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Girls The HBO Series: A Candy Store of Sensitive Teen and Young Adult Issues

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It's rare for me to get hooked on a TV show. In fact, I rarely watch TV, so I am amazed that I am absolutely addicted to the delightful new series, Girls. So far, I have watched all seven episodes more than once.

Girls is a show that revolves around the lives of four twenty-something female friends trying to get their lives together in New York City. And, unlike our friends from Sex and the City, these young women struggle with far less glamorous issues, issues that we may want to address with our older teenage sons and daughters. If you are looking for a show to watch with your older teen or twenty-something child to get some dialogue going, then this is the show for you. If all things sexual, tender and heartbreaking are not for you, then don't bother. This is not a show for the faint of heart. It is a show, though, for those who are ready to address what is very likely happening in their young adult kids' lives, whether they like it or not.

The four main characters in the show -- Marnie, Hannah, Jessa, and Shoshanna -- have very different temperaments and personality styles, yet they are able to support each other with a deep and loving tenderness that shines through during every episode. This is clearly what friends are supposed to do for one another despite their differences, right? They all struggle with relationship issues like defining relationship statuses, feelings that are not reciprocated and how to graciously exit relationships. The most poignant relationship moment for me was when the lovely Marnie breaks up with her smitten boyfriend and he quickly finds a new girlfriend. Marnie is aghast that she can be replaced so easily. What she has yet to learn is that people are never really replaced, but that we all have needs and will find other people who want to love us and be with us. Hannah deals with STD issues, sexual harassment at work and familial and financial issues, all while maintaining her sense of effortless loyalty toward her friends and family. Shoshanna is clearly the most inexperienced of the bunch and grapples with issues of virginity and sexuality. Jessa stands out in her awareness of how powerful her sexuality is and in one episode becomes painfully aware that the misuse of this powerful quality can land her in some intensely emotionally-charged situations that she does not want to be in. I love the message here -- that sensuality and sexuality can be extremely powerful. It takes many women a very long time to become aware of this double-edged sword. Sexuality, clearly, involves the body, heart and the mind, and this message comes across loudly and clearly in this series.

I also love that this series addresses the fact that young men are not immune from tender, painful and sensitive feelings, particularly when they have made themselves vulnerable both physically and emotionally. This is something that we often forget and I love the show's message that young men, too, have more than just their skin in the game of intimacy. They, too, can feel dreadfully frustrated and inadequate.

If you are looking for opportunities to talk to your older teens or young adult children about a variety of sensitive topics, this show may be a way into that conversation. Do, however, be prepared for some raw feelings and raw skin as this show is pretty graphic in many ways.