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…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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