I’ll be honest, I’m not massively into watching prime time television.
I don’t get especially excited for a Monday night filled with The Bachelor or, really, any night that either Glee or American Idol are on; I’m more of a “watch an entire season of a show on Netflix, while sitting in my bed eating (insert something like cheese, popcorn, crackers, raisins, etc) after everyone else has already seen it.” It’s a trait I carried over into the real world with me from college and a big part of me refuses to let go of it. However, after I watched the entire first season of Game of Thrones in two sittings (seriously, I have a problem. Call someone.), I realized that — with shows like Veep & Girls coming into play — I was, suddenly, going to have a very kickass Sunday night routine — and all on the same channel! Someone get me a Forever Lazy and a bed pan, because I may never move (Kidding. Gross.).
- Game of Thrones 9-10pm
- Veep 10-1030pm
- Girls 10:30-11pm
While I could hardly contain my excitement to see what happened after Ned Stark was killed, I was –much like everyone else in my age range–really excited about a new HBO show, Girls. Four girls living in the heart of one of the country’s greatest cities, trying to figure out how to manage money, how to find and keep a decent job, & pursue the “American Dream”, all while wading through awkward sex and standard mishaps that are bound to happen because this is 2012 and, sometimes, shit gets weird? Sign me up — I’m all on board.
Unfortunately, when I sat down to watch Lena Dunham, Allison Williams & the other two girls whose real names I don’t care to learn, I found myself utterly affronted. Before you go jumping down my throat and telling me that I need to shut up because Dunham based the show off of her life and her experiences, let me explain that I get that. I do.
That doesn’t mean I don’t also think that she was trying to portray a generation of 20-something women as incompetent sucklings who find themselves unwilling to fail and fall flat on their face every time life throws a sharp corner at them.
Without confronting the race issue that every single blogger/tv watcher/human being has had with this show (in that, hi, there is absolutely no goddamn diversity and, if you’ve ever stepped foot in NYC, you’d know there’s diversity on every corner), we need to all be honest about the fact that a good 75% of what happens on Girls is not only massively unrealistic, but also not something every single person can relate to.
Which is fine. It really really is.
I don’t need to relate to every single tiny thing Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna & Jessa are going through–I don’t’ relate a bit to Cersei Lannister and I can still watch her slap her inbred son and enjoy it thoroughly. So why couldn’t I do the same with Girls? Why, after four episodes, was I still hate watching?
I think my main problem (as halfheartedly mentioned above) stemmed from the fact that I thought these girls on Girls felt that they were so above failing. I mean, it’s no big secret that all of us—men and women, alike—are trying to figure out what we’re doing with our lives, who we want to be, and what we want to do with the rest of the time we are so graciously allowed to step foot on this planet. It’s just not. But that’s like, part of life, ya know? What ever happened to people being able to fall down and realize that that’s like actually an okay thing to do? God forbid, you pick yourself back up by the underwear your fucking parents bought you and figure your own shit out a little bit.
But I digress.
There came a point, probably right towards the end of episode four, where I realized something important:
Just because the girls on Girls were not anything like me, weren’t going through some of the things I was going through and sometimes got themselves into massively half-baked situations, didn’t mean that this show was horrible. It didn’t make the writing bad and it didn’t mean that the situations/predicaments were impossible.
It meant I was writing Girls off before anything on Girls really happened.
I’d read articles and blog posts all over the Internet about how “It [was] just the pilot episode!” and, therefore, I should “Give it time!”, but for whatever retarded reason, I for some reason couldn’t do that. Which, like I said, is retarded.
Jenna Worthham notes that “Girls was supposed to be for the people, by the people. It is for people like me — weaned on Sex and the City, amused by the simple charms of Gossip Girl, and weary of the bromance comedies that rolled through theaters the last two summers like a never-ending heatwave — who were hungry for something relatable, something real…”. But (again, without touching on the race issue because I definitely don’t think I’m the best person to talk on that subject), do we really need to be able to stand hip to hip with Hannah and be like, “Hey, look at me! I have a guy who I dated and he did that exact same thing!?”
I would argue no.
I would argue that we don’t need to be able to see ourselves completely alongside the girls to be able to enjoy the shit they’re going through; to be able to watch the scene where Marnie won’t let Charlie break up with her, but then breaks up with him mid coitus and think about the girl you used to know in high school who was the same way; to wonder why you never see them with a glass of wine in their hand, but constantly a cupcake; to feel uncomfortable when Hannah comes on to her boss, only to find out he really just is grossly handsy; to enjoy television that isn’t filled with on cue laugh tracks and cliche filled dialogue.
Once I could get past that these girls were failing, but just doing it in very different ways –Marnie, relationships; Hannah, job, men, writing, etc.; Shoshanna, v-card; Jess, trying not to be a European skank ever.5 seconds–I realized that I liked the show. I like Girls. I really like Lena Dunham. And I’m going to keep watching the show even though there are things I’m not completely on board with or lights that I think are unfair to portray my generation in.
I’m going to get over not being on board with Girls and hop on the unpopular train of liking it, in hopes of one day loving it as much as, say, Dawson’s Creek.
You can tell me that there are a lot of reasons to not be completely on board with Girls. That’s fine. I’ll probably agree with you. But big fucking deal, because there are also tons of reasons why you should just get over yourself and your hatred of a fucking television show and accept that this is something that isn’t going away & may, possibly, become something worth being enamored over.
We’re only five episodes deep — anything is possible with a second season on the horizon.
Some girls will find themselves in the show in varying degrees, and some won’t. That’s ok. Let’s focus on creating more opportunities for women of all backgrounds and experiences in television and not place such huge expectations on Lena Dunham to fix all of what’s wrong with women in media.
And we all know what’s wrong with women in media.
I don’t even have to say it.
So what do you think? Will you give Girls a chance? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear from you.
Watch Girls every Sunday night at 10:30/9:30c, on HBO.
(Image sources: HBOGo.com, Tumblr)