In a commentary clip preceding HBO's new series Girls, the creator, Lena Dunham describes the age of 24 as (and I'm paraphrasing here) "not old enough to be in a position to get what you want" and "not savvy enough to know what you should want for yourself."
Eleven years senior to Miss Hannah Horvath, the main character, I can sympathize with her journey of good and bad decisions that will likely inspire personal growth along the way.
At 24 I was just out of school, dating the wrong guy, staying out too late, spending all of my money on shoes and ... let's just say I do a decent job of painting that picture here.
My parents didn't need to support me at 24. I had already graduated from law school and was working at a big firm in the city. Unlike others who have panned the show, I am not going to get bogged down in the whole "Generation-Y-bad-economy-excuses, can't-get-a-job, parents-support-me, I'm-entitled thing."
I don't relate with Lena to that degree, but the age of 24 felt vague to me, just the same. I didn't know where I fit into the bigger picture of life. To that end, 24 year-old Hannah isn't much different than 24 year-old Jen.
One of the characters kicks off her exposition with a diatribe about which Sex and the City character she's most like, "some Charlotte, definitely some Carrie, with a little bit of Samantha" from time to time.
I can relate. It took me years to resolve my inner Carrie Bradshaw. I just can't believe 24 year-olds are still identifying with that show. Moreover, those Carrie worshippers will likely have trouble identifying with HBO's Girls. Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna don't embody anything a 24 year-old girl wants to be. In fact, even after a few episodes, the viewers have no handle on the girls' potential.
Girls focuses intently on the opposite and champions the the painful art of "becoming" a woman - something that you can only truly appreciate with (at least) a decade of distance from the reality of your former 24 year-old self.
Life, like any good TV show, is so much fun when you can look back after a few years and say with full sincerity, "Look how far we've come."
If Girls can stick it out for a few seasons, we will review it fondly in retrospect. Good job HBO. I think you have a winner here.
Photograph courtesy of the New York Times.