Already far too many think pieces exist about the end of HBO millennial conundrum that
is was Lena Dunham’s Girls, and I consider it a public service that I have thus spared you my take on the oft-misunderstood, frequently brilliant, more frequently frustrating six seasons of female-centered television. It’s very easy to dislike Girls: the pace was slow, the humor was usually awkward moment cringe-induced, the characters seemed designed to reflect our own worst and most embarrassing impulses.
But—and hear me out—there are other amazing 30-minute comedies about sex-obsessed young women just finding themselves in the world, starring and written by 20-something female auteurs. And if Girls wasn’t your speed, I promise you you’re going to love Chewing Gum, the sitcom from Michaela Coel currently streaming with two seasons on Netflix (NFLX). Even if you did love Girls, especially if you did love Girls—honestly, everyone is going love Chewing Gum and I wish 10% of the Girls think pieces had just been posts telling people to watch this show.
The BAFTA-winning Chewing Gum follows Tracey Gordon, a 24-year-old repressed religious virgin working in a corner shop and ready to lose her virginity. Yes, some (most) of the jokes will make you cringe in the best possible way, but unlike the girls of Girls, Tracey and her friends are actually delivering real jokes. This is a straight-up comedy. Chewing Gum milks the crassness, misery and loneliness of being young and turns it into something relatable and laugh-out-loud funny. Plus, you know, there are black people.