Earlier this week, a fellow culture writer told me that he’d been discussing Lena Dunham’s forthcoming HBO show Girls for so long, it felt like it had been on the air for at least a month already. But in fact, the excellent show makes its debut this Sunday, and despite Girls’ high quality and media ubiquity, the sitcom faces one potential stumbling block. Its target audience is ostensibly twentysomething women. But how many twentysomething women actually have HBO?
HBO’s subscriber demographics are tough to come by, but twentysomethings are increasingly getting their media through the Internet — not through expensive cable packages. Perhaps that’s why HBO is streaming the pilot of Girls on a variety of online platforms starting on April 16 — a highly unusual move for the network. Certainly there’s potential for a show as poignant and funny as Girls to reach an audience outside the Brooklyn girls that it focuses on, and everyone knows that HBO doesn’t have to pay attention to ratings in the same way that ad-based networks have to. Here’s hoping that plumbers in Nebraska take to the show as passionately as New York City–based writers have already.