HBO’s ‘Girls’: What The Real Girls Think

Today’s post comes to us from Camilla, a recent grad who weighed in on HBO's "Girls," a show that's caused much discussion and debate about how it depicts Millennials. Camilla, like us, has a love/hate relationship with the show because unlike many programs, it highlights the harsh realities that Gen Y faces. It doesn't represent all Millennials in its attempt to portray today's tough economy, but it shows young adults' struggles with unemployment, underemployment, and the everyday challenges they encounter, and their responses to them. Sure this is representative — or at least more than other programs — as Camilla explains, but she and her peers aren't sure it's a show they want to watch since it presents the low points of their lives.

HBO’s ‘Girls’: What The Real Girls Think

I think I’m the target audience for HBO’s “Girls.” At face value, it depicts the major life themes of my peers, who all just graduated from college, moved to the nearest metropolis (in my case, London, but close enough), and set about trying to figure out their lives — but mainly just how to pay their rent. No, most of us aren’t doing what we wish were doing, or earning much (or any) money for it. Yes, we might have “dated” someone without ever having gone on a date. And most of all, yes, we’re completely terrified about the economy — though still not as much as we’re terrified of STDs. All these themes ring true, but if I’ve gleaned anything from my friends’ reactions to “Girls,” the truth is not quite what our generation is looking for in our TV shows.

In the pilot episode, the star/writer/creator/whatever of the show, Lena Dunham, plays the protagonist, Hannah, a 24-year-old with an unpaid internship in New York, just about to be cut off financially from her college professor parents. The rest of the…

 
 

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


The Newsfeed

“Art is basically my job and I enjoy it so much.”—Female, 15, MD

Snap is making its “biggest move” in scripted original content, teaming up with NBCUniversal and the Duplass brothers for their next series. The Duplass-owned creative studio Donut will produce original series for Snap shot in vertical video. NBCU and Snap will also be opening a joint digital content studio focused completely on mobile-first entertainment, “formaliz[ing] their partnership” and putting Snap firmly in the producing/original content creation camp. Snap’s mobile-only approach is part of a movement to shake up how we view videos—in fact, they’re calling their offering “a fundamentally new medium.” (THRTechCrunch)

Eggo frozen waffles are capitalizing on their unexpected Stranger Things’ fame. The brand has seized the marketing opportunity of being a part of one of Millennials & Gen Z’s favorite shows, tying themselves into Netflix’s Super Bowl ad, creating a special toaster for select fans, and swarming New York Comic Con with people dressed up like Eleven armed with “watch party kits” (aka “waffles and a microwavable syrup server”). To prep for the premiere of season two of the show, Eggo is sending out a fully-loaded food truck for the red carpet premiere, and going all out on social media to connect with fans. (MediaPost)

More teens than ever have severe anxiety, but why? The American College Health Association found a 12% increase in undergrads reporting “overwhelming anxiety” from 2011 to 2016, and several studies concur that “there’s just been a steady increase of severely anxious students.” Social media is part of the problem—constant like-monitoring and cyber bullying isn’t helping the most stressed generation to date. There’s also an increasing (and constant) perceived need to over-achieve. One psychology professor observes, “There’s always one more activity, one more A.P. class, one more thing to do in order to get into a top college.” (NYTimes)

Ypulse research has shown that 88% of Millennial parents are trying to avoid helicopter parenting—but they might not be able to help it. The constant media storm of global atrocities and everyday stories of parenting gone wrong combined with advertisers’ willingness to fear-monger, results in a generation of (understandably) anxious parents. It doesn’t help that the tech to constantly monitor kids is easily available (albeit pricey)—from drone surveillance meant for the military to devices that track “blood-oxygen levels all night long.” One relationship therapist sums up, “Everyone is having a hard time drawing a line and just figuring out what’s reasonable versus what’s over-protective.” (Refinery29)

Brands are turning college students into mini-sales forces. Aerie, Victoria’s Secret Pink, and Express are just a few of the many brands that have a program for college campus reps where students receive swag, experience, and other perks for helping bring brand awareness to their colleges. Though brands don’t always require social posts, most ambassadors do share their swag on social, bringing organic ads to their friends’ feeds. The biggest draw is that social posts from reps “[come] across as natural, authentic, a product that they would normally use or want to talk about.” (Racked)

“[Celebrity] can mean anything nowadays and it's a rather diluted term; from YouTube star, to someone on Instagram with millions of followers, to reality TV dopes, etc.”—Male, 30, WI

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies