What Is HBO’s Girls Trying to Tell Us?

March 8, 2013

Girls first came to my attention when it won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy or Musical at the 2013 ceremony in January. I remember being mildly curious about where this program came from and what it was about, but I quickly put it out of my mind—until I was doing research for a new novel and came across an article about Generation Z at Hub Pages Online, www.hubpages.com

Before I go into the Hub Pages report, let’s look at the premise of Girls. Created and starring Lena Dunham (inspired by Dunham’s real life), the TV show follows the lives of four twenty-something girls as they try to establish their places in the world, post college. Dunham’s character, Hannah Horvath, is an underachieving grad who can’t find a job and whose parents have cut her of financially. What makes matters worse is that Hanna’s so-called boyfriend treats her like dog doo. He’s not shy about pointing out her flaws, and doesn’t bother to hide his lackluster interest in their love life http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girls. Compound this sad state of affairs with the fact that Hannah and her friends keep making bad decisions and, it seems, you have a show that real-life girls can relate to.

Question is, does Girls actually portray what’s going on with young people today? According to Hub Pages, it does.


HP says that Generation Zers are not only the most technologically connected generation, ever, they also share certain disturbing characteristics their predecessors did not. Here are a few that turn up on TV.


Young adults carry more baggage with them in life than their predecessors—pregnancy before marriage, divorced parents, multiple sexual partners in high school and college.

Dating Blues.

The breakdown of traditional courtships makes dating more painful for this generation than previous generations.

Financial Hurdles.

These kids are facing financial insecurity—think stock and housing market crashes, lack of jobs, the rising cost of college and a bleak employment outlook for the future.


Not all the news about this generation is bad. There are articles on the web that give us a more optimistic view of the Z’s future than portrayed by Girls. But since what happens in society is always reflected in story, I’m taking Girl’s to heart.


As a writer of Young Adult Fiction, I feel responsible for accurately and authentically telling stories that reflect the truth of what goes on in the lives of young adults. At the same time, it’s important to me to demonstrate in my pages that people of this generation have everything they need within themselves to change the mess that’s been handed down to them, and to do so with great success.

After all, stories might reflect society, but stories can be changed.

10 Responses to What Is HBO’s Girls Trying to Tell Us?

  • Welcome to the blogging world, Jo, and what a great post about HBO’s Girls to get things off to a fantastic start. I’ll be back!

  • What great topics for discussion. As a bookstore owner, I am always pleased to see articles portraying the reality of young adults today. It is refreshing to see new literature being published for them that identifies their difficulties and also empowers them.

    Bravo Jo Chandler!

    • Hi Karen,
      It’s great to hear such positive feedback from someone like you who works with young adult literature on a daily basis and understands what teenagers today are up against and what they need. Thank you.

  • Great to see your new blog here, Jo. Interesting food for thought on this young generation. I haven’t see the show, but will try to take a peek. Thanks for a thought-provoking blog post. I will be back, but I must say, I wish I could subscribe by email. I love to get an email when a new post appears on those blogs I subscribe to.

  • Hi Jo – Got your message on the launching of your new venture in the blogosphere and loved your thoughts on Girls. I truly miss seeing you and chatting about writing. Maybe we can get coffee one of these days. Will call you soon.

  • Natalia. How wonderful to get your comment. Thank you. Coffee and hours chatting about writing seem in order to me as well.

  • Congratulations on your blog – it has an appealing look and feel. I agree with Rosi that email subscription would be a nice feature. If this is a WordPress site, they should have a widget for that.

    Fraid I don’t get HBO, but all your comments sound plausible.

    Have fun with your new site!

  • Morgan, great to have you stop by. And thanks for the input re subscription. I’m looking into it. So good to hear from you.

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