Normally, I wouldn’t write about a TV show. It’s too subjective, although arguably beards are too, and I am not a TV critic. I can’t tell you whether it is well shot or whether the lighting is most excellent, but the essence of it? That, I can grapple with.
My oldest and dearest friend suggested I watch Girls and after taking in the first episode where Hannah has very real and very un-air-brushed sex with Adam, I thought: this is not what I signed up for. I was used to “girly” American shows being littered with couture, an ability to live way beyond their means on the Upper East Side and far-fetched story lines of murder and lust. This was different. It didn’t need all of that tat. It was like a gritty British drama but with funny accents and feminism running through it.
For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s basically a series based around the lives of four girls, living in Brooklyn, in their early twenties. Sounds like it has been done before, doesn’t it? It really, really hasn’t. Lena Dunham, who is one of my idols and an emblem of feminism for our age, captured the essence of being a twenty-something in 2014 pretty much within the first four minutes of the pilot episode. In the three series that follow, she addresses interning, drugs, virginity, dance routines, an inability to love, STIs, abortion, OCD, dance routines, doggie style, girls being bitches, boys being amazing, people enjoying ACTUAL sandwiches and peeing on each other in the shower, which, I can assure you, is some people’s reality.
Some people hide from this realism, they want to zone out of an evening and pretend to be in American Hustle or something. But Dunham baring all despite not being a size zero is, and you might laugh, inspirational for some. The programme considers body image without being clichéd and patronising, it gets feminism oh-so-right, and it explores the importance of friendship in a world of Kardashians and cat fights.
In one episode, two of the main characters are taking a bath, one “bogie bombs” into the water and they laugh it off: if that isn’t reflective of true friendship then I don’t know what is.
It has faced controversy over implications of rape, the promotion of taking drugs and many have been offended by Hannah’s decision to wear a green, string bikini throughout an entire episode. That’s what I love about it though. It’s a two fingers up to the conventions of a TV show. It basically doesn’t give a shit about barriers, expectations and the watershed.
Young women of the 90s had Sex & the City, we needed something different and Dunham has provided.
Bukowski once said that he didn’t get the big deal about Shakespeare. He said, “How are the troubles of Kings going to be applicable to my life when I can’t even afford to eat?” This is hard for me to say but the same is true of Sex & the City (Yes, I am comparing it to Shakespeare, bore off snobbos).
How can a world littered with walk in wardrobes and cocktails be more applicable to my life than the reality of having no money, never being satisfied and not having match sticks for legs?
It can’t. And therefore, as a die-hard Carrie Bradshaw fan, this is hard for me to say, but Girls, you knock the proverbial Manolos off of Sex & the City.
I salute you Hannah and your string vest!