What HBO’s “Girls” Has Done For Girls

hbo-s-girls-is-the-best-new-tv-show-of-2012

The show is set in New York City. It’s center focus is the lives of 4 completely different girls in their early/mid 20′s (who also happen to be friends), who we follow as they try to find their way in this post-college life. 

Clearly, I should never write summaries, ever.

So. I started watching ‘Girls‘ because my sister told me to. “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but Hannah, the main character, reminds me SO much of you”, she said, and those were the magic words that got me to sit down and watch the first episode, because frankly, I feel like my kind is underrepresented on television.

Anyway.

Five minutes into it, I LOVED it. I watched the first season, then the second season, and now the third season (my television habits are very interesting, I am sure), and while it can be debated whether the actual quality of the show is going downhill or not, I can say that this is probably the first time I have felt some sort of kindredship with any character on any television show. Except for ‘Hercule Poirot’, who is like the Belgian-chubby-male-detective version of me (I can’t believe Microsoft Word doesn’t know his name – blasphemy!).

I fell in love with ‘Girls’ for the following FOUR reasons:

  1. In my opinion, it succeeded where ‘New Girl’ failed. While I am sure that many can relate to Jessica Day’s personality, I feel like she is too perfect for me to be able to relate to. Everything about her is (perhaps unintentionally) made out to be endearing, and while some aspects of her personality are annoying, it is somehow very easily forgiven. I don’t think ‘New Girl’ has made it okay or easier to be a dork. I think it has made it okay to be “adorkable”, preferably in the key of Jess/Zooey Deschanel. People who might not otherwise be like that want to be her. Now, Hannah Horvath; color me ignorant, but I don’t think anyone has watched that show and have then subsequently wanted to alter who they were. If anything, I think it encourages self-acceptance. It doesn’t make me want to lose weight, or act differently, or talk a certain way. It just makes me feel like I am OKAY.
  2. Where the characters are in their lives. In the last episode I watched, Hannah just turned 25. I will be turning 25 this summer myself, and to me it’s nice that there is a show that focuses on these “in-between”-years of just getting out of college and trying to figure out what’s next in life. I feel like a lot of time of time has been spent covering the high school experience, the college experience, and the late 20′s-early 30′s experience, but what about that phase that takes you from the first-mentioned to the last-mentioned? With ‘Girls’, it feels less lonely.
  3. They look like real people. This seems to have caused quite an uproar. Apparently, some people don’t like to watch ordinary-looking people simulate having realistic sex. This is absolutely ridiculous to me, and speaks volumes about how accustomed we have become to watching things that have gone through some beautifying filter first. As for the sex — well, sex is sometimes awkward, unsexy, unromantic, and not pretty. Most of us have a first time that proves that.
  4. Hannah. To me, Hannah Horvath is perhaps one of the greatest television characters of all time. She rarely says or does the ‘right’ things, but she has this way of carrying herself that is absolutely inspiring. She is happy with who she is, and she is not going to change. She doesn’t buy into all of that.

I would be HONORED to be considered a ‘Hannah’, and like I mentioned earlier, I do feel a kindred spirit kinda thing with that character, but I think that is mostly because I am always that person — that friend. The one who does all of the embarrassing things, who says weird things, who wears mismatching things, and who is always kind of like a hopeless case. I don’t have her confidence, but I guess that is something to aspire to?

To me, ‘Girls’ is the antithesis to all the stuff that has been spoon-fed to us for the longest time by the media about how one should look, act, etc. Some of it is unrealistic (like the fact that they can afford anything other than a broom-closet in New York City), but other than that, I think there is a sense of authenticity to everything. The friendships, the relationships, the humiliations and victories. For me, it makes me feel good about myself, and where I am right now. It makes me less judgmental of myself, and more sympathetic to my own faults. I don’t get that feeling from watching anything else.

So, here’s to Hannah Horvath and to all girls!

***

Do you watch ‘Girls’? If yes, what do you think about it?

6 thoughts on “What HBO’s “Girls” Has Done For Girls

  1. I have been watching both ‘Girls’ and ‘New Girl’ since they premiered. And I agree about what you said about ‘New Girl’. I’m a fan of Deschanel, but her “adorkable” personality has created this unrealistic view that a lot of women feel like they have to portray themselves. I mean it’s television.
    I continue to watch both shows, but after the first seasons I have felt the shows decline and how they no longer possess what I liked about them. Shows evolve, I know this. I do like that ‘Girls’ is more honest…aside from that being-able-to-afford-everything-rather-easily. Such a great observation. XD I will probably continue watching, but I’m not as excited about it as I once was.

  2. As someone who lived in Brooklyn and did the unemployed hipster thing, I think it’s realistic in many regards. (Even the apartments, actually. They make it pretty clear that they don’t pay for them. And my apartment was actually quite huge and cheap. But it was also in a ridiculous location. Which, theoretically, theirs are too.)

    BUT the four girls would never be friends. Like there is zero reason that they would continue to hang out. They even have episodes where they talk about how much they don’t like each other and I’m just like “…exactly.” Like it sucks that they have to keep the thread of them being friends going (for the sake of it working as a show) because in real life, they would all have drifted a long, long time ago. If you saw the one about her birthday, I was just like “…yeah…. they wouldn’t even be talking if they happened to accidentally be in the same bar, let alone having this moment with the four of them in a close-knit group in a back room.” And I feel like they keep touching on this issue of their incompatibilities (the karaoke moment, holy hell) but they still let it keep going. All of them would have new best friends and ignore each other. It’s ridiculous to pretend otherwise.

    • Woah, that’s really interesting about the costs of living in New York City. I have always heard the opposite, but of course I have never lived there, so it’s great to hear it from someone with some authority on the subject. Then I guess it doesn’t seem so unrealistic after all. But didn’t Hannah’s parents at one point refuse to pay her rent? I wouldn’t think her job would make her enough money to pay for much.

      I think you make great arguments for why they wouldn’t be friends in real life, and perhaps you are right, but I actually don’t think it’s that unrealistic t. I know they often mention how they don’t like each other, but hasn’t that mostly been Hannah and Marnie? I have never thought of those fights as being unrealistic… I think it’s quite normal to have those types of fights with your best friend. Everything they hate about each other is a quality that they possess as well. Like how extremely self-absorbed they are (the whole cast is, really). Hannah and Jessa… well, that might seem like an unlikely friendship, but I think Jessa genuinely likes and appreciates Hannah’s personality, and vice versa. Honestly, that is the friendship I find to be the most unrealistic. I think, despite it all, that the show makes it seem like they can all appreciate each other’s differences (whether that is realistic or not is something that can be debated). And Shoshanna… well, she is a couple of years younger, and is extremely naive, and I kind of see her as someone whom they have taken under their wing, who now plays the role in their lives as the annoying little sister. Aren’t they all only-children, anyway?

      And who knows what’s going to happen later on? They might all drift apart, but I think that that is realistic in life in general; that the people you meet during your college years don’t necessarily follow you into your thirties. I also think they are all incredibly insufferable in different ways, so perhaps people aren’t exactly lined up to be their friends? Ha.

  3. I watch Girls; it has it’s flaws, but for the most part it is very enjoyable.

    I’d much rather be comparable to one of the cast than to Jess from New Girl – who I agree seems to have no clear flaws/is an object for men to crave.

  4. I really love the show, it makes me feel OK with who I am. I just turned 30, so I’m a bit older than the girls, but still, I can relate. Hanna is adorable, but also very egocentric. Just like any person, just like myself :) The friendship between the girls seems very similar to my own circle of friends, we love each other, that’s the base, but we can really annoy the hell out of one another as well.

    • “The friendship between the girls seems very similar to my own circle of friends, we love each other, that’s the base, but we can really annoy the hell out of one another as well.” – Precisely! It’s the same with me and my friends. We are very different, but appreciate those differences about each other.

      Thank you for your comment. <3

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