'Girls' Blu-Ray: Witty Woes Of White Girls
The debut episode of HBO’s Girls opens with a break-up of sorts: during a fancy dinner with her parents, Hannah (played by Girls creator, writer, and director Lena Dunham) learns that she won’t be receiving financial assistance anymore. Mom and Dad have been supporting her “groovy lifestyle” since her college graduation two years ago and they’ve had enough. Hannah appears shocked, if not mildly offended, an expression which will last the entire season. She defends her unemployed status. Her parents sympathize, but feel it’s time for her to grow up. Hannah throws out excuses in a tense, albeit humorous exchange: she’s closer to finishing her memoir, she’s an only child, and therefore, not a financial burden on her parents, she’s a good girl. “No. More. Money,” insists Mom with an air of finality. And so begins the woes of Girls.
The show follows a quartet of ladies, with a special emphasis on Hannah’s struggles, all in their early 20s and living off relatives’ money, as they navigate life and love in the Big Apple. It’s Sex and the City for a younger, hipster generation of women. There’s Hannah, the inexperienced, wannabe author of the group, Marnie (Allison Williams, news anchor Brian Williams’ daughter), Hannah’s model-esque roommate, who is defined largely, at least in this season, by her tenuous relationship with boyfriend Charlie, Jessa (Jemima Kirke, daughter of drummer Simon Kirke), the bohemian free-spirit newly-returned from wandering around Europe, and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet, playwright David Mamet’s daughter) the Sex and the City-obsessed virgin who talks in annoying tweet-speak, like “amaze, “totes” and “adorbs.” As the season progresses, Hannah spends most of her time overanalyzing her relationship with her friend with benefits, Adam, with whom she usually has impromptu, awkward sex. Marnie continually breaks up and makes up with Charlie, Jessa gets close with the father of the kids she babysits, and Shoshanna laments over her virgin status. Friendships end, STDs are contracted, secrets are revealed, lines are drawn. There is plenty of drama despite the monotonous flow of the girls’ lives. Whether the show is really as funny, refreshing, or relatable as the majority of critics say is entirely up to the viewer. The humor caters to a certain type of person. The show is an acquired taste if, after the first few episodes, viewers would want to dedicate any more time to it. Minor characters – look out for some Saturday Night Live alumni and The Book of Mormon’s Andrew Rannells – seem more fleshed-out and interesting than the actual protagonists.
Fans will appreciate the special features included on Season 1’s Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital Copy set. Along with ten half-hour episodes, the Blu-ray discs boast episode previews, “Inside the Episodes” featurettes, deleted and extended scenes, two gag reels, audition tapes, table reads, audio commentaries with Dunham, executive producer Judd Apatow, and the cast, and “The Making of Girls.” They provide countless hours of sneak peeks and in-depth looks into the show’s success.
Dunham gained notoriety in 2010 with her indie hit Tiny Furniture, a reflection on a post-grad’s return home. The film premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Tex., and bagged the “Best Narrative Feature” award. Girls follows in the same vein. Infused with Apatow’s comedy, Girls Season 1 will be a welcome holiday treat for fans of his and Dunham’s earlier work. Be sure to check out the show's sophomore season, which begins Sunday, January 13.
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