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A Review and Reflection of the 2012 Comedy-Drama, ‘Girls’

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

After re-watching my comfort show for the fifth time, I decided it was time to find a new show to watch. As I scrolled through my recommendations on Max, I came across a 2012 show titled “Girls,” with the description reading: “Four girls living in New-York, navigating life post college.” The show, created by Lena Dunham, has an extensive list of well-known actors. Intrigued, I sat back with my bowl of ramen and pressed play. 

The first episode of the show starts off with the main character Hannah, played by Dunham, getting cut off from her parents after being financially dependent on them for two years after graduating from college. The rest of the episode takes a look into Hannah’s life in New York. She shares an apartment with her best friend, Marnie, has an unpaid internship, and continuously fawns over a mediocre man who shows no interest in her. The show has carefully placed music, or lack thereof, to create a unique atmosphere.

The show was created in 2012 (arguably one of the most cringey time periods) and is filled with peplum tops, Frappuccinos, and excessive hair accessories. The time period, accompanied  by the awkward phase of life that the main characters are going through, creates moments that make the audience cringe. In these awkward moments, with no music to mask the scene, the audience is able to feel as though they were there with the characters. Dunham cultivated scenes with cringe, tension, and joy without music. Yes, there is music throughout the show, but it is sparse and typically appears at the end of an episode.

When I began to watch the show, the lack of music felt uncomfortable, and there were numerous times where I contemplated turning it off. However, this show is like watching a real-life train wreck – one so horrific that you can’t look away. This is exemplified within the show’s numerous sex-scenes. Dunham chose to display everything about sex, including the not-so-sexy parts leading up to the act, and the awkward moments during the act such as switching positions, lack of communication, and straight up weird interactions between sexual partners. The silence during these scenes leaves plenty of space for the viewer to hear the squeaks, breaths, and claps of skin. Due to this, I recommend watching this show alone.

Aside from the raw depictions of the mediocre sex one may experience in their early twenties, this show has multiple character types that are not traditional archetypes for TV shows. For example, Hannah feels more like the antagonist of the story. Her personality traits are perceived as selfish, ungrateful, self obsessed, and self hating. Her character is interesting, as she is not the main character that a viewer strives to be or even wants to relate to. Hannah is the embodiment of traits that people refuse to recognize in themselves. The first season is a series of unfortunate events that are all a causation of Hannah’s poor behavior and reluctance to change. Although her character may possess self-sabotaging behaviors, along with behaviors that seem selfish, her character is not inherently bad.

This may be my favorite part of the show; Each character has specific traits, and they are all human. Each character is viewed, by myself at least, as neutral. No one is entirely loved or hated throughout the show. The whole premise of the show feels like the display of true humanity (white middle class that it is), the entertainment value does not come from dramatic plot lines, but from the complex behaviors of the diverse characters and how they interact with one another. 

After finishing the first of six seasons of “Girls,” I can say that I am hooked. This show has become my ultimate comfort due to its mundane nature and relatable content. I highly recommend this show to anyone in their early twenties, or anyone who enjoys complex character progression.

Emma George-Griffin has been a staff writer for the Michigan State University Chapter of Her Campus since fall of 2022. George-Griffin is Senior at Michigan State University Studying Journalism with a concentration in writing, reporting and editing, and a minor in Documentary Production. She plans on earning her bachelor degree from Michigan State University in the spring of 2025, and plans to earn her Masters degree from the University in the winter of 2026. When she isn't working or in class, George-Griffin enjoys spending time in nature, reading Tarot, and painting.