My Blog__ “Girls” & Boy:

April 27, 2012 | By

After the first episode of HBO's Girls, my boyfriend said that he wasn't very into it. Fair enough, dude. It's no surprise that a show called Girls is overly female centric. I recorded our conversation after we watched the 2nd episode to share with you his (and mine, I interrupt all the time) thoughts on Lena Dunham's new show.

On subject matter

girl: What do you think of Girls?

boy: I think it’s great that there’s a show that’s talking about abortion and STDs from a female perspective--

girl: --or at all.

boy: --but at the same time, the women you know or you talk to, you’ve been talking about these kind of issues for a long time so it’s almost more like, wow, television is so behind the times with telling women’s stories. I’m not trying to sound like some crazy feminist guy here or something but none of this stuff is revolutionary, topically, but on TV we rarely see these types of stories.

girl: I think it marks a progression of societal acceptance of these topics because, yes, many women I know talk openly about abortion and STDs but that's not always the case. With some of my friend's it's open and with some friend's it's not. It's really shrouded in shame and it's very personal and I guarantee you that I have friends who've had abortions that I don't know about and they will likely never say anything about it. I think this stuff is revolutionary for, maybe, most women. I'm the token demographic for "Girls" because I am one of these women who would be part of an "abortion party." Even then, I'm probably not as open as I think I am.

boy: Well maybe the type of women I know, you being the primary one, talk about these things in a blunt manner.

On catharsis

girl: Ok, so then is Girls just preaching to the choir? This show becomes part of my self-absorption because Girls is just validating exactly who I am. There’s not much that I’m being enlightened by. Do you know what I mean?

boy: What do you enjoy about the show?

girl: I'm simply validated by not being alone. A lot of the situations I can relate to and not just the situation, but the reactions to the situation. In the job interview, when Hana makes the date rape joke and it goes over terribly, I totally understood how the character would feel. To see her make a verbal mistake was cathartic for me. This show is cathartic. Do you find it cathartic?

boy: Only in the sense that people in their early to mid 20s, in this economy, are figuring out what to do--especially if you came from a creative background. Their personal lives, that’s not cathartic for me at all, but in the sense that they’re trying to make their way in the world and it’s a shitty job climate it is.

On male characters

girl: What do you think about the guys in "Girls"? There are no cool dudes so far. Even that guy who came into the bar to use the phone. I thought calling his mom in front of her was a slick move (whether it was a move or not) but then when they're hooking up in the bathroom he's asking her permission when she's obviously all over him and I was like, this dude doesn't know what's up either. All three of the guys so far suck.

boy: The guys on the show are very weak characters--

girl: They're like Seinfeld girlfriends.

boy: Yeah, exactly. They're there to play a part like the Seinfeld girlfriends and I don’t, we don’t, know that much about them, nor do we have to, but they’re very weak people and certainly not likeable or memorable in any way and in a way it’s very much like typical female characters where they’re just stand-ins for types and they don’t really have any thoughts that you care about.

girl: So far we haven't seen a man who's kind or very respectful. Even Allison's boyfriend...I'm convinced that there's this respectful thing that isn't actually respectful.

boy: He's playing the part of respectful but he's not really.

girl: There's not much difference between Hannah and Allison's boyfriends.One's a total jerk and one's super sensitive but the way that they're both viewing women is self-centred. They're not treating women like equals.

boy: These are flawed men who are not celebrated the way that other TV alpha males are celebrated, like Don Draper or Tony Soprano.

girl: It's interesting because Judd Apatow steered things this way before in Bridesmaids. Remember? Jon Hamm's character is comically dismissive of Kristen Wiig. That makes me think it's more about the female character who keeps going back to this.

boy: As far as the male character type, I don't really know any men who've been dismissive or disrespectful to that degree. You'd think if the guy wants to keep hooking up he wouldn't be complete dick because he'd want to get laid the next time.

Final thoughts

girl: After the first episode you told me that you didn't like the characters and didn't want to spend time with them. Did that change?

boy: Yeah. That's why I also said that I would watch the first season because I made a final judgement. The first episode I thought the dialogue was strong and I feel like it's just getting stronger. There's also great comedic timing.

girl: It's intellectual without being overly stylized like Woody Allen or Walt Stillman.

boy: Interestingly, there aren't many pop culture references which is usually an Apatow thing.

girl: It's pretty ballsy to do abortion in the second episode. It opened up with a sex scene too. Sex scene teaser? Classic.

boy: Yeah but I think: why wouldn't you do an abortion for the second episode?

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