My Blog__ Who Run the World?
Girls? HBO made a show about us, and not we're not so sure. By Kate Brown
When I hear the pop, buzz, exhale sound of HBO my heart always swells. I think I’m about to watch the jingling open of Sex and the City. But it’s a new (recession) era, so now I’m sort of watching myself in the form of the bumbling, confused, and awkward character Hannah. Except that she lives in Greenpoint and I don't.
According to the stats, 872 thousand sets of eyeballs watched the pilot of Luna Dunham's foray into TV, the so aptly titled Girls. And that's not counting those of us who ripped it off the net a few hours later. I'm guessing that the better part of that statistic was taken up by 19-30 something females. We're sitting in similar heritage apartments, a little hungover from Saturday, and sort of wishing we were at Coachella. And guess who’s on TV.
If you’ve seen Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture, which won Best Narrative at SXSW in 2010, you know Dunham has a knack for capturing our generation’s discomfort.
Read more of our review of girls which lives in our new blog The Box below.
If Sex and the City was the episodic zeitgeist of late 90s fashion, excess, and all the brunching single ladies, then Girls sings a similar song for the disenchanted, over-educated, bachelor-degree holding types. Except Carrie’s permanent state of cocktail hour and endless shoe expenditures are by no means showing us anything true. While speaking to a highly select and deeply privileged few (no doubt a good market niche for HBO), Girls is eerily truthful and on point.
The girls in Girls are by no means living everyone’s life – this is upper middle class, college educated, coddled, New-York-paid-for life. But Dunham is talking to us - the ones who think they know a little too much about Nietzsche and know a little too little about Excel. The pilot was like a giggle followed by a profound slap in the face for females like me today: 24, sort of working, sort of chasing creative pursuits, and sort of lost in it all.
Not escapist television, encouragingly, the show actually leans - although not too hard - towards being self-reflexive for an elite few that are in a dreamy limbo between academia and 9-5.
As Hannah (played by director/writer Lena Dunham) tells her parents after drinking a pint of opium: “I think I may be the voice of my generation,” and after a moment: “Or a voice. Of a generation.” It’s the #firstworld #whitegirl problematic generation.
After months and months of everyone getting really excited for this first pilot with our new girls Jessa, Shoshanna, Marnie, and Hannah, there was a lot of talk, backlash, and undeniable shame shared on the Internet on Monday after Girls debuted. No doubt, inklings of the truth hurt hard.
But what was much less talked about was the show's quieter power. It has a brilliant, subversive attitude towards the myth of a young, liberated female in a postfeminist world. The sexual dynamics are unromantic, uncomfortable, and unfair. There is a sad disconnect between genders. There is spiritless hooking up on a shitty couch. Marnie is financially and fearfully stuck in a relationship with a guy she doesn't love; We watch her feign a sexual interest that is entirely absent, knowing a little too well how that feels, and how easy it is to do.
iTunes singles proudly call out some sort of sexual and emotional revolution for us girls. Beyonce's single 'Who Run The World', M.I.A.'s 'Bad Girls' flash us intoxicating, sexy revolutionary attitude. But is it happening?
Quote of the show: "Why don't you get a job and start a blog?" Noted.