New ‘Girls’ Run HBO

Beyoncé says it best. Girls run the world, and it seems like HBO’s “Girls” will be running the world a little longer. Well, at least the TV world. After much anticipation, the series is back in its second season.

Under Judd Apatow’s guiding wing, Lena Dunham — show star and creator — has established a name for herself and is rapidly making her way up the ladder of fame. With four Emmy nominations and two major Golden Globe wins, she’s the talk of the town — trending on Twitter, if you will — and the new Hollywood “It” girl.

So what’s all the buzz about? Part of what makes “Girls” so enthralling is its hodgepodge cast of characters: the neurotic and hard-to-please Marnie (Allison Williams), the effortlessly cool Jessa (Jemima Kirke), the eccentric valley girl Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet), obsessive but loveable Adam (Adam Driver) and everybody’s gay best friend Eljiah (Andrew Rannells), to name a few. And last but not least, the leader of the misfits, Hannah (Dunham). What can I say about Hannah? She’s completely ordinary in the best sense of the word. Average at best. But that’s what makes her so likeable and relatable. She’s extraordinary among the TV realm exactly for that reason. She’s real.

Let’s remind ourselves where we left off last season: Jessa got married; Shoshanna lost her virginity; Marnie was just … Marnie; and Hannah stood by as Adam got hit by a truck. Season two opens with the same premise as the last: the four 20-somethings parade around their gentrified section of Brooklyn, fiddling over their boys and aimlessly wondering where life will take them next.

Aside from all the praise, Dunham has worked to address the heap of criticism surrounding the all-white cast. Race is always at play in visual medium, and it’ll be interesting to see how Dunham responds to these debates over representation — or lack thereof. A good start seems to be the casting of Donald Glover, otherwise known as rapper Childish Gambino, in the role of Lena’s boyfriend Sandy. As a black Republican, Sandy certainly complicates the picture-perfect whitewashed Brooklyn that has since been the frame of the show.

Courtesy of HBO

Courtesy of HBO

The emergence of “Girls” suggests the ushering in of a new era of television. HBO is known for its tackling a wide range of subjects, and “Girls” uncovers unexplored territory. So is “Girls” the new “Sex and the City”? No. And I don’t think it’s trying to be.

“Girls” dares to go where other shows won’t. Hannah’s life, though full of adventure, is the stuff of 20-something misery. She lives month to month wondering how she’s going to make ends meet as a struggling writer who won’t compromise to get ahead. Her love life is all but easy, and she is constantly battling to find where she fits in — her little carved-out space of a haven — outside of her girls. She’s stuck in a rut and asking the question we’re all struggling with ourselves: what now?

Luckily, we can ponder life’s complexities a little while longer. The show has been renewed for a third season, so expect to see a lot more of Hannah and the girls. Dunham is going to have to get more creative though, because we’ve pretty much seen them bare it all.

Recommended: “Girls” has the potential to join the ranks of some other critically acclaimed HBO shows. However, be wary of the gratuitous nudity and ridiculous antics — don’t watch with your parents!