Lots of Girls plus one B*tch

There is no shortage of strong female characters on television right now. Actresses normally associated with film are appearing on the small screen for the cost of basic cable – Zooey Deschanel and Kat Dennings, I’m looking at you.

Even better, talented young women like Lena Dunham have taken the reins behind the scenes too.

Here is my rundown of four of these female lead shows:

Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23

Krysten Ritter is an electric presence, and one never knows what evil but totally justified [in her own head] thing her character will do next. But how long can the show keep up the cycle of roommate betrayal and reconciliation? James van der Beek playing himself is a fun bonus.

2 Broke Girls

I love the concept of two scrappy young women living in Brooklyn, but the number of episodes featuring plots that turn on Caroline’s Madoff-like father is boring me, and Beth Behrs’ nasal delivery grates. As a viewer, your reaction to 2 Broke Girls hinges upon whether you find the actresses’ one-liners charming or cheap — I *might* blame co-creator Whitney Cummings. At least once an episode I ask “what is Jennifer Coolidge doing in this mess?” Then again, I’d be ticked if my DVR didn’t record the show for some reason. For that, I give full credit Kat Dennings. She deserves better.

New Girl

Based on the first two or three episodes, I would not have raved about New Girl. “Adorkable” was oh-so-close to “annoying” and I say that as a fan of Zooey Deschanel. I even like her iPhone ad that 75% of the viewing public seems to hate. When Justin Long showed up as Jess’ love interest Paul, I almost quit New Girl, but I stuck it out and was rewarded. Jess’ roommates have all been given good stuff to do (I particularly enjoyed Winston as a manny) and I thoroughly enjoyed her fling with Dermot Mulroney’s character. New Girl has hit its stride.

I saved the best for last: the show that feels so real that it hurts sometimes. When other shows cut away, Girls lingers another beat, somehow finding the smidgen of humor that saves that which is uncomfortable from becoming unbearable. I cringe when I watch Girls, but I usually laugh at the same time. Girls has made my jaw drop every episode so far, and the show brings back memories of my own twenties which were, by turns, exciting, drunken, bizarre, scary, fun and educational. Things happened then that I couldn’t find the words to describe, but now? Girls makes me want to talk-talk-talk about these locked away memories.

What makes the show even more impressive is that creative, brave Lena Dunham steers the ship and she never once tries to make the show (or her character) look glossy and “perfect,” only real. Lena’s Hannah is in great company too – yes, the cast is well-born but talented too.

Via @ew

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