Tonight is the night that think-piece lovers have all been waiting for… the return of HBO’s Girls!
Lena Dunham’s cult hit (I’m going to call it a cult hit, why? Because I have a keyboard) has been one of the most talked about shows in the blogosphere since it aired in 2012. A lot of us twenty-something ladies love it, a lot of angry white men hate it, and others like to reference it in dinner party conversations without actually having watched it because it makes them seem ‘current’.
Obviously because I am actually current (like Ribes nigrum baby – that’s a latin joke for blackcurrants #wow) I bloody adore this show. Sure, there have been times when I’ve wondered where anything was going. And yes, the characters do become unlikeable – but like, in a glorious ‘sticking-it-to-the-Mary-sue-archetype’ kind of way. And as a fan, I’d like to share with you some of the life lessons I have gained through my television lady-journey with Dunham.
Also, I like having an excuse to use Girl-related .gifs.
Only Kanye West should Kanye West
Remember that scene when Marnie stands-up in front of an office party (not even her own office party) and sings a ‘stripped back’ version of Kanye West? If you can’t it might be because you instantly hit the mute button in order to avoid that weird stomach thing you get when watching something so embarrassing you feel like you might shit in order for it to end.
While poo-inducingly-awkward, this scene was very important for me. I’ve often had a little voice in my head whisper things like ‘I’m sure if you tried, you could really nail that Jay-Z and Kanye rap’. I’d like to think that the horror of Marnie’s musical venture has saved me from making a similar mistake at my Christmas party…
…however, at my last Christmas party I did sword fight with someone dressed as Zoro, so maybe the lesson hasn’t really stuck.
Getting Cut Off
The whole show kicks off with Hannah getting financially cut off from her parents. It reveals a side to my generation that I’ve seen countless times, this notion of deserving help from the generations before. It’s understandable, we have to rent because our parents’ lot bought all the cheap houses, we have to struggle to work because of a recession we didn’t cause, and we have to make our lives look fabulous because some guy called Mark made social media the norm.
But here’s the thing, and it’s not a pretty thing – some people never get that support. I’ve been independent from a very early age. I worked through university, saved enough money to fund an internship and have long been resided to the idea that I’ll never be able to buy a house in London because no one is going to die and leave me a massive inheritance (and unless you want to go into insider trading, that is the only way people buy houses now). Therefore, it gave me great satisfaction to watch someone else get thrown into my position. It made me feel like ‘yes, let’s level the playing field so we’re all in this shit storm’.
I don’t care if this shows a bitter part of my personality. I’m not actually going to start hacking parental bank accounts so that Tarquin doesn’t get his rent for that nice Kensington studio flat. It just feels good to watch it happen on screen because it makes me feel proud of being an independent woman.
Writing is Hard
Having drowned a cup of watery opium pods, Hannah stumbles over to her parents to let them know that she is ‘the voice of her generation… or at least a voice… of a generation’. One of the show’s main plot points is Hannah and her dream of being a successful author. As someone who has an on and off again relationship with writing (hello my lonely blog posts of last year), Hannah’s inability to figure out how to be a writer in the modern world is something I can (kinda*) relate to.
*Okay, so I haven’t written a book of essays, but I do write some funny tweets.
Should she be the bohemian essay-writer, who goes to intellectual meetings to read what she’s been ‘working-on’? Should she go the cooperate route and sell her creative talent for real cash? And is it appropriate to chase up a book/ebook deal at a funeral?*
*Turns out, no it isn’t.
Hannah’s navigation of what it means to be a writer in the 21st Century demonstrates that our word-guzzling internet culture has created many avenues for writers but still has little chance of ‘from-ink-to-cash’ success. You can make money but not necessarily be creating the stuff you want to be creating, or you can be creative but never actually make any real money. So that’s… nice.
Hurray for pears
There’s literally been a million and one articles written about Dunham and her frequent use of nudity – specifically her own. Most of the controversy stems from the fact that Dunham has a body shape that isn’t often represented on TV, eg. She hasn’t got wash-board abs.
All I can say on this matter is… hurray for pears! Hurray for the women who were given little bits on top and big stuff down below. Woohoo for women who can never buy bikinis in a set! Huzzah for ladies who can smack their thighs and get ripples!
Of course, all body shapes are beautiful and you should all take a moment to woohoo your own particular brand of woman-ness. And now that Lena has opened the floodgates for the great display of lady jiggle/no-jiggle, perhaps everyone will eventually get to watch TV and say ‘hey, her butt looks like my butt!’
Disclaimer: I don’t own or make any of these .gifs. I just got them off Google images.