As HBO’s divisive show – Girls draws to a close, two QX writers argue their corner!
Last night, the last ever episode of the HBO series Girls aired, marking the end of six series following the trials and tribulations of Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna, and Jessa as they navigate New York City. It’s received critical acclaim and derision in equal measures; commended for it’s portrayal of real female bodies and grittily realistic sex rarely seen on TV, criticised for it’s lack of diversity in the cast and overblown sense of self-importance.
So, is it our generation’s Sex and The City, or is it just overrated millennial guff? Joe & Dylan give their take on the TV series.
FOR: Joe Holyoake, Editorial Assistant
Girls gets a lot of slack for focussing on unbearable, entitled, selfish millennials. But what happens when YOU YOURSELF are an unbearable, entitled, selfish millennial? Well, it becomes your favourite programme.
It’s slightly clichéd to say, but Girls is a series that I’ve grown up with. The first series came out in 2012; the year I moved from a small town to London, and I’ve watched the series-a-year they’ve, to their credit, kept to. It captures perfectly that wobbly period of your life when you’re trying to establish yourself in an unfamiliar city and you therefore apply a greater gravitas to situations that actually don’t really herald it, all because you think it’s going to define your life forever. Like, it’s just an internship. Dodgy relationships, growing out of friends, downgrading your dreams to something more attainable. It’s stuff that happens to most of us, so it’s refreshing to see it captured candidly in a TV series too. Throughout the six series, Hannah, Marnie, Shosh and Jessa have all matured to differing degrees, and I like to think I have too.
Reading the above back comes across a bit too ‘GIRLS SAVED MY LIFE’ and that it’s IMPORTANT television, which overlooks the fact that it’s been the funniest thing on TV in recent years. Despite the fact I’ve never really found Lena Dunham witty in any other capacity, Girls has been consistently hilarious, skewering our obsession with identity, our constant need for validation, and other general millennial ridiculousness, like Marnie’s ‘White Christian Woman’ wedding theme or Shoshanna’s bandana collection being her ‘most developed collection’. It also helps that it has an excellent support cast of men as well, like the sardonically deadpan Coffee shop owner Ray, the sassy gay best friend figure Elijah, and, best of all, the totally-deranged and actually pretty hot Adam; the part which launched Adam Driver’s blossoming Hollywood career.
Fortunately, Dunham has promised that she’ll re-visit the characters in a movie sometime in the future. I can’t wait to see how they’ll get on in Abu Dhabi.
AGAINST: Dylan Jones, Editor
I first saw Girls when it was well into its first season back in 2012. It was when I was just starting to write for some more high profile publications. In fact, I was actually halfway through an internship at Dazed. How Hannah Hovarth is THAT. I remember there being much chat in the office over freetrade ethically sourced coffee, about how Lena Dunham was a pioneer for feminism and stark originality.
This is simply not true. For a start, Girls is not original or exciting in any way. The premise is drably formulaic – a series about a struggling artist, OoOoh, edgy! Also, four white girls living in New York. I get that it was always intended to be a sort of parody of Sex & The City. It professed to be a far more self-conscious and ‘real’ version. A lilac-haired online writer at Dazed sucked the last dregs from her kale shake and proclaimed that it was ‘gritty’.
GRITTY?! Give me strength! Seeing Lena Dunham’s unconventional body is not gritty. Seeing a few people passed out on drugs is not gritty. It is, perhaps, a sheltered American’s idea of gritty. But think about British TV. Mickey Maguire getting sucked off by a dog in Shameless – Mark and Jez EATING a dog in Peep Show. Now THAT’S gritty.
Aside from its annoying worthiness and its inaccurate assertion that it was doing ‘something different’, the most annoying aspect of the show was that it was so clearly Lena Dunham’s vanity project.
Since she’s come more into the public eye, and we’ve got to know her a little more, it’s become apparent that she is NOT a worthwhile artiste or trailblazing feminist. She’s a silly little person who craves attention and will do whatever she can to get it. She’s basically the liberal’s answer to Katie Hopkins, but with more Radiohead on her Spotify account.
The show’s one saviour is, obviously, Jessa. The poutiest, funnest and most interestingly ironic aspect of a show that’s otherwise unrewarding, silly and totally unrealistic.