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Delusional Downtown Divas
January 9, 2013 9:53 PM   Subscribe

Lena Dunham shows her art-world roots in her 2009 web-series: Season 1 at Index Magazine, Season 2 at delusionaldowntowndivas.com. Meanwhile Season 2 of Dunham's HBO series "Girls" arrives Sunday night, expect online fireworks.
posted by Artw (51 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Lena Dunham on the today show
posted by Artw at 9:56 PM on January 9, 2013


Funnily enough, I just watched my first three episodes of this show tonight, after reading what seems like hundreds of outraged articles about how terrible it is.

I thought it was really good. And the criticism is the most unbelievably sexist garbage I've ever read, from professionally anti-sexist commentators at least. Seriously, the most important thing I've heard about it is that Lena Dunham is fat, or not fat, or "soft" or whatever the fuck the appropriate words to describe some girl's body are these days. It strikes me that a lot of people aren't familiar with the concept of "comedy". It's uncomfortable, and true, and yeah, it's got Oberlin white privilege stacked up in it like the toilet paper in Honey Boo Boo's house, but that's the point.

The people calling it "softcore porn" need to watch better porn. The sex scenes are hysterically funny, not sexy. And like all good comedy, there is real vulnerability on the actors' faces. This is a stupid comparison, but in a way it reminds me of "The Larry Sanders Show" the way it crosses that uncrossable line so often and so deliberately. I've heard people compare it to "Friends" and "Sex and the City" but it blows those shows off the map.
posted by Fnarf at 11:01 PM on January 9, 2013 [13 favorites]


Fnarf, those criticisms are pretty far afield from most I've read of Girls. I think there's a lot of value in the criticisms of race (and apparently the showrunners do too? I've heard they've cast an actor of color as a regular next season).

It's a complex show, and I despised it at first but came to enjoy it. It has funny moments but in some way season 1 felt more like a tragedy to me. It's about breaking Hannah down, and there's a certain schadenfreude in that but some earnest well-earned feeling, too.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:14 PM on January 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Of course there is "value in the criticisms of race", but that's not what the show is about. The people in the show live in a bubble, obviously. I mean, how many black people go to Oberlin? That's the reality of the white, parent-supported hipster Brooklyn which the show feeds off of. If you want a show about the racial dynamics of gentrification in Brooklyn, you want a different show -- and not a comedy, most likely.

I mean, did people say that "Seinfeld" failed to represent the reality of the Jewish experience in Manhattan?

I got the feeling that Hannah/Lena knows exactly what she is, and instead of faking something else has used her material to make art. Which is what you're supposed to do. Introducing "the black friend" could be hysterical if they played it for how ridiculous that idea is, but seriously? Sometimes the best way to display race relations in America is to display the total lack of race relations in America, even in New York City.

Comedy, tragedy, what's the difference?
posted by Fnarf at 11:24 PM on January 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's the reality of the white, parent-supported hipster Brooklyn which the show feeds off of.

You know, it's not. That's what bums me out about the whiteness of the (otherwise really enjoyable) show.

I lived in New York for twelve years, and spent most of that time in the "hipster" bubble depicted on the show. Like, to the point that almost every single episode relates to an experience I've had.

I've known plenty of people in that particular bubble who aren't white. Despite living in that bubble, I have close friends who are women and men of color. There are hundreds or thousands of women living lives just like those of Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna, and Jessa, who are not white.

There are thousands of people of color in New York who happen not to be stereotypes (janitors? construction workers? bodega employees? pimps?). Thousands and thousands of professionals, artists, academics, etc. are not white. It frankly sort of bothers me that people don't know this and assume that any TV show about middle class people has to be about white people to be "realistic".

OK, screed over. I actually really enjoy Girls and am very excited for season 2.
posted by Sara C. at 11:36 PM on January 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Man I was all set to be the first person to talk about how many of my friends are black, but I STILL got beat to it.

So, in full disclosure, that was the first comment I posted. Gonna leave it there so I'm not totally betraying the open nature of metafilter.

Here is my restatement: I sincerely hope that this conversation stops being about who believes they are best representing minorities when discussing Girls, or who feels least represented by the storylines of Girls. I think the above characterisation I originally posted is too simplistically sarcastic to be fair to any of the previous posters. So here is my actual point:

1. People are annoyed by Lena Dunham for a lot of reasons.
1a. Some of those reasons are related to her body and the (gasp!) audacity she has showing it on screen. fuck those people.
1b. Some of those reasons are related to the fact that she has a show largely because of her family's connections and reputation.

2. None of the above reasons have anything to do with the content of the show.

3. I'm running out of time in my edit window.
posted by shmegegge at 11:50 PM on January 9, 2013


4. Honestly, Lena Dunham is surprisingly talented.

5. She also has a life that is totally divorced from the lives of 90% of the people who watch her show. No matter how much you identify with a brooklyn hipster lifestyle, I'm sorry but chances are you don't identify with the lifestyle of a brooklyn hipster whose opportunities, personal relationships and professional relationships are as heavily built around the privilege of having parents who are rich, relatively famous and extremely well connected.

6. Whether or not the above-mentioned privilege of Ms. Dunham's impacts the value of her work, it certainly effects the perception of it by many people.

7. To my mind, (and perhaps exclusively to my mind) this privilege is saturated within the show. Everything in the show seems to be saying "I know you don't think I should be on tv. I am anyway. Now what."

Ultimately, bully for her for being naked and pissing off everyone who thinks she shouldn't be. Keep it up, Ms Dunham.

I say this as someone who hates her entire career. But you know what? I'm not her audience, so who gives a flying fuck what I think?
posted by shmegegge at 12:00 AM on January 10, 2013


Eyeroll.

That was not AT ALL my point.

It's just, OK, so if nobody's going to believe a black character on Girls, where does that leave us? Are the only roles for people of color in the media going to be as cab drivers and laundromat owners? Do people really think there are no upper middle class people who aren't white? That people of color don't have lives beyond whatever the stereotypes tell us are "appropriate" roles for a black person or a latino or whatever?

I mean, first it's "Oh come on, there are no black people at Oberlin*." Then you're going to try to tell me that there are no black OBGYNs (a la Cliff Huxtable), no black attorneys (a la Gina Torres' character on Suits), or shit, there are probably no black people EVER on the bridge of the starship Enterprise.

I've been seeing this billboard around LA, for some new sitcom about the President/White House/what have you. It stood out to me that, on the show, the President and his family are white. We can have an actual black President, but in the media, an archetypal President and his family are still going to be cast as white.

*I know multiple black people who went to Oberlin.
posted by Sara C. at 12:03 AM on January 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


she has a show largely because of her family's connections and reputation.

You know, I actually don't buy this.

There are A LOT of people whose parents are rich and famous and have connections miles beyond those of Lena Dunham's parents. Those people didn't make Tiny Furniture or Girls.

Having family connections can get you into the right parties, or get you the ear of someone in development at whatever studio. In Lena's case, it probably gave her the confidence to go ahead with an idea like making a movie or pitching a TV show. It can probably get you the money to make a feature film, if you're smart and articulate and want to make a movie people think would be pretty good. But it can't give you what Dunham has, and I respect the shit out of that.

Also, if you want to talk about Dunham's real life family/connections vs. what the show is about, one of the things I like about Girls is that it's not about people who are fabulously wealthy and well-connected and, like, have trust funds or don't have to work or whatever. It's not Gossip Girl. Hannah's parents are college professors in the midwest. Which is more privileged than a lot of people, but it's about on par with, say, my own level of privilege.

None of the characters are from unimaginable privilege. They're just normal upper middle class post-college people. And they all have jobs. And not only that, but unlike Cute People In New York shows that came before, the show actually depicts the characters at their unglamorous jobs, and has entire story arcs that stem from the difficulty of being, say, a temp at a law firm with a gropey boss, or a nanny for a family full of marital drama.

I think a lot of people who have problems with the level of class privilege inherent in Girls have not actually seen the show.
posted by Sara C. at 12:16 AM on January 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


If I was going to complain it would be about the pacing and how long it took her to give a 3rd dimension to some of her characters. But I give her a pass on all that since some of the writing in that show is just is really freaking good.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:17 AM on January 10, 2013


It's just, OK, so if nobody's going to believe a black character on Girls, where does that leave us?

Honestly, I wonder if that's what people think. I agree with you, mind you, but I feel like people would believe a black character on girls. But they probably wouldn't believe it coming from Lena Dunham, who has (to her credit) openly admitted that she doesn't feel like she can write for a black character in new york.

But honestly, that's no excuse. She runs a show about living in new york. Writing about the lives of people in new york is her job. If she can't do it in this instance, then she has all the resources necessary to hire writers who can. Why is she wasting time on Leslie Arfin or the daughters of other rich and famous people when she could get someone... almost anyone... else to fill in that gap?

Meaning, yeah, I agree with you. Totally.

But I also know people who think Girls is the most realistic thing that identifies with their lifestyle ever. I don't know how to make those two interpretations cohere without throwing up my hands and going "fuck it. I'm not the audience for this."
posted by shmegegge at 12:21 AM on January 10, 2013


The people in the show live in a bubble, obviously. I mean, how many black people go to Oberlin?

20 percent pf the students at Oberlin are people of color, and it's the first institution of higher learning in America to regularly admit non-white students.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:30 AM on January 10, 2013 [12 favorites]


But they probably wouldn't believe it coming from Lena Dunham, who has (to her credit) openly admitted that she doesn't feel like she can write for a black character in new york.

I don't know, it's not like she's especially privileged for a TV writer. Other TV shows have non-white regulars. I referenced Suits above -- I know the creator of that show. He's white. And yet he somehow managed to set that aside and write in a non-white principal cast member. And (probably) not out of altruism or because he feels especially qualified to do it for whatever reason. They just ended up casting a black actress, so the character is black, and, as you said, this is his job.

My guess is that Lena Dunham's lack of desire to have a non-white regular has to do with her pre-Girls work. Tiny Furniture is almost literally a page out of her own life. The mother in the film is her actual mother. The sister is her actual sister. The set is their actual apartment. This is cute, but it's sort of lazy and introduces a lot of limitations that make it impossible to do something bigger like have a whole TV show (unless you're a Kardashian, I guess). I think that, in the beginning, she wanted to stay in her comfort zone, which before Girls didn't even include writing for people who weren't her or her immediate family.

It bums me out that she's not creative enough to imagine writing for someone of a different race, but meh. She has a lot of other stuff going for her, and it's not like every other TV series creator out there is falling over themselves to write non-white characters.

FWIW, I don't think most of the casting was directly up to Lena Dunham, or that she deliberately only cast other famous offspring. I think the whole "and their parents are all famous!" thing is a total red herring. I mean, Lena Dunham's parents are not famous in any real sense of the word. The blond one's father was in some hair metal band in the 80's, which also only barely counts as "famous offspring". Zhosia Mamet's father happens to be David Mamet, but she's crazy talented and otherwise getting cast without needing anybody's help. As for Marnie, I'm staying out of it because I hate her.
posted by Sara C. at 12:34 AM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Watching her stuff she's definatly got a crew she works with.
posted by Artw at 12:45 AM on January 10, 2013


[Note: Please do not use the edit feature to change your comment. Just post a new comment to clarify or add on. Information in the FAQ (and also on the edit page itself).]
posted by taz at 12:45 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


None of the characters are from unimaginable privilege. They're just normal upper middle class post-college people. And they all have jobs.

This is privilege. Yes, privilege is commonplace, maybe even mundane. Probably fewer than 10% of America would be included in the "normal upper class post-college" demographic, though, so there's that. I think the show does an okay job addressing this issue, though it's not exactly a focal point.

There are, I'm sure, plenty of talented black writers who could write shows set in NY with all-black casts for HBO. But the likelihood of that happening is virtually nil. That's privilege.
posted by MetalFingerz at 1:01 AM on January 10, 2013


MetalFingerz, I'm very aware of that, and said it in the post you quote.

I was talking about the characters on the show, who are privileged in a sort of generic middle class American sort of way, vs. the show's creator and star, who is privileged in the sense of her parents being successful artists, growing up in TriBeCa, getting an elite education, and having the connections to make a feature and later get her own TV show. shmeggegge conflated the two, which is extremely silly, since they're not the same thing at all.

The show is simply not about the celebrity idle rich. At all. It's not even really about trustafarians or entitled brats who are supported by their parents. The very premise of the show hinges on the main character getting cut off by her (ordinary, sorta upper middle class ish) parents. It's a show about an middle class white girl who wants to be a writer but actually is a temp and later a barista.

What especially cracks me up is that the people who act as if Girls is some kind of aberration because "privileged hipster trustafarians living in a bubble" are the same people who eat up shows like Gossip Girl and Keeping Up With The Kardashians with a spoon.
posted by Sara C. at 1:39 AM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


If Lena Dunham were to write a black "Girl" on that show with the same ridiculous worldview as the four who are there now, she would have to be a young woman who complains to her parents that her service job is "worse than slavery." I just can't see how you could have a believable Girl of color who was utterly clueless of the lived experience of real-world injustice, in the way that Hannah & friends are. (Maybe maybe a very wealthy Californian Asian-American character?)

Girls is about a setting where 100% of the main characters are privileged (in the real, Mitt Romneyan sense of that word -- they've never conceived of life problems other than in terms of "how does this contribute to my personal growth?"), and the pleasure comes from watching Dunham's constructed world in which their delusions are treated as truth. It's no more realistic than a Peter Greenaway film and just as good artistically.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 1:55 AM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Harvey, what TV shows do you watch? I mean, I'm pretty sure Proletarian Adventures Of Our Stakhanovite National Heroes went off the air a while back.

Name 3 narrative television shows (i.e. not reality shows or documentaries) currently on the air that are not about privileged people and their petty materialistic concerns.

The only one I can really think of that has been on recently is The Wire.
posted by Sara C. at 2:05 AM on January 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


As a guy I just find it satisfying watching a post-Sex in the City show with empowered women that doesn't treat its audience like a bunch of idiots that can't handle complex though. Then again I'm white and Canadian and I apologize for both.
posted by furtive at 2:08 AM on January 10, 2013


but in the media, an archetypal President and his family are still going to be cast as white.

Morgan Freeman and Dennis Haysbert?

Apparently, Lena Dunham is writing about the lives and experiences of about 10% of my high-school graduating class. I don't know if this makes me want to see the show more, or less.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:15 AM on January 10, 2013


Are they terrible people? Because it's definatly woerth watching for the terribleness of the people.
posted by Artw at 2:16 AM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Shameless is a pretty good example of a show not about privilege.
posted by everydayanewday at 2:18 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Treme is another.
posted by sien at 2:19 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Treme has been canceled.

Shameless is actually a good example of a TV show about people living in poverty. But I think we can all admit that it's a pretty extreme exception -- the first paragraph of its Wikipedia entry discusses the challenges of pitching a non-mocking TV show about poor people. There are more shows like Girls than there are shows like Shameless.
posted by Sara C. at 2:30 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


But there arent any shows like Girls either. Girls is about aimless urban 20 something women in a way that has never existed before on TV. It's not perfect, but I have high hopes for this season and I think in the end it's going to be more celebrated than hated.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:08 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Audacity of Lena Dunham

Potomac Avenue, were you being sarcastic? Hard to tell.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:12 AM on January 10, 2013


Actually, I think it's pretty celebrated right now, and I'm personally happy to lavish it with praise, albeit with qualifications. The treatment of race has undoubtedly been problematic, at least in season one, but I'm quite happy to take Dunham at her word when she admits to dropping the ball and commits to doing better in future.

The show's stylings, on the other hand, seem to wind people up otherwise reasonable people to the point that they are a far more vocal about its failings than they might otherwise be. Some of the problems the show deals with can be superficially trivial at times, but the show doesn't pretend otherwise, and there's usually a point in there somewhere (see Herc and Carver and the saga of 'Fuzzy Dunlop' in The Wire). If you read some of Lena Dunham's writing (she has a Tumblr somewhere, and there are a few pieces she did for the New Yorker too), you can see she writes with a very considered voice. It's easy to read the odd sentence or phrase out of context and paint a picture in your head of her as as a profoundly awful person, which is how many people perceive the characters in Girls. If you're predisposed against the show for whatever reason, it's easy to write her off as a highly literate Valley-girl variant who is wont to draw comparisons between abortion and liking strawberries because she thinks they're actually equivalent. What she's actually trying to do is portray these issues and their consequences matter-of-factly as they relate to the daily lives of the characters. A hand-wringing treatment of abortion where everyone's wailing about missed opportunities and lecturing on moral consequence is hardly the path less trodden as far as literature or movies go.

My point, really, is that a lot of these criticisms are pretty misguided. It's totally reasonable to pull Dunham up on race, but not the point of exhaustion. Complaining about the setting and content as if kitchen sink dramas are the only valid form of media just betrays a deficit of imagination on the part of the person doing the criticism. Do you sit watching The Wire thinking you're watching a realistic drama about life in Baltimore and nothing else, or do you take it as a commentary on urban decay, the wider war on drugs, poverty and the like? Obviously you do the latter. If you watch Girls and all you see is rich white girls, then that's a crying shame, because the show has so much more to give than that.
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 6:10 AM on January 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm never being sarcastic.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:40 AM on January 10, 2013


Oh, okay, because Girls isn't a whole lot different from Sex and the City or even Friends, for that matter.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:42 AM on January 10, 2013


[citation needed]
posted by ominous_paws at 8:01 AM on January 10, 2013


Treme has been canceled.

It's on it's fourth season isn't it? That seems like about HBO average.
posted by Artw at 8:05 AM on January 10, 2013


I'm turned off to stories about the problems of spoiled rich people whether fron Dunham or Woody Allen. I think she's a talented writer/director maybe even brilliant like Allen but subject matter is a lot of what I like in a story. "Girls" doesn't have it, though I liked her movie "Tiny Furniture".
posted by xjudson at 9:22 AM on January 10, 2013


If Lena Dunham were to write a black "Girl" on that show with the same ridiculous worldview as the four who are there now, she would have to be a young woman who complains to her parents that her service job is "worse than slavery." I just can't see how you could have a believable Girl of color who was utterly clueless of the lived experience of real-world injustice, in the way that Hannah & friends are. (Maybe maybe a very wealthy Californian Asian-American character?)

Actually I can imagine an upper-middle class black girl saying that to her parents, I can also imagine how horrified they would be.

How about a Latina girl from a privileged family? Or a girl from an upper-middle class Iranian family in LA? How about a black girl whose parents are first generation immigrant professionals from Nigeria or Ghana (they wouldn't have the same kind of reaction to the "slave" hyperbole for that matter) - I know a girl just like this who grew up in a nice part of Boston, now lives in Brooklyn trying to get her art career off the ground. An Indian-American girl with a moderately successful artist father and a literature professor father.

These are all real people that I know by the way.
posted by atrazine at 9:26 AM on January 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


The treatment of race has undoubtedly been problematic, at least in season one, but I'm quite happy to take Dunham at her word when she admits to dropping the ball and commits to doing better in future.

This. The fact that this is her reaction to people pointing out the problematic treatment of race in her work instead of the usual "SHUT UP!!!/NO, YOU!!!/LOLWUT?" reactions so many writers/directors/game makers have earns her nuff respect from me.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:30 AM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


GRANTLAND on increasing diversity in the show:

But in Year 2, Dunham's Brooklyn feels immediately more expansive, more assured, and, yes, more diverse. The beau in question is played, wonderfully, by Community star Donald Glover. And his easy integration into the show suggests that Dunham is maturing at a faster clip than her often stunted characters. Last spring, while the blogosphere was burning, she eloquently admitted that the lily-white Girls could use more color. But Glover's Sandy is no token: He's a low-key conservative who calls Hannah on her lazy liberalism: "Oh, I've got a fixed-gear bike and I'm gonna date a black guy … ? All that bullshit? I know it. I've seen it happen." On Sunday, when a party foul is committed by a guest old enough to have voted for Hillary Clinton's husband, Hannah exclaims, "I hate grown-ups!" But more and more, Girls is willing to confront the messy business of becoming an adult.
posted by ominous_paws at 9:52 AM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's easy to read the odd sentence or phrase out of context and paint a picture in your head of her as as a profoundly awful person, which is how many people perceive the characters in Girls.

I actually think that most of the characters on Girls are meant to be profoundly awful people, or at least deeply deeply flawed in ways that are very common to young 20-something women.

That's one of the things I find so fascinating about people's vitriol about the show and Lena Dunham. She's clearly doing a very specific thing on, and people just can't see it because of these particular cultural blinders. The show is probably more successful on an "art" level than on an entertainment level -- the fact that her parents are in the art world is extremely apparent when watching the show.

How is it that Larry David gets to have a career dedicated to writing TV shows about awful, flawed people getting into stupid yet funny situations, and everyone is like "this is the best thing ever", but Lena Dunham does the same kind of humor and everyone is like "these horrible young women today are so entitled!"

I mean, I don't want to think that it's because Dunham is female, but...?
posted by Sara C. at 11:21 AM on January 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


"Girls" doesn't have it, though I liked her movie "Tiny Furniture".

This is interesting, because I thought that Tiny Furniture was much worse in the "entitled idiot rich girl" vein. I mean, at least the characters in Girls pay rent on their own apartments, have jobs, get into complicated situations at work rather than just "my ennui makes this job so impossible to bear", etc. The lives of the Girls characters are somewhat like the lives of people I've known, dealing with the conflicts of everyday life. In TF I mostly just wanted to slap her.
posted by Sara C. at 11:28 AM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cancelled HBO show How to make it in America, while nowhere near as good as girls, was a show set in the same "young people in New York" universe, that was way more diverse and was a much more realistic portrayal of the time and place.

I still feel like the initial backlash to Girls wasn't about the show itself, but the wider media landscape and industry inability to produce shows with a more diverse viewpoint. Lena Dunham doesn't need to be more diverse, we need more diverse Lena Dunham's. They are out there, and they're not getting the opportunities they deserve. Putting Black characters on Girls doesn't address that problem at all. In fact, I think it goes in the opposite direction.

Also, I don't understand the focus on black characters. Any show set in Williamsburg needs to be at least 75% Puerto Rican, Polish, Hasidic Jews, and Italian grandmas.
posted by billyfleetwood at 1:07 PM on January 10, 2013


Putting Black characters on Girls doesn't address that problem at all. In fact, I think it goes in the opposite direction.

The creator of How To Make It In America is a white guy. I fail to see how there is any difference between an alternate universe Girls with a more diverse cast vs. our universe's How To Make It In America. I mean, their basic premises as shows are different (young bohemians vs. young capitalists), but otherwise there's no really fundamental difference that would make one series Good For People Of Color vs. Good Only For White Girls.

Unless the idea here is that white guys can write basically anything and nobody questions whether it would be appropriate for them to do so, whereas women who don't 100% meet our culture's standards of beauty are basically only allowed to write Sex And The City, and we get to mock and criticize their attempts.
posted by Sara C. at 1:30 PM on January 10, 2013


I fail to see how there is any difference between an alternate universe Girls with a more diverse cast vs. our universe's How To Make It In America.

I guess my point was that even if Girls showed a more diverse world from the start, it doesn't adress the need for more diverse storytellers. I wasn't knocking Girls at all. I think most of the arguments against the show are misguided. It does have a unique and original point of view, and should be celebrated for that more than derided for it's shortcomings.
posted by billyfleetwood at 2:32 PM on January 10, 2013


I totally agree with you. In fact, I'll be happy when most TV shows, period, aren't written by white guys by default. Regardless of the diversity onscreen.
posted by Sara C. at 3:00 PM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]



Also, I don't understand the focus on black characters. Any show set in Williamsburg needs to be at least 75% Puerto Rican, Polish, Hasidic Jews, and Italian grandmas.


Well, because it's about the group of hipsters and it's more of a class thing. I don't think the Girls would have Hasidic Jews or Italian grandmas in their friend group. Family, sure.

The point is that it's really irritating when people say, 'oh, people who are not white are just NEVER part of the upper class so that isn't realistic to appear on a TV show.'

It's not at all accurate, as Sara C. points out several times above, and it also actually shows a lot of privilege to be able to say (as some have said in this thread and elsewhere about this show) 'oh there are no nonwhite people who have solid family financial backgrounds or no nonwhite people who could be hipsters or sort of superficial and selfish' because that just means that you didn't notice, because you don't have to. If you are, say, a black nonwhite person who comes from privilege, you can't not notice because that is your life. But you also do notice the hell out of it when people repeatedly imply that you don't actually exist.

Like all nonwhite people are not out there doing the social justice salsa, just trying to get a little piece of the pie. If you don't know that you aren't paying attention, but maybe that's because you don't need to.
posted by sweetkid at 3:11 PM on January 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


It also kind of reminds me of when people say things to me like 'I don't count you as a minority.' People who say things like that, those are people who think no black people go to Oberlin or minority people on Girls would be a mindblowingly odd thing.
posted by sweetkid at 3:27 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can see them doing a Hasidim subplot, just because there's so much conflict between hipsters and Hasidim in Williamsburg these days. That said, I don't know how they'd do it without getting away from the voice of the show or potentially being very anti-semitic.
posted by Sara C. at 4:18 PM on January 10, 2013


Well, because it's about the group of hipsters and it's more of a class thing. I don't think the Girls would have Hasidic Jews or Italian grandmas in their friend group. Family, sure.

I didn't mean as one of the main characters. Just that if you're painting a picture of that world, those people are present and visible. Going back to my example of How to Make it in America. If you showed both shows side by side, with the sound off, and no external information, HTMIA looks like a more authentic portrayal. That show did a better job atmospherically, even if it wasn't as good of a show in other respects.
posted by billyfleetwood at 6:33 PM on January 10, 2013






Bitch Magazine:Girls, Girls, Girls: "Don’t Try to be Anything You Aren’t"
While this first episode stumbled in places, I'm looking forward to the next nine. Hints of a Marnie-and-Charlie reconciliation are obvious, and it'll be interesting to see if future episodes offer more insight into Jessa (Jemima Kirke)—in this one, we see her only briefly, rudely jumping a taxi line at the airport with new husband/tool Thomas John, back from their whirlwind honeymoon. Despite its problems, Girls is a womancentric portrayal of twentysomethings that may not represent the whole of a generation but, keeping critiques in mind, can feel pretty damn familiar. And that’s a good thing.
The American Conservative:These Girls Are Sad For Now
“You have to watch this show; the first few episodes are the most reactionary critique of sexually liberated Brooklyn possible; it’s a dystopia.”

Paraphrased, that’s what one wise friend told me last year about “Girls,” the HBO series that captured best Comedy Series at the Golden Globes last night, along with a Best Actress nod for its creator, producer, and star Lena Dunham. The show also premiered its second season last night.

The series has become something of a fixation for the overclass. It is our financial crisis era-hipster version of “Sex and the City,” but written by a woman! The boys at Slate are learning to love it. The new editor of Gawker hates it. Good grief, even Esquire has episode recaps now.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:33 PM on January 14, 2013


I was thinking about making an FPP about this article, but I think it makes more sense here, since this thread is still open.
posted by asnider at 1:28 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Chris O'Dowds accent is insane.
posted by Artw at 9:41 PM on January 21, 2013


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