It only took me a day and a half to get through the series, and I have to say I was hooked the moment Hannah Horvath found out her parents were cutting her off from supporting her financially. Her response, “This is nuts. I could be a drug addict; do you realize how lucky you are?”
GIRLS, written, directed and starring Lena Dunham, who plays Hannah, is an HBO comedy-drama that is inspired by Dunham’s real life experiences. Following closely the life of four girls in their 20’s who live in New York City, it’s a show that I feel is the closest to depicting our generation’s version of a modern Sex and the City. Dunham, who I believe really understands the trial and tribulations that both young women and men in their 20’s go through, makes her my favorite female anti-hero on television.
There is something about Dunham’s character as Hannah, which makes her unlike a traditional anti-hero. Two years out of college, she works as an unpaid intern still milking her college professor parent’s financial support. A worrywart, with excessive anxiety, and a far from shy ego that strips down for embarrassingly awkward sex scenes, she’s developed a character girls in their 20’s can see in themselves. Trials and tribulations that even my 24 year old self can relate to, specifically in her struggles.
Lena Dunham has created a character that even in the pilot episode says, “I think I may be the voice of my generation.” Hannah is seen as somewhat a lazy character, who at times is a little self absorbed with her friends, and chooses to sleep with a guy who as she says, “Treats her heart like its monkey meat.” This anti-hero is however, vulnerable as a female can get. Struggling to make something of her life, despite her excessive anxiety, OCD, and fear of commitment, she ultimately desires to fulfill her parent’s expectations.
Hannah, to me is an inventive character in the show GIRLS, because when I watched the show I questioned my saneness as I questioned hers. Though I am not self-involved like Hannah, paying more attention to others needs over my own, Hannah’s character was a validation of insecurity and self-doubt that I too often feel.
Female pressures of settling down not only professionally, but also personally, I relate to her fears. I know my anxiety like Hannah’s, comes from the idea of being detached to the people around you. Seeking a career you don’t have, but desperately try to find, all while trying to adapt to the idea of being alone.
Despite the multiple downward spirals that Hannah has, no matter how poorly she handles confrontation, and her lacking in knowing what she wants, I admire Lena Dunham for creating a character so vulnerable and raw. A character, that at this very point in my life helped me better realize not only my generation, but also myself. Writing a character in which we can relate to and say, it’s okay to overthink and be blatantly unapologetic for it.