Girls: Season 3
We are by nature social creatures, so much so that individuals who are prone to prefer isolation are considered to be exhibiting signs of some mental disorder antisocial behavior. This is reflected in our entertainment, for example television programming. Inevitably, the show will depict a group, even if the premises of sensibly, an individual; they are not shown on their own, they are always seen in contact with friends, family and coworkers. Traditionally, there was just a handful of broadcast networks to contend with, series had to be crafted such a fashion that the premise had to be conducive to reaching the broadest possible audience. Now that cable network and streaming services have entered the picture were in the era of niche programming through a series in was specifically target a much narrower demographic. One of the pioneers blazing a path in this new entertainment paradigm continues to be HBO, still leading the pack innovative programming. The plethora of competition has only served to push HBO to even greater creative heights. Among the latest projects that have engaged in is ‘Girls’, poised and to its fourth season. In keeping with tradition, the third season is now available on DVD, Blu-ray and most premium streaming video services. It is a show primarily concerned with a group of twenty-something young women. There is a touch of irony in the choice of titles here. The term girls are no longer considered politically correct when referring to a female of our species were achieved the age past the mid-teens. Right from the start of the creative mind behind this series wants you to know that there will be a considerable effort from their noses at sociopolitical convention.
Groups of people traditionally portrayed in broadcast television always quirky but as their tagline states; "this is not television, it’s HBO." Preppy is insufficient for premium cable network that introduce our culture to Mafia dons in need of psychotherapy, a gold-Rush town in the Dakota Territories in a quartet of young women who smoke, drink and have sex while navigating New York City. Some have referred to ‘Girls’ as the anti-Sex and the City. But that is a woeful underestimation of the inherent brilliance of this series. In one form or another, most of the primary characters have left eccentric in their rearview mirrors and have moved on portraying a group of people serious emotional damage and psychological flaws. To demonstrate this, we need go no further than considering the first of the main characters, Helene Horvath, perfectly portrayed by the main series creator, Lena Dunham. Prior to seeing her in this context, I was a fan of hers will work in the independent film world. Considering she based her character largely on her own life experience and innermost feelings is easy to understand what all the characters here, especially Helene consistently emanate of truth. Similar to Ms. Dunham, Helene is a writer trying to overcome the psychological issues by funneling whole life into a work. She is also not created in the unrealistic image of women in a CW primetime soap opera. Lena/ Hannah possess the curves that real women should have. Her appeal comes from the independent nature juxtaposed with her insecurities and not some superficial comparison to some airbrushed model. She also sports something that has only become possible for main TV character in recent years; tattoos, including a bouquet of flowers on her right shoulder and upper arm.
The critical event that served to initiate the situation and gather the group together was when Hannah’s parents decided she should be living on her own and not dependent on their financial backing. As a father of a young woman who is just past her 20s, I can understand the dilemma; wanting to make life easier for your child versus the responsibility to teach them to cope with life. Although her place in Greenpoint, Brooklyn is far from the extravagant cost of even a one room walk-up in Manhattan, she needed roommates, creating the perfect plot point, gathering friends around her on a daily basis. Enter the free-spirited world traveler, Jessa Johansson (Jemima Kirke). In the cosmopolitan cities such as New York, has strong British accent is barely noticeable, likewise is the fact that her past includes a short-term marriage and a stint in rehab, barely raises an eyebrow. She brings along her proverbial American cousin, Shoshanna Shapiro, portrayed by Zosia Mamet, a daughter of the incredibly talented playwright, David Mamet. She is the archetype that always seems to work its way into any group of people, bubbly and optimistic with the naïveté that frequently helps her to be the voice of reason within the group. She is studying mathematics in New York University, a refreshing change from the all too frequently used plot contrivance having the cheerful girl straddled with an emotionally crushing job. Rounding out the titular cast is Hannah’s best friend, Marnie Michaels (Allison Williams).
In order to make a show better reflect reality. A means introduce change on a fairly regular basis must be woven into the very fabric of the premise. That is certainly the case here and much to which credit, the changes seen by the fans are not a result of tweaking to offset declining ratings or a shock induced season cliffhanger to ensure people will come back next season. First of all, the series has maintained and even improved upon its baseline ratings, so no reactive changes are necessary. Rather, the changes introduced all-pro active, indicative of how people and circumstances change as a natural part of life. An example would be and how each of the characters is given their own rather expansive character arcs. They mature and understandably change as the world around them, and their place within it or in a constant state of flux. One thing that has always bothered me about television series concerned with the group of roommates, they all seem to have a 99 year lease on the apartment they can ill afford. It is wrath ever show a change in the current roster of flat mates. Initially, Marnie was brought in to be one of the original roommates, but in this season. She finally breaks out on her own relocates to own apartment. The thing about having an apartment in your 20s is that it is relatively unlikely you’ll still be living together in your 30s.
So often the problems faced by characters in series similar in format to this, are driven by unrealistic plot contrivances, only marginally relatable to the bulk of the audience. Obviously this series is targeted towards the demographic it portrays; twenty-somethings and for those of us who have passed through this stage of life already, the issues they face may seem trivial about chronologically advanced perspective, or in some cases must alternately enviable. Shoshanna is trying her best to cope with a complication that has arisen in her life. As a student in college, she is actually concerned about her grades and her education. College usually appears to be youthful equivalent to the job, a father of a 50s sitcom had; some mysterious place they disappeared to every so often, that never seem to impact their life at home. I always wondered what Ward Cleaver did when he went off to the ‘office’. For Shoshanna, she manifests an admirable concern for academic standing that this is somewhat complicated by the fact that she is a typical young woman in the 21st century; she enjoys sex and balancing GPA and social life is a matter of concern to be young again. Matter what the title might imply, a male presence is crucial. Men do, in fact, exist in inexorably exert an influence on the women around them. This was true for the Showtime hit, ‘The L Word’ and is certainly holds true here. Building upon its predecessor series, ‘Sex and the City’, men may not occupy the most prominent roles they also fall a window dressing. They exert a discernible influence on the lives of the women involved, and in many instances serve in the catalytic fashion, contributing to the aforementioned changes.