Girls season 1 Blu-ray Review
The easiest and most cliché way to describe HBO’s ‘Girls’ is that it’s a younger, more realistic version of another HBO series, ‘Sex and the City’. That might be a little insulting to ‘Girls’, but the similarities run rampant throughout and series creator Lena Dunham even acknowledges the fact when one of the younger characters has a SATC poster hanging in her bedroom. All of the problems that plagued SATC during its heyday, such as unrealistic plotlines, shallow characters, Sarah Jessica Parker, etc. are replaced with a more down to earth approach to single women living in New York City.
The show revolves around Hannah, a struggling writer that was being subsidized by her generous parents until they abruptly stopped, forcing Hannah to join the real world and find employment. She rooms with her best friend, Marnie (Allison Williams), an uptight, beautiful girl that is in the process of ending a long term relationship with her boyfriend. Of course, the show wouldn’t be complete unless there were four of them (side note: why do shows about women always have four friends?) and so there’s the free spirited Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and the young, naïve virgin Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet – the daughter of famous writer/director David Mamet). While they don’t get coffee and go shopping every episode, the four girls are connected and usually end up interacting with each other in each episode.
The plotlines that run through the first season of ‘Girls’ are generally pretty simple and realistic. Perhaps the biggest compliment I can give the show is that everything feels believable to me. Hannah is a real character that struggles with her weight, money and boyfriend, like I suspect millions of women around the world do as well. As beautiful as Marnie is, she has real issues as well and struggles without the security of having a boyfriend. Although they’re relegated to supporting roles, Jessa and Shoshanna add depth to the show and provide humor and drama where they need to. Much like Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda all represented specific personality types, so do Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna.
But without a doubt, the show belongs to Hannah and that’s both a blessing and a curse. Hannah is an interesting character and Lena Dunham does a great job with her, but she’s not always a likeable person. It’s hard to side with her when she fights with Marnie and she makes some bad decisions with her boyfriend that will leave you scratching your head. But although you might not always agree with her decisions, it’s hard to argue that she seems to be a more realistic female lead than what we’ve seen in other, similar shows.
The real question about ‘Girls’ is who does the show appeal to? I’m not sure I can answer that since some women might be turned off by having their own insecurities thrown in their face (something no one had to face with SATC). Guys might be frustrated at the lack of a decent male character. The older generation probably won’t be able to relate and I’m not sure the younger generation living outside of New York will appreciate it. So the pressure really is on Lena Dunham to craft Hannah as a versatile character that can attract a wider audience. For me, she succeeded and I’m anxious to find out more about Hannah and see where Dunham is going to take the show in the future.
Video: Every episode looked wonderful.
Audio: The audio was also very well done.
Commentaries with Lena Dunham, Executive Producer Jenni Koner, Judd Apatow and Director Richard Shepard: There are commentaries on five of the episodes this season and the only common denominator is Lena Dunham. If you are a fan then give these a listen.
A Conversation with the Girls (21:38): This is a conversation between the four main stars of the series.
Deleted and Extended Scenes (28:42): These are separated on two discs and are pretty good. They could have easily been included in the episodes, but were most likely cut due to time limitations.
Cast Auditions (18:00): These are mildly interesting to watch, so if you this sort of thing then I would recommend it.
Table Reads (30:00) This was pretty interesting to watch, just to see how the table reading varied from the final product.
Inside the Episodes (29:00): Each of the episodes have an interview with Lena Dunham where she discusses how each of the individual episodes fit in with the overall arc of the season.
A Conversation with Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow (24:41): This is an interesting featurette and one you should definitely watch if you are a fan of the series and/or a fan of Judd Apatow.
The Making of Girls (16:06): A typical making-of featurette that is featured on Disc 2.
Gag Reel (10:54): Another typical gag reel.
Fresh Air Interview with Lena Dunham (36:55): Fresh Air is a show on NPR and this is an interview that was run during the first season. Since the audience didn’t know how the season ended this interview also includes some information about her personal life.
Girls @lenadunham Twitter Journal: This is a collection of Dunham’s tweets during the filming from the first season.