Ever wondered whether single life in New York is really like Sex and the City?

Girls, written, directed and starring Lena Dunham, is a bittersweet homage to HBO's influential hit TV series Sex and the City.

It follows the lives of four young college graduates trying to find jobs and love in a big city but who find it's not quite the fairytale life enjoyed by Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte in the freewheeling 1990s.

This is about girls who aren't from New York, but they grew up watching 'Sex and the City' and thought they were going to live the dream, and now that they've arrived, it's something decidedly different, Dunham told television critics on Friday.

Dunham, 25, first made an impact in 2010 with her debut independent film, Tiny Furniture, which she wrote, directed and starred in as a young graduate struggling to adapt after returning home to New York City after college.

Dunham said Girls, which debuts on HBO in April, was closely based on her own experiences. She plays a character who has to deal with reality when her parents cut her off financially and she loses her unpaid internship.

We've all been really conscious of making sure that it's clear that they're trying their hardest and that they make mistakes, but they're also working towards something, said Dunham.

You realize that it's ok to be annoyed by them, that they're making terrible mistakes, there's a sense of self-entitlement, said executive producer Judd Apatow.

Apatow, producer of the female-led box-office hit comedy Bridesmaids, said he loved the geeky aspect of Girls.

It's really a golden era for talented women in comedy, he said. I love underdogs and people making awful mistakes. There's a female geekdom to the show that I appreciate.