You’re Marnies, all of you.
God, I mean, I hope so. Although the British one who is awful is my favorite. Oh, who am I kidding? They’re all awful! Even Marnie who seems like the only one able to hold down a job breaks up with her boyfriend in part because she hates that he shaved his head to support a co-worker with cancer. Really. Really, these people are really awful.
So, yes. I am watching the show. I cannot help it. It is impossible not to watch something people talk about every week, and also, I like the guy who hates all of them. I feel a genuine kinship with him.
But! I feel, in general, that I am watching the show a bit the way I would watch the death drivers of the Riviera plunge to their doom as they raced their roadsters off the cliffs. This is not a real thing, incidentally. That is not a thing people do. But if they did, maybe you would watch them. I don’t know. Perhaps it’s a metaphor for life itself.
What I’m saying is – everyone in Girls is terrible, to my mind, but they’re also very hard to stop watching.
But I wonder whether other people are truly relating to them? Or if people, by and large, like them? I generally have a weird, high standard that I hold fictional women to, and these characters, by and large, don’t seem competent in the ways I admire (that is to say, doing well at their jobs, basically, working hard, being polite, not saying things like “maybe I hope I have AIDs” to a gynecologist). So it might just be me. But I think one test of whether or not we actually find television characters appealing is when we try to project our identities onto them.
Whatever you think of her – and God knows she had a ton of shoe debt – there were women who felt that Carrie Bradshaw was not simply speaking to them, but speaking for them. Think about how many times you have heard a woman with man trouble proclaim “I am Carrie. I am such a Carrie.”
People play this game and are delighted by it. If you do not believe me, wait outside any club in the meatpacking district on a Saturday night. The women there still talk about how they are a Charlotte, or a Miranda, and, actually, no one ever says Miranda, but that’s not the point. The point is that a decade after the show ended, people still see themselves – or want to see themselves – in these specific characters.
And I’m not sure if that really happens with Girls. For all people seem to be watching it, I think if you tell someone “You’re such a Hannah!” they will reply “No, my parents do not pay for me in my entirety, and I did not use a suing app to try to sue the boss I sexually manipulated, you utter asshole.” As far as I can tell, no one wants to see themselves in any particular character. No one wants to play this game.
Admittedly, many people will say “I know a girl who is exactly like Hannah” but the subtext on that is “I am really smug about the fact that my life is much better than this one particular friend I have.” If this is really supposed to be the show that speaks for our generation, it seems like women should feel like one of the characters is a representation of them.
Do you? Are you the British one? It’s cool that you seem to get some pleasure out of sex, albeit monstrous pleasure.
Is anyone playing this game? For all people seem to be watching the show, I haven’t really heard anyone doing so, yet. I will make a good faith effort. I’m a Marnie. I attend factory parties looking as though I am on my way to a Junior League cocktail party. I hate myself.
(Oh, hell, despite myself, I hope it works out for these crazy kids.)