Let’s face it: Sex and the City coming to an end left a massive void in many hearts. The first movie was enjoyable if you are a diehard fan like myself, though it wasn’t quite the same. Don’t even get me started on my dissatisfaction with the second film.
Since Sex and the City as a television series finished, many different shows have arisen claiming to take its place. They all tried to follow the same formula, coming off as total shams. The characters were mere shadows of Carrie and her girls. Predictably (and thankfully), none of them lasted. So when I heard that HBO was doing a new series starring four young ladies, I got my hopes up. Is this the show we’ve all been waiting for?
I hate to disappoint with a vague conclusion, but I’m not sure yet. So far only two episodes have aired, detailing the lives and relationships of four young women (all in their early 20s) in the possibly overused setting of New York. While in Sex and the City the ladies are old enough to have some aspects of life, love and lust worked out, Girls on the other hand wants to present what life would have been like for Carrie and her friends a decade earlier. These young women are fresh into adulthood still have yet to learn who they really are and what they want. The series is admirable for attempting to present real issues in an honest way, displaying failing relationships, promiscuous sex, substance abuse and a pregnancy scare within the first two episodes. Not to mention the fact that none of these actors resemble the typical, tired Hollywood beauty. In some ways the series feels very accurate and relatable, and the characters with their blossoming chemistry have a few shining moments of sheer hilarity. But some flaws have also arisen.
With a title like Girls, it is suggested the show will have some universality, but the series revolves around white, middle to upper class New York women, which applies to a small crowd on the large scale of things. The show has been criticized about its lack of diversity in a city full of people from all walks of life, of different races and sexual orientation. Sex and the City also lacked some diversity, but still managed to speak to its widely varied audience. But in 2012, it seems we have moved past satisfaction with effigies and really want to see ourselves represented on the screen. The cast of Girls seems to represent common stereotypes, and while I certainly hope they can reinvigorate them, in this post-Sex and the City world women are more comfortable embodying many traits instead of fitting in the same old boxes.
Secondly, this show has that distinctive Apatow style, and I am not sure if it works yet. Judd Apatow, an executive producer on the series, is best known for his hilarious films essentially about “bromance”. While he has done a lot for making close male friendships and affection less frowned upon as “gay stuff,” I don’t know if the same formula should be applied to women. These girls have their funny, sometimes witty, sometimes intentionally awkward dialogue that we’ve seen many times in his films. However at times this comes off as highly stylized and less sincere. For girls who talk about their comfort level with nudity around one another, their conversations sometimes sound a little too formal.
Finally, these ladies seem to lack some knowledge that I feel my friends and I attained ages ago. In their relationship choices, it seems glaringly obvious that they are unhealthy. Yet the characters barely seem to comprehend this. Also their confusion about things like STIs is astounding and appalling considering their sexual activity. While I know there is no designated age where people learn about life and love, I would expect university graduates in a city claiming to be as sophisticated as New York to know better.
Final verdict? We need more series about the lives of women, without being clichés or Sex and the City wannabes. For that reason alone I say Girls deserves a chance. Only time will tell if it will overcome its issues and win us over.