There’s been a lot of talk about HBO’s Girls since it premiered last week, about nepotism and lack of diversity in the cast. The former complaint, which arrived on the meme scene via a photoshopped poster for the show, I feel has no merit. The four girls who star in Girls are not the daughters of big time Hollywood or even TV celebrities. Yes, they have parents who have achieved varying degrees of fame. Big whoop. You see that ALL THE TIME in the entertainment industry, and picking on it here is ridiculous.
The other complaint, that Girls lacks diversity and only portrays a very narrow perspective, is a little more valid. Yes, the cast is white. And well off. Yes, that’s unfortunate. But that argument is not limited to Girls, it’s a point that needs to be made about most movies and television shows.
And yes, perhaps because of this Girls does not depict a wide range of perspectives. But it’s written by Lena Dunham, created by Lena Dunham. And it’s not a show that has been written about someone else, it is quite obviously inspired by her life, her experiences, her circle of friends. This is her art, her voice. People must have gone into this show understanding that it would not be portraying someone who is not Lena Dunham, right? Didn’t we all know what we were signing on for here? I do not always see myself in the girls on Girls. I am much more well-adjusted than Hannah. I do not see an ounce of myself in Jessa. There are small aspects of Shoshanna and Marnie that could ring true for me, but I do not look at either of them and think “That’s me!” And that’s OK. Because I think there are four interesting characters on Girls, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they’re developed.
The second episode of Girls, which aired last night, was one that I expect will be polarizing. It continued to paint a lot of these characters as flawed, frustrating, and at times unlikable. I like that about the show, but it is not for everyone.
Hannah has an unbelievable knack for being charming and witty one moment, and completely inappropriate with zero sense of social norms the next. I know people like this, people who are funny and my friends but can go too far with their jokes – people who you invite over for drinks, but would never want to introduce to your boss. I loved the job interview scene, and I loved the scene during the STD exam when Hannah mused about how maybe having AIDS wouldn’t be so bad after all.
I like how uptight Marnie is, how she couldn’t understand why Hannah didn’t think an abortion was a big deal or why Jessa might not show up for her own freaking abortion. I like Shoshanna, who tries so hard to be cool around these girls but really, really isn’t. I don’t like Jessa at all, but that’s OK. Not everyone is a winner.
My one complaint with the episode is that Jessa ends up not being pregnant. I think it would have been more interesting if she’d had to go through with the abortion, but despite what I think is kind of a cop-out I still think the storyline brought out some interesting ideas in how women feel about the idea of having to have an abortion, what kind of feelings that can bring up about wanting to have kids in the future, and how friends support one another even when those feelings differ.