Girls (TV series)

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The word "GIRLS" written in blue on a black background
Created byLena Dunham
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes32 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)Peter Phillips
Dan Sterling
Editor(s)Robert Franzen
Catherine Haight
Camera setupSingle
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Apatow Productions
I Am Jenni Konner Productions
HBO Entertainment
Original channelHBO
Picture format480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original runApril 15, 2012 (2012-04-15)  – present
External links
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The word "GIRLS" written in blue on a black background
Created byLena Dunham
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes32 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)Peter Phillips
Dan Sterling
Editor(s)Robert Franzen
Catherine Haight
Camera setupSingle
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Apatow Productions
I Am Jenni Konner Productions
HBO Entertainment
Original channelHBO
Picture format480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original runApril 15, 2012 (2012-04-15)  – present
External links

Girls is an American television series that premiered on HBO on April 15, 2012. Created by and starring Lena Dunham, Girls is a comedy-drama following a close group of twenty-somethings living in New York City. The show's premise and major aspects of the main character were inspired by some of 28-year-old Dunham's real-life experiences.[1]

Girls has concluded its third season, which consists of 12 episodes[2] and premiered on January 12, 2014.[3] The series has been renewed for a fourth season, which consists of 10 episodes and will premiere in early 2015.[4]


Aspiring writer Hannah gets a shock when her parents visit from East Lansing, Michigan, and announce they will no longer financially support her as they have done since her graduation from Oberlin College two years before. Left to her own devices in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, she navigates her twenties, "one mistake at a time".[5] Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, Adam Driver and Alex Karpovsky co-star as Hannah's circle of friends.

Cast and characters[edit]

Promotional poster for the series premiere showing the cast. From left to right: Jemima Kirke (as Jessa), Allison Williams (Marnie), Lena Dunham (Hannah), and Zosia Mamet (Shoshanna).

Main cast[edit]

Recurring cast[edit]

Guest cast[edit]


Lena Dunham's 2010 second feature, Tiny Furniture—which she wrote, directed and starred in—received positive reviews at festivals as well as awards attention, including Best Narrative Feature at South by Southwest and Best First Screenplay at the 2010 Independent Spirit Awards.[15][16] The independent film's success earned her the opportunity to collaborate with Judd Apatow for an HBO pilot.[17] Apatow said he was drawn to Dunham's imagination and added that Girls would provide men with an insight into "realistic females".[1]

Some of the struggles facing Dunham's character Hannah—including being cut off financially from her parents, becoming a writer and making unfortunate decisions—are inspired by Dunham's real-life experiences.[1] The show's unique and eclectic look is achieved by shopping at a number of vintage boutiques in New York, including Brooklyn Flea and Geminola owned by the mother of Jemima Kirke.[18]

Dunham said Girls reflects a part of the population not portrayed in the 1998 HBO series Sex and the City. "Gossip Girl was teens duking it out on the Upper East Side and Sex and the City was women who [had] figured out work and friends and now want to nail romance and family life. There was this 'hole-in-between' space that hadn't really been addressed," she said.[1] The pilot intentionally references Sex and the City as producers wanted to make it clear that the driving force behind Girls is that the characters were inspired by the former HBO series and moved to New York to pursue their dreams.[1] Dunham herself says she "revere[s] that show just as much as any girl of my generation".[1]

As executive producer,[19] Dunham and Jennifer Konner are both showrunners of the series while Dunham is also the head writer.[20][21] Apatow is also executive producer,[19] under his Apatow Productions label. Dunham wrote or co-wrote all ten episodes of the first season and directed five, including the pilot.[19][22] Season one was filmed between April and August 2011 and consisted of 10 episodes.

The second season ran on HBO from January 13, 2013 to March 17, 2013 and also consisted of 10 episodes.

On April 4, 2013, Christopher Abbott left the series after sources reported he and Dunham had differences with the direction that his reoccurring character Charlie was taking as the third season entered production.[23] Dunham announced via Instagram on September 6, 2013, that production for the third season had concluded.[24][25] Season 3, which contained 12 episodes as opposed to the previous seasons 10 episodes, ran from January 12, 2014 to March 23, 2014. The fourth season of the series started filming in April 2014.[3]


SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedDVD and Blu-ray release date
Season premiereSeason finaleRegion 1Region 2Region 4
110April 15, 2012 (2012-04-15)June 17, 2012 (2012-06-17)December 11, 2012 (2012-12-11)[26]February 4, 2013 (2013-02-04)[27]December 12, 2012 (2012-12-12)[28]
210January 13, 2013 (2013-01-13)March 17, 2013 (2013-03-17)August 13, 2013 (2013-08-13)[29]August 12, 2013 (2013-08-12)[30]October 23, 2013 (2013-10-23)[31]
312January 12, 2014 (2014-01-12)March 23, 2014 (2014-03-23)TBAJanuary 12, 2015 (2015-01-12)[32]TBA
410[33]Early 2015[34]TBATBATBATBA


Critics lauded the show for its raw nature, humor, and refreshing tone, applauding Dunham's more realistic portrayal of women and their relationships than mainstream media tends to present.[35]

Season 1[edit]

The first season of Girls received universal acclaim from television critics. On the review aggregator website Metacritic, the first season of the series holds an average of 87 based on 29 reviews.[36] The website also lists the show as the highest-rated fictional series debut of 2012. James Poniewozik from Time reserved high praise for the series, calling it "raw, audacious, nuanced and richly, often excruciatingly funny".[37] Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter called Girls "one of the most original, spot-on, no-missed-steps series in recent memory". Reviewing the first three episodes at the 2012 SXSW Festival, he said the series conveys "real female friendships, the angst of emerging adulthood, nuanced relationships, sexuality, self-esteem, body image, intimacy in a tech-savvy world that promotes distance, the bloodlust of surviving New York on very little money and the modern parenting of entitled children, among many other things—all laced together with humor and poignancy".[38] The New York Times also applauded the series and said: "Girls may be the millennial generation's rebuttal to Sex and the City, but the first season was at times as cruelly insightful and bleakly funny as Louie on FX or Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO."[39]

Despite many positive reviews, several critics criticized the characters themselves. Gawker's John Cook strongly criticised Girls, saying it was "a television program about the children of wealthy famous people and shitty music and Facebook and how hard it is to know who you are and Thought Catalog and sexually transmitted diseases and the exhaustion of ceaselessly dramatizing your own life while posing as someone who understands the fundamental emptiness and narcissism of that very self-dramatization."[40] Renee Martin of described the show as being: "About a privileged group of vapid women whining about being forced to be even remotely responsible for themselves".[41]

Season 2[edit]

The second season of Girls continued to receive critical acclaim. On the review aggregator website Metacritic, the second season of the series holds an average of 84 based on 19 reviews.[42] Tim Goodman of the Hollywood Reporter stated that "Girls kicks off its second season even more assured of itself, able to deftly work strands of hard-earned drama into the free-flowing comedic moments of four postcollege girls trying to find their way in life".[43] David Wiegland of the San Francisco Chronicle said that "The entire constellation of impetuous, ambitious, determined and insecure young urbanites in Girls is realigning in the new season, but at no point in the four episodes sent to critics for review do you feel that any of it is artificial".[44] Verne Gay of Newsday said it is "Sharper, smarter, more richly layered, detailed and acted".[45] Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly felt that "As bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as it was in its first season, Girls may now be even spunkier, funnier, and riskier".[46] In reference to the series' growth, Willa Paskin of Salon thought that Girls "has matured by leaps and bounds, comedically and structurally, but it has jettisoned some of its ambiguity, its sweetness, its own affection for its characters. It's more coherent, but it's also safer."[47]

Season 3[edit]

The third season of Girls received generally positive reviews. On the review aggregator website Metacritic, the third season of the series holds an average of 76 based on 18 reviews.[48] Rotten Tomatoes reports an 89% "Certified Fresh" approval rating from critics, based on 27 reviews with an average score of 7.8/10. The consensus states: "Still rife with shock value, Season 3 of Girls also benefits from an increasingly mature tone."[49] Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter lauded the first two episodes, and commented: "Going into its third season, Girls is as refreshing and audacious as ever and one of the few half-hour dramedies where you can feel its heart pounding and see its belly ripple with laughter."[50] In addition, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly and PopMatters praised the comedic portrayal of its lead female characters.[51][52][53]


20122nd Critics' Choice Television Awards[54]Best Comedy SeriesGirlsNominated
Best Actress in a Comedy SeriesLena DunhamNominated
28th TCA Awards[55]Outstanding New ProgramGirlsNominated
Individual Achievement in ComedyLena DunhamNominated
64th Primetime Emmy Awards[56]Outstanding Comedy SeriesGirlsNominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy SeriesLena DunhamNominatedEpisode: "She Did"
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy SeriesLena DunhamNominatedEpisode: "She Did"
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy SeriesLena DunhamNominatedEpisode: "Pilot"
Outstanding Casting for a Comedy SeriesJennifer EustonWon[57]
17th Satellite AwardsTelevision Series, Comedy or MusicalGirlsNominated
Actress in a Series, Comedy or MusicalLena DunhamNominated
65th Writers Guild of America AwardsComedy SeriesSeries writer'sNominated
New SeriesSeries writer'sWon
Women's Image Network AwardsOutstanding Film / Show Written by A WomanLena DunhamNominated
Outstanding Film / Show Directed by A WomanLena DunhamNominated
Peabody AwardArea of ExcellenceGirlsWon[58]
201370th Golden Globe AwardsBest Television Series – Comedy or MusicalGirlsWon
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or MusicalLena DunhamWon
65th Directors Guild of America AwardsOutstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy SeriesLena DunhamWonEpisode: "Pilot"
Art Directors Guild AwardsEpisode of a Half Hour Single-Camera Television SeriesJudy BeckerWonEpisode: "Pilot"
British Academy Television AwardsInternational PrizeGirlsWon
3rd Critics' Choice Television AwardsBest Actress in a Comedy SeriesLena DunhamNominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy SeriesAlex KarpovskyNominated
Best Guest Performer in a Comedy SeriesPatrick WilsonNominated
65th Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Comedy SeriesGirlsNominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy SeriesLena DunhamNominatedEpisode: "Bad Friend"
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy SeriesAdam DriverNominatedEpisode: "It's Back"
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy SeriesLena DunhamNominatedEpisode: "On All Fours"
Outstanding Casting for a Comedy SeriesJennifer EustonNominated
201471st Golden Globe AwardsBest Television Series – Comedy or MusicalGirlsNominated
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or MusicalLena DunhamNominated
3rd Critics' Choice Television AwardsBest Guest Performer in a Comedy SeriesAndrew RannellsNominated
66th Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy SeriesLena DunhamNominatedEpisode: "Beach House"
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy SeriesAdam DriverNominatedEpisode: "Two Plane Rides"

Race controversy[edit]

The premiere of the pilot was also met with criticism regarding the all-white main cast in the otherwise culturally diverse setting of New York City (the only black actors in the pilot were a homeless man and a taxi driver, and the only Asian actress had the sole trait of being good at Photoshop).[59][60] Lesley Arfin, a writer for the show, responded to the controversy with the tweeted comment: "What really bothered me most about Precious was that there was no representation of ME". Afrin later deleted the comment following the uproar.[61] Lena Dunham has given interviews where she talks about the diversity question with the series, stating that with HBO's renewal of the series for a second season, "these issues will be addressed".[62] Donald Glover guest starred as Sandy, a black Republican and Hannah's love interest, in the first two episodes of season two.

Agreeing that there is a lack of racial diversity on Girls, a comment from The Huffington Post argues that the issue is the industry as a whole. "Where are the think pieces taking networks to task for the millionth procedural about a troubled male cop or the millionth comedy about a guy who has problems with women? Why are we holding Lena Dunham's feet to the fire, instead of the heads of networks and studios? That troubles me, not least because it's easier (and lazier) to attack a 25-year-old woman who's just starting out than to attack the men twice her age who actually control the industry. ...I have to say that I'm absolutely astonished that, of all shows, this is the one that is being attacked for being too white. I could list the shows on television with all-white casts, but then we'd be here all day."[63] Dunham has publicly said, "I really wrote the show from a gut-level place, and each character was a piece of me or based on someone close to me". She adds that she wanted to avoid tokenism in casting. The experience of a black character would involve a certain specificity, a type she could not speak to.[64]


Girls has prompted debate about its possible feminist politics. It has been praised for its portrayal of women and female friendship, but criticized as classist, racist, transphobic and misguided. In an online review for Ms Magazine, Kerensa Cadenas argues, "Despite its lack of a serious class and race consciousness, Girls does address other feminist issues currently in play, among them body image, abortion, relationships within a social media age and street harassment. In another series, these issues might be the focus of one episode (i.e. the abortion episode of SATC), but in Girls they become everyday topics."[65] On the other hand, Catherine Scott of The Independent asks, "What’s there to celebrate for feminism when black, Hispanic or Asian women are totally written out of a series that’s supposedly set in one of the most diverse cities on earth? But also, what’s there to celebrate for feminism when a show depicts four entirely self-interested young women and a lead character having the most depressing, disempowered sexual relationships imaginable?"[66]


Girls premiered on April 15, 2012, on HBO in the United States.[67][68] The first three episodes were screened at the 2012 SXSW Festival on March 12.[69]

HBO renewed the series for a second season of ten episodes on April 30, 2012.[19][21][70][71]

On January 7, 2014, the premiere of the third season of Girls was shown at the Rose Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City.[72] Models Karlie Kloss, Karen Elson, and Hilary Rhoda; designers Nicole Miller, Cynthia Rowley, and Zac Posen; and editors Anna Wintour, Joanna Coles, and Amy Astley were all in attendance.[72] The after party was at the Allen Room and "hosted by HBO and the Cinema Society".[72]

International broadcasting[edit]

CountryTelevision networkPremiereReferences
Arab League Arab WorldOSNSeptember 7, 2012[73]
 AustraliaShowcaseMay 28, 2012[74]
 BelgiumPrimeJuly 18, 2012[75]
 BrazilHBO BrasilJuly 23, 2012[76]
 CanadaHBO CanadaApril 15, 2012
Super Écran in (French)August 19, 2012[77]
 CroatiaHBO CroatiaApril 27, 2012[78]
 DenmarkHBO NordicDecember 15, 2012
DR3January 31, 2013
 FranceOrange ciné maxSeptember 18, 2012[79]
 FinlandC MoreMay 19, 2012
HBO NordicDecember 15, 2012[80]
Yle TV2February 8, 2013
 GermanyGlitz*October 2012[81]
 HungaryHBO HungaryJune 5, 2012[82]
 IcelandStöð 2June 2012[83]
 IsraelYes OhMay 2012[84]
 ItalyMTV ItaliaOctober 10, 2012
 New ZealandSoHoMay 2012[85]
 NetherlandsHBO NetherlandsApril 16, 2012
 NorwayC MoreMay 19, 2012[86]
NRKJanuary 22, 2013[87]
 PolandHBO PolandJuly 30, 2012[88]
 PortugalTVSériesAugust 26, 2012
 TurkeyDizimax ComedyNovember 1, 2012[89]
 SpainC MoreJune 2012[90]
 SwedenC MoreMay 19, 2012[91]
SVT2February 16, 2013
 United KingdomSky AtlanticOctober 22, 2012[92]


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External links[edit]