HBO’s ‘Girls’honestly depicts modern women

In a rare moment of TV show unanimity — all of our other shows having at least one holdout, partially due to the fact that I refuse to watch vampire dramas — my three roommates and I eagerly clicked on HBO’s new series, “Girls,” on Sunday night.

The unglamorous plot line, “Girl in the big city with the unpaid internship getting cut off by her parents so they can buy a lake house,” has had the media buzzing for months. And for good reason: We loved it.

The show, which CNN pinned as “Awkward, but honest,” had a few off-kilter moments, like an out-of-nowhere opium trip and a sex scene so painfully awkward that I covered my eyes. But all in all, it struck some of the realities of being a Generation Y girl, which makes sense, because it’s written by a 25-year-old woman.

The composite picture of us girls in the media these days, though it’s kind of funny there in the indie rock-soundtracked HBO glow of it all, is kind of sad and pathetic. Hannah, the main character in the show, exemplifies many of the parts of ladydom that aren’t particularly flattering. She and the quintessential girls on TV cling to boys that don’t like them back, depend on their parents for money, blow off their friends for loser dudes, can’t break up with said loser dudes because they’re afraid of being single, and can’t hold a conversation without the requisite “likes,” “ohmygod’s,” and “seriously’s.” Not all of us are really like that, even though that breed of girl overruns pop culture.

This leaves me to wonder: Is the patheticness of “Girls” a comment on the intrinsic difficulty in being a young woman in this day and age, or is it condemning us for not transcending that difficulty?

Emily Nussbaum’s NY Daily News piece put it best when she called the show “A bold defense (and a searing critique) of the so-called Millennial Generation by a person still in her twenties.”

On one hand, girls these days don’t have it easy. Political groups are waging war against female reproductive rights. There still isn’t any sign of wage equality. Sexism, in many ways, is still alive and well.

Economically, the show is right on point. For girls (and boys), the workforce has never been more foreboding. In one scene, Hannah admits to her weasely on-again-off-again hookup that she’s been financially supported by her parents. He admits that he’s still in the same boat, “My grandma gives me $800 a month … I supplement.”

A recent Pew Research Center study reported that 49 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds say they’ve taken a job they didn’t want to pay the bills, and nearly a quarter have worked an unpaid job to get experience. The “getting fired from the unpaid internship” plot line may have been outright hilarity ten years ago, but for us Millenials, it was a reminder of a dismal reality.

The show also touches on the female friendship of a bygone era. The female friendship we’ve grown up with has been rife with cattiness and passive-aggressiveness; the kind where we gossip about each other then digitally gush over each other’s profile pictures. We’ve been subjected to the annoying frenemy TV relationships of Gen Y, but “Girls” represents the modern female friendship — the kind that is utterly fulfilling and unconditional. When was the last time you saw two twenty-something girls actually being nice to each other on TV?

And on the other OPI-polished hand, the show is indeed a critique, pointing out the traits of the media’s “modern girl” — the needy, superficial, boy-obsessed one — that we all hate but all act like every now and then. To that end, I think young women need to take “Girls” in stride and accept it as a challenge — to prove that we really are better than our gum-poppin,’ gold-digging, gossiping TV counterparts.

Megan is a senior in Media.