Girls thoughts reconsidered

Girls episode four was very funny and very mean, which is great. Lena Dunham really has figured out how to take everyone’s worst characteristics, exaggerate them, and use them to smack around the other characters Punch-and-Judy-style. No, I don’t know anyone who’d be as openly repulsive as the bongo playing guy or Hannah’s boyfriend, or who’d be as acquiescent to sexual harassment as Hannah and her coworkers, or who’d be as vapid and pretentious as the British girl, but a) as Daniel Clowes put it, “Likeable characters are for weak-minded narcissists,” and b) I also don’t know anyone even a little bit like Kramer or George Costanza, or Basil Fawlty, or Blanche Deveraux, or Doctor Steve Brule, and on and on and on. It’s a comedy, and at this point it’s firmly established itself as a comedy of exaggeration which (contra the slapdash, any-weapon-to-hand first couple of episodes) is at least exaggerating recognizable human foibles, so who cares?

But that pretty much eliminates my desire to write about the show anymore, even though I’m absolutely going to keep watching and, hopefully, enjoying it as much as I’ve enjoyed the past couple weeks. I don’t have a whole lot to say about sitcoms, as a critic. So much rides on just being funny, and being funny forces characters into situations and narratives that defy the kind of writing about character and theme that I do. In a comedy, even the details of performance and appearance I like to focus on boil down to whether or not they made a joke better. I look at people who write about Community (a show I enjoy) the way they write about Mad Men (a show I enjoy) and it seems so foreign to me, like hearing your favorite song sung in Esperanto. I’m sure Hannah and company will “grow,” but that’s the thing I’m least interested in discussing, unless the growth is set-up for a punchline.

But it’s a good show, you should watch it.

Tags: , , ,