Monday, February 4, 2013

why the show 'Girls' is necessary

.Even before the show Girls aired its first episode, people were talking about it.  Critiquing it, setting expectations up and even praising it.  I tuned in because I liked Lena Dunham's work on Tiny Furniture and thought "hey, this might be good too."  With every new episode came more and more criticism, praise, apathy and more criticism.  It became a show that everyone had an opinion on.  Yes, I agree to a point that this particular show is not inclusive of minorities and doesn't show the perspective of enough different types of girls but, honestly, I'm not mad at it.  And here is why.
Before this show came on, there was very little to no representation of the struggle of twenty-something, fresh out of college, searching for their dreams and a cute boy girls on television.  It was as if we weren't going through a recession and well paying jobs were being handed out on every street corner.  Every show of young college grad ladies showed them living in an apartment they would never be able to afford in real life (look at the show New Girl or Don't trust the B--yes I watch a lot of television).  These girls never made mention of financial struggle, and when they did they were crying about it with an Alexander Wang purse in tow or a new outfit they just ripped the tags off of.  Cry me a river.  
Girls is the first show in a very long time that I can not only laugh at and with, but also relate to.  I am a twenty-something year old girl who majored in something that is probably never going to make me the money I need to eat and I am struggling post college.  Struggling with my identity, struggling with my creativity, struggling with working at a boring office job and struggling to find true meaningful friendship in other females.  
Like much of the things I complain about, I totally understand how these problems are not REALLY BIG PROBLEMS.  Meaning, they're not "I have no financial support, no family and I'm pregnant" problems, but everything is about perspective   And I don't think that just because these aren't problems that some critics can't relate to or that they find them whiny makes them any less legitimate.  That weird "Who am I?  What am I doing with my life?" moment that comes up on the show time and time again is something I feel on a weekly basis.  And it's a feeling that my girlfriends who graduated at the same time as I do too.  We entered college with an overly optimistic feeling and drive that we could make a difference with a pen, with a brush or with activism and we exited it in a very different place.  A place where people ask you "why would your parents let you major in Journalism?"  Let me?  Let me?  
There is an episode this season where the character Marnie loses her job at an art gallery (a field which she majored in college), is living in a studio apartment with her friend Shoshana, has no money and finally decides to break and get a "pretty person job."  Essentially, a job she must look pretty for.  One she will hate, but one that will pay the bills.  It's a moment that my friends and I let out a big sigh for.  Because so many of us are at jobs like that.  Jobs that we hate, but jobs that pay the bills.  
Yes, this show does not fill every check box necessary for a show about women in their twenties.  It does not include every perspective, but in my opinion that is better than presenting an inauthentic representation of any said minority or ethnicity.  A lot of people cannot relate to this show--but a lot of people can't relate to Grey's Anatomy either.  This is entertainment that should not be taken so seriously.  Someone who has a show on HBO is not the be all and end all representation for a generation.  Much like women compared themselves to the women on Sex & the City but had little to no resemblance to the characters lifestyles, girls are going to do that with Girls too.  It's a show you can #hashtag the shit out of on Twitter and even send your friend an Emoji text implying that you've watched the latest episode (panda, gun, wrapped gift).  
Girls doesn't cover the most serious or crisis-like situations possible, but it most certainly fills a gap that was missing in television entertainment.  It addresses the issue that many intelligent, creative and smart girls who busted their ass in college hoping to make some difference graduated into a recession they were not prepared for, simultaneously putting their dreams on hold and crushing their spirits.  It represents that we are now a  generation that more than ever are moving back in with their parents or are way over qualified for the jobs they are applying for (i.e. a hostess with an Art History degree).  And it shows that some people are doing just fine, while the rest of us who are feeling stuck, stand with jaws open in awe of any successful twenty-something year old.  Yes it can be whiny.  And yes this probably all sounds very whiny now that I am winding down, but being of the generation where we have dozens of platforms to whine, preach and post videos of cats I think it's good that we are finally cutting the bullshit and representing that goddamn it isn't going to be as easy as we thought it would be.  

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more! I feel like TV largely seems to overlook the struggling 20-something category, even though we're one of the main viewing demographics & it's nice to see a fairly realistic portrayal of what it's like to be us.