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.