New Girl, same Girls: what happens when coming-of-age shows grow up

It’s easy to remember a time before Girls. It was a more innocent time, when the internet was not yet overrun with discussions about whether or not Lena Dunham should be naked onscreen, or if the way young women are spending their lives today is substantially different from the way they were spending their lives a generation ago, and if this is cause for concern. Despite drawing modest-at-best ratings over its past four seasons, the show launched a genuine era and spawned a wave of TV shows chronicling the lives of fictional young people living in big cities. Girls is now in its fifth season on HBO, and its characters have changed as much as the real demographic they’re supposedly commenting on — which is to say, maybe not at all.

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