I don’t fit the target demographic for the HBO dramedy Girls — I have testicles — but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying one of the best shows on television. As a twenty-something, creative-type living in a big city, I can appreciate how Girls‘ creator/writer/star Lena Dunham has crafted a show that realistically portrays the way people my age deal with the up-and-downs of finding your true calling in life.
Indeed, Girls is one of the “in” shows of the moment, having recently captured the Golden Globe for Best Television Series – Comedy or Musical, while also receiving universal acclaim from critics, bloggers, and most importantly, real people. Season two of Girls began two weeks ago, and being the hot HBO show, the trend will soon be to take this popular and award-winning formula and rip it off for an easy buck.
Part of the charm of Girls is the show’s ability to put relatable characters in cringe-worthy situations. Everyone that watches Girls sees shades of the self-conscious Hannah Horvath, the free-spirited Jessa or the bubbly and naive Shoshanna in women they know. And, no, nobody in the world can relate to Marnie because gorgeous, intelligent and single women are impossible to find.
(That’s right, back off of Allison Williams, because I am going to meet her and woo her like an 80’s Cusack movie. Allison, if you’re reading this, I’d love to get to know you. Also, say “hi” to your Pops for me; big fan.)
That’s why this Craigslist post for a reality show based on real girls that are like the characters from Girls is going to fail. And miserably.
It may be easy to find real women that remind people of Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, Shoshanna, and the rest of the gang, but putting those real women in the situations the show’s characters face would seem, well, really fake.
By this point my generation is far too accustomed to reality television to be able to make a show that appears real like the scenes that play out week-after-week on Girls. How can a reality show possibly re-create the awkward dynamic between Hannah and her parents cutting her off financially without seeming fake or staged? Could a reality show host a debate on race, politics and gender the way the way Hannah and her friends talk and act?
And most importantly, a reality show could never pull off the gratuitous sex scenes that the show is able to capture because anything close to it would seem like some sort of ratings stunt. Reality shows couldn’t make those awkward scenes feel natural like the scenes in Girls; those scenes show that everyone is vulnerable when you open your heart — or your legs — to someone else.
Television HBO viewers — sorry, forgot, it’s not TV; it’s HBO — generally enjoy Girls because the world the characters live in is real enough to suck them in, but still distant enough at the end to let them go on with their lives. Viewers recognize when a television show can conjure up so many connections to their real existence while still appreciating it as entertainment.
Girls does this as well as any show on television. Which would make the reality show seem entirely fake.