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How 'Girls' Became Television's Most Genuine, Honest-to-Goodness Hate Watch

By Dustin Rowles | TV | February 24, 2014 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | February 24, 2014 |

There’s a lot of reasons that we “hate watch” television, and most of them have to do with the fact that certain shows are so terrible that they’re ironically enjoyable to watch. Take last year’s Smash or the final season of Dexter or, for many people, Newsroom, which was hated by some more for its smugness than anything else.

Girls, on the other hand, has morphed into a smartly written, observant, and well acted show about completely loathsome people. This is not new to television comedy, of course. The characters on Seinfeld were misanthropic, Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm is heinous, and the characters on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia lack any redeeming moral qualities. The difference between Girls and a show like It’s Always Sunny, however, is that the awful qualities in the characters on Sunny are designed to elicit laughter. The awful qualities in the characters on Girls are designed to make us revile them.

It’s working.

The female characters in Girls are solipsistic, privileged, tedious, boring little sh*ts. While I completely understand that Girls is designed to bounce these reflections of reality off of Generation Y, I don’t care. I’m not saying there are necessarily any actual similarities, but to whatever extent that the real-life counterparts in Girls can self-identify with their characters, they are also despicable. The individuals, or the types, or the class of people that Lena Dunham is basing these characters on are unspeakably appalling, and should be removed from the gene pool.

This is not a man/woman thing. This is not misogynistic thing. This is a human being thing, and no one should have to surround themselves in the company of these types of poeple. If you find yourself identifying closely with any of the characters on this season of Girls, I hate to borrow a line from Rust Cohle, but either kill yourself or seek therapy, and please do the rest of us the service of not sharing all the monumental insights you gained from therapy, because the only insight that matters is that you are a boring, self-involved asshole. You are terrible, and any failure to recognize that in yourself is part of the problem.

The characters in Girls are sociopaths. No, really: Here’s a test designed to determine whether you’re a sociopath. Hannah, Jess, and Marnie fit nearly every one of these qualifications. The only redeeming female character on Girls is Shoshana, and only then, when she’s drunk. In fact, this would be the perfect show to watch with Drunk Shoshana, because she would tell it like it is, as she did in last week’s episode, describing Hannah as such:

“You’re a fucking narcissist. Seriously, I’ve never met anyone else who thinks their own life is so fascinating. I wanted to fall asleep in my own vomit all day listening to you speak about how you bruise more easily than other people … [I don’t want to be like] you, like mentally ill and miserable.”

Yes! Thank you, Shoshana.

So why continue to watch? Because for three minutes while Shoshana was going off on her friends, I felt redeemed. It felt good to have our voice reflected in this show, for someone besides Ray and occasionally Adam (who honestly has his own head up his ass as much as anyone else on Girls) to remind us that we are dealing with terrible f**king human beings, and that the only joy that comes in watching Girls is in the pleasure of hate, and it’s not ironic hate. It’s pure, piercing revulsion with people that are only a college degree and their parents’ safety net away from being fucking serial killers.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.