Tag Archives: Girls and Sex and the City

Best of TV: you go girls!

Although I’ve always prided myself on being a diligent student of pop culture, I find it increasingly difficult to keep up with TV these days.

I could sit on my couch for a week, watching all my favorite shows, and not feel like I was missing anything in the real world. I have actually fantasized about what injury or illness could befall me that would entail little pain but require convalescing in bed, with nothing to do but read and watch TV for weeks.  I hoard shows on my DVR for just such a scenario, but alas, I remain upright, and too busy living life to get to the bottom of the “my recordings” screen.

DVR keeping up with TV showsBeing a TV fan used to be more civilized. There were fewer channels and only one traditional season. I was able to preview most new shows and discern which were best to follow. But the TV landscape is like the Wild West now. Everyone gets different channels depending on their provider package. People watch series on their laptops and there are some shows now only available via the internet (I’ve heard House of Cards is amazing so in addition to 600 cable channels, now I have to get a Netflix subscription too!)

Even if I had more time to dedicate to TV, it’s almost impossible to be on top of all the great shows out there. But I work through my small screen stress by choosing wisely and watching what I can, one day at a time.

Here are three shows worth your valuable viewing time.  They’re well-written, quirky, and unpredictable. Is it a coincidence they’re all created by and starring women?  I think not. Chicks are getting more clout in Hollywood and that’s translating to better TV.

HBO's Girls girl power shows

Girls:  I’ve hailed the talents of creator, writer, and actress Lena Dunham before and I’ll keep doing it until everyone has sampled her refreshing work.  I disagree with critics who claim season 2 was not as strong as the first one. There may have been some wacky plot points, but they only add to the show’s originality. Dunham has created 4 distinct, complex characters experiencing the angst, self-doubt, and loneliness common to all 20-somethings trying to figure out who to be. Like “Sex and the City” before it, “Girls” also uses New York as a character and anyone who has spent time in the Big Apple will feel waves of nostalgia. Each episode is like a mini movie that transports you to a believable place and time, and leaves you with thoughts and images to ponder.

New Girl girl power shows

New Girl:   First off, the show is LOL funny every week. There’s no laugh track and the dialogue moves quickly so there’s no traditional comedy pandering.  It’s about 3 20-something guys and a girl living in a loft in LA. Sounds like any one of a hundred shows that have appeared on-screen, but it’s the excellent writing and terrific acting that sell the characters. The show manages to be simultaneously hip and nerdy, with an underlying sweetness that pervades every episode. It also boasts one of the sharpest unsung characters in Schmidt,  and the absolute best sexual tension-filled storyline on TV right now. Jess and Nick make Homeland’s Carrie and Brody look like kids on a grammar school playground. If you’ve never seen the show, do yourself a favor and find it online or on Netflix and watch from the beginning so you can see their relationship bloom.

mindy project poster girl power shows

The Mindy Project:  This show had a strong pilot but then seemed to waver a bit mid-season. But I recently watched episodes On-Demand and rediscovered its charm. Mindy is an unlikely lead character, but that’s what makes her amiable. An accomplished doctor with a motley crew of hospital colleagues and  opinionated girlfriends, she’s in control of every aspect of her life except love. She’s a hopeless romantic who can’t get out of her own way. The show is full of irreverent pop culture references and digs on men, who seem to all act like dogs in Mindy’s presence. Mindy’s work family– several wacky supporting characters who both comfort and annoy her– are also good for laughs. While Girls can be heavy, TMP is lighter fare with high entertainment value.

The clever writing on all these shows gives the audience credit for being smart. I often have to rewind episodes of all 3 shows to catch a line I missed or laugh again at a droll throwaway.

I also love that the main characters are strong but imperfect women. None is conventional looking but all attractive in their own way, especially because they’re sassy, capable and not reliant on a man to define them.  Another common theme to their stories is the importance of friendship to women trying to get through a confusing time.

Let me know if you’re already a fan of any of these shows, or if I’ve convinced you to try one. You won’t be sorry. All three are worth the space on your DVR.

Give HBO’s Girls a Whirl

I had two reactions when I watched the pilot for the new HBO show, “Girls,” last night. One was deep and instant love: the writing, the characters, the New York City backdrop, and the edgy approach.

But I also hated myself for not being as talented or as young as creator, director, writer, executive producer, and actress Lena Dunham. Oh to be 24 and have the creativity, confidence, and discipline to write about how confusing it is to be 24.

Dunham wrote an indie movie called “Tiny Furniture” (now on my must-see list) that was well-received and caught the attention of Judd Apatow, who is also an executive producer of “Girls.” When Apatow heard she was talking to HBO about a show on young girls navigating friendship, work, and sex in New York, he got on board.

Executive Producer Judd Apatow with the stars of “Girls” Mamet, Kirke, Dunham, and Williams

Many have compared the half-hour comedy to “Sex and the City,” and I love how “Girls” embraces the comparison and pays homage with a reference in the first episode to which character is a “Charlotte” and which is a “Carrie.” There’s also a scene at the end of the pilot where Dunham’s character, Hannah, walks down a Manhattan street and fades into the crowd, similar to the opening sequence of “SATC.”

The show has received a lot of attention in a few short weeks, some praising its unique voice and some critical of its narrow characters and lack of diversity. There has also been buzz because all the actresses are children of the famous. Dunham’s mother is an artist, while Allison Williams is the daughter of NBC news anchor Brian Williams, Zosia Mamet is the daughter of actress Lindsay Crause and writer David Mamet, and Jemimia Kirke is the daughter of Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke.

I could care less who their parents are as long as they keep up the realistic dialogue that makes me laugh and remember the uncertainty, fear, and self absorbancy that marked my 20’s in New York.

Keep it coming Girls. I’m in.