2012 New Shows
It wasn’t necessarily the easiest freshman year for Girls, but the complaints initially launched at Lena Dunham and her new comedy rarely had to do with the series’ quality. The detractors probably avoided examining the on-air aspect of the HBO addition (you know, the important bit) because it being a stand-out, fresh and funny show didn’t fit into any of their various negative or disparaging narratives. It’s much harder to argue that the driving voice behind Girls only achieved success because of nepotism or criticize the characters’ lack of likability when the product is so damn good. Of course, Dunham is the main reason for the comedy’s success thanks to her sharp writing and deft direction, not to mention her often brave performances, but she’s certainly not the only thing the love about Girls.

Like most Judd Apatow produced projects, the HBO series was able to find a great group of actors to surround Dunham’s stubborn, once-spoiled Hannah with Allison Williams perfectly cast as the model-beautiful but anal best friend Marnie and Jemima Kirke as Jessa, the returning wild child who never found herself. The real standouts, however, are Zosia Mamet as the high strung virgin and Adam Driver playing Hannah’s odd, to say the least, love interest. And to top off the hilariously honest storylines and empathetic if unlikable characters, Girls also manages to be beautifully shot and soundtracked, offering a great look at a subsection of New York City. Dunham’s often uncomfortable yet surprisingly warm show is not just one of the year’s best new series but, as most awards shows will attest, one of the best comedies period.

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