Is HBOs Girls about lifes struggles, or lives of privilege

“Girls” begins with the conversation that many parents of 20-somethings dream of having with their floundering children: No. More. Money.

This is what the parents of 24-year-old Hannah Horvath, played by series creator, director and writer Lena Dunham, tell her over dinner. She is two years out of college working as an unpaid intern at an indie publishing house, living in a crappy apartment in Brooklyn with a roommate, and being heavily subsidized by her professor parents.

Sound familiar? It should. Over the last half-decade, countless articles have chronicled the exploits and failings of the generation whose experience is represented on this show. And as many accounts have noted, this cohort has had a difficult time finding jobs and adult identities, with some remaining dependent financially on their sympathetic boomer parents. Hannah’s own father, when confronted by the pathetic sight of his daughter, high on opium tea, mumbling on the floor, declares to his wife, “It’s hard for me to watch her struggle.”

A scene from “Girls” featuring (from left) Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham and Zosia Mamet photo/jojo whilden-hbo

It’s a particular type of struggle and not very easy to get behind. “Girls” is not the story of underdogs, the children of immigrants, or even young adults from middle-class backgrounds struggling in a recession.

It follows four daughters of upper-class privilege — Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and college student Shoshanna. These young women are not encountering institutional barriers to success but rather their own too-fortunate upbringings, which reinforced the idea that the lives and careers that awaited them were special and meaningful.

They were not expecting boring 9-to-5s where no one saw them as unique snowflakes who have lived enough to write memoirs, as Hannah is doing while her parents foot the bills. (Hilariously, hers seems to be about six pages long.)

One blogger humorously suggested that the series could be renamed “First World Problems.” After being feted by nearly every major critic before its April 15 premiere on HBO, the backlash largely has been about the white privilege of the characters, how their problems are hardly representative of this generation’s women.

In addition to Dunham, who is Jewish and the daughter of artist Laurie Simmons, the other three leads are played by Allison Williams, daughter of “NBC News” anchor Brian Williams; Zosia Mamet, progeny of the famed playwright David Mamet; and Jemima Kirke, daughter of the drummer of the rock band Bad Company.

While all four are quite good in their parts — the acting throughout is naturalistic — the choices do seem a little culturally tone deaf.

A scene from “Girls” featuring (from left) Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham and Zosia Mamet photo/jojo whilden-hbo

While white privilege and class privilege certainly are nothing new on television, it is not entirely unfair to criticize “Girls” on these grounds, either. Unlike many of the female-centric comedies that premiered this fall, which merely aim to be funny, “Girls” seems to aspire to more than laughs. It aims to be a realistic depiction of young women today.

While I definitely subscribe to the write-what-you-know camp, I guess I’m disappointed that Dunham seems to “know” so little of New York, much less the world. Thus far, her work, which also includes the semi-autobiographical feature film “Tiny Furniture,” has betrayed a stunning lack of curiosity about other strata of the city in which she was born and raised.

I really wanted to like this show. Not only am I part of its target demographic — I’m 29, live in Brooklyn (and was born and raised here) and have a creative career — but I loved the idea of a woman like Dunham, just 25 years old, being given unprecedented creative control over a series. And perhaps because I and many others like me had been hoping for more, we were bound to be disappointed.

There is actually stuff to like about “Girls.” The female characters aren’t total caricatures. They don’t fit neatly into archetypes — the creative one, the smart one, the prim one and the slut — as they did on predecessor “Sex and the City.” The dialogue feels natural even if a bit too much of it refers to social media. (We get it — kids these days narrate their lives on Twitter and don’t use their phones as phones.)

It also was squeamishly entertaining to watch the least sexy sex scene I’ve ever seen on television. It was a nice change of pace from the highly stylized iterations typically seen on TV where everyone’s always having fun and no one’s head accidentally hits the headboard. And in this television season where writers have used “vagina” as a punch line, as though the term in and of itself is humorous, Dunham actually lands a vagina joke that is genuinely funny.

Are bad sex and vag jokes enough to get me to tune in to future episodes? Well, while I’m inclined to give the show another shot and see how Dunham and Co. develop the characters, unfortunately I’m part of her target demographic — which means I don’t have a subscription to HBO. Ultimately, “Girls” might be for the parents of postcollegiate girls who want to see how their retirement savings are being spent.