Sifting through the various spilled-chardonnay-scented Sex And The City could-bes that have dominated HBO’s development season has finally yielded the network’s first serious commitment to one: Promisingly, it’s a pilot from Lena Dunham, writer-director of the generally well-received indie comedy Tiny Furniture, that’s executive-produced by Judd Apatow; somewhat less promisingly, on paper it’s a near carbon-copy of SATC, and it boasts the irksomely generic title Girls.
Somehow it gets more predictably familiar from there, following the various professional and romantic ups-and-downs of three twentysomething New York lady friends who boast comically mismatched yet supportively complementary personalities: “Hannah (Dunham), an eternal intern at a publishing house in SoHo and a hopeful writer; Marnie (Allison Williams), a sexy, bitchy, and ambitious assistant at a slick political PR firm whose goal is to practice environmental law; and Jessa (Jemima Kirke), a space cadet with hippie tendencies who wants to be an artist/educator.” Of course, deep down, they’re all just girls—laughing, loving, and girling all over Manhattan.
Anyway, aren’t you already imagining the humorously acerbic ripostes from the sexy, bitchy PR lady to the space cadet’s hippie musings, while the wannabe writer—played in a meta twist by a successful writer—provides the grounded pathos via her many daily rejections in an industry that just doesn’t appreciate her? How about the scenes of sensitive reassurances from Hannah’s “handsome carpenter” boyfriend (Adam Driver), a potentially more down-to-earth version of John Corbett’s furniture designer character on SATC, and probably another reason why Girls so appealed to HBO executives looking for a Sex And The City-style show, considering it is essentially Sex And The City, only younger?
We’d like to think that Dunham and Apatow are fully aware of these inevitable comparisons, and that the title—missing only an exclamation mark where the point is actually a little daisy—means that this whole thing is really some sort of satirical inversion of SATC, intended to subvert and perhaps even openly mock that show's Cosmos-and-Jimmy Choos conventions. Surely this thing will be both smarter and funnier than the synopsis reads. But on paper, yeesh.