'Girls' go wayward in HBO's tale of a gender and a generation

Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:25pm EST
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By Mary Milliken

PASADENA, California (Reuters) - The four female 20-somethings from Brooklyn in the HBO series "Girls" are in such a funk in the show's third season that the weirdly whimsical Adam, of all people, comes across as a pillar of stability and good sense.

When the season kicks off on Sunday, Hannah, played by "Girls" creator Lena Dunham, has her OCD under control and a semblance of domestic bliss with Adam (Adam Driver), but her self-absorbed ways are maddening. When someone dies suddenly, all her thoughts are about her unfinished e-book.

Her three pals are in worse shape. Divorced Jessa (Jemima Kirke) is in rehab and refuses to quit the bad behavior. Glamorous Marnie (Allison Williams) is obsessing over her ex-boyfriend Charlie and is back living with her mom in New Jersey. Naive Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) bounces between her studies and sexual freedom after breaking up with Ray, a slacker who is now thriving professionally.

If this show is about a generation of young women searching for love and purpose, they look to be failing on almost all fronts, with maybe an exception on the friendship front.

It's enough for one critic to ask Dunham as she presented season three to the Television Critics Association this week: "Do you like these characters?"

"I love them," responded Dunham. "I think they accurately reflect people I know, people we have all been. I feel sad that they struggle and happy when they triumph."

And the nudity, oh the nudity, continues to rankle some even though Dunham has shown her audience just about every unclothed angle of herself since the first episode. When one critic told Dunham he "didn't get the purpose of all the nudity on the show, by you particularly," she shot back that being naked "is a realistic expression of what it is like to be alive."

Dunham, 27, is making no apologies for "Girls" and says she relishes the freedom her women have to act in ugly ways much like men have done for years in film and television.   Continued...

Creator, executive producer and actor Lena Dunham (L) and actor Jemima Kirke talk about HBO's "Girls" during the Winter 2014 TCA presentations in Pasadena, California, January 9, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson