'Girls' Season 4 Ratings Were Lower In Key Demographics, So Why Aren't Millenials Tuning In Anymore?
Is Girls taking a nosedive in the ratings? Not exactly — but it is losing a chunk of its target demographic. According to Deadline, Lena Dunham's HBO series Girls took a bit of a hit in viewers within the 18-49 year old adult demographic when Sunday's Girls Season 4 finale ratings pulled in 33 percent less viewers in the key demographic than watched during the Season 3 finale. TV ratings are always tricky to interpret, the simplest interpretation is this — even though Girls isn't losing significant viewers overall, less young people are tuning in. And when you consider the trajectory of Girls as a whole, that actually makes some sense.
When Girls first hit HBO, it was a show about 20-somethings searching for the elusive goals of fulfillment and purpose. The girls weren't (still aren't) great people, or even good people, nor are they entirely relatable, as has been pointed out by numerous articles on the intrinsic privilege of the four straight, white, middle-class women living in New York City.
But while that may be the case, the early seasons of Girls were more grounded in reality. Plots stemmed from things like Hannah finding out that the guy she's sleeping with is sleeping with other people, Marnie regretting dumping her long-term boyfriend, and Shoshanna attempting to feel like a "real adult" when she hadn't yet "swiped her V card." The issues may not be the viewers, but they were human issues people could connect with.
Today? Not so much. I still enjoy Girls, but I don't see much of my own experience in the characters anymore. Hannah is no longer a slightly narcissistic heroine, she's a flat-out caricature. (What substitute teacher takes her student to get her tongue pierced?!) Jessa went from being self-absorbed to a full-on sociopath who feels little remorse in setting up her friend's (very recent) ex-boyfriend so she can hookup with his new girlfriend's ex. And Marnie? Well, Marnie is a folk singer, because... reasons. These aren't just complicated women anymore — they're barely recognizable as human beings.
I'm not sure when exactly it happened, but it seems that Girls isn't even trying to capture the 20-something experience anymore. Even when the show failed at showing a universal experience, it did present something we could all at least understand. Now, it's an absurd series about a group of very messed up people living in New York City. Is that bad? That's not clear just yet — but I do know that I miss what it once was.