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HBO's Girls reviews are in: "profoundly bland, unstoppably irritating"?

We haven't seen Lena Dunham's hotly anticipated HBO series Girls yet (Jay-Z, send us those screeners if you're done with them, please), but this review by Asawin Suebsaeng for Mother Jones has us a little nervous for Sunday night.

three cast members from Girls, all white women, sit together and look at the camera

The central character is an unsympathetic victim of First World Problems who mumbles her way through a Brooklynite's perdition of unpaid internships and missed orgasms. In its first three episodes, the comedy series establishes a new low for the premium cable network, even surpassing John From Cincinnati in its level of sheer unwatchability.

Anyone who tried to watch John From Cincinatti after the Sopranos series finale knows the level of unwatchability we're talking here.

Read the rest of Suebsaeng's review here and weigh in: Are you looking forward to Girls?

Related reading: It May Be Different for "Girls," But the NY Mag Cover Photos Are More of the Same

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Comments

31 comments have been made. Post a comment.

As much as I hated Tiny

As much as I hated Tiny Furniture, every single preview I have seen for this show I have found extremely funny and immensely relatable. What's more, quite frankly, a condemnation of this show from someone who loved American Reunion doesn't seem all that stinging a denouncement. I think it's telling that (aside from the universal "how white can this show get?" comments because, seriously, Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow, did you even try?) Suebsaeng's review stands in stark contrast to, uh, just about every other assessment I've seen of this show.

I also take enormous issue with the phrase "first-world problems" but that's another story.

You take enormous issue with

You take enormous issue with that? Really? Have you watched the previews?

Girls

Can't say I'm curious to see "Girls", but every time we walk past a poster for it my husband and I predict the one with the flowery tattoo is going to be the "edgy" character (I should mention we're gratingly sarcastic), so it was interesting to read a synopsis of what the show actually entails. I guess the "edgy" character is the one who thinks dating is for lesbians? Is she the one with the tattoo?

What I am looking forward to is if this reviewer takes on the other show we keep seeing posters for "Don't trust the B on Floor #3" or something like that.

I appreciate that the show is

I appreciate that the show is trying to show a "different" kind of young woman. We don't all look and dress and feel the same way and I'm glad they're showing this with these "sloppy" characters. Judd Apatow's connection to the project makes me hesitate, though. And the New York/hipster/theperpetually young/kid's spending extraordinary amounts to live in and dress for NYC is way overdone. I get it, nothing exciting or life changing or inspirational happens unless it's in the big city, but that narrative has been done to death. Can we see young people struggle to make it in a place with few opportunities and a limited wardrobe? Is that too real to be entertaining?

Agreed.

Is it just me, or are American TV characters simply too perfect? It seems like every major show features pretty, affluent white young people living in impossibly beautiful environments, with the occasional freak-out over something trivial. The UK, by contrast, has shows like 'Misfits' and ' Skins,' which feature flawed characters in run-down settings and with actual problems. I'm not idealizing these shows, but would it hurt for US television to actually break the mold once in a while?

No, it's not just you.

No, it's not just you. Characters are extremely sanitized and "samey." It's partly why I enjoy "The Middle" more than "Modern Family" because it shows the middle class as it actually is, not like how we'd like to think it is. As a particularly not feminine or affluent woman, it's hard to find relatable characters in television. I do think the UK is much better at showing different types of people.

Off the top of my head, I can

Off the top of my head, I can think of several shows currently or recently on in the US that don't fit that description: Shameless, Friday Night Lights, Nurse Jackie, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, United States of Tara...

Just so you know, Shameless

Just so you know, Shameless is a remake of a British show with the same name.

GIRLS

Not sure if you have watched this but none of these women are particularly pretty, they are living in a tiny walk-up apartment in NY city. wearing second hand clothes. Last week's episode dealt with abortion---your comment is way off about this show. These girls are nothing but upper middle class. And, why does television have to show racial diversity? No one complains when an ALL
BLACK sitcom airs? I never hear " where are the white people"? It's tv...watch it for entertainment or don't !!

I want to see Girls! I think

I want to see Girls! I think this review screamed of sexism and elitism. I know that the review worked by saying that it only played to people interested in "hipster things" and "mumblecore," but that's extremely dismissive. I really liked Tiny Furniture, I met Lena Dunham and I thought she was humble and funny and great, and I wish her good luck with this show and in the future. I think she's really talented, and I don't think this review was worth re-posting on Bitch.

Looking forward to it as well

Thanks for your comment! I want to see the premiere as well. This review surprised me, so I figured it was worth posting to get a conversation going about the show (and also because a lot of Bitch readers were sharing it on Facebook and Twitter and I wanted to hear more about what everyone thought of it). I'm planning on watching Sunday night and I'm looking forward to it!

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

Just the fact that it's

Just the fact that it's called Girls makes me reluctant to watch it. Plus the executive producer is the guy behind Bridesmaids, which I disliked so much that I didn't even watched it till the end (i'm sorry, I know there are lots of Bitch contributors/readers who liked the film..But I just can't). So all in all, I problably won't bother.

You have got to be kidding.

You have got to be kidding. Judd Apatow is an amazing director/producer. He was behind Freak and Geeks. That was one of the best shows ever aired on TV.

Casual Abortions (plural?)

My least favorite part of his review, pointed out to me by my sister: "the creative team behind Girls throws everything at the wall (passionless sex, STIs, casual abortions, boring boyfriends, gay boyfriends, drugs, money woes, body image), in an effort to see what sticks. But due to tired tropes and failed attempts at dry humor, nothing does."

There were multiple abortions in the pilot? How does he feel they were casual? Huh? Asshat.

He hasn't dissuaded me from watching it.

It is definitely a waste if

It is definitely a waste if such shows become unwatchable. Viewers deserve better and more entertaining programs.

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I saw girls

I just saw the pilot, and I have a few notes. First of all, it's definitly worth watching. It's not like all other shows we see, and the characteres are complex, annoying, irritation as fuck (yeah I said it) and I can relate- for once. I mean, not in all the aspects, but its nice to see a difrent maincharacter who hasen't been airbrushed endlessly with pounds of make up.
But, the thing that really irritateted my on a bad level, is the actors. I saw Tiny furnitures this weekend, and I was impressed with the realism, but enough with the nepotism, Dunham! It's the EXACT same actors and actresses that stars in the tv-shows. Coulden't she maybe find just a few new people? I mean it's not a indie production, only to use obcure hipster-like friends and family to star is kind of.. boring.

I hope that Hannah progresses to be more independent. It's very frustration to see how childish and immature she is. But, I will still watch the show. It made me a laugh, crumble and look away when that totally akward sexscene was on. I can't understand why Dunham is so keen on embaressing herself, but bless her - It's refreshing and.. really painfull to watch. A weird combo!

I'm not looking forward to

I'm not looking forward to Girls because of problems I already have with all the mumblecore stuff that I'm transferring over to this. Mainly, it's this overbearing whiteness. It's not inherently bad (or something much better worded than what I'm trying to say) that a movie or a TV show has an all-white cast or doesn't focus on race or whatever but it does mean, for me at least, that the target audience for this stuff is very narrow (an audience that I'm not really a part of). Like all these mumblecore films, it seems like this show was made for only the creators and their friends.

Actually I take it back, it's inherently bad that Girls (so far) seems to whitewash NYC all the while Dunham claims it as reflecting "a part of the population not portrayed in Sex and the City."

girls

it was ok, nothing especially new, but really, all four actresses are the daughters of rich and famous parents. She couldn't find one actress that was talented and really needed the job and the exposure??? same old shit.

I enjoyed it.

I enjoyed it. I thought it was funny...thoughtful...and i enjoyed the acting. I think people are reading way to much into this. I think the point of the show is to be ridiculous. I hear so many complaints that it is from a privledged white female point of view....BECAUSE ITS SUPPOSED TO BE! Lena Dunham was trying to show how ridiculous priveledged white culture is. Lets not get our panties in a twist about the fact that there hasn't been alot of black people in the show yet. Calm down its the god damned pilot episode. Why oh why do people continue to ruin simple entertainment with over analysis.... get over it and yourselves. Besides a few no named bloggers writing shitty reviews, over all this show the show has received a good response. I am going to keep watching, I thought it was funny, and honestly its fucking tv...thats all I am really looking for.

Actually, since my initial

Actually, since my initial reaction that was a thought that crossed my mind...that it may be comedy a la "Seinfeld" where the humor works precisely BECAUSE the characters are privileged and insufferable, compiled with the "cold joke" of viewers perceiving this as somehow "edgy". See commenter above who believes they're somehow not privileged because they live in walk-ups and shop at thrift stores...presumably unaware that in the city where this takes place, gentrification has made even many walk ups impossibly expensive and many "thrift stores" are boutique-ish places that up their prices and bill it as "vintage". Actually, given that DHCR states elevators are required in any building above 6 stories, it's not unusual to have section 8 designated/mitchell-lama/project buildings that have them while overpriced brownstones don't.

And it's true that even though Brooklyn is diverse, I do see people like this around ,people who don't really have friends outside of their own ethnic group, don't really interact with the people i the community around them. Maybe that's where different people's mileage may vary on a show like this? Maybe I don't have HBO, but I can probably get on a subway on a Friday night and see and hear all the same type of thing. (Yes I know eavesdropping is very rude. I should work on that...). Then again, maybe I'll get a few in me and hunt down an episode online somewhere, and everything I just said is exactly why I'll think it's the funniest thing ever.

The scientific reason...

why Girls isn't funny, is because Lena Dunham's life isn't funny. The reason Surviving Sarah Marshall wasn't funny is because Jason Segel isn't funny. Seth Rogen looks and acts like a big Teddy Bear, but that isn't funny. Clearly, Judd Apatow and his spawn are from a generation that is convinced that they are charmed. But their lives aren't funny. They aren't funny. The fact that they're taken with the hipness of their lives doesn't make them funny.

They also aren't very interesting. Being hip, and young, and attractive doesn't mean that you're interesting. If you're a character/real person in an Apatow production, it probably means that you're pretty one-dimensional and annoying. Except to other pod--people members of that generation.

The existential question for Lena Dunham must be- what if I document my life in colorful, candid, self-aggrandizing flourishes, and my whole life still isn't worth more than marginal attention for a 30-minute Apatow spew. What do you do? Apparently, keep talking more about yourself, and "your generation."

It's obviously not your

It's obviously not your generation! Duh! You are too old. I'm not being rude. My Mom would hate this too. I'm 45 and my life in my 20's was just like this. You are probably an uptight person too..sounds it. Stick to NATGEO.

Awful

It's trash. I'm no prude. It's wrong for all generations. Shock without substance. No art. No redeeming characters. No detectable story -- well, I guess I wouldn't know really because I had to turn it off after a few scenes -- it's unwatchable. I did like the trailer though.

Personal = UNIVERSAL

I personally adore this show. I think it's bold storytelling. The characters are complex, unlikable at times, HUMAN. It annoys me that as soon as a woman puts her UNIQUE voice out there, there is a whole onslaught of backlash because she isn't representing EVERY SINGLE GIRL ON THE PLANET. Lena Dunham writes with specificity, with complexity, with attention to detail. She REVEALS HERSELF, and in doing so, reveals us as women, and people in general. We aren't all noble. We don't all make the right choices., We make mistakes and are flawed and are selfish, and I am extremely GRATEFUL for a show that embraces the flaws in us. Our hypocrisies. It is fascinating and relatable. Yes, it is difficult to watch BECAUSE it is so revealing, and I think this is why there is so much backlash.

Yes, be critical. Of course. But criticism without openness or even having WATCHED the show, is just ignorance.

Why is it only about upper middle class white girls? Because that is Dunham's experience. That is what a good writer does. We don't look at Deadwood and go I've never worked in a saloon in the 1860s so this show is excluding my experience. We see brilliant acting, brilliant characters telling fascinating stories because they are HUMAN and consequently compelling. Arrested Development featured some of the LEAST relatable characters when I compare it to my experience, but that show was insanely compelling because it not only DEFENDED those characters, it also exposed their flaws and complexities.

I think we are all very afraid to look ourselves clearly in the mirror. And it's threatening when someone holds that mirror up to us.

What Lena does is DEFEND her characters, give them voices, opinions, flaws, imperfections, youth, naivety. We may not have all had those experiences, but because she is writing from a PERSONAL place, it rings true and becomes UNIVERSAL. That is the greatest triumph. We can all relate to humanity, regardless of socio-economic, cultural, class, race, religious differences. We are all human.

I applaud Lena for creating a show that provokes so much thought and debate. That isn't cookie cutter.

Also, about the actors themselves coming from "rich" and "famous" parents. These women are incredibly talented. They're talent is what they were hired for. I have never seen these women before, so I don't think they're getting a bunch of hand outs.
Also, an actor's personal life should have absolutely nothing to do with their value as an artist. It is their job, and if they're great at it, like these women, then who cares how they got there.

I would LOVE to discuss this with people. Please write back. I find this all very fascinating.

I personally adore this show.

I personally adore this show. I think it's bold storytelling. The characters are complex, unlikable at times, HUMAN. It annoys me that as soon as a woman puts her UNIQUE voice out there, there is a whole onslaught of backlash because she isn't representing EVERY SINGLE GIRL ON THE PLANET. Lena Dunham writes with specificity, with complexity, with attention to detail. She REVEALS HERSELF, and in doing so, reveals us as women, and people in general. We aren't all noble. We don't all make the right choices., We make mistakes and are flawed and are selfish, and I am extremely GRATEFUL for a show that embraces the flaws in us. Our hypocrisies. It is fascinating and relatable. Yes, it is difficult to watch BECAUSE it is so revealing, and I think this is why there is so much backlash.

Yes, be critical. Of course. But criticism without openness or even having WATCHED the show, is just ignorance.

Why is it only about upper middle class white girls? Because that is Dunham's experience. That is what a good writer does. We don't look at Deadwood and go I've never worked in a saloon in the 1860s so this show is excluding my experience. We see brilliant acting, brilliant characters telling fascinating stories because they are HUMAN and consequently compelling. Arrested Development featured some of the LEAST relatable characters when I compare it to my experience, but that show was insanely compelling because it not only DEFENDED those characters, it also exposed their flaws and complexities.

I think we are all very afraid to look ourselves clearly in the mirror. And it's threatening when someone holds that mirror up to us.

What Lena does is DEFEND her characters, give them voices, opinions, flaws, imperfections, youth, naivety. We may not have all had those experiences, but because she is writing from a PERSONAL place, it rings true and becomes UNIVERSAL. That is the greatest triumph. We can all relate to humanity, regardless of socio-economic, cultural, class, race, religious differences. We are all human.

I applaud Lena for creating a show that provokes so much thought and debate. That isn't cookie cutter.

Also, about the actors themselves coming from "rich" and "famous" parents. These women are incredibly talented. They're talent is what they were hired for. I have never seen these women before, so I don't think they're getting a bunch of hand outs.
Also, an actor's personal life should have absolutely nothing to do with their value as an artist. It is their job, and if they're great at it, like these women, then who cares how they got there.

I would LOVE to discuss this with people. Please write back. I find this all very fascinating.

I am so sick of hearing

I am so sick of hearing reviewers whining about TV shows, novels, movies etc. that focus too much on first world problems. That is such a pseudo-intellectual critique of art. If you are American then that is the fabric of your daily life, and personally I want to watch a show with characters I can relate to not people with third world problems. Plus, Lena Dunham has completely nailed men in the 25-35 age group. I have dated both Marnie's boyfriend, and Hannah's. Sadly, I have met many more "Adams" than I would have liked. These women remind me of my friends, and the frank sexual conversations we have every time we are together. I hope this show has a long life.

This is ridiculous girls and

This is ridiculous girls and John from cincinatti were two of the best shows on hbo ever I cried today when i was told they cancelled us of Tara #dontdothisbutihateshowtime

This is ridiculous girls and

This is ridiculous girls and John from cincinatti were two of the best shows on hbo ever I cried today when i was told they cancelled us of Tara #dontdothisbutihateshowtime

This is ridiculous girls and

This is ridiculous girls and John from cincinatti were two of the best shows on hbo ever I cried today when i was told they cancelled us of Tara #dontdothisbutihateshowtime

This is ridiculous girls and

This is ridiculous girls and John from cincinatti were two of the best shows on hbo ever I cried today when i was told they cancelled us of Tara #dontdothisbutihateshowtime

HBO's Girls reviews are in: "profoundly bland, unstoppably

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