I had refused to watch the show because it had been described to me as Sex in the City with Brooklyn hipsters... I've heard that description from a couple of people and I think it does a total disservice to the show.
GIRLS gets a big thumbs up from me. It does make for awkward, uncomfortable viewing but I think the whole thing comes together really well, and it's all down to the quality of the writing and the acting.
The characters are not easy to like, but I think that is precisely why I LOVE them. They could so easily have been pastiche "flawed and complicated" types, but I think they are utterly, heart-breakingly human, and perfectly capture some of the neuroses that I recognize in myself, my friends and other people of my generation.
Is Adam a creep? Yes, of course he is, but he's so much more than the sex-crazed self-obsessed asshole we meet at the beginning of the show. In truth, Hannah was using him just as much as he was using her even though he appeared to be an abusive jerk and as she (and we) get to know him, he becomes much more interesting, still deeply flawed but much more defined and likeable. The opinion we had of him at the beginning says as much about Hannah as it does about him. Hannah has zero self-esteem, and has been coddled by her parents (great throw-back casting of Becky Ann Baker who also played the mom in Apatow's other great TV show Freaks and Geeks) who don't want their daughter to be hurt and also know that she has grown up in a society/economy that purposely builds a false illusion of what the future might be like. Jessa has been floating from place to place, relationship to relationship, and won't let any of the consequences of her actions ground her in reality, until she had that conversation with the mother of the kids she was baby-sitting, and decided to make the mother of all grounding decisions, but is it really? Marnie probably has the most down-to-earth character arc and Shoshannah is freakin' hilarious (I read her character was supposed to get a lot less screen time but Zosia Mamet did such a great job they decided to write her in permanently), but all characters a very frankly and intelligently written.
So, are the characters likeable? Not by most conventions. Was that threesome scene (and most sex scenes come to think of it) weird and un-sexy? Of course it was, I almost felt physical pain at the sight of Chris O'Dowd trying to act cool and Marnie trying to burn her past in one fell swoop. But asking for those things to be different is asking for a totally different type of show... I'd rather watch this one.