friends with Paz de la Huerta! So, you get the picture. What business do any of these people have talking to us, regular non-royalty folk, about the poor young experience in the big bad city?