Any fans of the HBO hit Girls, created by the brilliant Lena Dunham, can acknowledge that protagonist Hannah Horvath is a character who sums up a generation of lost 20-somethings. She is neurotic, hilarious and scatterbrained on her quest of finding love, growing up, getting published as a writer and saving her friendships.
As many women sympathised with HBO heroine Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City over a decade earlier, Horvath provides an insight on the torture which is being lost in your early 20s. As an avid fan of both shows, it is clear that Dunham pays homage in many respects to the SATC girls – albeit with her own dark and honest twist, which has millions of women feeling an almost religious rapture as they proclaim, ‘It’s not only me!’
While Carrie Bradshaw is a hot mess whose every third word is ‘fabulous’ as she struts around Manhattan in her $400 heels and sips on cosmopolitans, Hannah Horvath is a Brooklyn girl in ill-fitting outfits, who openly bares her body (which millions are quick to judge because she isn’t a size 0) and cuts her own fringe in bed – thanks to help from YouTube. Carrie leads an extravagant lifestyle thanks to her column (gee, I wish I could get paid for dishing out gossips and escapades) while Hannah is struggling to make ends meet without her parents’ financial support and is encouraged to write morbid stories of sexual rejection and failure – a definite contrast of Carrie’s flaky and judgmental views on sexuality.
Both girls are narcissistic to an extent and both of them have an off-on relationship with unavailable men- Mr Big and Adam. Both men are emotionally unavailable and troubled, of course Adam to a deeper extent, which leaves audiences unable to relate to Hannah’s attraction to him, possibly until season two.
While Sex and the City has its fair share of uncomfortable scenes and harsh realities of the dating world, it is eclipsed by a general fabulousness of four females, high-end fashion and high salaries. It is romanticised and there is nothing wrong with that – it’s a show I can enjoy and relate to even if I don’t have an amazing job in New York as a minor celebrity and don’t date a mogul. These are still women who go through the same ups and downs as us: break-ups, miscarriage, infidelity, unrequited feelings and so on.
Girls similarly paints the reality of a girl’s 20s in a refreshingly stark manner which will make you laugh out loud and cringe. There is 33-year-old nihilist Ray (possibly my favourite male character) who is a self-confessed ‘loser’ despite his intellectual musings. There is Hannah’s OCD, her struggles with her weight, Marnie and Charlie’s disintegrating post-college relationship, Jessa’s hedonistic lifestyle and STDs, college debts mixed with poverty and Shoshanna’s idealised perceptions of love and her troubled romance with Ray.
While Carrie Bradshaw finally (after two lacklustre films) found her happily ever after, Hannah Horvath has a lot ahead of her – so do we. Will she overcome her anxiety and finish her novel? Will she get back together with Adam in season three? Will she mend her friendship with Marnie? Will she find Jessa? Will she remain so imperfectly perfect in her shorteralls and continue to sing Wonderwall in the bath? I sure hope so.
Featured image via The Atlantic