I Just Want My Pants Back Pre-Dated Girls

While it’s really no secret that Girls is a post-post modern grafting of essentially every show ever made about being single/in your twenties in New York, there is one show in particular that came out right before Girls blew up the Brooklyn scene. The much lesser known, very short-lived I Just Want My Pants Back aired on MTV briefly in 2011 with a premise that Girls could have easily spliced into its own overall plot before its premiere in 2012 (an appropriately apocalyptic year).

Promo for I Just Want My Pants Back
Promo for I Just Want My Pants Back
Indeed, the summary for the show is: “The series follows the life of a group of twenty-somethings as they try to get through life as best they can in Brooklyn.” The broad nature of this synopsis sounds like the only thing it’s missing from actually being Girls is the specific names of each of the four characters in the HBO version of this story.

To make the similarities even more uncanny, I Just Want My Pants Back was also shot in Greenpoint, right at the point before rent prices ballooned and it was still believable that twenty-somethings with no direction could afford to live in this area. Based on David J. Rosen’s 2007 novel, also titled I Just Want My Pants Back, the story follows the slacker, post-graduate lifestyle of Jason Strider (Peter Vack) as he juggles one-night stands, a boring job and comparing himself to his friends. Replace Jason Strider’s name with Hannah Horvath’s (Lena Dunham) and you’ve got the same exact show.
Still from I Just Want My Pants Back
Still from I Just Want My Pants Back
What it all comes down to is: Girls is a tale that has been told and told, repackaged in many ways. It just happened to catch a bigger break than I Just Want My Pants Back. Maybe HBO is a better network for showcasing sexual folly (even though MTV has had such sexual fodder in the past, such as Undressed) or maybe the male audience wasn’t significant enough in numbers to sustain high enough ratings for I Just Want My Pants Back (whereas Girls has a heavy female viewership that could keep it on well into the protagonist’s thirties). Whatever the reason, I Just Want My Pants Back got the fuzzy end of the lollipop, to use a phrase from Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot.