Jun Shen delves into the world of the fairer sex with their cooties, ovaries, and everything in between. All of it put out on display in one glorious mess of unadulterated, and strikingly funny, beauty. Yes, he’s talking about Girls.
I didn’t know who the hell Lena Dunham was until she won a Golden Globe. I always knew there was this show that kept popping up on the fringes of my periphery, I mean it is mentioned a great deal on Badass Film Digest, even FILM CRIT HULK has thrown in his massive green fists to discuss the sheer significance of the series. But I was still like “meh”. Then my girlfriend was like “oh this show has weird sex” and then I was like omg I have to totes catch it, and so I did, and hell, this show is just more than one award-winning actress and a lot of weird sex (which I will come back to).
It’s got some of the most funniest, smartest writing I’ve ever had the pleasure of coming across on TV, as well as the self-deprecating look at some really fleshed out characters. Out of all the TV shows I’ve been watching of late, no show has me writing down more punch-out stellar lines from it as much as Girls –
“You better stay out of my emotional way”
“I so don’t get attached when I bleed, it’s like amazing, I’m like totally not an attached bleeder”
“I’m so happy to see you I could murder you”
“Well, I don’t know whose dick you had to suck to get that part, because your voice sounds like a bag of dying babies”
“No one could ever hate me as much as I hate myself, okay? So any mean thing someone’s got to say about me, I’ve already said to me, about me, probably in the last half hour!”
Here’s the thing. As much I hate to admit it, I have a sensitive side too, that I hide under all these layers of machismo. But whenever an episode of Girls rolls along, it’s like I got to put my ovaries out there along with the best of ‘em. This show is an open book to all the kookiness that makes and breaks the fairer sex. They sit on the throne with the door right open; they don’t look their best behind closed doors, and generally are just making quite the mess with their lives. And they are more beautiful for it. No TV show to date has pushed the point about young 20-something chicks and their inner-most fears and beliefs as hard as Girls does.
A lot of people complain about how whiny or self-centered the leading women in this show are, but that’s the whole point isn’t it?
And that’s why in spite of how much I abhor the main protagonist Hannah (played by Dunham herself), I just want to keep watching what horrible situations and antics she gets herself into. I like that she isn’t your average good-looking-for-TV actress, and she’s winning it for women with self-esteemed issues everywhere. Cause if Hannah has this many hang ups about everything, then you don’t seem half as bad. And that’s a good thing for people to feel.
I find that Shoshanna is the most hilarious creature who is wildly intelligent despite her ohemgee-and-el-oh-el mannerisms, and Marnie is not as stuck-up as everyone makes her out to be. Her struggle with her internal compass is honorable, but even more so that she tries so hard to do the right thing and we can never fault anyone for that.
But what surprises me even more is how great the male characters in this show are. They aren’t your average vapid good-looking-for-TV dudes either. No Chuck Basses and whatevers here. Just funky, dorky, and weird guys. Adam Sackler is probably a hero for all women everywhere with his wealth of wisdom, and they are secretly fascinated by his penchant for weird sex and general oddity in behaviour (like playing with Hannah’s fat, which I’m sure no woman enjoys). Early on he was portrayed as the biggest douche and enemy to women with the way he treats Hannah with such nonchalance, but he grows on you with his awkward affection and past struggles. I have sort of the teensiest of mancrushes on him because of his artistic sensibilities.
“I would rather do nothing for the rest of my life than have my name attached to something mediocre. Your integrity is all that matters”
“Sometimes you say shit that sounds made up”
“Save your strength. We’re in it for the long haul”
Ray is another hilarious dude, because for such a slacker-looking casual dresser, he has the sharpest tongue he holds for nobody.
“What color is that? Awkward marine?”
“Forget all the BBC you watch at home with your cats and come back with an appropriate outfit.”
“I don’t like it when you assfuck my best friend in the heart.”
Hell, even Elijah Krantz, Hannah’s gay ex-bf turned roomie is also a hoot.
The relationships in this show goes beyond just being about a battle of the sexes, to a battle of ideologies – Hannah can’t really believe that she could score such an affectionate and deeply thinking dude as Adam, and is why she throws him away all the time; Marnie’s direction in life is thrown out on a loop and the only way she can assert any sort of self-control is in the way she uses her body, whether it is having sex with gay-guy Elijah or artist-nut Booths. One thing I can’t stand about American TV most of the time is the way most shows treat the interchanging of partners as a hyper-casual thing. Motivation is important, and it must be deep and convincing enough for an action to be taken, and I just believe that at every turn, Girls makes a heck load of sense.
This extends to its portrayal of friendship. No show is more fearless than Girls at getting the girlfriends to catfight it out with all their sharpest claws and fangs bared, to the point that I wince, and then realize that this is how honest best friends can get with each other – even if they have to come out the other side bruised and battered.
Oh, yeah and the weird sex. It’s not actually weird. It’s only weird because this isn’t pretty sex that we usually get on TV or movies. Unless we’re Patrick Batemen with the camera and mirrors set up so we can always watch ourselves and our partners fucking, it sometimes just looks really awkward and not as hot as in a porn movie. Basically, what Girls is saying is that behind every closed door, everyone’s got a sex kink and that’s okay. Lena Dunham also pulls out her funbags several times, and there is just such an affirmation that she ain’t doing it to sexualize herself, it is just plain fun. And that’s what the show is all about. Plain fun, in spite of all the shit these women put themselves through.
What makes great art is one where there is a strong tension that could pull the work in two different ways – Lena Dunham has clearly crafted an honest show about women, and yet it is also the most objectifying of their psyches. And I’ll be damned if it isn’t what keeps me glued to the screen every week.
Oh and the soundtrack is really great. The song that plays at the end of every episode is a great one.
So I’m going to end all the smart shit I’ve written here with the most amazing tumblr related to Girls I’ve found yet. All the gifs featured in this post is from there. Thank me later.