Hayley Brooks & Ali Kokot | Girls, on GIRLS


Think Twice | Penn girls weigh in on the HBO hit series that has us hooked


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Haley Brooks & Ali Kokot
Think Twice

Photo by Hayley Brooks and Ali Kokot


Who run’ the world? Girls. Or more appropriately, girl — Lena Dunham.

Last Sunday night, we watched the first season of Dunham’s HBO darling come to a circuitous end: we started with Hannah eating, and we finish with Hannah eating.

Dunham, “Girls” creator, co-showrunner (ask your Comm friends what that means, we did too) and head writer, also finds the time to play the lead role of Hannah Horvath — a girl so particularly quirky, egotistical, self-loathing and complex that somehow she’s just like you.

And just 26!
Go girl.

The show, which chronicles the lives of gals stomaching those post-college years, has often been described as the grittier, more realistic version of “Sex and The City” — where Manolo Blahniks make way for unpaid internships, we cross the bridge out of Manhattan into Brooklyn and the nasty is (sorry Samantha) just plain old nasty.

How could Carrie afford her shoes and rent on a weekly columnist salary anyway? We write an award-winning column … where are our Louboutins?

Dunham’s painfully honest portrayal of the human condition, specifically the “you’re not a girl not yet a woman” stage (thanks Britney!), keeps us watching. As 2012 College graduate and former Daily Pennsylvanian Executive Editor Lauren Plotnick told us, “This is a time when you don’t really know what you want, you make a lot of mistakes, and many of the characters’ [mistakes] are very relatable.

“And that’s where the humor is.”

We invariably project ourselves onto these characters because we too fall asleep on the subway, fall out of both friendship and romance and fall flat on our faces.

As 2012 Wharton grad Ishika Das explained, “Girls,” which covers all the gore from drug abuse to “uncomfortable and awkward sexual revelations, speaks unabashedly for [a] generation without being apologetic.”

The show’s account of the day-to-day, three girls on a park bench shoveling down Tasti D-Lite while trying to make sense of each other’s lives — from trifling to trivial — mimics what we do with our homegirls. We throw some grand affirmations into the air — “he doesn’t deserve you” — and an algebraic equation or two — doing w plus(x-y)plus z = boyfriend — oh-so confident in our theories.

But the reality is that we’re all lost.

As 2012 College graduate Ariel Pasternak explained, the initial stages of Hannah and Adam’s relationship where she misses his blatant cues of disinterest and subjects herself to an emotional stampede of Lion King grandeur “is one of those lessons everyone goes through.”

Many recent Penn grads will soon be adopting lifestyles that mirror those featured on the show. And while not everyone’s parents will impose the dreaded “NO MORE MONEY!” sanction, and many people will be happily involved in a relationship (or even engaged … blech), “Girls” gives credence to the smaller moments that we can all relate to on some level: living in an apartment, managing a job, updating your Facebook and showering semi-regularly.

But of course neither we nor these girls are by any means cookie-cutter — by constantly learning from each other they’re ever-morphing. While Das and her future roommates in New York might be more in the “‘Marnie’ boat financially,” they “might be struggling, like ‘Hannah,’ with self-actualization issues.”

Ayasha Guerin, 2012 College grad, added that the show “improves with each episode because the relationships are getting more complicated.” And as the characters gain complexity we will only become more intrigued, soon to decide if we’re a “Marnie” or more of a “Jessa,” “Sex and the City” style.

Though Dunham’s writing surely provokes some soul-searching, her comic relief never fails us. “Girls,” as Plotnick described, is “smart,” it’s “clever” and as Das said, “it’s really fucking funny.”

Think Twice strives to abide by Lena’s mission: to provide a voice of introspection and candor — with a peppering of wit — for our Penn gals.

As Pasternak remarked, from “what they wear” to “how they talk” the “Girls” girls get it right. And while Dunham has her camera and we only our Google Docs, we hope to be, as Hannah says, “the voice of our generation … or at least a voice of a generation.”

“Girls” is a refreshing reminder that we can be just that. Girls.

Hayley Brooks and Ali Kokot are rising College juniors from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. and New York, N.Y. respectively. Their email addresses are hayleybethbrooks@gmail.com and alikokot@gmail.com. Think Twice appears weekly during the school year.

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