Girls was always this show that sounded shallow and chock-full of lipsticks and love affairs—a vicinity I avoid like the plague unless it comes in the cinephile approved wrapping of Truffaut film. But, on closer inspection (i.e. religious fandom), over the last three years, the HBO original has bust that myth wide open. The show is gloriously white, over-analytical and over-privileged, not letting its narcissism be bogged down by ‘deeper’ concerns (like racism, sexism, et. al) to which we often find a token throwback on many shows of today.
And so, the show became something utterly flabbergasting and fresh in its strange, convoluted characters, its incredibly unappealing (but so real) sex scenes, and it’s first world problems. It received critical acclaim for numerous reasons; teetering at the top of that list: Lena Dunham’s unabashed flashing of all her parts at the ready. I became an ardent aficionado, following the show and tapping my feet in Hannah Horvath-esque impatience for the 4th season to come out.
I was waiting to see what was next for the muddled Hannah-Adam equation, what with her going off to Iowa and all (a decision I wasn’t fully comfortable with never actually having been exposed to Hannah’s writing, just being repeatedly programmed to think it was ‘really good’—much like Hank Moody of Californication) I wanted to know how much more fucked up Jessa could really get, what Shoshanna shenanigans were on the rise, whether Marnie was about to make an idiot of herself for yet another douchey-artistic type, etc etc. I also wanted to know to know if the beginnings of the rot I noticed in Season Three Episode 10 (Role Play) would spoil the fourth season bunch.
Ah, So Si Triste.
French for ‘It’s So Sad’. At least, that’s what Google Translate tells me. I thought a foreign language would make for dramatic impact, but I have come off being pretentious and pointless.
Much Like Season Four.
I have to make the same disclaimer I did for Sex and The City: I adore this show. I have marathoned episodes with my best friends to the point that we mouth the dialogue whilst exchanging wry giggles. I feel it’s only fair to comment at length on things I know, and know well. For instance, you’ll never catch me on a heated diatribe about 2 Broke Girls, because, really, who cares? I have felt the blood pulsing beneath the skin of this show, and since I know what it can be, I realise when it’s trying too hard to be.
Perhaps it is because the show has squeezed the life-affirming juices from its zany character circle. Perhaps its because it became noted the (English-speaking) world over that it was doing something honest and bizarre—so much so that it fell over the edge and lost the plot. Perhaps it’s because Lena Dunham was so busy writing her brilliant auto-biopsy that she forgot to write the show.
|Back when the show was hot like sauce|
Maybe it’s all the ‘perhaps’ piled up, but the show has lost…something. A certain element has evaporated with its success, and the honesty that came to it naturally is now wrung out via shock value. The characters have gone from odd-but-believable to caricatures of themselves. The cardinal traits of Hannah and her Holy Trinity have been exaggerated to the point where there is little to them beyond that (with the mild exception of Marnie).
Coming from a college that truly put the ‘liberal’ in liberal arts, over-exploration of every emotion, and the passing off every half-ditch attempt at creativity as ‘art’, doesn’t faze me. I have seen a garbage bag hung on a tree and called an ‘installation about poverty and injustice’ and I have let that go. But, man. Really? I shouldn’t have to deal with that kind of douchery in the arms of my beloved primetime drama?
Like Jessa, whose hint of wild-child has gone off the charts into size-16 infant (the pissing on the street incident? What an unhappy chapter in her otherwise alt-rockstar life!). Or Shoshanna, whose speed-typist way of talking now doesn’t amuse quite as much when slowed down to a human pace. Marnie seems to be growing in some miniature way, but enter Love Interest Desi and the fondness dims significantly.
Like Hannah’s writing workshop at Iowa—on the some level, J’Adore! (More French. More Fancy.) It mocked the over-indulgent nonsense I was constantly slapped with by the faceless ‘artists’ that frequented the halls of my university. So much ‘process’, so much ‘struggle’, so LITTLE productivity!! Could someone please write something, was the thought that came to the fore often as I watched the creative-energy circle cluster and talk their writer-ly emotions out to death.
But Hannah was ONE of them! Spewing one self-indulgent sentence after another! Writing sardonic apology notes, closeted-ly snarky and rife with how the ‘negative energy’ was blocking her ‘creative energy’! She had become that which she had loathed, and it wasn’t even a character turn! It was just a natural extension of her ingrown narcissism, bursting forth full-blast after festering for years. This was Hannah—we’d just never realised! She had become so self-obsessed, so pretentious, so unproductive that she was no longer even vaguely sympathetic. She was a screen annoyance, and you were sort of sadistically happy when Adam found someone else. Because he, apart from Ray, is the only person on the show worth caring about anymore. Still real, still trying. Still odd, but feasible. Still several notches above our protagonists, because at least they have some redeeming qualities.
Sigh. Even as the most feminist person I know how to be (I don’t want to castrate anyone, but I have no intention of having my dinner paid for)—I think this show ought to be repurposed into a saga of Ray getting in touch with his inner old man, as Adam finds a place to plant his love stick.
I’m thinking Boys. Anyone?