Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Girls. Oh, Girls.

Why must you cause the internet to become such a twisted-panties wasteland?  You're not appointment television for me, primarily because I am not rich enough to be able to pay for cable.  More on that later.  So I must watch you in the way that most people of your viewing demo do, on the internet.  Which leads right back into my first problem.  Watching you on the internet causes me to read comments about you on the internet.  And while they don't affect my opinion of the show, it definitely doesn't make me want to watch it regularly.  Or pay for cable.

In case you spend your time on the internet doing noble things, let me catch you up to speed.  Girls is a TV show created, written by and starring Lena Dunham.  People get very passionate about the show, both negatively and positively.  The gist of the entire show is privileged hipsters with zero self-awareness trying to "find" themselves in their 20's in the wild jungles of….gentrified Brooklyn.  No hate on that.  If you're a kid with some money (or more likely, parents with some money who live in Manhattan), Brooklyn is where you're supposed to be.  Which leads to the first big criticism of the show that I can't bring myself to refute.

The minute that a character's struggle is juxtaposed with the knowledge that, upon graduating from the liberal arts college of choice, they are living off the teat of their parents while they do this soul-searching introspection, you lose me.  I'm not trying to get all "Toby Keith's I Love This Blue Collar Comedy Bar and Grill" on you but semi-serious introspection is a lot easier to hyper-focus on when you don't have to get up for work, go into a job you hate and worry about keeping the lights on.  If the point of Girls is not desperately praying their parents cut them off and they all have to go work in a call center or donut shop, then I am watching for all the wrong reasons.

What's that you say, Girls apologists?  The characters aren't necessarily supposed to be sympathetic or relatable or even bearable?  No, no I get that.  And trust me, the only truly redeeming current-ish TV character I genuinely like is 30 Rock's little Kenneth Ellen Parcells from Stone Mountain, Georgia.  My favorite TV character from the past 10 years is probably Kenny Powers, who is the literal antithesis of redeemable, likable or even occasionally decent.  I don't need the characters in Girls to be flawless, unselfish humans.  I just need the characters to not be exalted for how relatable and authentic they are because they are only authentic if you are a very sheltered and incredibly self-centered human.  

Which brings me to the show's creator, Lena Dunham.  I don't dislike her at all.  I think she's a genuinely funny, self-deprecating and intelligent woman.  The one thing I will defend to the death about the show is Dunham's choice to show her naked body in all of its chubby, panty lined realness.  And anyone who uses Dunham's looks as a critique against the show can go kick a million rocks, as far as I'm concerned.  If anything is genuinely authentic about the show, it's that few of us have model's bodies or features and despite that, many of us think we can pull off harem pants or romper suits or whatever splatter-painted hell jeans H&M is currently churning out.  

But that one redeeming feature, along with some ocassionally good zings and one liners, isn't enough to distract from the fact that the show completely ignores the privilege of both the main characters and the actors who play them.  Enough has been said about the showbiz/moneyed background of the four leads.  If you're not familiar, Google that shit.  What  the fuck do I look like, Ask Jeeves? 

If you've ever been a writer, musician, comedian, actor or creative-type person, do this right now.  Find your first blog.  Find a video of your first few open mics.  Listen to your first demos or a notebook of your first lyrics.  They're pretty fucking awful, right?  You thought you were a lot more clever and deep than you really were, didn't you?  That's ok, it happens to the best of us.  I'll refrain from cracking open this notebook (with a homemade collage of Camus quotes on the first page) that served as the 2003 thought vomit trough of 22 year old Amanda Cobra.  But trust me, that shit is terrible.  And I probably thought I was saying some real next-level, real-time shit when I was writing it.  But that's what your 20's are for, thinking you're way more important than you are.

So once the characters from Girls all lose their parental assistance, have to go figure out how to pay for their brownstone apartment on the $300 a week they get from writing spam ads and realize that they are not the precious little deviant daffodils they believe they are, I'm on board.  Until then, I'm afraid we're going to have to agree to disagree the show's supposed greatness.