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The series — which she wrote, created, executive produces and stars in — revolves around a group of twentysomething women in New York and is loosely based on her own experience post-college struggles with work and relationships. And while both series revolve around a group of female friends living, working and looking for love in New York, it’s a completely different project.
“There is no Sex and the City revenge plot,” she told reporters Friday at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour. “I revere that show just as much as any girl of my generation.”
Executive produced by Bridesmaids‘ Judd Apatow, Dunham said the series reflects a part of the population that hasn’t previously been seen on either film or television and fills the gap between the characters on Sex and the City and the CW’s Gossip Girl.
“I knew that there was a connection because it’s women in New York, but it really felt like it was tackling a different subject matter,” Dunham says. “Gossip Girl was teens duking it out on the Upper East Side and Sex and the City was women who figured out work and friends and now want to nail family life. There was this whole in between space that hadn’t really been addressed.”
Dunham noted that the pilot intentionally features a Sex and the City joke because producers wanted to make it clear that the girls were inspired by the former HBO series and moved to New York to pursue similar dreams, with that being a driving force of the series as the girls struggle with growing up. “Their shitty boyfriend whose bed is on the floor is their Mr. Big,” she said.
She also noted she was out of college for two years while working at a baby clothes store and baby sitting before she “begged and borrowed” money to make the festival indie hit Tiny Furniture, taking days off from filming to fulfill baby sitting commitments.
The struggles Dunham’s character, Hannah, endures — her parents cutting her off financially, struggling to become a writer, making the worst possible decision in many given opportunities — reflect a frustrating time in her life when she shared the same frustrations, with the characters taking two steps forward while taking one step back.
The series also marks Apatow’s return to series television after more than a decade, following the short runs of Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, a pair of critically acclaimed yet low-rated comedies that failed to connect with viewers.
Apatow said he was drawn to Dunham’s imagination after seeing Furniture and said Dunham has “many tales to tell” that stem from her own embarrassing experiences, while Dunham said Girls would provide men with a unique window into the psyche of women.
“I think it’s interesting for guys to get an insight into realistic females. I think there are some hotties on the show,” she said. “A 24-year-old girl is not the easiest creature to dissect.”
Girls premieres April 15 on HBO.
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