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Realistic Female Humor Champions Lena Dunham’s 'Girls'

By Jac Kern · April 11th, 2012 · Television
A group of young women balance life, love and work as they try to make their mark on New York City. Sound familiar? It’s the basis for countless books, films and TV shows, most notable of the bunch being Sex and the City, HBO’s successful series based on Candace Bushnell’s books. 

But where Carrie and Co. represented an embellished fantasy of glamorous, high-powered, sexualized New Yorkers, HBO’s Girls (10:30 p.m. Sunday) offers a more realistic view of entering adulthood as a 21st century female.

Jumping on the “real, funny women” trail Bridesmaids blazed, Girls follows 24-year-old Hannah (played by writer/director/producer and actual twentysomething Lena Dunham) as she shifts from parent-dependent, unpaid intern to self-sufficient adult and budding writer. Girls dispels some of the sophisticated myths of other women’s shows (I still need to figure out how Carrie Bradshaw afforded an Upper East Side apartment on a columnist’s budget) and replaces them with embarrassing sexcapades, money woes, body issues and plenty of other #whitegirlproblems.

With Judd Apatow’s stamp of approval as executive producer, Girls audiences can expect plenty of self-deprecating, relatable humor and some old friends — Becky Ann Baker (Mrs. Weir from Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks) plays Hannah’s mom. Fans of Dunham’s 2010 indie film Tiny Furniture will also see familiar faces.

Sunday’s premiere finds Hannah discussing financial terms with her folks as she exits her thankless internship. Her roommate and BFF Marnie throws a dinner party to celebrate the return of their globe-trotting pal, Jessa.

Television has plenty more to offer this week, for those with and without uteruses.


Don’t Trust the B---- in Apt.

23 (Series Premiere, 9:30 p.m., ABC) – Krysten Ritter stars as NYC roomie from hell, Chloe. In this pilot, her newest victim, June (Dreama Walker), comes home just after moving in to find her boyfriend and Chloe hooking up. Look out for James Van Der Beek as a hilarious version of himself.

South Park (10 p.m., Comedy Central) – Timed perfectly to the release of buzzed-about film Bully, this episode follows Stan as he tries to raise awareness about bullying in school. He soon finds taking on a cause can bring its own harsh criticism and attacks.


30 Rock (8:30 p.m., NBC) – When Jack’s mom Colleen ends up in the hospital, Liz encourages Jack to finally share his feelings with his mother. Tracy doesn’t want his son to go to college.

The Office (9 p.m., NBC) – Robert pressures the Scrantonites to properly welcome Nellie, but the party planning committee uses the opportunity to bash her.


Titanic (Miniseries Premiere, 8 p.m., ABC) – With the recent theater release of James Cameron’s 3D version of the 1997 hit, Titanic mania has hit the media. However, written by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, this four-part miniseries is worth checking out for Titanic buffs. Expect fictional and historic characters and cliffhangers in parts 1-3 tonight, all to be tied together in the conclusion (9 p.m. Sunday).

Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m., NBC) – Oscar nominee Josh Brolin hosts in support of … wait, Men in Black 3?! (Yeah, he plays a young Agent K in the film, in theaters next month). Gotye, whose video “Somebody That I Used to Know” was shared by every single Facebook user, performs.


Game of Thrones (9 p.m., HBO) – Renly Baratheon marries his lover Loras’ sister, Margaery, to gain House Tyrell’s support for his claim to the throne. Jon Snow’s admirable actions have negative consequences; Theon proves his loyalty to his family. More badass female characters to come this week.

Nurse Jackie (9 p.m., Showtime) – Jackie’s vacation to Disneyland trip to rehab kicks off with a klepto roommate and teen making his fourth stint at the center.

Mad Men (10 p.m., AMC) – The boys discover Peggy has taken over the Mohawk account; Joan returns to Sterling Cooper Draper Price (as a single lady?).

Eastbound and Down (Series Finale, 10 p.m., HBO) — Kenny attempts to patch things up with everyone from the Mermen to April. Get ready to kiss Kenny fucking Powers goodbye as the series comes to a close. 


Glee (8 p.m., Fox) — Three words: Saturday Night Fever.

Savage U (11 p.m., MTV)  – Dan Savage visits East Carolina University to answer questions about sex and relationships.

CONTACT JAC KERN: jkern@citybeat.com



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