I am obsessed with the HBO show GIRLS. Obsessed. As in, I’ve seen four episodes, there are only ten total, so now my GIRLS fun is almost half over, and that’s starting to weigh on my mind. I’m already watching each episode at least twice, and plan to keep them on my DVR until Season 2 comes out, probably in another year and a half. I just don’t know how I’m going to last that long.
I love the show for the same reasons lots of other people do – the writing is brilliant, it’s funny and poignant and honest. The actors are actually normal looking, intelligent and talented, a rare thing on American TV. I’m happily surprised by the appeal of the show to a wide audience – my husband likes it, my son and his girlfriend never miss it, and the young women I know think it’s a hilarious and very accurate portrayal of life after college. Hannah in particular is winning. She is so affable and malleable that when her office mate criticizes her “patchy” eyebrows and offers to “fix” them, Hannah not only lets her, she rocks the look for the rest of the day (see above).
HBO describes the show as a comic look at the assorted humiliations and rare triumphs of a group of girls in their early 20s. Washington Times writer Emily Esfahani Smith has characterized it as depicting the sexual wasteland of promiscuity, the Millennials’ hookup culture.
In Hannah’s relationship, we see how the hook-up culture degrades girls. In Marnie’s, we see how it degrades guys.
That’s intentional. Dunham set out to make the anti-Sex and the City, which made casual sex seem fun and empowering.
I felt like I was cruelly duped by much of the television I saw.
As someone who writes very specifically about hookup culture, the show feels like a gift from the gods. It’s brutally honest about female sexuality in particular. In fact, the show is conclusive proof that Game has gone totally mainstream.
I. Arrogance FTW
In a recent episode, Marnie, the beautiful one, meets a pretentious artist named Booth Jonathan at the gallery where she works. (He’s small and twerpy, played by Jorma Taccone of Jizz in My Pants fame.) Sick to death of her supplicating boyfriend Charlie, she goes for a stroll with him. He’s kind of a jerk, and when she flirts with him he makes it clear he has no use for her girlish games, and walks away. But first he says this:
“I want you to know, the first time I fuck you, I might scare you a little, because I’m a man, and I know how to do things.”
Marnie watches him go, then races to a bathroom to masturbate.
Sweet, loving, loyal Charlie can’t compete with this douche. Dunham, who wrote the whole first season alone, says that a guy really delivered that line to her once, confessing afterwards that he’d gotten it from a friend at Vice Magazine. Weak move, DLV’ing his DHV that way.
II. Suicide by Supplication and Alpha Advice
Meanwhile, Chump Charlie is busy making Marnie a wooden coffee table almost as good as the one she likes from Restoration Hardware, when his friend Ray tells Charlie what he really thinks:
Your girlfriend is my own private nightmare, do you know that? Someone should just fuck her to teach her a lesson. Just fuckin chain her to a post and just fuckin fuck her hard, just whip her, just fuckin whip her until she fuckin…well, whatever.
Unfortunately, Charlie is a deer in the headlights in the face of this “wisdom.” For added insult, Charlie is also writing a pretty lame song about a girl in Keds, inviting unfavorable comparison to last year’s summer hit Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People.
III. Chicks Dig Jerks
This is the classic “chicks dig jerks they can turn into sweetie pies” fantasy. Hannah’s been having sex with Adam for a short while – she has to work hard for it, though, as he never answers her texts. Their couplings are devoid of eroticism. This week she was sort of thrilled to get a text pic of his dick with what looked like a squirrel tail wrapped around it until he sent a follow up text saying, “SRY that wasn’t meant for you.”
Hannah finally gets up the nerve to go to Adam’s apartment and say what she needs to say, with unexpected results. Adam opens the door.
“What the fuck is up with your eyebrows?”
“I’m not saying. I didn’t come her to talk about that.”
“I came here to say I don’t think we should see each other anymore. I don’t think we should see each other anymore, and it makes me feel stupid and pathetic when I get a picture of your dick that I know was meant for someone else and you don’t even bother to explain, because I made you think that you don’t have to explain. So.”
“What are you asking?”
“I’m not asking anything. I’m really not asking you for anything. I’ve never asked you for anything. I don’t even want anything, OK? I respect your right to..see, and …to do…whoever you want, and I don’t even want a boyfriend, so.”
“What do you want?”
“I just want someone who wants to hang out all the time, and thinks I’m the best person in the world and wants to have sex with only me. And it makes me feel very stupid to tell you this because it makes me sound like a girl, who wants to like, go to brunch, and I really don’t want to go to brunch. And I don’t want you to sit on the couch while I shop, or like even meet my friends. I don’t even want that.
But I also don’t want to share a sex partner with a girl who seems to have asked for a picture of your dick because I live very near you, so if you wanted me to look at your dick, I could just come over and look at your dick.
And I really don’t see you hearing me. And I don’t see you changing. So.
I just summed it up for you. And I’m sorry I didn’t figure it out sooner and you must think I”m even stupider than you thought I was already. But consider it a testament to your charms. Because you might not know this, but you’re very, very charming. And I really care about you. And I don’t want to anymore because it feels too shitty to me. So I’m gonna leave.”
At which point Adam grabs Hannah and they share the first moment of real passion they’ve ever had. Because she has finally revealed who she is and what she feels. Reader J pointed out in the comments that the show makes clear later in the episode that Hannah had an orgasm that time. I’d missed that, but it’s definitely a first in the relationship. It will be interesting to see where this goes.
By the way, Lena Dunham said this too was from her life – a breakup email she’d written and now performed on the show.
Shoshanna tries to lose her virginityIV. Players Avoid Virgins
In a ringing validation of everything SayWhaat has been saying here for two years about the plight of virgins today, Shoshanna decides to give it up to a boy she attended Camp Ramah with the first night he comes over to “watch a movie.”
“I’m like totally ready to have sex, I’ve just never had sex before so I thought I’d tell you that.”
Guy stops making out. “What?”
Guy rolls over and away. “Yeah, that’s just really not my thing.”
“What’s not your thing?”
“Oh. OK, but like except for the fact that I haven’t had sex, I’m like totally not even a virgin. I’m like the least virginny virgin ever.”
“Yeah, no offense, OK? I’ll totally have sex with you once you’ve already had sex. I just, you know, it’s like, virgins get attached. Or they bleed. You get attached when you bleed.”
“I so don’t get attached when I bleed! It’s like amazing, I’m totally not an attached bleeder.”
“Yeah, it’s not going to happen.”
So just start like, fuckin watching it already. This show, like, fuckin rocks.