“You know what I’m gonna do from now on, I’m gonna ask people if they’re gay before I have sex with them.”
Your not going to find many Baby Boomers singing praises to HBO’s hit new series, ‘Girls.’ The simple truth is that ‘Girls’ is not for everyone. Let me repeat: GIRLS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. It takes a specific taste, a specific knowledge of pop-culture, a specific sense-of-humor to fully comprehend and appreciate this revolutionary series and its witty characters. Executive Producer, Judd Apatow and Writer/Director, Lena Dunham have created a series thats bold and new – a breath of fresh air. Yet many keep their distance. Caught off guard by the show’s trivial characters and storyline. Some go as far as to declare the show racist. To some extent the critics make good points. So how can a show thats been so heavily scrutinized be green lit for another two seasons? The show obviously appeals to a wide variety of women but what about the guys? What is it about ‘Girls’ that keeps the audience coming back?
I first tuned in to ‘Girls’ last year with a doubting chip on my shoulder. To be honest the only reason I watched in the first place was because of Judd Apatow’s EP credit. But even then it took me a while to warm up to the show. The critics are right in many respects, the characters gave me little reason to empathize. Sure their funny but witty dialogue only goes so far if theres nothing at stake. What do these characters have to lose? Our protagonist, Hannah, bitches and moans about getting a job and paying rent because she feels her ‘essays’ are one read away from becoming a New York Times Bestseller. That plus a healthy combination of self-loathing and laziness leaves little to be desired. The girl can’t even break down a box.
Other storylines revolve around young love, virgin insecurities, the backlash of a free spirit, and the inevitable battle against time and growing up. Trivial, I thought. But then I sat back and wondered – I’ve been so absorbed with shows like ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Boardwalk Empire’ and Hollywood blockbusters that I presumed that if the end of the world wasn’t at stake then the show holds no merit. Thus it occurred to me – trivial is the point. These are the struggles many of us go through every day – paying rent, chasing dreams, falling in and out of love, transitioning into adulthood. Trivial, perhaps, but true nonetheless.
Perhaps I’m just another sad, pathetic patron of (in the words of Aaron Sorkin) the Worst (period) Generation (period) Ever (period) or perhaps theres some underlying truth behind ‘Girls.’ Each character’s personality represents someone I’ve known at some point in my life. I find it hysterical how accurately these characters are portrayed. I get that Ben Stiller-esque so-embarrassing-its-hard-to-watch feeling whenever Hannah tries to outwit her competition. Her character tends to thrive off her inability to perform anything without some sort of awkward undertone. The other ‘Girls’ fall under the umbrella of their respected stereotypes, giving the show a sense of authenticity and a comforting reassurance that I’m not completely insane – girls can be crazy. Like Shoshana – yes, those really do exist. In fact, two of them are sitting right behind me as I write this article. I’m sure women would say the same thing about men. It’s an ongoing cycle.
So what is it that keeps guys interested in ‘Girls?’ First off, Marnie and Jessa are extremely sexy. That helps. It’s a shame we only get to see Hannah naked. I think we can all do without that. The show’s soundtrack is on point. I can’t help but smile along with the characters as they rock out. Anyway, like any Judd Apatow production the show’s comedy is intertwined with a serious message to all those who are going out into the world for the first time. To put it simply – quality storytelling. Each character portrayed in the show has their own unique story. Each goes through times of hardship and success. Each character’s decision effects the group, giving their actions more weight.
Adam, Hannah’s love interest, serves as the primary voice for men in the show. The dude gives it to you straight. No bullshit. Unorthodox, perhaps, but that doesn’t diminish his passion or insight. Personally, I find it refreshing when he rips apart Hannah’s arguments. If only I had the balls to pull something like that off without getting slapped in the face. Ray also keeps the masculinity of the show upbeat through his non-filtered dialogue. Charlie, well, not so much. But thats the point. Men and women are so stuck in their ways that its rare to find an authentic culmination of both in a single show. ‘Girls’ is more than that. There’s a reason the show is entitled ‘Girls’ and not ‘Women’. The characters are growing, changing, adapting. Its hard to be stuck in your ways if you don’t know your way.
I’m 23 years old. I’m a motha’ f***** 90s baby and proud of it. I graduated college in 2011 and have been scraping by ever since. Sure I have dreams, but like any ambitious soul theres always a measure of doubt. I connect with the show because the characters are going through the same struggles that I’m going through. Its a show about youth. The realization that your on your own, the struggle it takes to maintain a relationship, and yes, paying rent. Its the same reason why people like a good love song – everyone has had their heart lifted or broken. Put some rhythm to that shit and I’m in. The same principle holds true for ‘Girls.’ Perhaps enough for an older generation to remember the excitement and uncertainty of youth. In the end, you just have to give it a chance.
What keeps you interested in ‘Girls?’ Share your thoughts and join the conversation below.