The cast of HBO’s Girls is as vibrant and diverse as any group of young, white, more-or-less conventionally attractive, affluent, heterosexual characters on TV since the days of Sex and the City. The girls, much like the ever-franchisable casts of The Real Houswives, are smart, sassy, hypersexual, drunk, ready to fight, and — thanks to their relatively tight geographic spread between lower Manhattan and upper Brooklyn — never more than a cab ride or a few tipsy train stops from one another.
But what if Lena Dunham, Judd Apatow and HBO brass decided to go the Bravo route? What if Girls proved infinitely exportable, a bounty that played well in many distant cities? Hannah and her gang could suffer as gallery girls in Miami. What if instead of Oberlin, they’d met at UCLA? Hard times in Bushwick could become pretty compelling with some real weather in Rochester’s South Wedge.
We re-cast the girls in the rest of the country.
Girls: Silver Lake — Hilarie is living in Los Angeles and isn’t OCD. She texts her friends, she’s just got a bunch of thetans and nobody’s supporting her through it all. Regardless, she’s never going to get her screenplay read at Focus and her meeting is in 30 goddamned minutes. Marisa is teaching a yoga class and has been really, really mean since she went on that cleanse anyway, so she’d never ask her for a ride. Suki has a feng shui class and would totally drive her, but an old man looked at her in front of Fred Segal and she was pretty sure it meant that she was supposed to avoid stress today. Jenna finally drops by the house in someone else’s car, wine bottles clanking in the back between some male model’s legs. “So, where are we going?” she snarls.
Girls: Design District — Hailey’s hair is frizzy again, but that’s nothing new in Miami. She languishes behind the desk of the gallery, sweating in her ill-fitting romper, staring at the neon signs on the beach as Siri, Mila, and Jyah saunter in, their tan skin taught like their expensive bags, their clothes impossibly white, draping over their giraffe-like bodies. They’re models, but they don’t really model. They date hoteliers who don’t build hotels. They’re her friends, but they don’t really get along. They always seem to be tracking sand into people’s homes, as if they woke up in the ocean. After a moment of heavy silence, they all blurt out at once, to no one in particular, “I slept with your boyfriend.” Their faces, as if from nowhere, are suddenly wet with Shiraz.
Girls: South Wedge — Man, it’s so cold up here in Rochester, it’s hard to even think sometimes! At least the guys are still pretty decent, thinks Heather, as she has sex with goofy-faced Ethan for warmth. She serves coffee at Java’s by day, dreaming all the while of the day she’ll wow them with her photographs at the Eastman House. Her friends all work there too — Sarah, and Jasmine, and Maeve — and they all talk about other cities, like they’ll ever leave. But instead, they put on their parkas and go to the Bug Jar, because the drinks are still $3 and the music is loud and they make panini and talk about New York City like it’s so far away.
Girls: Columbia Heights, D.C.— Hope has an internship with a congresswoman, so next semester, she’s going to start paying back those student loans. Mary has a job at the National Archives, so she makes a respectable $8 every hour, like an American should. Shira has a few semesters left at Georgetown and is going to get into arts administration work, she just knows it. Jamie knows a place in Anacostia where you can buy actual Quaaludes.
Girls: Corktown — The girls, half Michigan-natives, and half of whom moved to the Motor City for jobs in the now-defunct auto industry, spend a lot of time together —mostly because the rest of their friends high-tailed it out of Detroit when things got tough. “It’s not so bad,” says Holly, as she peers out the curtain onto the street. At $500 for a 4-bedroom, she’s right. “It’s not so bad,” echoes Sylvie, strapping on her vest. “It’s not so bad,” says Melody, meekly loading her pistol. As they proceed out the door, Jade asks, “Sorry, did you want anything from Starbucks?