“You could not pay me enough to be 24 again,” a free-clinic gynecologist says with a weary sigh while examining the nether regions of Hannah Horvath, the talkative, deeply neurotic central character of HBO’s startlingly original new series, “Girls.”
“Well, they’re not paying me at all,” Hannah says, bitterly.
Hannah’s another 24-year-old adrift on the sea of self-discovery and only vaguely aware that there is no promised shore. She’s writing a memoir but four chapters in has realized she still has yet to live the other nine essays she’ll need to make a book. “I want to be the voice of my generation,” she tells her parents. “Or a voice of a generation.” She works as an unpaid intern at a publisher.
The very first scene in “Girls,” which premieres Sunday night, shows Hannah — played by the show’s creator-writer-director-star Lena Dunham — wolfing down a fancy plate of pasta at a Manhattan restaurant with her visiting mother and father. Her mother tells her that they’re no longer willing to pay her rent and expenses, including her cellphone. They’re cutting her off. “No. More. Money,” her mother says, while her doting father (Peter Scolari) nervously backpedals, agreeing with Hannah that it’s a net savings to keep her on the family phone plan. But even he admits, “It may be time for one final push.”