HBO's hotly anticipated comedy "Girls" premiered last night to 872,000 viewers. The Lena Dunham-created, Judd Apatow-produced series presents itself as a window into a generation. But not everyone is liking the view.
Though "Girls" (Sundays at 10:30 p.m. ET on HBO) received rave reviews from multiple places (Emily Nussbaum touted the show as revolutionairy in a New York mag cover story and HuffPost TV's Maureen Ryan said it was "bold" and fresh"), morning-after reviews seem less enamored.
"Girls feels less like a commentary on this generation and more like an indictment on it," John Kubicek wrote for BuddyTV.com. "These characters have been raised believing that they're special and that they can do anything they want. The problem is that none of them seem to want to do anything. There's nothing particularly special about Hannah's life, no reason that her memoirs would be remotely interesting."
Many writers found the characters unsympathetic, mostly on account of their privilege. (Dunham is photographer Laurie Simmons' daughter and plays the daughter of two professors on the show. Brian Willliams' daughter Allison plays Dunham's roommate).
"Laurie Simmons' daughter's best friend is Brian Williams' daughter. She is uptight, pretty, straight-laced, and has a boyfriend who's just too nice and loving. She wears a retainer when she sleeps, symbolically," John Cook wrote on Gawker. "Laurie Simmons' daughter says Brian Williams' daughter's boyfriend 'has a vagina,' a notion that isn't at all hackneyed and retrograde when it's uttered by a self-aware 24-year-old girl who has tattoos of illustrations from children's books all over her body."
Besides taking issue with the cupcake Dunham's character takes in the bath with her, Jenna Wortham wrote for Hairpin: "My chief beef is not simply that the girls in 'Girls' are white ... The problem with 'Girls' is that while the show reaches -- and succeeds, in many ways -- to show female characters that are not caricatures, it feels alienating, a party of four engineered to appeal to a very specific subset of the television viewing audience, when the show has the potential to be so much bigger than that. And that is a huge fucking disappointment."
On Twitter, the outrage was even more direct. Many took issue with the lack of diversity on the show (every single character, except for a homeless person, is white):
.@lenadunham Lena, I love Girls but how come there's no Black people (except a bum)? Could a young NYer have no Black or brown friends?
— Touré (@Toure) April 16, 2012
Lena Dunham discussed the lack of diversity in an interview with HuffPost's Chris Rosen, saying that she hopes to address the issue in a second season:
Do you consider yourself the voice of a generation?
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. 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.
Are you concerned that people might just think "Girls" is another example of white people problems?
Definitely. We really tried to be aware and bring in characters whose job it was to go "Hashtag white people problems, guys." I think that's really important to be aware of. Because it can seem really rarified. When I get a tweet from a girl who's like, "I'd love to watch the show, but I wish there were more women of color." You know what? I do, too, and if we have the opportunity to do a second season, I'll address that.
Dunham was also asked about the lack of characters of color in an HBO live chat on Monday. She said the racially homogenous cast was a "complete accident."
What do you think? Check out the tweets and weigh in the comments below.
Reactions To HBO's 'Girls'