I honestly don't know whether or not I liked the second episode of GIRLS. I laughed a few times. I think there was a moment where I said, "that's a good point." I know I really enjoyed the wrap blazer Marnie was wearing in one scene, and the music cue the show closed on, but on the whole, I'm confused.
It's the same wonder I wondered after the pilot: is this show supposed to be ironic or realistic? Are they making fun of themselves (and in essence "us" slash formerly "us") or are they saying, "this is how it really is, ridiculous though it may be"?
MANY signs point to the fact that the show is meant to be a combo of an exaggerated/ironic depiction of, "Manhattan girls these days," and a homage to Sex & The City. Examples include:
- Marnie is the sensible, conservative one, and she just so happens to work at an art gallery (just like Charlotte)
- The four girls eat Tasti-d-Lite while chatting about relationship (ala Carrie and Co...8 years ago, before the arrival of Pinkberry and then everything more current than Pinkberry).
- The Shoshannah character talks like the annoying high school-aged sister in a Disney Channel sitcom ("Obv you totes need to...).
- Hannah's relationship with Adam is painfully awkward and brutally one-sided, but feels totally realistic.
- Hannah's fear about the potential STD's you can get from the stuff that gets up inside the condoms is hysterically naive, but in a totally legitimate way. There is that stuff they just don't teach you.
- Jessa's reckless behavior and flightiness about the abortion is over-the-top, but I've known people who behaved the same.
- Hannah has the most awkward sex I've ever seen on a television, film or computer screen with Adam. He treats her like crap, and she takes it because she seems to lack the confidence? knowledge? desire? to do otherwise. I think she thinks this is how it's supposed to be. I feel sad for her, but I've also been her, so points for accuracy.
- Marnie has the most boring sex I've ever seen on television, film or computer screen with her boyfriend Charlie. They've been together for four years plus he's too nice, sooo, I'm not sure. It would appear she wants something that he is not but instead of breaking up with him to attempt at finding it elsewhere, she wants to say this line, "he's so busy respecting me that he can't stop looking past me to see what I need." Please god let that be an ironic representation of a female statement. Please.
- Jessa? (is that her name? I can't tell) is going to have an abortion because she is pregnant and does not want to be. The other girls are being sensitive about this (making her an appointment, going with her, etc.), but she doesn't want any of that, so she blows off the appointment to go bang some guy in the bathroom of a dive bar...where she orders a White Russian. (what is it with the 90s references in this show??) While having sex with said some guy, she gets her period, meaning she's no longer pregnant. This does not stop her from having sex (marking the 3rd atrocious sex scene I've never before seen on a screen of any size or variety).
- Oh, somewhere before the abortion-that-didn't-happen scenes Jessa, Hannah and Shoshannah talk about this book "Listen up Ladies" (or something like that) that is essentially "He's Just Not That Into You" (again, on purpose?). Shoshannah reads about page that's like, "If he doesn't want to take you on a date, he's not really interested in you. Hanging out doesn't count." And Hannah is like, "wait, really?" And Jessu is like, "Who are 'the ladies' they're referring to?" and Shosh is like, "we're the ladies." And Jessu is like, "I'm not a lady," and Hannah is like, "well, maybe we're not the ladies." And Shosh is like, "No, we're totes the ladies, " (direct quote), and Jessue is like, "well maybe I don't want to be the ladies. Why is everyone always trying to force behavior on us," which was actually sort of a poignant statement about who we're supposed to be and what we're supposed to behave like in our 20's, but ultimately it just means that if Jessa wants to be disrespected and reckless, she can and will. I think I like this scene, but I'm not sure...again.
- Hannah goes in a job interview where she has a bizarre, flirty interaction with the interviewer. It goes incredibly well, owing to this bizarre, flirty interaction, and it seems like Hannah is going to get the job, but then she makes this joke about the guy having been a date rapist in his time at Syracuse, and he's like, "yeah, that's not appropriate for the work place, so this is probably not going to work out." If this was intended to point out that Hannah has no idea how to function as an adult, it worked. If this was supposed to endear me toward her in any way, it didn't work.
- Hannah decides that if Jessa is going to have an abortion then she should use this party-at-the-OBGYN opportunity to get STD tests. She is certain that she has AIDS or some other STD because the gunk that gets up into the sides of the condoms can leak out, probably. It's this whole complicated theory that makes some sense if you're a hypochondriac and/or have no idea how condoms work, but I thought it was funny, I think. That is, until she took it to the point of telling the gyno that she thinks maybe she wishes she actually has AIDS because it would take the pressure off not having a boyfriend/job/income/etc. I believe this was intended to be a low moment in the show where we realize that Hannah is painfully silly and immature. It worked.
A important side note: In the week since its premiere, GIRLS has received a LOT of backlash. People are upset because none of the GIRLS are any other race but white. Other people are upset because some reviewers (male and female) have objectified Lena Dunham's looks and body. Then there are people who are upset because the show is one massive example of the fact that nepotism runs Hollywood.
I care about all of those things, but not when it comes to evaluating the actual content of this show. When it comes to that, I'm still at a loss. I don't know if I'm supposed to like these girls or hate them (right now I'm mostly indifferent). I don't know if they're making an important commentary about these times or just highlighting the worst examples of the worst times in our 20s. It's like I said to a friend last night, "I feel like I'm watching a depiction of the worst versions of everyone I know." But maybe that's exactly what this show is supposed to be?
I will say this; it's brave. It's brave to not try to just be jokey or just be dramatic. Whatever it is that the creative team behind this show is trying to do, it's different, and it's not simple. Regardless or whether I'm entertained by that or not, I appreciate that it's something I've never seen before.
What do you think? What am I missing? And how much is my opinion based on my current (vs. former) place in life?