i once was a girl

I haven’t been mistaken for a girl in a while. People trying to get my attention who don’t know me call me ma’am, lady, miss, or hey you tired looking female person. I’m no girl, and most days I’m good with that.

But I very much cherish the show “Girls.” I think it’s moving and totally unexpected. The characters remind me of all the curious, honest and narcissist New Yorkers I know and love — evocative combinations of some of my most favorite people. The writing and acting are both spot on. For better or worse, this is how girls who like each other talk to each other. “Girls” perfectly showcases how being in your 20’s is an exhilarating but equally horrifying time.

The show and creator Lena Dunham have been getting some great reviews, but also getting slammed for various reasons. From nepotism to the lack of racial diversity amongst the characters, to it being depressing, to the fact that these spoiled characters need to “Get a job!” I am confused by why people seem so pissed of about the show. I don’t really want to defend myself for liking it. People who don’t want to watch it or want to complain that it only got made because of Brian Williams and David Mamet are bitter and shouldn’t watch it. But they’ll miss hearing an amazingly formed voice bend around some serious funny. I’ve listened to a lot of interviews with this girl/woman and she is a girls’ girl, in that she has an open mind and is willing to put herself out there in ballsy way. And one of the most awesome things is that she’s not on TV because she’s hot. She’s on TV because she’s smart, funny and fearless.

(Ok, so I guess I am defending it).

But really, how great was it on this most recent episode when Hannah was at the doctor and they called out her weight (and it wasn’t 111 pounds), and she said something like: “Actually, I had my belt on.” I mean, who hasn’t thought or even said that?! And the humorless doctor/nurse was perfect.

The characters are so talky and therapized and 70’s Woody Allenish! I love the way the Allison Williams character is so pretty and poised and has the good entry level job and so therefore is the responsible one making the STD and abortion appointments at the women’s clinic, and of course has the really cute doting boyfriend probably also with a great job who probably just got his first book deal or whatever at age 25. And yet, she’s unhappy and unfulfilled and annoyed with Jessa (the British one) for being so Joni Mitchell-ish and getting to wear floaty pants and floppy hats. While Jessa is miserable and caught up in her own novelistic drama that she created by being irresponsible and self absorbed? And Hannah’s job interview where she let herself get comfortable and flirty enough to make a rape joke? Cringe-worthy in the best “Louie” way.

Far from being a flip show about people who are unlikeable, I think “Girls” is really deep and emotional and trying to get to the root of what it means to be an independent person in the world, flailing around trying to figure out what you think everyone else already knows. Dunham elegantly shows us how women put up with a lot of terrible things in relationships in order to have a few pathetic grasps of good feeling that come from being desired or desirable – I’d say that’s something a lot of women can relate to. It definitely struck a chord with me.

“I almost came,” Hannah says hopefully, after having silly, disappointing sex – because that’s exactly what would have happened in that situation. She’d convince herself it was ok because he got off, and even offered her a sports drink afterwards. And then she’d go talk it over with her friends on a bench with some frozen dairy treat made from questionable chemicals. And then, the vapid friend, the one who might be in law school and still wears Juicy sweatsuits, would whip out some stupid book similar to “The Rules” and quote from it earnestly. Yep, pretty much.

I love this show because it reflects a moment in a time that is so fertile with material, but also so heinous to live through. I’m so relieved to be out of there personally, but grateful to artists/thinkers “wunder”whatevers like Lena Dunham. I’m so excited to hear more from someone this young and this good.