Grumpy Bird Reviews: Girls

Girls (seasons 1 & 2)
Created by: Lena Dunham
HBO

At first I wasn’t very interested in this show. The main idea seemed to be “what if the Sex and the City cast were younger and had less money?” and my head added in “but were still pretty vacuous?” But I heard some praise and thought I’d give it a shot. It turns out it does feel like SatC the College years for reasons good and bad.

One improvement over SatC is Dunham’s talent for dialog. I really do like the rhythm and flow of how the characters talk. SatC always felt plastic, maybe due to my never being in that style of group. Dunham’s characters’ feel real in the way that Sorkin can make his characters sound real even when they aren’t at all.

The difference is that while I want to listen to Sorkin’s dialog not only for its artistry but for its content, I want Dunham’s characters to stop talking. No matter how well designed their words are they aren’t saying anything that interests me. But more on that later. There is something else I want to compliment before I take out the daggers.

Another aspect I can appreciate is Dunham’s bravery. She includes a lot of the little moments we gloss over when we tell our story to others. She shows herself (because even if it isn’t autobiographical it reads as if it wants to be) as fallible and as doing petty things. Her bravery also extends to appearance. She is not a typical pretty lead nor does she have a typical tv body. She looks more like the character used to teach as a lesson about not judging by appearances in that one special episode where Zach Morris takes her on a date and has a great time and then she disappears from the series forever. Still, she takes a stand against the restrictive forms of beauty and let’s herself shine. You could argue this is undercut by all her romantic partners being very attractive in these seasons, or that all the other characters are also good looking even if they are only TV normal, meaning they would by the more attractive people at most real life parties.

But pretty much during each episode, as patter-ful as the dialog was, I just never cared about any of the characters. I can’t say they felt real to me. Or even at their most real, they weren’t anyone I would really look forward to having in my home an hour at a time. Sure, not all characters are likable. Some great fiction is based around characters that are unlikeable and yet worth rooting for for some reason. These characters were mostly ones that I wanted to shut up and get off the screen. And I sometimes felt the hand of the author. It felt like the characters were being forced into artificial situations just to see how they would react. Or to give the show some depth.

 

These two seasons convinced me that I would not be interested in watching what happens next.


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