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