On the latest episode of HBO’s girls Adam and Ray are forced to hop on a ferry and head over to Staten Island to return a stolen dog (it’s a long story, as always). Ray, one of the Girls’ boys who is almost always in a foul mood, ends up dropping some derogatory (yet admittedly quite funny) statements about Staten Island and its residents. Ken Paulsen of silive.com lays most of them out here:
Staten Island dog owner is crazy: Adam stole the dog because a man — who turned out to be from Staten Island — left the dog leashed outside a coffee shop after yelling at him. “This guy’s intense,” says Adam as he convinces Ray to join him on the trip. “Big face, big head, big bald head. I might need some backup.”
Staten Island women are worthless: Ray says he turned down a threesome with a pair of attractive women solely because they were from Staten Island.
The Staten Island Ferry is pathetic and so are its riders: “Look at these people … hopeless … they know where they’re going,” says Ray with disgust as they step onto a Molinari-class ferryboat.
Staten Islanders rage over the fact that we’re not Manhattan: Here’s how Ray sums it up: “All these people, they want to live in Manhattan but they end up on this … weird little island watching the city in the distance with this quiet rage burning in their hearts.”
Staten Island dog owner’s daughter is a foul-mouthed bigot: The young woman depicted as the daughter of the dog owner could not speak a normal sentence. If she wasn’t bashing gays, she was spewing anti-Semitic venom. When Ray fights back, he does so with a final Staten Island insult: He says the reason she’s so immoral is that she was raised in a “trash heap.”
Mr. Paulsen rightly notes that the episode was written and filmed before the events of super-storm Sandy but was still unimpressed by the show nevertheless.
To be fair: the character delivering the lines isn’t the most beloved guy in the series. The quotes were most likely meant to further agitate viewers towards him. They also may very well correctly represent the views that many NYC residents have about Staten Island. However unfounded, however unfair. Lena Dunham (writer, director and star of Girls) probably took these lines right out of a real life conversation rather than slipping them in with some sort of “anti-staten-island-agenda”. Brooklynites are already known to have an inferiority complex themselves and the projection of that complex on to an apparently less-fortunate burb feels quite realistic to this writer. Perhaps the small grain of truth behind some of the stereotypes is what hurts the most for some.
Look at it this way, Staten Island residents. Remember that episode of Sex and the City where Miranda treats a move across the bridge like being cast out of Eden? I’m pretty sure you were all laughing then. This is the world of entertainment. If you’re not getting an emotional response from your viewers then you’re doing something wrong. And by the looks of the comment section of Ken’s article. It looks like a job well done.
Here’s a recap of the episode for a bit more insight: