HBO’s ‘Girls’ — Why We Have A Love/Hate Relationship With The Show

If you haven’t heard about HBO’s new show, “Girls,” directed by and starring Lena Dunham, you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past few weeks. It’s been years since we’ve seen so much virtual ink spilled overa television show, particularly one targeting women.

Wading among the “I LOVE this show” and “I have SO MANY problems with this show” reviews, we find ourselves somewhere in the middle. At times, it’s scary how much the show manages to reflect our lives (have they bugged our apartments?), but then minutes later has us saying, “Really?! No one’s that clueless!”

Ultimately what we’ve realized is that there’s such a reaction to this show because there’s nothing like it on TV, no other show that depicts relatable 20-something women. There are plenty of shows that offer dramatic fantasy and escapism — the networks have you covered when it comes to vampires and rich kids — but not so many that try to show regular women, with all of their problems and flaws, in their day-to-day lives.

But that is part of the difficulty with “Girls.” The show aims for realism, which can be a little uncomfortable for the viewer who either ends up reliving difficult memories — like the time they said the wrong thing in an interview or the myriad bad decisions they’ve made in relationships — or is pained watching characters make one poor choice after another. Maybe the reason there are so few shows that focus on 20-somethings is because growing up and figuring oneself out is such a messy process, full of frustration and mistakes that we’d rather forget than relive now that we’ve learned our lessons.

On the other hand, those same everyday banalities are what make “Girls” endearing — the show also lets us relive dancing around the room with friends blasting our favorite song and all those…

 
 
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“I won’t buy an already-made costume to dress up in for Halloween because I prefer using my creativity to come up with an uncommon or personalized costume to wearing a mass-produced costume that won't be unique to me.” –Male, 24, CA

One entrepreneur has a big idea to change charity fundraising as we know it—and she’s only 10-years-old. Vivienne Harr started a lemonade stand for charity in 2012 that has turned into Make A Stand lemonade, a family company that donates 5% of each sale. Now, the Harrs are launching StandApp, a mobile platform for donating to and starting crowdfunded social good projects. Twitter’s founders have invested in the app, which tells users they can “make a stand and change the world in 3 steps and 30 seconds.” (Fast Company)

Vice media has established themselves as creators of online content that speaks to young consumers, and now they will launch a global, 24 hour TV network for their Millennial audience. The brand’s Vice News has gotten a reputation for tackling some of the biggest international stories before much more established news organizations, and CEO Shane Smith warned traditional media outlets that as the generation ages up, they will become obsolete, and sites like Vice and BuzzFeed are “the changing of the guard.” (The IndependentThe Drum)

Posting calories counts on menus isn’t necessarily making consumers choose healthier options, but a new study has found that if told what they would have to do to burn off those calories, teens are less likely to buy higher calorie or sugary drinks. When signs were posted in stores telling buyers things like, “Did you know that working off a bottle of soda or fruit juice takes about 5 miles of walking,” 40% of 12-18-year-olds who saw them said they changed their drink choice as a result. Even after the signs were removed these teens continued to make healthier choices. (Washington Post)

Italian clothing label Brandy Melville has reportedly become “one of the fastest growing popular brands among American teens,” but the company is not interested in selling to everyone: they sell most items only in size small. Abercrombie & Fitch has famously lost ground with young consumers thanks to their similarly exclusionary practices, and some teens are expressing their dissatisfaction on Melville’s Instagram, where they are asking for sizes that “fit all.” (Tech Times)

Many Millennials don’t trust banks (or any other large institutions) but it could be that financial organizations are missing a big opportunity with the generation. Adweek’s recent study found that 18-24-year-olds are more likely than other consumers to say they would trust a financial institution more if they provided helpful, unbiased content. But only 20% of respondents felt that these institutions are currently posting interesting articles. (Adweek)

That image at the bottom of our newsletter is a gateway to insights and expert commentary on current and future Millennial trends. Clicking on it takes readers to our daily insights article, available to Silver and Gold subscribers, which illuminates a facet of Millennial culture and helps subscribers to understand the "why" behind the "what." Drawing from our ongoing collection of proprietary data, our deep-dive desk research, and our 10-year history of studying this generation, we figure out what it all means for brands and marketers. (Ypulse)

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