A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Although the characters in this series sometimes engage in some unflattering behavior, their devotion to each other is a happy consequence of the trials they face. The plot raises some grown-up issues like unplanned pregnancy, virginity, financial uncertainty, and mistaking sexual relationships for emotional ones, but it does so in a thoughtful manner that encourages discussion.
Positive Role Models
No character is perfect, but their flaws make them human. The show tells the story of these women's journeys to find and become their true selves, in their careers, in their love lives, and especially in their friendships. Above all, they're honest with each other, reflecting the value of their relationships. There is zero diversity on the show: The women all come from privileged backgrounds and all the central characters are white.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Graphic scenes of couples undressing and engaging in casual sex. Nudity includes views of butts during the act. There are references to birth control (in one instance, a woman encourages her partner to use a condom, but since she's facing away from him, she's not quite sure he really does), unplanned pregnancy, and using sex as a means of stress relief. Two female friends are shown sleeping in the same bed and sharing a bathtub (though one is robed).
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Everything goes here: "f--k," "s--t," "Jesus Christ," "boobs," "bitch," and body references like "vagina."
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Products & Purchases
References to Facebook and other timely tools of social relationships as well as nods to Sex and the City from a character who's enthralled with the show and its four stars.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Most of the characters drink, and, to a lesser extent engage in drug use as well, sometimes with disastrous consequences for the user.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Girls wins points for taking an honest approach to the comedies and tragedies of the life of a particular type of twentysomething woman, but the fact that it doesn't shy away from graphic bedroom (or living room) rendezvous, has plenty of drinking and some drug use, and is marked by frequent salty language ("f--k," "s--t," "bitch," etc.) makes it problematic for teens. Grown-ups will relish creator/writer/star Lena Dunham's portrayal of a reluctantly independent college grad facing the harsh realities of life with her parents' abrupt decision to pull her lifestyle funding. The show also turns a critical eye to the women's friendships as well as their extracurricular relationships (both good and bad) with men. The characters aren't always impressive role models, and Hannah's sense of entitlement in particular can raise the ire of some viewers, but all of this plays a role in a refreshingly frank story of finding one's self. The show's mature content makes this an iffy choice even for older teens, but if you do watch with them, the content is sure to open the door to meaningful conversations about relationships, careers, and long-term financial plans.
Is It Any Good?
It's easy to dismiss Girls as a shameless attempt to rekindle the magic of that more famous women-centric HBO hit, Sex and the City, but you'd be remiss to do so. Written, co-produced, and directed by up-and-comer Dunham, this series does a remarkable job of telling an authentic story of life for a more average woman as opposed to the primped, plucked, and (dare it be said?) impossibly petite versions that typically mark TV tales. There's virtually nothing remarkable about Hannah -- including her own behavior at times -- a fact that's confirmed when her boss of two years fires her rather than giving her a paying gig, and by her occasional bed buddy, Adam (Adam Driver), who barely heeds meaningful conversation before enticing her into his sexual fantasies. The final picture isn't always pretty or favorable to its characters, but it does grant viewers a refreshingly believable look at the good and bad of human relationships and how our self-image is tied up in others' assessments of ourselves.
Girls is Dunham's brainchild, but you can also feel the influence of producer Judd Apatow in the show's subliminal humor, unglamorously honest portrayal of sexual relationships, and general knack for singling out a person in the crowd with a surprisingly engaging story to tell. It doesn't promise to keep you in stitches or to jerk any tears, and its noticeably homogenous cast has garnered some criticism, but it's an exceedingly well written, delightfully reflective commentary on what it's like to be out in the real world without a clue. Thank goodness for friends.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.