In Defense of
How do you feel about the show’s recent turning points?
On Sunday night, while Hannah struggled with her UTI (all recovery takes is a cranberry pill, trust), I wasn’t concerned with Jessa’s departure, or Shoshanna’s May-December romance, or Marni’s terrible sex with Booth. All I cared about was calling my mother to say ‘I love you.’ And so I did.
Even in an episode that many found to be off-puttingly somber (according to yesterday’s comments on MR’s facebook page), the writers once again tapped in to something real and relatable. That element of authenticity is a large part of what makes the show so engaging, and frankly, comforting. Even in the series’ recent departure from its typical fare, the essence of a shared experience remains.
Curious how others felt, we asked for responses to Sunday’s episode on Facebook. Comments were a mixed bag, but more than a few fell in the “another kind of sad episode. Great,” camp. The gist was that the episode’s melancholic vibe was a let down.
I just have to ask: why? I know that the human tendency sways more definitively toward using television for escapism, but what’s wrong with television as a function of intellect, or as the great conversation elicitor? If ignorance is bliss, knowledge is ecstasy, and if that knowledge can make you laugh, too, well, that’s an untapped drug still being cultivated somewhere very, very exotic.
But I get it–because sometimes I just want to giggle and not have to worry that the depth of my forehead wrinkles are directly correlated to the depth of the plot line. And, granted, the transition from curious (albeit hilarious) comments that invite sex, (see: “I like the way you fold your turtleneck”) to breaking points – like the raw portrayal of a fundamentally bruised Jessa or Hannah’s happiness melt-down two weeks ago in the Brooklyn Brownstone -just seem a bit jarring. But isn’t that life?
Unsurprisingly, the Brooklyn Brownstone, Patrick Wilson sexcapade provoked a lengthy conversation around the show. Naysayers continued on their overzealous journey to prove Lena Dunham’s sweeping narcissism–where was the rest of the cast?–while the rest of us thoughtfully took note of what she may have been trying to accomplish. Some of us even relating deeply to Hannah’s terrifying realization that those seemingly trite things – like happiness – are worthy desires. And who doesn’t want to be happy?
The deeper I fall into my 20’s, the more I realize that I am obsessed with chasing happiness. I don’t know that such a chase ever ends, but I know that prior to this point, happiness felt a lot more like a function of who I was. And just in that internal, subjective revelation and my hunger to share it with you, I believe that no matter how much I prefer watching all four Girls act like girls (because I do), and no matter how confused I was while I watched the naked ping-pong tournament, that episode won.
Like any relationship, though, there must be substantial, strategic room to evolve. And though Lena’s earned my trust, I hope the next few episodes offer a respite from overt melancholy.
I’ll watch either way–it’s hard for me to deny Girls’ uncanny ability to break-down the twenty-something experience, which has also helped me to understand something very important: the fundamental difference between the idol you want to be, and the one you want to be friends with. Hannah Horvath is a deeply self-deprecating, wholly irritating individual–who wants to be that? Not very many people, I would guess. But it is in the tender moments that exemplify the nuanced, true details of female friendship that I for one, itch to get in that tub and participate in an Oasis sing-along. And isn’t that worth something far more valuable? Hannah never steals our personal compasses of self-worth or adequacy.
What are your thoughts on the evolution of the show? Like it? Hate it? I’m eager to hear what you think.
Edited by Kate