“Get a job and start a blog”: My Thoughts on the HBO Series Girls

I really, really wanted to like the new HBO original series Girls.
For weeks I’d been anticipating the premiere with the same eagerness I feel before a new episode of The Misadventuresof Awkward Black Girl. Last night at 9:30 p.m. CST the Girls premiere finally arrived. And 30 minutes I was left utterly disappointed.
Let me say that the show was not bad. At all. In fact, in a way, it’s great, with well-developed characters and clever, quotable dialog. So why was I so disenchanted?

Girls had been touted as the show young women like me would love, that we would watch this show and see ourselves on the screen. But last night I was nowhere to be found. And no, I’m not saying I was sad because all the characters were white. I knew that going in and color has nothing to do with this except perhaps the color green.

The show seems as if it is going to focus primarily on Hannah (played by Lena Dunham, who also writes and directs the show). Hannah is a character with which I thought I’d instantly connect because she’s a writer and dreams of penning a memoir. But the big dilemma she’s currently facing is the fact that her parents have decided to stop supporting her financially. Did I mention she’s 24?

At one point in the episode Hannah’s mother finally says exactly what I was thinking, “Get a job and start a blog!”

There’s much more to the show such as Hannah’s interesting friends, her relationship with a guy who is clearly all wrong for her (something to which I certainly can relate), and her hilarious parents. It seems that body image is an issue that will also be examined. So I tried to focus on these things, but to no avail.

Perhaps the financial hardship I’ve faced in the past has left me jaded. My parents had a tough time making ends meet when I was growing up so I didn’t look to them to provide anything for me beyond essentials like food, shelter, and clothing and once I turned 18 I decided to even let them off the hook for that. I bought my own car and paid my way through college and graduate school with scholarships, loans, and part-time jobs.

Am I judging able-bodied, mentally stable folks who still depend on their parents even after they’re well into their 20s? Maybe. Am I bitter that I’ve had to work so hard all my life? Probably.

In her review of the show for CNN.com, Porochista Khakpour writes, “The pilot will of course draw sighs and groans, something for some to file under ‘first-world problems’ and dismiss.” I guess she was talking about me.

Still my bitterness never kept me from enjoying the over-the-top posh lifestyle of Carrie Bradshaw and her pals on Sex and the City. Shows and movies like those have this aspirational element that I appreciate. It’s like window shopping or thumbing through magazines (or browsing Pinterest) to look at beautiful things you know you will never be able to afford but that you like to gawk at nonetheless.

But Girls isn’t that nor is it supposed to be. What sets Girls apart from shows like Sex and the City is that it’s so realistic. There’s no good girl or bad girl. The girls are just complicated as we girls actually are in the real world. Their friendships are just as complex as the girls themselves and the sex scenes are awkward and clumsy, not romanticized. This is why I say it’s a good show even though I couldn’t get into it.

Girls is realistic, but it isn’t my reality. My 20s looked nothing like Hannah’s even though we have similar aspirations. I know I’m in the minority here or at least I was in Twitterverse last night, as I kept seeing tweet after tweet from young women declaring that “@girlsHBO is my life!”

I’m jealous! I want a show I can say that about.

I am going to give the show another chance. I’m holding on to hope that it will grow on me because of its gritty yet hilarious portrayal of post-college life. Plus, I’m intrigued by the more worldly character Jessa and Hannah’s roommate Marnie. (I actually did find some common ground with Marnie as I was usually the responsible one telling my friends that, yes, it would be a bad idea to drink opium tea.)

If after watching a few more episodes I still can’t get into Girls I’ll accept that and move on, knowing that not everything pro-girl will necessarily be for me. After all, I still have Awkward Black Girl.


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