First Reactions to: Girls

SONG WHICH IS THEMATICALLY RELEVANT TO THE FOLLOWING RANT

I was told by a few people to have a look at Girls, a HBO sitcom about a gang of twenty somethings who live in New York and have plots.  Most of the things I’ve heard about it have been mixed; One friend told me a lot of people watch it then flock to blogs to use it as a springboard for feminist discourse and another told me she found it entertaining but frustrating in parts.  Overall it was a ‘good but flawed’ sort of show, which is the kind I like.  To paraphrase Frasier Crane the best posh dinners have one tiny fatal flaw.  A perfect dinner would be fine but the flaw is something you can pick at for the rest of the night which is immensely satisfying. With this in mind I caved and sat down to watch the Pilot of Girls- Here are my reactions, as live messaged to my BFF over Facebook chat as I watched.

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-Classy simple title card a la Glee and other 2010s shows.  I have a fondness for this because it A) reminds me of Frasier and B) Means I don’t have to sit through a dull opening credits sequence which gets really tiresome.

-A character that looks like an ordinary woman, fuck!  I won’t dwell on this because the show doesn’t but I will celebrate it

-I like how this girl (Hannah) is kind of a selfish, spoiled character.  In fact everyone here is in that believable realm of ‘kind of a bitch but not so bad that they’re unsympathetic’.  They feel rounded.

-(five minutes later) I want to punch this pink tracksuit clad girl in the face.

-(Five seconds later) I want to punch this obnoxious British Hipster in the face.

-…. Punch her really, really hard.

-NAKED TATTOOED GIRL EATING CUPCAKES IN THE BATHTUB WHILE HER FRIEND SITS IN A TOWEL SHAVING HER LEGS.  Wow.  That whole exchange between the pair feels natural and less polished than most American fare.

-I still really want to fuck up that British Hipster whenever I see her.  Fuck.

-There’s no Bridget Jones, Carrie Bradshaw style narration that PLAGUES (PLAAAAAAAGUES) Modern media starring women aimed at ‘female audiences’ and I am SO HAPPY it’s not there.  That shit was funny exactly once and it was when Renee Zellwegger did it in her alarmingly accurate British accent.  I was actually wondering what was missing from this show and it was the narration I was searching for.

-There’s no exposition about how everyone knows each other or even who they really are, you’re just plopped right in.  This totally doesn’t feel like a pilot.  Nothing wrong with that, but I sort of like a bit of establishing.  It’s missed by me but the show is fine without it.

-Hello, sexy shirtless nerd man

-‘Will you get a condom?’ ‘Uh, I’ll consider it!’

-Hannah’s explanation of why she has tattoos- She was overweight in high school and felt out of control of her body. She got the tattoos as a way of reclaiming herself and explains that in a pretty casual matter of fact way that was a gorgeous moment

-There have been no fat jokes.  No ugly jokes even.  I love this.

-The soundtrack is subtle but I’ve picked out a few songs I really like OMG MGMT SOUND OF MY SUMMER 2009

-The psychical interactions and body language between the girls is rather nice and tender.

-The New York setting feels totally redundant and I’m bored with things being set in New York.  I want to see a series about twenty something women getting on with life in Minneapolis.  I’d watch the shit out of that.

-Uggh, shut up, British Hipster. Nobody cares.

So there are my live- feed reactions to ‘Girls.’ Final verdict?  I’m left undecided, it’s definitely a step in the right direction for American sitcom dramas about women and ESPECIALLY about young women in the 2010s.  It’s much more ‘realistic’ in a sense?  Realistic isn’t the word I like to use in this context.  It’s earthier, I suppose.  Earthier than the other sitcoms about women, by women, that I’ve watched such as Gilmore Girls and *shudder* Sex and the city.  The dialogue here takes a lot of influence from Gilmore Girls in style (As Bridget pointed out to me- You go girl, you get a reference!)

On second thought I’m sort of glad of the New York setting- I might do a full comparison between this and what I’d consider it’s closest 1990s counterpart Sex and the City- Both set in New York, leading character is a writer, ensemble of women characters aimed at a predominantly female audience with a female director and writers.   I’ve always been a little obsessed with Sex and the City; I loathe watching it.  I hate Carrie, I hate Charlotte and I DESPISE Samantha (Miranda is a bit cool, I admit) but even if I can’t stand the product itself I can appreciate it for what it was, much in the same way I think a lot of people appreciate girls despite it’s flaws.  I think it seems much more up my alley than SATC but further field research is required.

For now, suffice to say that I like that Girls exists.  I like what it seems to be trying to do and I like the trend that it is hopefully going to be the beginning of in American television.

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Niamh ‘I had forgotten how awesome Cyndi Lauper was’ Keoghan

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