Did anyone watch GIRLS last night? (If you frequent the same websites I do, that question will sound like a punchline because the amount of coverage this show is getting boggles the mind.) If you haven’t had a chance to see it yet or you, like most of the target demographic it’s aimed at, don’t have HBO, you can stream the pilot at HBO.com right now.
OK, so we’ve all seen it now, yes? Let’s discuss.
It’s tough to talk about something that’s already been dissected so extensively, but I will say that, for a show that is praised for being about likable but flawed characters, that is exactly what it was: likable and flawed. The girls at the center of this narrative are more fully realized than most of those we see on TV (well, Shoshanna was something of a cliche, but it’s only the pilot, and I’ve certainly met people who’d kick off a conversation with SATC references before), and though the cast is overwhelmingly white, my guess is that most of the people Lena Dunham hangs out with in real life are also overwhelmingly white—she’s writing what she knows, and I wish HBO would broadcast more diverse programming but I don’t think it’s Dunham’s responsibility to make that happen. (I do think we should all stop acting like GIRLS represents all women of a certain age because it clearly doesn’t, but again, I don’t see that as Dunhams’ fault.)
However, as someone who has one foot in the GIRLS demographic, and who grew up in the Northwest without much money and has never lived in New York and is kind of tired of pop culture acting like you have to live in New York with a trust fund or you’ll never matter to anyone, I was irritated by all of the characters except for Marnie (bossy, responsible friends FTW!). I suppose it speaks to the “realness” of the portrayals that I could totally imagine Hannah telling her parents that she deserved $1100/month for two years to write essays (framed as a bargain, at that!) and that Jessa would show up to a dinner party two hours late and still be the center of attention. And that guy Justin’s comment that woodworking was more “honest” than acting? So believable (and annoying). From the clothes they wore to that douchebag who cooked opium pods on the stove, this was a pretty complete picture of what (some) girls lives are like (in Brooklyn), and I’m going to tune in next week for more. Anyone else?
In the meantime, some more GIRLS links:
- “Where My Girls At?” by Jenna Wortham (The Hairpin)
- “GIRLS lives up to the hype” by Willa Paskin (Salon)
- “GIRLS recap: You’re on your own, kid” by Emma Straub (Vulture)
- “The Hustle of Girls” by Jonescene on Posterous
- “Girls In White” by Francie Latour (The Hyphenated Life)
- “20 elements of the GIRLS pilot ranked in order from most to least realistic” by Caroline McCarthy
- “Why I’m Deeply Skeptical of HBO’s Super-Hyped Show GIRLS” by Julianne Escobedo Shepherd (Alternet)
- “Feminism and Flawed Women in Lena Dunham’s GIRLS by Kerensa Cadenas (Ms.)
- Sorry, Haters: GIRLS Lives Up to the Hype by Maya Dusenbery (Mother Jones)
Have you read/written anything about the show? Share a link in the comments!
P.S. I, like many other reviewers, did not buy that shower scene. It felt like a forced intimate moment between friends that didn’t need one. And why was Hannah even in the shower if she wasn’t bathing? You know that cupcake would’ve gotten soaked, too.