HBO's 'Girls': What the Critics Are Saying

Jojo Whilden/HBO

Lena Dunham’s painfully honest series follows four twentysomething women trying to survive in New York.

After weeks of buzz, Girls, HBO’s new half-hour sitcom that was created, written and stars Lena Dunham, finally premieres Sunday, April 15 at 10:30 p.m.

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The show follows Dunham’s Hannah, a 24-year-old aspiring writer living in New York. She’s just been cut off financially from her parents, which means she may have to find a job that actually pays, rather than the internship she’s been working at for the past year. Her friends (Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke and Zosia Mamet) all have their own problems of being urban dwellers post-college, from relationship trials to career tribulations.

Critics have praised the comedy for its gritty and extremely blunt portrayal of life post-college in New York, and many have also pointed out the strength of the colorful characters Dunham has created.

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The Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Goodman calls the show, “one of the most original, spot-on, no-missed-steps series in recent memory.”

“In the first three half-hour episodes (of a 10 episode season), Dunham manages to convey real female friendships, the angst of emerging adulthood, nuanced relationships, sexuality, self-esteem, body image, intimacy in a tech-savvy world that promotes distance, the bloodlust of surviving New York on very little money and the modern parenting of entitled children, among many other things – all laced together with humor and poignancy,” adds Goodman.

Newsday’s Verne Gay writes, “Hannah and the show are all about internal conflict and so is the humor, while sex -- and fair warning, it's pretty graphic here, which may be the handiwork o [producer Judd] Apatow -- is the metaphor for all that conflict. It's grotesque, malignant, unpleasurable and a particularly devious torture chamber, at least for the women, who still submit to it.”

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The Los Angles Times did not heap on the praise with as much energy as some of the other critics, writing: “Though wildly smart, Girls is a difficult show to love.”

“There is a cool cleverness to the show that is both attractive and off-putting; the characters are flawed and hyper-aware of their flaws, the stories so bent on covering every angle of self-examination that there is no real role for the viewer to play,” writes the Los Angeles TimesMary McNamara.

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“One reason that Girls is unsettling is that it is an acerbic, deadpan reminder that human nature doesn’t change,” writes Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times. “There was a lot of sex in the ’60s, but not much sexual revolution. For all the talk of equality, sexual liberation and independence, the love lives of these young women are not much more satisfying than those of their grandmothers. Their professional expectations are, if anything, even lower.”

“As funny and creative as her show may be, there's little doubt Girls will be too explicit, too New York-specific, and too young-and-female-centric to appeal to everyone,” writes USA Today’s Robert Bianco, adding that “Dunham is clearly a talent to be reckoned with.”