Girls, girls, girls. I so want to like you. I really do. And there are moments when I think maybe I could form a long-term attachment. But upon reflection I usually decide, “Why bother?” As with that bad boyfriend of my own roiling 20s, I realize there is no there there and I just can’t make the commitment.
Lena Dunham’s serial vignettes of millennial life in New York City — however exaggerated they may be — are sometimes insightful and occasionally evocative, bringing back memories of my own dumb choices. The fact is, as my colleague Mary Hickey so ably put it last week, life stages don’t change all that much from generation to generation and it can be interesting or amusing to watch the latest interpretation. The reason I stand ready to walk away, however, is the lack of warmth among the Girls characters. There’s very little kindness, either.
Marnie, in a bad place after a breakup and layoff, tells Hannah she needs her friendship right now and Hannah responds with a litany of her own work and writing and blah, blah needs. Hannah’s gay roommate/former boyfriend has sex, sort of, with Marnie (it’s complicated) and no one cares about Hannah’s feelings, only whether she might walk in, or, in the latest episode, find out. Marnie’s all depressed and goes to old beau Charlie because she doesn’t want to sleep alone. But it is without regard for his feelings or those of his new girlfriend, albeit a cold meanie. Even Marnie’s mom is snarky and self-concerned.
Every episode is more of the same. Hannah breaks up with her new boyfriend because he’s Republican and doesn’t appreciate her work and calls the police on the former weirdo boyfriend, who now wants her when she doesn’t want him. Everyone dismisses Marnie’s angst about career and agrees she should get a “pretty person job.”
Girls, which won two Golden Globes this month, is no Sex in the City or Seinfeld or Friends, nor would I want it to be. But I’m not even sure that Girls, like those 90s series, is about friendship. Regardless of their raunch or cynicism or fluff, those earlier shows had warmth. And warmth can go a long way to keeping me committed on a cold Sunday night. How about you? Tell us below what you think of the girls on Girls — all of them or any of them — and how you view what they are going through.