Girls thoughts two

* And likely final. When your zeal for making your characters contemptible extends to not bothering to make them interesting to watch, ya blew it.

I understand how exciting it is to see yourself and your peer group represented on a show run by your peer group, and I like to think I can at least see what that would mean in gender terms from where I’m standing as a dude as well, though obviously I’ll never fully feel the impact of the gender disparity in pop culture the way the people on the losing end do. And I’m legit excited about the abortion storyline making it on to TV the way it did. But that’s about all this has going for it, best I can tell.

Lena Dunham aims for warts-and-all and winds up with all-warts, to the point where the characters are incoherent, and not in a Whitmanesque containing-multitudes way. That poor square virgin character, for example, reacts to the news that Hannah’s getting an STD test by saying “Fun!” and meaning it, at least until her friends talk her down. This is something no actual human being would ever say or think, but she does because we’re meant to find her ridiculous, and for Dunham any weapon to hand will do. Ditto whatsername, the one who’s not Hannah and not the British person and not the square virgin — she’s upset that she hasn’t had an unplanned pregnancy? How does that square with wanting her boyfriend to be less of a milquetoast? Or with, you know, being a recognizable human person? Comedy is obviously about exaggeration and distortion — see also the opening sex scene with Hannah’s grotesque fuckbuddy, which stacked the deck horrendously and wasn’t funny but which at least stemmed from familiar human behavior. Hannah’s friends, on the other hand, are just a collection of tics and neuroses and random embarrassing things (moving to New York because of Rent). That in turn made me less forgiving even toward the understandable caricaturing of the bit players.

Most fundamentally, though, once again I found myself sitting through a half-hour comedy during which I could count the laugh-out-loud moments on one hand with fingers to spare (for the record again: “What if I want to feel like I have udders? This woman doesn’t speak for me.” and “When they pull out, it’s fucking mayhem.”) Whatever else they’ve got going for them, whatever else they bring to the pop-culture table, horror is supposed to be scary, smut is supposed to be sexy, and comedy’s supposed to be funny. So, pass.

5 Responses to Girls thoughts two

  1. Kiel Phegley says:

    We’ll probably give it as long as Thrones in running. I won’t deny that the “Fun!” line stood out to me as ridiculously unrealistic as well, but I’m willing to gives shows like this some wiggle room to find out what the real personalities of their characters are.

    Also: I think I think it’s funnier than you do, and Jami seems to laugh at it more than me and at different jokes than me, which is fun to watch in its own right.

  2. Tim O'Neil says:

    Again, we’re on completely different wavelengths here – I thought this show was very, very funny from beginning to end. I like the fact that it’s not afraid to make the characters complete idiots – considering how often we’re given unpleasant characters who are nonetheless supposed to be “identifiable” because they have “heart of gold” or “redeemable qualities,” the idea of watching a show that is just completely savage towards its main characters is quite refreshing.

  3. Davey Oil says:

    Hey, didj’a ever notice that the commenters on this blog, especially the ones who are critics themselves, are really good at disagreeing without turning into monsters and tearing Sean’s face off?

    I LOVE that!

    Haven’t seen the show yet. I love upending the patriarchy, I like Voices of A Generation and I find physical intimacy yucky already, so I might be target audience material but I really do hate stupid-on-purpose. All things Kevin Smith, except the guy himself, just bug me. Ditto a lot of Tarentino, at least character-wise. Yeah, unless your name is Joey Ramone, playing it dumb is usually just going to feel dumb to me.

    But I’ll give it a shot.

  4. I haven’t seen Girls but have heard so many mixed things it makes my head spin figuring out if it’s good, bad, funny, stupid, or what.

  5. [...] captivating or sympathetic. (For a spot-on analysis of Girls on this front, I’d check out Sean T. Collins’s blog post about one of the early episodes. One bullet point: “When your zeal for making your characters [...]

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