How “Girls” Represents Our Youth

by comm397girls

In the HBO hit series, Girls, the current economic situation is being accurately represented through the lives of four friends living in Brooklyn. The four main characters all add different view points to the story, and through the chronicles of the main character Hanna’s life, the audience is able to see how the pressures of the economic situation is affecting her mental and physical health. In the first episode, her parents decide to cut her off and refuse to pay her rent and living expenses anymore. Lena Dunham, the show’s writer and star describes this as, “[Hannah’s] shock [of being cut off] is a little bit generational because kids who are coming out of college in the recession sort of feel like they deserve something that the world isn’t giving to them.” This shows that because of the current economic situation, youth today feel that the opportunities to succeed on their own are not there for them. Because the employment opportunities are simply not available, the lack of support from their parents seems unfair and out of their control. Youth today feel as those it is not for a lack of trying they are unemployed and in debt, but rather it is because of the recession that limits their ability to succeed. This is one of the first ways in which Girls accurately describes the feelings of a widespread population fighting for employment in this economy.

Another example of how the show represents youth in today’s recession is because of Hannah’s job situation. After being let go from her unpaid internship, and the constant pressure from her best friend and roommate Marnie for the rent, Hannah is now desperate for a job. She considers herself a writer, but she needs to be able to pay the bills. She finally finds an office job, but when her boss offers to give her a massage she thinks something might be weird. She brings up the inappropriate touching to her co-workers and they explain that with the touching comes benefits, and because the disrespectful touching is happening at work then it is okay. Hannah struggles with this idea. She feels very uncomfortable with the situation, and although she needs this job she doesn’t know if it is enough to allow such an act to happen in the workplace. This shows the types of situations youth today are put in and the types of things they deal with while working in entry-level jobs.  Hannah considers putting up with her boss’s inappropriate touching just because of her desperation for money, but ultimately decides her self-worth is more important.

Along with many other networks that have taking on this challenge, an accurate portrayal of the real world problems our youth are facing seems to have captivated audiences because it allows them to relate to the stories over simply fanaticizing about a world they wish they could live in. Girls, 2 Broke Girls, and Revenge are all different depictions of how the recession and economic decline are affecting Americans today. Media outlets have taken notice of this trend and I expect to see many more shows like these in the future. The success of Girls shows corporations and advertisers that a television show based on real life economic struggles can find a large and loyal following. Television viewers are switching to a more real-life story lines, which is why Girls is such a hit.