Because Being A Girl Rocks

April 24, 2012 15:31:12 Posted at April 24, 2012 15:31:12
Duana Posted by Duana
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Girls Season 1 Episode 2 recap

So okay, we were lucky enough to learn early on this episode that Adam continues to be hideous, so you're freed from the worry of having to wonder whether or not you were judging him too harshly.  That's good.  Charlie continues to make you want to smack him on the mouth, for being such a sweet guy, so that's an irrational response from you, so I guess that's bad.

This week's Girls is as topical as possible, what with the visit to the women's clinic and an imminent abortion, the fact that they didn't actually go through with said abortion seems to be what classifies this show as a “comedy”, because otherwise this show is, like I said last week, less a portrayal than a photocopy (of a very specific group of people in a very specific space and time).  It's worth noting that half-hour shows are going this way lately - less ha-ha laughs and more “squirming-as-humour”, or relief that you're not in the same situation at that very moment.   
I liked Girls better this week, even if I like the actual “girls” in question the same, or slightly less.  Hannah is interesting and identifiable when she's relating to her girlfriends (who among us hasn't justified reading a crappy book because “I was at the airport”?) and hard to take when she is standing there just letting Adam be awful.  One thing that's fantastic about her is that while Hannah is obviously intelligent (condom googling aside), she's not quippy or sassy or clever.  In fact, none of the girls could be described as “lippy”, which is such a common shortcut for female characters these days.  Marnie is endlessly irritating in her mothering of the others but it speaks to a level of...endurance, with everything, that she's already decided she owns.  That's her character trait, tolerating things irritatedly.  I mean, it's not exactly endearing, but it's not Manic Pixie Dream Girl either, so I can get behind it.

I have to believe it's the show, by design, that walks between irritation with and affection for its characters. The tipoff is that, two weeks in a row, we've had adults telling Hannah where she's going wrong.  But more importantly, what the show is getting extremely, authentically right is the way in which these girls are each other's family.  Young women at this time in their lives are everything to one another.  Best friends, yes, but also each others' sole emotional support.  They take on parental roles; take care of each other when they're sick, reassure each other that all those goals they have for the far future are going to work out just fine.

It doesn't happen for that long.  Even though friends stay important, once you become individual people and not a bustling nucleus of age-oriented similarities, they're not the number-one check-in point.  Girls start calling their mothers again by their mid-to-late 20s, and siblings surface and make their way to the same cities as you. The group necessarily widens, and the bonds don't break, but they slacken, a little bit.  

But while they're there, everyone is each other's everything and they're surprisingly gentle with each other.  They will take each other to abortions.  They will whisper the word “virgin” because it is, in that moment, the worst thing they have ever heard.  And - and I really like this - they aren't friends with men.  Here goes a blanket statement that I'm going to get hate mail on, but this kind of citified, electric life means that everything is a possibility, which means there aren't many men with whom you can be close and simply, reliably, friends.  Old classmates in groups of 20? Yes.  Your roommate's boyfriend? Absolutely.  That is a safe friendship.  But anyone else in this scenario just reeks of too much possibility, and I like that the show isn't trying to pretend that guys and girls are that evolved at this point.  In fact, my friend Matt called the representation of guys on this show "true to the point of being gross", which made me laugh but reminds me that, unseen in a parallel universe, there are dudes wondering how they got to be the douches they are.

My biggest issue with the episode is that the abortion in question doesn't happen.  I know a missed period appears all the time, but I think, especially in view of the questions Hannah and Marnie were asking, about whether or not an abortion is a big deal (and the attendant self-congratulation about always using a condom), that it would have been interesting to watch Jessa actually have to go through with it.  I could be wrong, but she doesn't seem the type who will spend a lot of time thinking about the road not traveled now that she's escaped her uncomfortable situation, and they probably won't go back to this well soon, so it does seem like an opportunity missed.   

At the shallow end of the spectrum, I just visually binged on everything in that inspiration board scene with Jessa and Shoshanna, including the hippie obviously-imported-from-somewhere bedspread.  But I'm not really sure why Zosia Mamet's bra didn't fit.  I would love to believe it was a character choice, that it's Shoshanna who's running around with quadri-boob, and since it's not a wardrobe malfunction that's likely to befall her on Mad Men, I'm inclined to lean in the direction of “improbably intentional”.  You're welcome, Girls.

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