An amusing graphic published today by The Daily demonstrates similarities between Girls and its looming predecessor Sex and the City that many have yet to acknowledge. It’s obviously a bit reductive, but it also kind of has a point!
As you can see, the characters on Girls bear at least some superficial similarity to those on Sex and the City, even if they’re younger, worse at sex, and less glamorous. Then again, that was kind of inevitable. Like Lena Dunham has said in interviews, that show covered so much ground that it’s hard not to echo it at least a little bit. This contradicts critics who say the show is not as good as Sex and the City, and well as those who say it’s much, much better.
The primary similarity, as I see it, is the self-absorption of the main characters. They are not off volunteering for charities in their spare time, and I’ll be happy if I see Hannah do anything nice for even her beloved friends in the first season. (Mining their personal lives for writing topics doesn’t count.) But like the graphic says, the main difference between Hannah and Carrie is that you get the sense Hannah has at least some self-awareness and potential for growth; she’s a baby still, and has the raw materials (intelligence, humor) to become someone who a.) has a job (maybe not Carrie’s $50,000/month sex column, but a job nonetheless) and b.) cares about something other than herself and her shoes.
Carrie might start out ahead of Hannah, but just barely. She’s about as self-absorbed as they come, and she, too, uses her friends for “inspiration.” You also get the sense she has a secret trust fund that provides her with much more than the $1,100/month Hannah needs to live on, rendering that awkward parental conversation unnecessary. If Carrie is an un-changing beacon in our culture, our continued interest in Hannah is predicated on the assumption that she will not be.
One thing that separates this show from SATC, obviously, is its intended effect on the people who watch it. How many people have bemoaned the fact that SATC “ruined New York”? If Sex and the City addled many impressionable young minds with the idea that they could move to New York, have lots of hot sex, and obtain a $9.8 million apartment with just a flick of their laptops, Girls is hell bent on showing the fall-out of that idea. As The Guardian puts it, “no one’s going to be uprooting themselves to the New York Dunham depicts in Girls.” If Girls prevents even one would be Hannah Horvath from moving to the city without a back-up plan, I think it will have done its job. In that sense, I’d say Girls is quite a bit more socially responsible than any of its predecessors.
(Via The Daily)