So many things are wrong with how the characters behave on Girls, HBO's newest breakthrough series, that I've lost count of how many things are right about the show. But for all of its cringe-inducing, humiliating moments, Girls is the most original mainstream entertainment currently being pushed out by a network that had already set its quality bar quite high (Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Game of Thrones and the delicious Veep).
Nothing, and I mean n-o-t-h-i-n-g, is out of bounds in Girls--good sex, bad sex, misogyny, abortion and even the HPV virus all become punchlines--but the comedy is more than just outrageous. Girls is outrageously funny with a splash of sincerity, a rare cocktail considering how much R-rated material drifts in and out of popular culture and offers not much more than its initial shock value.
Comparing Girls to Sex and the City should really start and end with the fact that the two shows share a location and a network. In Girls, four girlfriends forage the unfriendly canyons of New York City in search of satisfaction--sexual and otherwise. But they're shackled by their own inhibitions, desires and raw emotions, which makes their quest so refreshing. Girls offers no romanticism of youth; instead it showcases awkward, fleshy, glare-of-day realism.
The star of the show, and quite possibly entertainer of the year, is 25-year-old Lena Dunham, who writes, produces and most impressively directs each episode. She is 2012's atypical "it" girl, unlike any other current female star and miles away from anyone on commercial television. There is such verite in the performances of Dunham and her co-stars that watching them borders on voyeurism but is entirely addictive.