I am in an abusive relationship.
It’s with Girls.
On paper, Girls and I are perfect for each other. People whose opinions I trust rave about it. It wins awards. I worship everything else that Judd Apatow has touched. I constantly find myself in awkward situations. And, just like the characters, I spent my 20s scraping by in Brooklyn.
Girls should be my jam.
But, its not.
If we’re being truthy, I can barely stand to watch it. The characters alternately infuriate and repulse me. I want to smack all four of them upside the head, show them what a flattering outfit looks like, teach them some basic manners and courtesy, and then put them on a train out of my beloved Brooklyn because, even more than the mustachioed mandolin-toting hipsters who flooded my hood and drove up my rent, they do not deserve to be there. And don’t even get me started on the overly complicated self-centered awkward situations that they insist on creating for themselves over and over again. Just stop it already. Just stop.
Let’s take episode 5 of this past season as an example.
That is the one where Hannah illegally dumps trash in someone’s front yard because that’s more fun than putting it in the dumpster of the coffee shop where she works, and then, when she goes to admit her wrongs to the owner of the front yard where she send her trash to die, Hannah ends up just wandering into his house. Even though he is a total stranger. Even though she realizes that she should know better.
And Hannah did all of this in a heinous romper. For the LOVE OF GOD, you are not a toddler. Do not wear a romper. It is not a good look on anyone. What’s wrong with a pair of jeans and a simple t-shirt. You can even pair it with woven saddle shoes or Keds if you must.
Then, Hannah sleeps with Mr. Stranger Danger even though he is sort-of married. Apparently, this is what you do after you’ve barged into the house of a stranger who you have spent the past few weeks harassing with your weird trash relocation penchant
By this point, I was actually screaming at my television. I yelled at Hannah to get out of the house like she was a starlet in a D-list horror movie.
She didn’t listen.
Miraculously, Mr. Stranger Danger was not Ted Bundy. He turned out to be a somewhat functional and respectful interlude in Hannah’s otherwise disastrous love life
I almost regained my composure, but then I got hit with another wave of brutality. What is up with the topless ping pong scene? No one ever needs to see anyone playing topless ping pong. Ever. It is unquestionably bad naked.
And then Hannah served up a 1-2 punch. After Mr. Stranger Danger saved her from a near-death incident in his steam shower, she insisted on dumping all over what, despite my initial suspicions, had turned out to be a lovely time. Why did she insist on monologuing endlessly and meanly way past the point of no return? What was happening?
At this point I was standing up and gesturing at my television while I shouted “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CAN YOU NOT JUST ENJOY A MOMENT! JUST ONE! JUST TAKE IT IN!”
But then, just as I was about to walk away, Girls told me that it loves me. Girls made me believe that it would never do it again.
You see, I watch Girls using On Demand. At the end of every On Demand episode there is an Inside the Episode with Lena Dunham. During these three minutes, Lena explains why she did certain things and provides insights into the characters. By the time she is done, I am in love with Girls. Lena is smart and witty. She’s creative and thoughtful. She has an important message and point of view. I cannot wait to see what she’s going to do next.
I convince myself that Girls is not really who I thought it was and that it totally deserves a second chance.
I take Girls back and blame myself for all of our problems. It’s my fault. I just didn’t try hard enough to get it.
Lena’s that good. See for yourself:
But then, next week, Girls smacks me right across the face again. I’m left screaming at my television in a rage and vowing that this really is the last time that I will come back to the show.
And, then I watch Inside the Episode and we reconcile.
Will I ever break the cycle?
*Yes, I have cast myself as Tina Turner in this metaphor. This is completely accurate because, at least in my mind, I am this bad ass:
May 23, 2013 at 12:46 PM
I bought the first season on Itunes and I just thought ughhh, why did these people like this show again? I love Shameless though. Much better anti-hero types that you just start liking despite what terrible people they are. They at least hustle.
May 23, 2013 at 4:00 PM
I am so glad I am not alone in this! I have spent the past few years beating myself up because I just can’t seem to get it.
I’ve never seen Shameless. But, luckily, I’ve got a 3-day weekend and On Demand in my near future, so I’m going to check it out. I do love a good hustler.
May 23, 2013 at 4:25 PM
Shameless is about a family whose mom left them and their dad is a drunk so they scrape by with the 19 or 20 year old acting as the adult and they are hustler’s just to get by and you admire them even though they are breaking mulitple laws on a daily basis. So much better than Girls.
May 23, 2013 at 2:17 PM
Pretty much hit it on the head, PN. That whole episode was a trainwreck that even this trainwreck here couldn’t stomach. Yeesh.
May 23, 2013 at 4:07 PM
Thanks! I just cannot relate to this show no matter how hard I try. I’ve decided that this is because we (and our other early 20s friends) were actually good people. Who knew?! But, I cannot fathom any of us ever treating each other or other people like this despite our collective penchant for continuously engaging in embarrassing shenanigans and making questionable decisions.
May 23, 2013 at 3:04 PM
This is hilarious! I had to quit watching Netflix/TV when I became pregnant because all of it have me indigestion. I can’t handle stupidity when I have the hormones. It made me irrationally angry to the point where I’d storm out the door (which was bad because we lived in Africa out in the country and that’s some scary crap…).
May 23, 2013 at 4:09 PM
Storming it out into the African wilderness takes it to a whole new level! But, to be honest, if faced between the choice of watching one more minute of Girls at the end of the episode or roaming among some sleeping lions, I might chose the sleeping lions. It would be less stressful and might curb the yelling because I would want the lions to, you know, stay sleeping.
May 23, 2013 at 9:52 PM
Ugh, this show. I didn’t mind the first season and found it mildly entertaining, but the entire second season was garbage outside of a few scenes, and the Patrick Wilson episode was awful. It’s funny–most of the people who I knew who loved the show tended to be late 20/early thirtysomething guys, but even my husband and my one coworker who claimed to love the show were disgusted by it by the season two finale.
A show I am looking forward to returning, though, is The Newsroom–revisionist history as presented by a fictional news network is seriously entertaining as a quasi-hatewatch, and I say that as someone who can still watch The American President over and over again.
May 24, 2013 at 9:56 AM
Is there anyone who can’t watch the American President on repeat? That movie is amazing, and not just because it shows us what President Bartlett was up to before he ran for office.
I’m also looking forward to Newsroom’s return. Now if only we could revive the West Wing, everything would be right in the world again.
June 8, 2013 at 10:42 PM
Have you ever watched the tv show The West Wing? Like The Newsroom, it is an Aaron Sorkin written show (at least for the first four seasons). So good, great acting…if you love The American President it should be right up your alley. 🙂 (All seasons are on Netflix, and most streaming sites.)
June 9, 2013 at 8:31 AM
The West Wing is one of the all-time greatest shows on television. I cannot even begin to describe my love for some of those characters, they were just so perfectly crafted.
June 9, 2013 at 10:26 AM
I love them so much, after I finished all the seasons, I started following the characters on Twitter. I know. I just can’t let go!
May 23, 2013 at 11:22 PM
Oh my gahhhhhd. THIS is why I love you. The stupid and easily-avoided situations are beyond painful. Rompers DO suck no matter what. You really said “Keds,” and I also say “for the love of gahhhhhhd,” and “stoppit!” and “what’s haapppppening?” with regularity. I can’t even go on. I laughed through the whole post, and now you’re my new imaginary friend.
I can’t stop watching either. So there.
May 24, 2013 at 9:59 AM
Next season we’ll take a stand together. Or, really, we’ll still watch and spend a lot of time complaining about how we just cannot stop watching to each other.
May 24, 2013 at 2:49 PM
You really nailed it on the head, Pinot. One word: rompers. Ugh!
May 29, 2013 at 9:40 AM
How do we outlaw them? Now that is a movement that I could get behind.
May 24, 2013 at 6:22 PM
Yeah, I totally can’t deal either. And honestly, rompers are for toddlers.
I was a big fan of Dunham when Tiny Furniture came out, and her success is amazing. But seriously, enough with the awkwardness.
May 29, 2013 at 9:40 AM
I know! I used to LOVE her and then this show has nearly killed that love.
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June 1, 2013 at 12:22 PM
I COMPLETELY agree! I also haute that there are no “girls” of color but they are black “studs” to hook up with. What kind of message is Lena sending!?
June 2, 2013 at 6:23 PM
That’s the question I struggle with. She’s so smart and creative and thoughtful that I like to think she has a reason for doing nearly everything she does with the show. I just, for the life of me, usually cannot figure it out. And her casting issues are definitely one of the things that has left me scratching my head.
June 1, 2013 at 12:23 PM
Reblogged this on The Student Becomes The Teacher.
June 1, 2013 at 2:05 PM
I thought that Ike was only mine? Just kidding. Love your blog!
June 2, 2013 at 6:23 PM
Haha! Thanks so much for hanging out with us — we hope to see lots more of you!
June 3, 2013 at 12:47 PM
Looking forward to reading more from you! http://www.segmation.wordpress.com
June 1, 2013 at 2:09 PM
I share your love/hate relationship!! I love the fact that a “normal” looking woman is getting naked on TV, but there is an EXCESSIVE amount of nakedness. Regardless of body type/shape/size, that amount of nudity is almost offensive, like it’s there to shock. But in the end the nakedness becomes cliche. Pick and choose your moments!
Although their lives are more similar to me than SATC, I still don’t *really* relate to their lives.
I still watch it though! 😀
June 2, 2013 at 6:26 PM
I completely agree with your point. I love that Lena is so fearless and comfortable with her body even though she’s not the Hollywood starlet super skinny ideal, but at a certain point the message gets lost in the over-delivery. And, I still maintain that no one — not even Giselle Bundchen — would play ping pong naked.
June 3, 2013 at 3:36 PM
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June 1, 2013 at 4:54 PM
Yes. Yes. Yes. And the guys are all self-centered assholes too. Why do we watch? Because we love Lena/Hannah, and we hope that one of these weeks she’ll Get It Together. We are truly mad..
June 2, 2013 at 6:28 PM
Indeed. I want so badly to be proud of her. I want to feel like all of this nonsense we have had to endure along with here is worth it in the end.
June 1, 2013 at 6:22 PM
This is so true! Girls is the kind of show that I totally want to like, but I just cannot.
June 2, 2013 at 6:28 PM
You and me both, sister, you and me both.
June 2, 2013 at 1:04 AM
I watched this episode yesterday, and literally thought the EXACT SAME THING! Who just puts garbage in other people’s places? Who just rocks up to their house? And who just rants about themselves to a nice stranger who’s clearly getting uncomfortable, and then pulling them up on that?!
Thanks for sharing the Inside the Episode (I wish I got them). I’m going to go look up all of those now.
June 2, 2013 at 6:29 PM
I am so glad it’s not just me!!
And, yes, the Inside the Episodes are great. But, once you start watching them, you will never be able to save yourself from the quicksand that is Girls.
June 2, 2013 at 8:54 AM
I really disagree with you but I laughed reading your excellent post so thank you very much 🙂 The episode with Patrick Wilson is my favorite, you wouldn’t believe it but I’ve found it very poetic. (Maybe that’s because I’m French ? Who knows ?).
June 2, 2013 at 6:39 PM
Thanks for stopping by and getting a laugh! I’m glad that you enjoyed the episode — if other people get it, then maybe there’s hope that, one day, the synapses in my brain will finally line up and what these women are doing will make sense to me.
June 2, 2013 at 9:58 AM
I really like the show. But yes…it is very frustrating to watch.
Have you seen the parody called ‘Bros’?
June 2, 2013 at 10:28 AM
sorry…meant to include this –>
June 2, 2013 at 6:36 PM
HAHAHA! Thanks for sharing!
June 2, 2013 at 7:42 PM
I love your style.
June 2, 2013 at 1:04 PM
Let’s not forget that that handsome, suave man would never, NEVER, Have sex with a strange girl in a romper.
June 2, 2013 at 6:34 PM
That’s a great point that often gets lost in the discussion about this episode — its not unbelievable because of any alleged attractiveness differential, its unbelievable because she is acting so inappropriately throughout the entire episode and wearing a weird toddler outfit.
June 2, 2013 at 6:30 PM
I have a relationship somewhat like this with Mr Carmichael so I do know where you’re coming from.
June 2, 2013 at 9:20 PM
Yes. And I agree heartily. I am yelling at the TV right along with you. I think I only keep watching because of Shoshanna. She’s brilliant.
June 3, 2013 at 2:21 PM
Shosh really does have a special kind of wisdom. My favorite gem is when she stated “I may be deflowered but I am not devalued.”
June 2, 2013 at 10:26 PM
People watch it because young girls show their boobs and it has ‘almost’ a plot worth hearing.
June 2, 2013 at 10:55 PM
Reblogged this on ladyberd.com.
June 4, 2013 at 6:56 AM
“Miraculously, Mr. Stranger Danger was not Ted Bundy. He turned out to be a somewhat functional and respectful interlude in Hannah’s otherwise disastrous love life” ..There is something about this line that I find hilarious and I am in love with it.
June 4, 2013 at 7:59 AM
Thanks! That first sentence is my favorite line from the whole piece — I still can’t believe that it actually came out of my brain.
June 4, 2013 at 7:15 AM
“She’s creative and thoughtful. She has an important message and point of view. I cannot wait to see [what] she’s going to do next.”
I do sincerely apologize for my introductory post to you being one in which I wear my ‘OCD Perfectionist Hat’, but if you’re anything like me, you’d want to be told post-haste if you’ve made an error in your writing. I’m anal like that.
On a brighter note, I love your post. I was drawn into the show by the commercials, but after watching one episode, and nearly stroking out at the level of idiocy I encountered there, I couldn’t bring myself to return.
After reading your post, I’m grateful that I was able to escape while escape was still possible.
Thanks for sharing, I really did enjoy reading it!
June 4, 2013 at 8:01 AM
Great catch — I really appreciate it! And, more importantly, I’m glad you had a good time at your first visit to the Stunted Adults party. We definitely hope you’ll come back.
June 4, 2013 at 8:37 AM
I’ve followed, to make sure that I do!
Thanks for not shooting the Spelling/Grammar Nazi on sight 😉
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June 5, 2013 at 3:45 AM
Love this blog! I love GIRLS!! Take a Look at the New Body Image Project blog on Survival, Patience and Legacy http://wp.me/p3yyyC-2O
June 5, 2013 at 11:42 PM
Thanks so much!
June 5, 2013 at 9:40 AM
Excellent, insightful piece.Glad to know i’ts not just that i am a crone. 😉
June 7, 2013 at 8:26 AM
Thanks. If you’re a crone, then you’ve got a whole lot of partners in croneydom.
June 5, 2013 at 9:10 PM
This is so accurate! I loathe Girls. I even wrote a rant about it here if you’re mildly interested: http://tinablogsalot.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/sorrynot-sorry-my-view-on-hbos-girls/
I live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where Girls (unfortunately) takes place and I loathe being associated with anything so sad and disgusting. Lena is adorable though but I think she can do so much better…
June 7, 2013 at 8:27 AM
Great minds thinks alike
June 6, 2013 at 9:50 AM
I don’t think I’d like Hannah if I wasn’t OCD. The reason for your love-hate relationship may be the fact that a normal person sort of gets the idea behind the character and appreciates it but at the same time finds her behaviour extremely annoying. Hannah is self-destructive and aware of that. Many people with OCD feel safe in chaotic, dramatic circumstances, even though they’re actually unhappy. We find ourselves annoying as well. Also, I definitely agree with what you’re saying about the ping-pong scene.
June 7, 2013 at 8:31 AM
That’s a really interesting perspective, and one that I hadn’t fully appreciated before. I wish the show could find a way to explain that a bit more so we could understand that so many of Hannah’s problems are a product of her struggle with OCD. I think it would make her more relatable.
June 10, 2013 at 5:37 AM
It’s very difficult to draw a line between what’s OCD in a person’s life and what’s not. As OCD is a way of thinking maybe everything is. I agree with you, however, that they should put more effort into explaining the disorder (and therefore Hannah’s behavior) to a “normal” person. My modest attempt to do so is here: http://emotionalexhibitionist.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/being-ocd/
June 10, 2013 at 8:01 AM
Thanks so much for sharing that
June 6, 2013 at 9:20 PM
I have never seen this show but I was considering trying it. Dare I try it now? I saw one of Lena Dunham’s movies and felt the same way. Maybe sometimes there’s something to be said for characters you love to hate.
June 7, 2013 at 8:33 AM
I think you should still try it. While I do not enjoy watching the show, I can’t seem to stop and, based on all theses comments, its definitely a source of a lot of discussion. And, even if I don’t get it, it still has won a ton of awards. Someone out there must get it, right?
June 8, 2013 at 4:28 PM
I can’t watch these shows. Too much whining and unnecessary foolishness. I just can’t bear it. But the title of your article was worth the read and the video of Ike & Tina at the end absolutely made my day. Thanks!
June 9, 2013 at 8:28 AM
You’re so welcome. A little old school TIna Turner will make everything better — that woman is unbelievably amazing!
June 9, 2013 at 1:07 PM
but is it not a sign of our times, how we end up in weird situations wearing weird outfits, how we are young and lost not sure what to do because for the first time in history there is no direct path into something, that we are overwhelmed by choice that we are carried away by media and what perfection should be and that we would do any kinda crazy thing because we want to have an adventure but we are not really sure what an adventure really means anymore. How we find that perfect someone who is too so, and we are too full up of anxiety and self confidence issues that we will not stay with perfect because it some way it hurts us, in some way to find someone normal would be weird for us, to be cared for would be strange. To live in New York right now and live up to all that stuff we think we need to look up to. I love the show myself, I love the fact that all the characters are unique they are not plastic, they are strange and do weird things, they are not afraid to show the dark sides when all they show from America is happy go lucky friends characters or sex in the city glamour as though New York will give you everything, that you will be stepping off that plane and into a brownstone apartment and meeting some beautiful rock star while buying noddles and drinking vintage red wine. Girls empowers me, especially Lena, she is immense to be a writer and director and such a young age to bring up so many issues and show the sides of youth we are ashamed off, sleeping with people because its the thing people do, being in wreckless relationships or being a manager in a coffee shop well over 30 and feeling as though our life is a mess because its not really what we want to do, but what else is there. Of course not everyone is like this but she has hit quite a big group of people and made something so different and interesting. I love that.
June 10, 2013 at 1:29 AM
YES! This is exactly how I felt when I first started the series.
I watched about three episodes back to back and then realized I could watch the Inside the Episode clips, and they really kept me watching.
Granted, I watched both seasons in one week..
June 10, 2013 at 8:01 AM
I know! Those Inside the Episode clips are absolutely genius. If only I could have Lena sitting on the couch with me explaining everything as I watched the show…
June 11, 2013 at 10:12 PM
think u may like this
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July 5, 2013 at 11:35 AM
THANK YOU! Excuse my obnoxious use of caps lock. I’m just that excited that I’m not alone. I’m still trying to figure out what happened in season 2 and I think that’s why I kept watching. All I ever want to say to the whole cast is “Okay, I get it. Now let’s move on.”
July 6, 2013 at 10:48 AM
Thank you — I feel the exact same way as you! Girls has become like that friend who just will not stop rehashing her dysfunctional break up with that weird dude who lived in your dorm freshman year even though it happened 5 years ago and there is literally nothing left to say on the topic. But she just keeps smashing us all into that wall of awkward over and over again…
July 8, 2013 at 4:59 AM
I’m not very familiar with this show, but I can relate to being more interested in the “making of” segments.
Doctor Who used to have a show called Doctor Who Confidential, which the same night after a new episode aired. It was an hour long, just as long as the actual episode, but went in-depth as to its creation from script to screen. Even if the episode was terrible, seeing the people behind-the-scenes work on the episode and to see the actors just enjoy their job was fascinating.
Sometimes it’s just nice to watch people being creative, even if their creation turns out to be kind of average.
July 9, 2013 at 7:04 PM
I completely agree — the creative process is fascinating and I wish we got let in on a lot more often.
January 13, 2014 at 7:34 PM
Yep, me too! My friend bought me the first season on DVD and I binge-watched it, the whole time thinking, “What is wrong with these girls? Why do people like this show??” And then when there was an HBO free-view this past weekend, I watched several more episodes…and nearly crawled under my sofa during the naked ping pong part!! I just don’t see the brilliance behind it all until Lena explains…and still I really want to slap each character several times during each episode….
January 13, 2014 at 10:05 PM
You and I are one and the same on this one. I think part of the show’s originality, and why critics love it, is because it is so different to have someone who writes such unlikable and frustrating characters. And I appreciate that kind of honesty, because there are certainly plenty of people who are unlikable and frustrating when they are young and sorting themselves out. BUT, that doesn’t mean that I want to hang out with them every week.
Maybe what we need is at least one considerate and self-aware character to come in and be the voice of reason.
January 14, 2014 at 11:49 AM
Yeah! Teach them all a thing or two about life and what really matters and…how to dress!! 🙂
January 14, 2014 at 7:37 AM
I am so glad I found this post. Girls makes me sick but I can’t stop watching it. I cringed my wayt hrough the first few episodes then set it to series record so I could watch it without alone without anyone judging me. It’s like my dirty little secret.. and Adam (hannah’s kinda boyfriend) just angers me so much. If he was real I’d have to hit him!
January 14, 2014 at 10:12 AM
Thanks! I had no idea so many other people had the same reaction to the show as I did — it makes me feel so much more normal and so much less un-intellectual and uncultured.
Is there any cast member that you don’t want to hit? So far, I haven’t found a single one who has done much of anything redeemable.
January 14, 2014 at 10:41 AM
There can’t be another reaction to this series!
.. and no. Shoshanna was annoying but so cute and naive compared to the others until series 2. But now she’s just as bad.
I think it’s worse because I’ve actually met people like them in real life!.. and I agree – who is dressing these girls?!?