For TV shows, technology can present some problems. Scenes featuring a lot of text on screen and GChat conversations, for example, would result in a very quiet, boring-to-watch show—this is the perpetual problem of a potential reality show about bloggers, for instance. But totally eliminating something so present in our lives makes a situation feel unrealistic, oddly lacking a huge element of modern life. Films -- whose creative gestation can take years -- are often victims of this tech unreality. Take Whit Stillman's latest film, Damsels in Distress. "Is this film for real?," wondered Anthony Lane in his New Yorker review of the movie. His first hint that something's off: "No one seems to use a cell phone, let alone a Facebook account." Judd Apatow's movies, too, sometimes fall into a time warp. In the 2007 film Knocked Up, for example, Seth Rogan's character does not have a cell phone even though in 2007 70 percent of Americans owned cell phones. TV's shorter creative cycles allow them to be more reactive to the ways that people are using technology. Still, there can be hits and misses, but these are some of the standouts that present 2012 technology in a very 2012 way.
Unlike Stillman's film, Girls acknowledges technology's existence, giving the characters 21st-century devices like cell phones and MacBooks. At times Girls gets it right, but during others it feels about five years off. (Apatow, it should be pointed out, is an executive producer on the show.) Sure, it acknowledges the tech toys we use today—but it tends to handle them as if they'd just been discovered, with characters wielding them in awkward ways. In the most recent episode, we had an entire plot-line devoted to sexting between Lena Dunham's character, Hannah and her non-boyfriend boyfriend Adam. Sexting, yes, that is very 21st century -- a recent Pew survey found 6 percent of adult Americans admit to having sent a sext and15 percent have received such material. (We all know admit rates are lower than real rates.) And Hannah does what any girl of this over-share-y generation would do: give it an OMG and then pass it around to her friends. But there was a part that felt off: Hannah was baffled by the misspelling of "SRY" when her non-boyfriend claimed the text was a mistake. Doesn't that seem like a mom-esque complaint, or a snobby texter's woe from a few years ago? Wouldn't Adam be the type who would employ a shortened spelling ironically? Or perhaps that's how any girl would react when scrutinizing every character and pixel in a sext from a guy with whom she's annoyed.