Why “GIRLS” Is The WORST New Show On TV

The cat’s been out of the bag for several days now; “GIRLS” has arrived, and it’s probably the most disappointing debut of a show in recent memory. It’s a wasted premise on a group of, as of now, uninteresting characters, that lacks a strong immediate conflict, and appeals to a narrow audience.

Women in their mid-20’s, in this country, in this economy, don’t have the kind of grounded representation in entertainment the way they need to. This is a ripe market that’s desperate for content. And here it is, “GIRLS,” or as a friend of mine brilliantly renamed it “Vacuous, Socially Awkward, Privileged White People Who Find Themselves Interesting But Are Unable To Stop Talking In A Fake New York City, Devoid of Real Conflict.”

I don’t mind unsympathetic characters. I kind of prefer them. They’re meatier. And this show has a fantastic premise that does represent a lot of people, men and women, in their mid-20’s, who are mooching off their family, who do lack work ethic, who are going to be the first generation of Americans in the history of the country to have a lower standard of living than their parents. That’s a story that hasn’t yet been captured. We’re living in a society that’s not yet had the kind of lens on television that illustrates the enormity of the crisis and allows all of us to relate to the severity of it. “GIRLS” could have been that, instead it’s a mediocre in-joke, at best, and at worst it’s an alienation of what it’s trying to represent.

People have hailed this thing as the next great American television show, but let’s look at the facts: Its debut was modest. 1.1 million viewers across 2 airings. It lost more than a third of its lead-in audience from “Eastbound & Down” and “Game of Thrones” pulls in over 4 million viewers every Sunday night.

The entire show has the feel of someone having lunch and thinking, “Hey, let’s make a show about us.” I could even imagine it happening over the course of the “dinner party” scene in this past week’s pilot. And that’s fine if you’re a film student, but not if you’re getting the Judd Apatow stamp of approval and a major HBO premiere.

Let’s go even further. Let’s take away the demographics and ratings and focus on the quality of the show itself:

The girls: First of all, kudos to putting on a female show full of women who look like real women. Gold star.

The inciting incident: After 2 years a mid-20’s girl with no direction in life is cut off from her parents and has to enter the real world without a safety net. FANTASTIC!

The pacing: Off (note the opening dinner scene that dragged on for too many jokes and reaction shots, or the “good angel vs. bad angel” scene in the bedroom with our protagonist high on opium). The shooting style is reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s work, but misses the tone and the fact that Anderson is painting a world that’s not quite like our own, whereas this show is trying too hard to be naturalistic.

The acting: Flat as a board with the exception, maybe, of a couple nice moments from Allison Williams.

The humor (it’s billed as a comedy after all): You can literally notice a beat after every joke as if they’re waiting for a laugh track “I may be the voice of my generation. Or a voice of a generation.” [pause for laughter]

It’s failing on the basic levels of storytelling in a visual medium. It’s not necessarily a bad cast and it’s a phenomenal idea, but the execution is supremely disappointing. The jokes are stilted, one of my favorite exchanges was the oh-so-clever: “I’m not on Facebook.” “You’re so classy.” [pause for laughter] Because no one’s made jokes about Facebook with such biting wit since, oh right, The Social Network! The drama’s muted, as evidenced by the blink-and-miss-it preggers revelation by the foreign cousin while squatting on the toilet, and the look of the show is bland as f*ck, as evidenced by the hipster actor’s apartment (Sooooo much brown…).

And you know what? It’s going to get renewed. HBO doesn’t have a high bar when it comes to viewership and they’d have a major hole in their programming. Too much money’s been invested. Unless a horse dies on set of course. The main reason it will get picked up for a second season is because the masses DON’T have a show like this on television. And in a starving marketplace, the consumer will buy the single option available. “GIRLS” may end up being THE representative of a generation of women, but by default.

One Viewer’s Opinion,

The Dude



  1. […] you know it’s good. I’m so happy to see women in strong roles on television. While our Dude doesn’t like the show GIRLS,this show is different. Here’s why you should […]

  2. Andrea says:

    I couldn’t even finish the pilot episode, terrible

  3. Jillian says:

    I found this show to be a refreshing view and realistic representation of America's young adults. Like it or not it is real, even if it doesn't resemble your particular group of friends.

    1. The Dude says:

      That's the thing, several of the characters do resemble people I know. I'm criticizing it from a craft perspective and cautioning it getting false praise based on the fact that it's the first of it's kind, not because its the best of its kind.

    2. Lexi says:

      Realistic? Hardly. I'm 24, just like the main characters, but I've been financially independent from my parents since I graduated 2 years ago. I live in a shitty apartment and work full time at whatever job I can find, even if it isn't "good enough", just to make the bills. I may not be able to afford much, but I don't whine to my parents about needing more money.

      I realize that there are a lot of people my age who do live the way the Girls girls do, but I'm offended by the idea that these vapid, spoiled brats are "representative" of my generation.

  4. Lady says:

    God you sound like an asshole. What are you working on right now? A script by any chance?

    1. The Dude says:

      Are you?

  5. Dan says:

    This show is awful, god bless you.

  6. GuyinNYC says:

    Hbo is retarded. Mid 20 girls are supported by their daddy's or some guy old enough to be there daddy or they work their ass off…

    This show does not represent real girls in bk or NYC at all at best their jersey girls who are boring and uninteresting and just moved to Hoboken.

    Hbo had a show that had their SATC audience and their entourage all in 1 30 minute show, how to make it in America.

    Canceling lake bell Bryan Greenberg Luis Guzman and victor raszuk for these terrible actors reciting corny lines that appeal to ugly, poor girls wishing to move to Brooklyn (which is all of probably 3 people) girls as a rule think they're more attractive than they are and if they aren't they don't want to be reminded that their not or have some really ugly girl with terrible tattoos can't get text back, cement that exact feeling they possibly going thru, with guy they met at bar x…thus further making them feel insecure.

    Sex and the city and entourage were fantasy lives that guys and girls enjoyed envisioning for 30 mins 8 times a year.

    How to make it in America was grounded to reality related to young men and women but still gave me optimism about life and the spontaneously amazing things that can happen when you live in the best city in the world, despite that looming Monday morning reality.

    Cancel "girls" and put "how to make it in America" back on he air!

  7. JMC says:

    It's good to know that you can dismiss a TV show's cultural importance and speak in sweeping terms about the depth of it's characters after watching one episode. It's not quite judging a book by it's cover but it's something like judging it by it's first three pages, don't you think?

    1. The Dude says:

      Hey JMC,

      I think that a pilot is what you get to hook someone in for a show. It's there to entice a viewer to come back and see more. If you can't hook an audience, why would you want to keep watching? So I don't think it's unfair to review a pilot episode and say what I do or don't disagree with in terms of how the characters are being portrayed, how it was crafted from a technical and storytelling standpoint. As far as dismissing cultural significance, I'm not sure I agree that I'm dismissing it. I'm acknowledging it for the significance, I'm not arguing why it will be significant, I am voicing an opinion that it's potential recognition isn't justified based on the quality of the program that was presented. And after watching the 2nd episode, I stand by my opinion. Appreciate the comment and please keep it coming!

    2. GuyinNYC says:

      Agree with dude 100% but to drill home what he's saying subtly the show lacks complete significance.

      The pretty girl is an art gallery recpetptiomist, cliche. There's a jappy rich virgin who her dad pays for everything who the fat ugly artistic "funny one" is taking sex advice from… Just to set up terrible jokes…

      The audience appeal may be great for a TINY audience. Too cancel hung, how to make it in America and most of all luck….was ridiculous.

      If you like this show go watch 2 broke girls on CBS and let hbo put real programing back on.

  8. Pia says:

    I entirely disagree, it's actually a TV show that is needed in this time. The girls go through a very important psychological change, not only do they have to become their own person being cut away from the family financially; they also need to define themselves, and their relationships with others. Another plus point, the cast is absolutely amazing. They are all real girls, and especially Jenna's presence puts a more international aspect to it all, making it modern New York life. It's so realistic, so natural, simply so true.

  9. Kelly says:

    It's literally the worst show I've ever seen. Every single character is pathetic and uninspiring. Help us all if this is representative of the majority of peoples' lives.

  10. lissa says:

    Yeah every character does seem uninspiring and the show is just really hard to watch. I only overheard the show for a few minutes and I was about ready to throw up. I could not watch any more. Who the heck created created these characters (sorry but most real-life females in their twenties are just a bit smarter than this!), and who writes the demeaning storylines that make most modern young women as a whole look like awkward idiots, wanting to impress any awkward male that comes into their lives by trying drugs or anything else these pitiful, unrealistic females are offered? Just say'n.

  11. Ash says:

    What do you expect us mid-20 girls to watch?
    The crime, sports, reality competitions and bad-joke sitcoms that over-saturate tv today?

    This is a show that finally has thought-about script aimed at an audience that needs it.
    It may not be everyone's cup of tea and that's fine- but everything that is on tv isn't my cup of tea—- and I think that girls in my shoes deserve something to watch!

    It's lighthearted and has the right amount of drama (unlike gossip girl and the hills- of which are over-the-top and have finished anyway). It makes me laugh— the humour is common in my generation (if you don't get it your old) and each character reminds me of a friend I have. The show connects with the audience through the character-types and through the situations that happen – of which most I can related to… but it is the right amount of different that makes it great to watch.

    I wouldn't want it to be any more then it is- in my busy dramatic life I don't want to watch more drama or unrealistic plots- its lighthearted and a bit of fun.

    ***The only negative thing I would say is: The second season, for me, is not as fantastic- only because I feel the 'over-producers' of american tv have attacked it and taking away its raw nature… and Lena's body is fantastic but not needed in every single episode.

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