04/16/2012 10:46 am ET

Guys on Girls

David Haglund: So, Girls premiered tonight on HBO and instantly became the best show on TV. That's right: Like TV critic Emily Nussbaum, I’m "a goner, a convert"; I love this show. Nussbaum compares it to Louis C.K.'s Louie-now, perhaps, the second-best show on TV-as a singular comic vision (Lena Dunham writes, directs, and stars in Girls). Girls is less formally daring than Louie, but feels more radical anyway-thanks largely to its subject matter. Sure, other shows (including a bunch of new ones) have portrayed the post-collegiate lives of young women, but not, as far as I know, with this degree of realism and candor.

Girls is getting a lot of attention for being so frank about sex; it's also frank about money. The pilot is mostly about how Hannah, the Dunham character, can no longer afford to live in New York; her year-long internship has not turned into a paying job and her parents don't want to support her anymore. We learn how much another character, Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) pays in rent, how much a third (Ray, played by Alex Karpovsky) owes in student loans, and how much yet another (Adam, played by Adam Driver) gets from his grandmother each month, allowing him to pursue carpentry and acting. All the figures are plausible. And at the end of the show, Dunham takes the $20 her parents left for the housekeeper in a hotel.

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