Dear Internet: If You're Going to Continue to Bitch About Lena Dunham and "Girls," At Least Watch the Goddamn Show

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Dear Internet: If You're Going to Continue to Bitch About Lena Dunham and "Girls," At Least Watch the Goddamn Show

By Dustin Rowles | Think Pieces | January 15, 2013 | Comments ()


Over the last week, the the majority of content on television and entertainment websites has been devoted to these three things, in this order: 1) The Golden Globes, 2) Commenters talking about Lena Dunham and "Girls," and 3) articles about Lena Dunham and Girls. For every mention "Girls," there an disproportionately unequal reaction from readers, most of it negative, much of it regarding a visceral disdain for Lena Dunham, and about 70 percent of it from people who don't even watch "Girls".

If you've seen HBO's "Girls" beyond the first episode or two, and if you continue to have complaints about the characters on the show, the way in which they live, or the self-entitled nature of their lifestyle, please grieve away. As long as you're an informed asshole, I welcome your disdain. I don't understand it, because "Girls" is a phenomenal show unlike any other on television that deals with issues - often about lady parts, uncomfortable sexual experiences, dysfunctional relationship dynamics, and the struggle of twenty-somethings with huge safety-nets -- that little else on television has done any more than to barely scratch the surface.

If you have not seen "Girls," then with all due respect, please shut the f*ck up. And no: watching the first two episodes of season one doesn't count. Yes, perhaps I would understand your criticism if it's the only two episodes you've seen; I had a similar perspective, and wrote about our collective resentment toward privileged, white America. But I stuck with the show because it was captivating, and because if this was going to be a show that people were going to talk about -- and it has been -- then I wanted to speak to it intelligently. I didn't want to fall back on superficial complaints, like "Eww. Lena Dunham's booty is lopsided."

Oh, but I hear you complaining, "Why am I supposed to watch a show about unlikable characters?" For one, you are under absolutely no obligation to watch any show, unlikable characters or not. It's a free country. No one's holding a remote control to your head. Second, the likability of the characters is not the point of the show, the point is to present an honest perspective of the world that is shared by some, reviled by many. Third, if you'd stuck around long enough, a lot of the characters would've grown on you; you'd probably have favorites; and maybe a few situations with which you can empathize.

For instance, have you ever loved a guy that treated you like shit, and you knew he treated you like shit, but you stayed with him anyway because you liked being treated like shit, and one day you realized that part of the reason he treated you like shit is because that's what you wanted from him (alternatively, have you ever treated a woman like sh*t because you knew it was the only way she'd stay with you?)? Well, maybe you'd appreciate "Girls." Or, have you ever dated a guy that is so nice, so gentle and loving and needy that you want to murder him? (Alternatively, have you ever been that guy?) Or maybe you or a friend are free-spirited to such an extent that those free-spirited choices will invariably lock you down for life? Or maybe you were a virgin way too long, and you became so obsessed with ridding yourself of it that you began to hiss and fart whenever the opportunity to get laid availed itself. Or maybe you had a dream to write a major American novel, but you didn't actually want to put any effort into it, and you ended up starting a blog or sharing all of your material on Facebook. Or maybe you were just a liberal arts major who didn't know what the f*ck to do you with your life and you ended up becoming a desk jockey to some ephemeral corporate entity that seems to derive all of its revenue from pointless meetings.

If so, you might like "Girls." But you also might not. And that's OK! You don't have to like things, and if you don't, you should be forthwith. You should air your complaints! You should write 3,000 word diatribes broken up into 140 character increments on Twitter about how much you hate "Girls." Do it! Bring it on! In fact, there's a scene in next week's episode between Donald Glover and Lena Dunham, where they get in a fight over the fact that he's a black Republican that might end up being the best exchange of 2013, and it will be sure to inspire a lot of copy. If you're watching the show, I welcome you to discuss it. For many of you, it may be one of the first times you've ever ended up sympathizing with the Republican. You will have things to say!

But please, for the love of God, understand what you're talking about. Don't Fox-News your way through your arguments and parrot other people's talking points and don't resort to shitty fat shaming because it makes you sound like an asshole troll, which would make you an exemplary Congress person, but a terrible human being.

Now, if you'll leave me alone, I have some "Family Guy" to watch, because I learned my damn lesson about bitching about things I know nothing about.


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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Cassie

    I have absolutely no opinion on the show in question, but this whole article just reads like a fan who's bitter that other people don't like the show they like.

  • Lbeees

    Before wading into the cesspool of user comments, let me say I love GIRLS. Lena Durham is a brilliant writer. The show's dialogue is fresh, and most importantly, it's real. It resonates.

    Of course the entitlement annoys me--it's supposed to! It's about real people doing real things, living real lives. It *should* make you feel *real* emotions.

  • If you have not seen “Girls,” then with all due respect, please shut the
    f*ck up. And no: watching the first two episodes of season one doesn’t

    Excuse me, but WTF? The first two eps of season 1 was plenty of time to form the perfectly cogent opinion that this show is about bratty, entitled, upper middle class white girls who live by no discernible set of ethics. I do not need to continue watching a show I hate just to prove my bona fides to comment on it.

    I never comment on the particulars of the show anyway, but I will never stop lambasting internet writers who feel it is their mission [or who are paid to make it their mission] to bully their readers into taking this shit seriously. As , rightly points out below, the numbers prove Girls is a niche product and will likely remain so despite the constant pushing and shoving.

  • ,

    "People who don't even watch 'Girls'" would be a FUCKTON of people.

    From TVbytheNumbers:

    "HBO's Girls premiered its second season last
    night to 866,00 viewers, which is down just slightly from last year's
    season one debut (which notched 872,000 viewers)."

    We sure are making a fuck of a fuss about a show that one out of every 350 or so people in America gives a fuck enough to watch. About 309 million people don't watch "Girls." Can 309 million people be wrong?

  • ,

    See, this kind of thing just drives me fucking batshit. Here's an excerpt from a piece in The New Yorker that Nathan Heller wrote about twentysomethings:

    "Lately, this self-revealing style has even moved off the page. 'Girls,' Lena Dunham's popular HBO series ..."

    Whowhat? Now wait just a goddam minute: Read those audience numbers I cited again: Fewer than 900,000 people watched either season's premiere for this show, and that number slipped from season 1 to season 2. "Popular"? We're setting a really low fucking bar here.

    But the writer redeems himself with this:

    "Nielsen data indicate that the most enthusiastic audience for 'Girls' is middle-aged men."

    HAHAHA Did you hear what he called you, Dustin?

  • ,

    "the struggle of twenty-somethings with huge safety-nets"

    You know what? Can I just say this?

    Fuck these people, whether I watch "Girls" or not. I'm tired of their shit.

    There, it's out.

  • overandout

    I watch the show and like the show and will continue to bitch about it. Because it's so overexposed! It's funny! I was their age a few years ago and it's great. But every single website I read has had some sort of piece or more about it the last few days. If I see Lena Dunham's face one more time and it's not the show itself, I might scream.

    For what its worth, as a non-white 'girl,' I was a bit annoyed when everyone leapt to say that we shouldn't be picking on it for lack of diversity. However, I would trade every non-white character on this show just for everyone to STOP TALKING about it.

  • Az

    My problem with Lena Dunham is simple. Every time I see her face, I want to punch it. It is a completely unreasonable, visceral, unfounded reaction. I don't know where it's coming from and, believe me, I've thought about it because this is completely out of character for me. I just can't with her. I hate this reaction mostly because I can't explain it but also because I feel it's the equivalent of kicking a puppy which is never, ever the right thing to do.

  • Yocean

    Ok. So when I was in Singapore an actress friend of mine was cast in a big new show in Asia called "Kitchen Musical" which was like "glee" meets "high school musical" and they sang all the club hits karaoke song like "Boom Boom Boom", and horrifying melodrama, I think, because I have not seen one complete episode of it. I told my friend it sounds aweful and she was rightly pissed and told me I am a horrible person for criticizing something without watching it. But my point is if watched the TV program people can use that to mean I approve of the show and my complaints would be moot. But to be fair I saw promo clips and making of documentary but no matter how I tried I could not at all. I could not pass five minutes of anything related to the turd, which won some awards in Asia and there was a talk of adopting to US market. So no I not gonna watch Girls and give them se number bolster their alleged goodness or relavance. Only way I will would be some good friend asking me to watch it and I still would reserve the right dislike it and hate and tell people to avoid it.

  • Adrien

    "Glee" meets "High School Musical"? So that would be a musical set in high school about a musical set in high school? What?

  • yocean

    It's Glee Meets High School in the kitchen of some kind of Fancy pantsy restaurant in Singapore. And shitty Melodrama. Shitty. Sexy waitresses and daddy's little girl sous-chef and sexy top chef and sexy manager and oh my god, team who-the-fuck-cares?

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    It's like when Denver, The Last Dinosaur knocked up The Land Before Time and they became the parents to an all-kangaroo cast of Cats--you know it, it wins at art.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I'm intrigued.

  • Jezzer



  • I didn't think I would like the show based on all the people bashing it. It sat on my DVR from air date until 2 weeks ago. At that point we begrudgingly sat down to watch. 2 days later and we couldn't wait for season 2 to start. I'm taking this show the same way as Nancy Botwin on "Weeds": these are anti-heroes. Each of the girls has good attributes and bad, put them together and you would get a pretty well rounded woman.

    Girls is not a laugh riot, but it's laugh out loud funny at times ("The Crackcident" episode especially) and has some great drama too. I'm pretty far from removed from NYC dwelling privileged white girls but the show definitely reminds me what a mess my 20's were and what an even bigger mess my love life was in at the time. It's an honest show, that's what I like about it. The characters are a mess but they all have moments where you see why people are friends with them.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    It is funny, I know there is an age gap, but I have said that exact same thing and I am 40. I will watch the show, I just think it is ironic that people have told me that they have a hard time relating to it because of the age difference. I don't care what age you are even if you consider yourself a woman you are still a girl.

    I have decided that any dislike I have for her is simply jealousy, especially when the NPR interview started with her being described as actress, writer, director of her hit show and recently signed million dollar book contract. At 26!?! Okay yes I did say out loud "I hate that f-ing b" but I listened to the interview and she is entirely too likable to continue feeling that way.

  • Slash

    I haven't seen one second of this show, so I won't gripe about it.

    I think a lot of the griping (not that this is a justification, and it probably doesn't explain most of the griping) is the "voice of a generation" moniker.

    When you (not you personally, media people in general) put that label on something, you're virtually guaranteeing that people are gonna react badly. People (whether they're justified in this self-appraisal or not) like to think that they are individuals. They decide what their voice is, man, not you, you liberal elitist entertainment media weenie!

    So maybe if reviewers would stop handicapping new shows with overly effusive praise about how generation-defining they are, they'd get a little more slack cut for them. For example, I liked "Sex and the City" just fine as a show. It was not a bad show (the movies are another story, but that's already been covered). But that show did not define me. I'm that age group, I live near a large city (not NY), but my life does not resemble any of those characters. So I had to ignore those comments that said "Sex and the City" defined a generation of women. It's just a goddam TV show. College attendance and use of birth control have both defined generations of women. TV shows are just entertainment, and at best, are a reflection of the lives of some people, with a hefty dose of art direction and zingy dialogue and musical cues. Please, entertainment people, get over yourselves.

    Also, entertainment (and advertising, my industry) is, for many people, aspirational. They don't wanna watch people who look and sound and live like them. They wanna see better-looking, more affluent, smarter people who live exciting, unrealistic lives in apartments they could never actually afford in real life. They don't wanna see a vaguely unattractive girl with a fat ass having sex, they wanna see hot girls having sex with hot dudes.

  • Cryder55

    Dude, I can't believe you took the time to write a passionate heartfelt defense of "Girls".

  • jon29

    "And no: watching the first two episodes of season one doesn’t count."

    Respectfully, I call bullshit. I learned my lesson from Farscape (keep watching, it gets better is a filthy lie). Two episodes is a fair shake. Life is too short to watch a show you don't enjoy because the internet says you should.

    Of course, life is extra too short to join discussions about things you don't like just to say you don't like them.

    I like Girls.

  • Kip Hackman

    "Life is too short to watch a show you don't enjoy because the internet says you should." That's the best thing I've read in a long time.

  • abell

    Can I dislike her because of her election ad that boiled down to, "young women, you should vote for the man that you'd be willing to sleep with?"

    Never seen Girls, not interested in watching Girls. I have my own 20 something life to deal with, not interested in dealing with fake ones.

  • seanfast

    pretty sure you didnt get the joke of that political ad cuz it definitely wasn't saying "you should vote for the man youd be willing to sleep with."

    its called a metaphor

  • abell

    Ah, it's a metaphor. I get it now. So, she was saying that you should sleep with guys who promise you things they're not going to deliver, but, it's okay because they have the same "right thinking" beliefs as you?

  • seanfast

    edited: my bad, too mean upon second viewing

  • Jezzer

    I'm as liberal as they come, and you're coming across as an absolute douchebag here. Nothing abell has said has warranted this level of venom and condescension.

  • abell

    I appreciate it.

  • seanfast

    yeah i made the mistake of feeding the troll. im just tired of reading people on the right make condescending remarks about that campaign ad saying things like this is whats wrong with this country. and when he made two incorrect oversimplifications about it in an attempt to insult her, i got defensive.

  • abell

    Fair enough. I was being a dick. It's only been 2 months, I'm still in a bit of a mood on the subject myself. No harm, no foul.

  • abell

    wow, straight to the ad hominems. Apparently, I watch Fox News (I don't), read right wing blogs (this part's true), wear a tinfoil hat (I look dumb in hats, seriously, every hat), have a large supply of gold (but the infomercials tell me gold's always a good investment!) and have an AR15 (I was actually looking at a Ruger Mini30) I concede that you are truly the dick waving champion.

    Back to the point. A metaphor is supposed to work on two levels. The half black half white aliens in Star Trek TOS are the story themselves, but, they're also a metaphor for how meaningless our own perceived racial differences are. You can watch the story, and pick up the subtext, or not. In both cases, that subtext was pretty apparent. However, to use the modern parlance, "the medium is the message." Dunham was talking about your first time having sex as much as voting (the point being comparing the two), and I found the treatment of both oversimplifying to the point of being patronizing. Which was the point I made initially, before being accused of not understanding a basic literary concept.

  • dizzylucy

    I watched the whole first season, and had mixed feelings - I like that a young woman is doing so much with her own show, and it is different than anything else out there, but I found most of it annoying and frustrating. I'm opting out of watching any more (despite loving Donald Glover).

    But the more articles, awards, hype that happened, the more negative I felt about it. It never clicked for me, so when it gets so much attention and other shows I love more are ignored, it bugs me. I guess it's typical backlash? I don't know. I'm just hoping the hype dies down.

  • seanfast

    28 year old straight male here who LOVES this show.

    I always try to convince people to watch the show but I only know people online who like it, I've yet to meet someone in person who has seen it let AND enjoyed it.

    I couldn't wait for the season premiere sunday, and I hoped I'd see some gifs on here from the episode. Like Hannah's awkward running which closely resembles a child attempting to go up stairs in his/her dad's shoes, or Shoshanna pretending to be a dj with a solo cup headphone. There were great lines like "What are you looking at fake lumberjack guy!" and "You know you're beautiful, that's why you're such a bitch."

    As an amateur screenwriter and eventual amateur filmmaker, Dunham is an inspiration. She turned an indie film's success with her parents and friends in it, into a critically acclaimed, audience loved, hit show on the most award winning cable network on tv. And got 3 seasons so far out of it. Not only creating, but writing, directing, producing, and starring in it. She got nominated for four emmys her first year in the game, and won 2 golden globes this past weekend. The haters who don't watch the show but continue to hate can keep on talkin about how fat she is or how ugly she is or why the hell does she get naked so often for someone so unnattractive, but she can tell them to kiss her sloppy backside.

  • Lauren_Lauren

    I do watch it. I watch it so my hatred can be validated.

  • The Kitastrophe

    It's okay. Has a few moments. I respect it, though, and here's why. 'Sex in the City' gave you horrible, vapid, selfish dimwits and tried to make you believe they were fabulous. 'Girls' gives you characters with equally obnoxious flaws but doesn't try to make you believe that they're anything but what they appear to be, self-centered.

  • I watched ep 6 & 7 yesterday and had the same thoughts. The party plot threads were hilarious, engaging and intelligent. It reminded me of all my bad decisions and searching for parties that weren't really that great back in LA. The ep before had some laughs with the parents, but ultimately was kinda meh. I'm gonna watch the rest, but doubt i'd own this show on dvd like my friend.

  • John W

    I've watched every episode thus far. It's an okay show. I don't understand all the fuss about it.

  • FireLizardQueen

    I watched both the first season of Girls and Tiny Furniture, only haven't started watching the 2nd season because I no longer have HBO.

    This is not my generation (31 yo here), but I still relate to a lot of what she's trying to say especially that weird time right after college when you're completely lost. Like you, I love that the show has (VERY) welcomed discussion about women and women's bits and relationships in a way that isn't a goddamned romantic comedy. I get some of the hate because those bitches are most definitely entitled, but who the f*ck isn't entitled at that age? The internet seems to have forgotten what self absorbed jerks we all were from 21-25.

  • Fredo

    I don't watch it. Not interested. I don't bitch about it. Not interested.

    How many people, however, did the very same thing for stuff like Revolution and Last Resort? It's part and parcel of TV land that people will bitch, whine and complain about shows they don't see. Quick, who watches Here Comes Honey Boo Boo before bitching about how it's the worst show on TV? And who fires first without ever seeing a second of it?

    Neither Girls nor Lena Dunham get a reprieve from it. If the show is that good and she is that talented, in 10 years' time, all of that will be forgotten and the show will become similar to Seinfeld -- which took years to find its swing and its audience but now everyone swears to having seen and loved from the beginning.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Regarding Adam: Is he really a jerk to her? I think her attitude toward him and their relationship belie her selfishness.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Well, at least people have stopped bitching about the "nepotistic" casting.

  • disqus_N4EigheiZo

    I'm sorry. I just can't watch Girls. I know everyone wants me give it a chance because I'm twenty-something, went to a liberal arts college, and I live in NYC, and I am *JUST LIKE THEM.* I'm tired of that whole rhetoric.

    What this article seems to forget is that many women of color have criticized the show for rendering women of color completely invisible. Articles like this one are telling me that my feelings of discomfort about watching a show where the showrunner continues to make weirdly racist comments on twitter, and in her book, and pretty much says she'll get to adding people of color when she gets to it, are totally invalid. I guess that Donald Glover will be on the show, and there will be an exchange where the white girl learns that she will never understand racism, and that's great for her development as a character, and the audience learned that racism sucks and Hannah is so painfully naive and terrible. But how about we cast more minorities and have her constantly engage in those types of conversations? Would that be asking too much from her audience and from her writers?

    I'm sorry it's difficult for me to separate Lena Dunham from her character on the show, but she is such an integral part of the entire creative process behind the show. Good for her for being so unafraid to write about her experiences, and make it all seem so true to life and to literally bare it all. I don't begrudge her success, I'm just angry that women like me are still left out and constantly ignored. I get that Lena Dunham is well loved here, but she is just not for me.

  • TK


    OK, so here's the thing about "Girls" and its race problems. The complaint is, to me, a little disingenuous. It's not that it's untrue - it's totally true that "Girls" completely ignored minorities in its first season. There's no denying that. But what I don't get is why people are making it such a big deal?

    Because it's not that "Girls" is in any way special in this regard. This is symptomatic of pretty much 99% of ALL TELEVISION. So I don't get why this show suddenly represents a line in the sand for people, as if "Girls" is a bastion of whiteness in a sea of multicultural entertainment. For years - YEARS - television has ignored, neglected, stereotyped, mocked, and ridiculed minorities. Where was the complaint about a lack of diversity in casting for "Friends" or "Sex In The City" or "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" or "Xena" or "Seinfeld" or "How I Met Your Mother" or "Seinfeld" or pretty much the majority of all television? Why are we focusing our ire on this one show?

    This complaint about race - I don't get it. You shouldn't have a problem with race in "Girls." You should have a problem with the entire modern entertainment industry. Dunham's show is but a tiny gear in that massive machine.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Why would you mention Xena? That show used Maori actors as major characters frequently.

  • Lindsey Gregory

    I have heard similar complaints about SATC, Seinfeld and Friends, where you been at?

    And besides, I find YOUR argument to be a little disingenuous. To question where the clamor was 10 or 15 years ago (notwithstanding HIMYM) about the lack of racial representation in television and movies is kind of bullsh*t because many, many, many, many people have complained about this crap for decades.

    Perhaps it's because more people are finding it incredulous that in Brooklyn -- a neighborhood with 37% AA, 20% Hispanic, 10% Asian and 46% white populations -- there is little to no representation of minorities, save for the token.

  • John G.

    I feel like I read 10,000 articles on the race problems of Friends. Ultimately, there's a pretty easy cure to this. Hire more non-white writers and non-white producers and BAM, you'll have shows with non-white characters.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    And yet I've not seen a single article on the race problems of HIMYM, the Friends of the new millennium.

  • Lindsey Gregory

    For some reason, it seems to have flown under the radar, though I have seen it mentioned alongside Girls as post-millennial examples of the whiteness of teevee programs. Here's an example:

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Thank you. And interesting that the piece was essentially written in response to Girls, as opposed to when HIMYM began airing.

  • disqus_N4EigheiZo

    That's the thing, I do have problems with race with the entire industry and with those shows mentioned. I mean who doesn't cringe when Kendrah the vampiyah slayah shows up on Buffy? I'm saying that I have a problem with this article for ignoring those criticisms and I have a problem with the show runner for her racist comments outside of the show that make it hard for me to watch her show. I also have a problem when this show is regarded as so true to life and true to experience for twenty-somethings, and that the media continues to showcase it as "the voice of a generation" even when others are disagreeing. Those shows you mentioned and a lot of other tv aren't treated quite the same way in the media.

  • TK

    OK, that's fair enough. Two more points that I'd make, though:

    1) I don't think it's fair to judge "Girls" differently because it's supposed to be "true to life." I think if you're going to make a case for diversity, make a case for diversity, full stop, regardless of what genre we're talking about.

    2) (and I realize this kind of contradicts "A") I also think that, if we're being honest with ourselves, there really are countless little collections of friends that don't have any minorities. I think that Dunham really probably is telling a story that's reflective of her life. I think that's kind of a depressing thing, but I don't think it's necessarily inaccurate.

  • fashionoutlier

    Totally agree with your second point. As a woman of color, I've been wondering where I can find this white-washed NYC these girls live in. However, I also understand that writers write about what they know, and the truth is that even though our world is diverse, we as humans tend to gravitate towards people who look like us. So if the series is even a loose reflection Lena Dunham's life and experiences, I would not be surprised to learn that she has been surrounded by mostly white people her whole life, and that her friendships and close relationships are mostly with white people. In fact, I'd rather she continue writing about what she knows instead of trying to write in minority roles for the sake of diversity and make a bad situation worse by portraying minorities in a stereotypical, clueless manner.

  • Alarmjaguar

    "I've been wondering where I can find this white-washed NYC these girls live in."
    And where How I Met Your Mother takes place.

  • disqus_N4EigheiZo

    My different judgment of Girls comes more from the press around the show than the actual show, obviously because I don't watch the show. Both of those points are fair and are also super frustrating considering the industry being the way it is. My brother loves the show and always points out that his group of friends is almost entirely white, but I usually counter that he is the token minority and at least he exists.

    I'm still firmly in the good for her, but there are other shows out there that I would rather be watching that don't have as much of a negative history of diversity issues (at least to my knowledge). Maybe if Lena Dunham was better at navigating social media and I didn't know things about her that I do know, I would be more likely to watch her show. Also I am kind of an asshole, so I probably won't watch Girls just to be spiteful and to fulfill the whole angry minority woman thing.

  • TK

    Well, the spiteful and asshole thing - you've found yourself a home, sister. Come on in. Try the pâté .

    Truth be told, I don't actually watch the show, and what I've seen of it really does nothing for me. My gripe was never about the show itself, but more about people (not you, I realize now) failing to realize the hypocrisy in criticizing it for its racial issues while blithely going on enjoying whatever the hell other crap they're watching and never grasping that same conclusion.

  • disqus_N4EigheiZo

    Oh my god, this is one of my proudest moments in the seven years I've been reading (lurking on ) this site.

  • "What this article seems to forget is that many women of color have criticized the show for rendering women of color completely invisible."

    I don't understand this statement. Not including women of color is not the same as rendering them invisible.

  • John G.

    You know how any time a gay character was in a movie or tv show for the longest time, they were a swishy queen stereotype? And then some shows came along that started to portray them as just people who do things like other people? And then suddenly gay marriage started to become more acceptable and people were suddenly turning on people who were openly homophobic? Yeah, well, when pop culture starts to reflect a tolerant and diverse sea of colorful faces, so will regular culture. It's connected!

    By not doing that? They render them and their humanity invisible.

  • Lindsey Gregory

    Umm...actually it IS the same thing.

  • I guess I see "rendering invisible" as sort of a "they don't exist." Instead, what Dunham has done -- or, at least, what I *think* she has done -- is created a show that expresses a narrow milieu: white girls in New York.

    That was short-sighted of Dunham; but I also don't know if she would be the person you want writing about the black experience in New York in the first place, right? She's mining her own biography for much of the first season.

    Dunham isn't saying black people don't exist. Or that they're invisible.

  • Lindsey Gregory

    I don't know how one woman, let alone a group of four, could live in Brooklyn and have only ONE black person within even the hinterland of their inner circle. If we were talking about some WASP-Y echelons in Maine or Iowa, yeah, I'd buy that they don't know any minorities. But Brooklyn? Yeah, minorities practically invisible in one of the most diverse cities in the country. It happened on Friends, Sex and the City and it's happening on the show right now.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I live in NYC, know plenty of people in Brooklyn, and though I have black friends, I can see several groups of threesomes/foursomes that extend to significant others, and don't include any minorities. I think if you are just out of college and had still hanging with your college buddies, it's not far-fetched. It definitely took me a few years past going to my white-tacular college before I had multi-cultural friends in NYC. Seeing minorities? yes, all the time. Having them as part of my inner circle? that took longer.

  • csb

    Leave Lena alone!!!!!!!!!

  • the dude

    So I have the right to hate Girls, but I'm wrong? That's what this article is saying...

  • lowercase_ryan

    has anyone considered that the inability to separate Lena Dunham from Girls and from Hannah is intentional? People talk more about the person/character than they do about the show itself (imo). The attention just seams to generate more attention, and more opinions (justified or not).

    There's a thin line between self-assured, genuine talent and arrogant douchebag. I don't yet know what side of the line Lena Dunham falls on.

  • wojtek

    I don't know, maybe it betrays a profound emotional disconnect or some sort of pathology on my part, but I rarely feel the need to >like< a character to appreciate them if the writing is good - either in that the characters deliver lines that I find amusing (see: 30 Rock) or in that they actually seem three-dimensional and therefore allow me a plausible glimpse into how various people act under different circumstances. I mean, I don't LIKE Cersei, but being made to think that I can understand her actions makes for a compelling viewing experience. At least for me.

    I feel like with "Girls" I get the best of both. I might not be completely on board with Hannah as a character, but that only makes me admire Lena Dunham the writer/director more, and I feel I understand why she acts the way she does, even at - especially at - her most self-indulgent. I also happen to believe that the series has some of the best-observed dialogue around. I mean, it's not foolproof, but "Neither do you." from the last ep should get some sort of tiny trophy.

    All that being said, apparently I was not ready to see Troy Barnes have sex.

  • Badlands

    Everything that is wrong with this piece can be found in the second and third paragraphs. You call even those who have watched the show to the extent YOU deem necessary "assholes" if they still dislike it, and then you go on to presume not only why they don't like it, but tell them those reasons are invalid. I'm all for the "watch it before you shot-talk it" mentality - agree 100%; but if someone doesn't like this show as much as you do - for whatever reason - who the hell are you to them they are wrong (or sorry, "an informed asshole")? And the the coup de grace; "well if you don't like it, don't watch; nobody has a gun to your head." Really, man?! You've watched it, you think - nay, you know - it sucks, but just tune out and have no opinion about it when people discuss it or its the hot topic in the news or online? And from the guy at this site?! I really hope this post was some elaborate parody, a hoax to somehow back-handedly shit-talk the show by coming off just as self-centered and obnoxious as the writing and characters on this show. If so, BRAVO.

  • Carlito

    Basically this goes for the Anne Hathaway, Girls, etc. etc., whatever Choose Your Hate-venture may be.

  • googergieger

    Or you could watch, I don't know...

    Something good?

  • Jezzer

    Stop making me upvote you. >:(

  • I'm privileged enough to have my mom support me while I find a job but not privileged enough to have her pay for HBO. I suspect there's a lot of sexism involved in it's critiques considering many people don't seem to give a shit about white privileged anywhere else in entertainment and the world. I'm eager to pick up the Bluray to find out myself since people I trust like it.

  • I can't be the only one who's reading way more people bitching about people bitching about the show than there are actual people bitching about the show, can I?

    I read over that sentence and now I'm cross-eyed.

    I just wish the show could just be there and I didn't have to hear so much about it. And yeees, I realize I didn't even have to read this post or comment on it or anything but this is the internet, people. Everyone needs to hear my opinion. That's what this whole thing is about, anyway.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Nah, that's been my only experience with it, as well: it's all very wobbly. We're living at the nexus of Bitch Dimension and I don't know from where I should exit the Posiedon.

  • Ben

    The only reason I know this show exists is from reading about people bitching about the people bitching about it. That's literally my only knowledge of this show.

  • BWeaves

    I agree. I never even heard of this show or Lena until yesterday. This is probably the best publicity they can get.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Quit your bitching. (Says the guy who is bitching about someone else bitching about other people bitching about people bitching about a show ... we can do this alllll day.)


  • babykangarootribbiani

    i completely agree with your idea here, nothing makes my skin crawl more than when someone complains about something they know nothing about or have never watched. that being said, i have never watched girls. i don;t plan to because i don;t think that i would like it. that has absolutely nothing to do with how lena dunham or any of the other girls whose name i haven;t bothered to learn look. in fact if the reason people hate it or refuse to watch it is because of how they look well that makes me as sad as when i hear there are still people who have an unironic love of twilight (they;re out there, trust me). The refuse I don;t watch it is because of the "privileged white america" problem from the other article. being that i live with that kind of girl who does not pay for her college, rent, food, is a theatre major, goes home every weekend and may very well never have to work a day in her life, watching a show with four of those girls would just make me batty. and i know that there;s more to the show than that. i wish i was a big enough person that i could watch it. because what would happen? i would love it. for christmas sake, i watched like five years of entourage, and anyone can see this show has more substance and the characters are more realistic! and i know, or i think that there is more to this show than four brynne-lettes complaining about how hard their lives are. right?

  • Lindsey Gregory

    My absolute best friend ever abhors tomatoes. Any mention of tomatoes elicits a disgusted, "Ewww gross, tomatoes. Get them away from me." I tell her how delicious they are, but I understand why she actively hates them. What with them being fruit, but not fruit, with slimy insides and that weird tomato-y scent.

    I totally understand WHY she hates tomatoes. She probably had them once and was disgusted. And then she gave them another try and was still disgusted. Knowing that I can never turn her towards the tomato side, I no longer waste my time telling her, "Just give them a chance. What about a bruschetta? Or maybe in a salad?"

    Because, what is the point in telling someone who legitimately gave them a chance and just was not having it, that they should give tomatoes a chance because they're delicious don't really know what they're talking about?


  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    That was a really convincing, clear and concise analogy, hats off.

  • According to the author of this article, your friend needs to force herself to eat the hated tomatoes. If she still hates them after gorging on a basketful of the fruit/not fruit you call her an informed asshole.

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    Total agreement. I think I know what he was 'saying', but he didn't say it.

  • Jezzer

    All the <3s for you. ALL OF THEM.

  • DarthCorleone

    I don't know about Girls, but this tomatoes anecdote *really* spoke to me.

  • Gabs

    It spoke to me too, because I hated tomatoes for years, and then made myself give them another try. I like them now, but it took a while. These days, I could probably put sun dried tomatoes on just about anything and my life would be complete.

    I would happily give Girls a try too, but I don't have HBO and I'm still working my way through dubiously-legal-streams of Homeland. I only have so much time for such things, after all.

  • Eva


  • poopnado

    I've seen the first 4 eps of Girls and Tiny Furniture, because of exactly this--I wanted to be informed. I thought I would actually like Girls and Dunham, but the more I watched the more I understood why people dislike her and her work. My hatred for her is weirdly consuming. It's not even a hate-love, like my hate-love for GOOP (I LOVE to hate me some GOOP).

    I don't like that my reaction to her winning a Golden Globe was anger, but I do feel like Hollywood falls all over her for no reason. Her work is mediocre and narcissistic (and I'm speaking as a woman with a lot in common with Dunham). But you know, that's just like, my opinion, man.

    Ultimately I agree with Dustin. People shouldn't hate for no reason (fun as it may be). And criticizing Dunham for the wrong reasons (she's white! she's chubby!) causes me to leap to her defense. I should probably stay away from Girls and Dunham coverage as the comments tend to get nasty and make me sad.

  • "Her work is mediocre and narcissistic"

    Can you say more about this? What do you mean, especially, by "narcissistic"?

  • poopnado

    As far as "mediocre" goes--her characters are unoriginal and the situations they get into are boring (to me). I think she writes a lot of stuff that she thinks is edgy, but it comes off as more desperate and gimmicky. Again, just my opinion. Dunham assumes the audience will be shocked that these young women are acting oh-so improperly, but come on man. Anyone that talks to a young woman in her twenties even once won’t find the behavior on Girls shocking in the least. I would be more shocked if she wrote a story with some actual substance in it.

    That she assumes that people will find her character's story (both in Girls and Tiny Furniture) interesting is narcissistic, because their story is just a retelling of her story. A show about women in their mid-twenties trying to find themselves should be entertaining, but she does it in a “LOOK AT ME” way that I find very off-putting. Her characters are self-absorbed, out of touch and ungrateful.

    I compare this with 30 Rock a show about the “struggles” of a wealthy white woman with a fantastic career, but I don’t feel irked at all by it. Probably because Fey puts Liz Lemon in perspective with a cast of diverse characters (diverse by prime-time standards). Girls fails to do this, and the characters just feed of each other’s whining.

    But I want reiterate (again)--this is just my opinion. I understand why people like the show, which is more than I can say of some other shows (the popularity of 2.5 Men will never stop baffling me).

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Just to clarify here: you are saying 30 Rock is NOT gimmicky but Girls is? And you do not find the characters on 30 Rock to be self-absorbed, out of touch, and ungrateful? And you find the insecurities of Liz Lemon more approachable than those of Hannah Horvath?

    I feel like the desperate gimmickyness and self-absorption is what makes 30 Rock funny, though in a much less realistic way. Maybe it's throwing realism into the mix that makes Girls distasteful to you?

  • poopnado

    Maybe the "realism" of Girls makes it seem like it's taking itself too seriously. The 30 Rock characters are definitely horrible people, but it's a comedy. Their horribleness is hilarious, and Fey keeps their problems in perspective.

    Alternatively, I just don't get it. I'm stupid, or ignorant, or I need to cut back on the haterade. I just will never understand the cleverness of Lena Dunham. That hypothesis is strange to me though, since I tend to agree with most of the opinions on Pajiba. Also my mom told me that I'm smart and special. So.

    In any case, this conversation started out being on topic, and now it has devolved into another argument about why or why not people should like Girls. Completely my fault. It probably just comes down to personal preference. If you like it, then please, keep enjoying it. I promise to stop bashing it and start ignoring it. As long as Dunham never claims to represent my generation. Then I'll be forced to defend myself.

  • seanfast

    Yeah I'm confused too. Can someone be super self deprecating AND narcissistic simultaneously?

  • Jo 'Mama' Besser

    I present to you, The Almighty Navel. Meditate upon it in glum pontification.

  • Sarah

    yes, it happens! especially when you are full of yourself, but you don't succeed in what you've always expected to be recognized and acclaimed. It's like watching a persons divided by the self that recognize the failure and the other one who can't admit to not be so perfect as expected.

    "Girls" is a story who wants to show realistically the life of a girl in her twenties, but failed to be liked because it also wants to be more, wants to impress.

    And here I agree with what poopnado said. Lana struggles to be original and realistic, but she does not how. So it ends up being boring and pretentious.
    This is why I can't like the show.

    Plus I find Shoshanna and Marnie so deliberately phony that I just...can't suffer to see them on the screen.

  • seanfast

    i just love the quote "and here i agree with what poopnado said"

  • denesteak

    dude, that gif. When she said that, my heart literally went out to her, because I. so. fucking. got. it.

    I like Girls. It's funny, and I see a lot of me and my friends in it. I also see the self-aware lacerations to us.

  • John G.

    I hate the young, white and privileged more than anyone on Earth, and I came around on Girls. If I can do it, anyone can.

    And after watching This Is 40, I'm starting to think that maybe the problem is Judd Apatow not Lena Dunham.

  • Jaime Birren

    Great article. I was just having this discussion with someone yesterday who had written "Girls" off because she didn't like the first couple of episodes. I agree that nobody has to watch anything they've decided not to like, but telling others they're ridiculous for not watching a show you hate but they don't is like telling someone they shouldn't ride in cars because the first time you did you got terribly ill, so cars are evil machines to be avoided at all costs, or that you tried to eat a sandwich once but chipped your tooth on a piece of grain so sandwiches are stupid and so are you if you eat them, etc. Just because I don't like it doesn't mean you can't love it, and vice-versa. Personally I love "Girls," even when it makes me cringe with recognition.

  • Alex Kuhn

    Amen. I've found that instead of watching week to week, I did a lot better with the show if I watched it in chunks a few episodes at a time. The episodes are pretty short, and you kind of start to understand them as you spend more time with them.

    During Marney and Hannah's big fight last season, I realized that I have had that exact same fight a million times. The kind where there's really a grey area and you're not really sure who the "right" one is, so you both kind of just try your best to hurt each other by airing out everything that bugs you about that person.

    And I'm pretty sure almost every girl I've known has had that guy who they have feelings for, who they sleep with because it makes them feel wanted, but that guy remains kind of an aloof dick who doesn't even answer texts half the time.

    The thing is, you're not supposed to 100 percent "like" half the characters, because like it or not, most of us are kind of assholes ourselves most of the time, especially when we're selfish kids in our twenties trying to find our way.

  • OldSchool60

    Dustin, you're absolutley right...
    ...but no one is going to listen to you.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I watched the first 5 episodes of Girls. I came to like every character except Hannah. I hate Hannah. I made the mistake of associating the character with the creator, as I've read repeatedly that the character is based loosely on her own life. Then I heard Terry Gross interview her on NPR and she was great. Charming, intelligent, and enjoyable.

    Then I read a supposed excerpt from her book and wanted to stab myself in the eye.

  • This is EXACTLY my experience.

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