Archive | January, 2013

I Really, Really Like “Girls”

21 Jan

As a twenty-something girl who can barely maintain a blog, hasn’t had anything published since college and can’t take time out of the day to even read and subsequently gush about The Fountainhead anymore, I am supposed to hate twenty-six year-old Lena Dunham, who is now an award-winning writer, producer and actress of her smash TV show “Girls.” I don’t hate Lena, though. In fact, I kind of want to be her friend.

hannah horvath, lena dunham, hbo series girls

I won’t pretend that I was a “Girls” fan from the offset. I saw a preview for it a few weeks before the pilot aired, and it seemed like that horrible mix of awkward comedy, hipster quips and drug-fueled party scenes that tend to send me running in the other direction. I heard about the show winning a Golden Globe, I watched Lena give her speech and I immediately went to HBO Go to start watching the series from the beginning. A week and twelve episodes later, I found myself listing the many reasons why I love and identify with “Girls” while taking a shower today (seriously, I can never turn my brain off). I’m sure that a lot of amazing reviews have been done for this show, and I really don’t give a hoot. Here it is, WordPress – enjoy your millionth “Reasons Why I Love ‘Girls’” blog post. I’m not sorry.

Why Do I Love “Girls”?

It is the Only TV Show Set in New York That Doesn’t Make Me Insanely Jealous that I Don’t Live in New York

Lena has admitted that “Girls” is very much a “Sex and the City” for twenty-somethings. While this is somewhat true, there are many deviations, one being the fact that the four girls in Lena’s show are not partaking in the quintessential New York life – think brunch in fancy restaurants, shoe shopping, eating ice cream (or jogging, or hitting on hot men with cute dogs) in Central Park, partying in night clubs where they always cut to the front of the line and hot sex with millionaires. Instead, the show touches upon the economy and receiving money from their parents just to get by, the girls’ inabilities to pay rent or even find decent jobs despite their college degrees, sleeping with men who are most likely sociopaths and panicking over STD tests and pregnancy scares. The party scenes are few and actually play a part in the story or development of characters, and the clothing is less Prada and more Goodwill.

It is Unapologetic

Did you ever think you’d see a show where a man is lying on a bed asking Lena’s character, Hannah, to urinate into a pot because he’s too lazy (sorry, “in pain”) to get out of bed? How about watching a girl struggle to pull down her tights as she’s attempting to have sex with her super weird boyfriend-that-isn’t-really-a-boyfriend? This show is full of awkward, weird scenes that I’m sure many people find uncomfortable. The reason why they are uncomfortable is because they remind us, whether we are in our twenties or not, that we all do really stupid things when we are young and that the mid-twenties are less about confidence and more about trying to hide your anxiety. The show portrays both sides of the relationship spectrum for twenty-somethings: the hookup culture and “comfort” relationships that stemmed in college and have fizzled out but stayed intact due to being a security blanket. Neither situation, as the show points out, is a happy one. As Hannah says, “I just want someone who wants to hang out all the time, thinks I’m the best person in the world, and wants to have sex with only me.”

It Has a “Real” Woman

One of my favorite shows right now simply because it proudly shows a woman who would be considered overweight by Hollywood’s standards is “The Mindy Project.” I absolutely love Mindy Kahling and think her confidence and figure are gorgeous. I didn’t know of any other shows that featured a healthy-sized woman until I started watching “Girls.” As many reviews say, Lena’s character continues to be naked in the show in a way that makes you wonder if the entire point is not for her to be naked, but to teach viewers a lesson. Her body is not toned, skinny or tattoo-free, and her hair is barely done nicely on most days, and this gives “Girls” a raw and refreshing feel. I really commend Lena Dunham for showing the unpolished, real side of everyday women. I think it may be the only “girly” show I’ve watched where I haven’t felt ugly, fat and without nice designer clothes. It’s real; it’s not selling sex, makeup and clothing and I would support the show on this fact alone, even if the writing was awful.

Men Aren’t the Saviors

I am not sure if Lena Dunham is a feminist, but her show definitely has some feminist overtones. Every man introduced on the show, whether it is Hannah’s father, her so-called boyfriend or the man Marnie is dating is there to let us as the audience make judgment calls on exactly what is considered a healthy relationship for a twenty-something woman. Is the man-child who has temper issues, is disgustingly lazy and belittles women unless they are there for sex considered a good person to date? What about the man who loves his girlfriend so much and is so sweet and emotional that he actually turns the girl off? What about the young man who doesn’t “do” virgins and rejects the girl who tells him she is one? “Girls” doesn’t point fingers or show which men are right, wrong, perfect or crazy. Instead, nothing is said – in fact, the audience knows that Hannah is in a very unhealthy relationship much, much quicker that she herself realizes in the show.

“Girls” is probably one of the best shows I’ve ever watched, and it’s not because it’s well-written, has great actors and is original. It is because it is the only fictional show I have ever seen on television that lets young women feel okay about the changes, struggles and situations that they are going through. It is the only show where I’ve laughed not because a scene is funny, but because I never once thought that other girls had gone through things that I have. That validation is worth its weight in gold, or maybe just worth paying extra for HBO. 

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