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What I Watched Last Night: HBO’s “Girls”

You know what I said last week? Well, forget it. I take it all back. Well, maybe not all of it, but after watching Sunday’s episode, “All Adventurous Women Do,” I can see the gold nuggets in the pan of silt.

Marnie and Booth Jonathan
Marnie meets her match

The silt: Adam. Again. I give him credit for being initially supportive instead of accusatory when Hannah tells him she has an STD, but I’m taking his gold star away for immediately lying about being tested himself. I’m convinced that what’s so attractive about him to Hannah is that she has to chase him. If he got down on one knee tomorrow, she’d dump him within a week.

The gold: oh, where do I start?

Booth Jonathan. Alright, so he’s no Seeley Booth, but since I don’t know anything about that pants-jizzing thing everyone seems to associate with the actor, I’m just going to say that I loved – LOVED – him stepping into Marnie’s space and puncturing that facade of control she cultivates so carefully with his “the first time I fuck you” comment. Marnie is a submissive, she just doesn’t know it yet. More Booth Jonathan, please.

Shoshanna and “Baggage” and STDs. I had to Google Baggage but the segue from the game show to Shoshanna’s virginity to Hannah’s STD to their reactions to what the other considered her most serious baggage was very touching. I’m not sure I’d be quite as blase about being diagnosed with an STD, but I love that Shoshanna listened and responded without judging.

Jessa. Can you fake that level of confidence? I don’t think so.

Shoshanna and Hannah
Sho is rocking the Snuggie!

Elijah. I’m starting an online petition to have Andrew Rannells join the cast permanently. Who’s with me? There was nothing about Elijah and Hannah that wasn’t awesome in the most awesome way possible. “Oh, Hannah, you were never fat,” he tells her when she asks if she’s changed. “You were soft and round, like a dumpling,” and it’s there in her face when she decides to just let that go. Even when the conversation disintegrates into rancor, it’s pure gold: “It was nice seeing you. Your dad is gay.” I want that on a t-shirt.

Hannah's college boyfriend, Elijah
Can we keep him? Pretty please??

“You couldn’t pay me to be 24 again,” Hannah’s gyn told her, and to that I say, Amen! But I have to admit that for just a twinge of a minute, watching Hannah and Marnie dance with such joy and abandon for no reason other than the sheer fun of it, I was a wee bit jealous. So much so that getting ready for bed later, I turned my radio up and did my own little dance around my bedroom, toothbrush and all.

What do you think? Did this episode change your opinion about the show? Tell me that you loved Elijah, too! Tell me!


48/DWF. "I don't entirely approve of some of the things I have done or am or have been. But I'm me. God knows, I'm me." Elizabeth Taylor

24 replies on “What I Watched Last Night: HBO’s “Girls””

I think it’s important to remember that the star of Girls, Lena Dunham, is also the writer and executive producer. IMDB tells me she’ll be 26 this month, and boy, do I feel unaccomplished, but that’s beside the point.

I also can’t say that I necessarily relate to these characters’ experience because I’m from the southern U.S. (I once wanted to live in NYC, but that was a misguided dream.) I’ve been on my own financially and otherwise since I was 18 and went to college (coughalmosttwentyyearsagocough). I’ve not really had girlfriends (or any friends) for a long period of time due to my lack of trust in others and other issues. I do relate to Hannah’s being with Adam, who is a complete and total asshole. Pretty much every woman I know has gone through a time in her life where she’s mad Bad Choices in men. That’s a much larger issue to explore, of course.

The scene where Hannah is in the bar drinking white wine while waiting on her ex-boyfriend (who is gay) made me want to scream at the TV, but I was watching it at my friend’s house. You have no money, but you are drinking wine in a bar?? The other scene that was a giant WTF: Who masturbates at a work function? (Please don’t tell me if you do; I’d rather live with the fantasy that people keep that at home.)

It’s weird, because I definitely went into watching the first episode of this show wanting to hate it, mainly because I hate the idea of “all 20 somethings as entitled.” I find the way Dunham’s work seems to riff on the theme of the entitlement of recent college grads without really interrogating it to be totally obnoxious. She is just playing into an existing narrative in our society when, in reality, people are graduating with more debt and no job prospects. Most people are working their asses off at a lower grade of pay than their parents and not “living groovy lifestyles” in NYC. Anyways, while that part of the show totally irritates me, there are other aspects that I do relate to 100%. At 22-23, I was definitely in a relationship with someone who “treated my heart like monkey meat.” But I stupidly stayed in it anyways. I thought I was wise and grown up, when in reality I was young and rather naive. I think the show manages to encapsulate that zeitgeist rather well even though it has other huge problems.

The reactions this show gets reminds me of how when I was a teen I kept looking for a show or a movie or a book that really said something true about my experiences up to that point, but everything seemed to fall short.  Now I actually relate a lot to Girls.  If you don’t, you don’t and I don’t see the point in extrapolating further. For what it’s worth, the part of me that relates to Girls is the part of me that relates to Always Sunny.  My friends and I are really fucking annoying.

Meh.  I don’t . . . relate to this show at all.  I don’t think I am supposed to.  First of all, I’m a a northwest girl born and raised and I’ve never understood the undying love of living/trying to survive in New York.  To each their own, it’s cool, but give me my green trees and rain and clean air and space any day. So there’s that.

Second .. . I’m an old now, I guess.   I don’t ever remember being that uneducated about sex/health (once I had started having sex, that is).  HE got tested for HPV . .  what, from his cervical swab?  I mean .. ?    The INTERNETS people.  Let me google that for you.

So I am watching this show and trying not to be judgy but then I realize that the generation being portrayed is stuck in this terrible economy and having to rely on support from parents and such .. . but in the first episode where Hannah was all so freaking over-the-top entitled about telling her parents that they needed to continue to support her 100% (until she is 27?!).   Sympathy for this generation?  You bet.  Sympathy for the entitlement?  NO.

Yeah I’m going to say that I’m not the audience for this show.  I have only watched it because it was on after Game of Thrones and I was too lazy to change the channel.   It is not growing on me.

I definitely don’t relate to the characters (46, divorced, Nashville) and Hannah, frankly, is annoying as fuck.  But after three weeks, I’m finding myself entertained.  Damned by faint praise?  Probably.  But entertained is entertained.

Hannah portrays young women like myself in such a bad light. I’m 21 now, and I’ve been on my own entirely since I was 19, because, even though my parents had the money to support me, my mom was also abusive as fuck, so I cut off all contact with them. I am seriously concerned that I will go through grad school, get my PhD and everything, and not find a job. When I have looked for a job to help pay the bills, NOWHERE wanted to hire me.

I really hate that Hannah is being used as a mirror to my generation. Especially because, the sort of entitlement that she shows is one that comes from the privilege of not having to worry about money. Since so many of us DO have to worry about money, it is so far away from our lives.

Just remember that she is a stereotypical representation of what folks like myself are like. It’s trying to feed what you THINK we’re all like, rather than showing how the vast majority of us are.

I haven’t seen this show, but I find the descriptions rather off-putting. I am in the same age range as the characters and yes I am living at home right now, but I have the common sense to be grateful for the help I get from my parents, and I don’t think that they are the First National Bank of Mom and Dad where I have an unlimited line of credit and zero responsibility to pay anything back. I want to get out of the house, and every one of my peers who is in my position feels the same way. We are grateful to our parents for helping us out, but we would really, really like to not need their help anymore.

I’m in a similar boat as you, since the BF and I are staying at his parents’ house. Like you, I’m grateful for the help, but we do what we can to help contribute, and I can’t wait until we have the means to get the fuck out of there. Not only so we have our own space, but so it’s easier on everyone else!

So many recent graduates end up back in parents’ houses…but how many of them really want to be there??

Here’s the thing, though:  Hannah isn’t just being ‘portrayed’; the character is played by Lena Dunham who is the creator of the show!  Of all of the choices she could have made on how to portray women in their 20s in today’s tough economy THESE are the choices she’s made: Seriously entitled and ungrateful. And dating emotionally abusive idiots who use them for sex.   It’s not just that Hanna is being used as a mirror to your generation.  Lena Dunham – age 26 – is choosing to portray your/her generation this way!  Blargh!!

I actually watched this episode, because the BF and I were sitting around waiting for Game of Thrones to come on!

I think I’m supposed to relate to this. Am I supposed to relate to this? I don’t talk like those women do at all. In fact, I have never interacted with other women in the ways they do. It seemed sort of stereotypical. But then I’ve heard other people talking about how this reminds them of how they and their friends talk. Maybe I’m just feeling resentful because I feel like my sort of Voice and Modes of Interaction get overlooked a lot when people decide to write women-driven things.

That might be part of my dislike. I think I also went into it WANTING to hate it, not only because of what I heard about its sexist and ageist portrayal of white women around my age, but also because of the show’s whitewashing in general.

I also don’t quite get the freakout over finding out an old BF was gay. Why is that a Thing?

Seriously! All the beards I’ve ever met were beards because they were lovely, empathetic considerate people. One of my old friends went out with a girl before he came out – he explained it to me like “I didn’t want to admit I was gay, and she was the person I really wished I could be attracted to because she was so lovely.”

Take it as a bloody compliment…

I know, right? I once had a weird faux-relationship with a gay man that was sort of like that. It really really sucked at the time, but at least he thought that well of me!

In fact, a lot of the gay men I’ve known have been in relationships with women at least in one point in time. Usually it was before they were “out,” and there were often a plethora of reasons for why. I just took it as part of being in a heterosexist society.

I know, right? I once had a weird faux-relationship with a gay man that was sort of like that. It really really sucked at the time, but at least he thought that well of me!

In fact, a lot of the gay men I’ve known have been in relationships with women at least in one point in time. Usually it was before they were “out,” and there were often a plethora of reasons for why. I just took it as part of being in a heterosexist society, as well as a journey of exploration and finding oneself.

I think this might be the only thing I like about the show:

“You couldn’t pay me to be 24 again,” Hannah’s gyn told her

Because oh my god, truth. Anyway, I still can’t get down with this show, even after the positives have spilled out. I live in NYC and I know these women. I’ve worked with them, I’ve encountered them, and I’ve grit my teeth at them.  While there are things in which I know we have a shared experience, to which, I’m happy is being shown on TV, I can’t get down with   how shows regarding New York are always so very white and so very economically well off. I’d almost watch 2 broke girls over this, but even that was like, oh god no, ironic racism, instead of straight up navel gazing.


I can’t get down with   how shows regarding New York are always so very white and so very economically well off.

Truth. I may not live anywhere near New York, but it still bugs the crap out of me!

And as someone who isn’t even 24, all the talk about how it is much better to be past all that makes me kind of eager for the future. :)

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