Sure, I will tell you about Girls!
I almost don’t know what to say though, because I just liked it so much, from start to finish! I don’t really have a negative thing to say about it, so you should just know that going in. If you’re a Girls-hater you shall find no companionship in these pages. It’s also hard to write about something that’s been written about so hysterically and constantly.
I of course am aware of all the reasons other people hate Girls–because it’s about rich white people, primarily, I think–and I can logically empathize with that criticism. However, I think this criticism should be lobbed primarily at networks and studios who keep thinking there is only one type of person we want to see on our screens, rather than at the people actually making these things. Because, Lena Dunham is a rich white person. So, is she supposed to (a) make a TV show about poor black women? That would be really awkward, right? Some rich white girl being like “Let me tell your story” or something? Or is she supposed to (b) not make a TV show at all because her subject position is awkwardly hegemonic? Same with Sofia Coppola. Oh, those movies are just about rich girls. Well, you write what you know. I’m so sure you’d all be happy if Wes Anderson made a movie about AIDS in Africa! That would be so fucked up! That’s not his story to tell and everyone would be offended. Anyway I’d rather be mad at HBO than at Dunham herself, or at her show. Because the show itself is pretty impeccable, just taken on its own merits. AND, regardless of the subject matter, I am pretty much ALWAYS going to be in favor of stuff created by, written by, directed by, concerned with, and starring, WOMEN. Women of any color or creed. I am on the side of women.
I thought it was easily the best pilot I’ve ever seen. Usually it takes me 4 episodes to decide I don’t hate a show, but with Girls I was immediately fully won over. I think the casting is spectacular, the dialogue is so smart and so consistently funny, the scenarios just zany enough to be delightful. I also kind of don’t understand how someone could be as self-aware about the experience of her age group as Lena Dunham is. When I was 24 I certainly did not have insight into what 24 looks like from the outside. That scene where she’s telling her gynecologist that maybe she actually wishes she had AIDS, and then the doctor so grimly says “you could not pay me enough to be 24 again,” I thought that scene was so great, so real. The obliviousness of youth, even unusually smart youth. I know Dunham grew up kind of a weirdo and her best friends were her parents and her parents are weirdo experimental artists so maybe that’s part of it.
I loved that just when I was getting tired of these awful, wretched, selfish girls, we got that episode where each of them was seen through the eyes of others, and the whole experience got way deeper and more nuanced. I am impressed by what I consider to be the fastest turn-around in cinematic history, in the form of how quickly one’s feelings about Adam change. And in retrospect, it’s so cool how we, the viewer, only saw him through Hannah’s eyes, and because she wasn’t interested in him as a person, he always appeared to be doing something mystifying, with a blow torch or a vise or something, and in her selfishness she never really thought to notice or inquire about it, which meant it remained mystifying to us too, until the episode where we see her from his point of view and suddenly he snaps into focus as an actual character for us.
This is obviously a cliché and I resent that we even have to talk about it, but I appreciate Lena Dunham’s apparent desire to have people look at her body, again and again. Her body, which is not the usual television body, THANK YOU for pointing that out, every review of this show that has ever been written including this one, but a body which is nonetheless featured as a site of pleasure, as a desired sexual body, as a body capable of having fun and doing stuff like a fucking normal human being’s body. I think that’s pretty powerful and I enjoy it A LOT. I am of the opinion that if we could all see each other naked there would be no more wars. I want to see EVERY PERSON IN THE WORLD naked. It’s incredibly liberating and makes you feel so tender toward everybody and toward yourself! All of us with our weird different bodies, none of them the same, all of them getting the job done. Dunham looks great, because pretty much everyone looks great. THAT’S the reality we actually live in. All these hateful articles about her “blobby” body and how it’s unrealistic that boys would want to have sex with her! Good lord. Boys want to have sex with all kinds of people, and people want to have sex with all kinds of boys. That’s real, that’s the actual world the rest of us inhabit, and I don’t understand what these hate-writers are talking about. They think that only skinny model-types have sex in this world, are desirable in this world?? Jesus, get a life. Look around you.
I think the characters are interesting, I think the show is developing them really smartly. I think all the actors are great. I love David Mamet’s daughter! What a weirdo! I laugh at every episode, and also I think we should not overlook the great service Girls does for mankind, which is to make you SO GLAD YOU ARE NOT 24 ANY MORE AND WON’T EVER BE AGAIN. An additional service it does for us is to make us literally thank god that we came of age before the internet and internet porn and texting and whatever. Oh my sweet lord, I am so happy to be 35.
So yeah. Body love, jokes, clever writing, a whole show filled with women having lives and doing stuff, schadenfreude, what’s not to like?