So I decided to put some words down about the HBO show "Girls." I'm going to assume that anybody who is reading this has seen the show. And since I have no idea what I'm about to write, I'm just going to spit some stuff out and you can take the ride with me.
I'm pretty sure I'm in love with Lena Dunham. Well, either I'm in love with her or I'm in love with her character, Hannah. I didn't know who Lena Dunham was until a few years ago when I was living in Los Angeles and a friend gave me a screener ("screener" is a fancy Hollywood term for a DVD) of Dunham's movie "Tiny Furniture." It's always more interesting to me to watch tiny (yep, I incorporated the word "tiny" into the description of this movie) movies rather than it is to watch "Iron Man 8." The movie was a delight. Once the credits rolled on this cinematic art exhibit, my life was enriched for the better. In addition, I'd been introduced via a brightly lit LCD screen to a new creative and cultural force. Her name is Lena Dunham. And she is making art. Funny, touching, honest, relatable art. Huge turn-on. Plus, she's a woman, and I'm a man who is attracted to women, so she's got a lot going for her from my point of view. From what I understand (or made up in my own mind), Hannah is supposed to be a rough, fictional approximation of Dunham. I've seen a few short minutes of Dunham on talk shows, and I've read some of her tweets. I think that gives me enough of a basis to justify my love for this particular girl.
I was just talking to some of the wonderful women over at HuffPost Style about the show. That conversation is actually what inspired me to write this. They, as 20-something females, have a much more specific relationship than me to the events that transpire on "Girls." Because they're girls.
Well, I'm a boy/guy/man. And one thing I kept hearing was that the character of Adam (portrayed by Adam Driver) was an "asshole." (Side note: I love that many of the characters on the show are addressed by the first names of the real people who play them. I'd imagine this makes the performances on the show flow much more authentically from the actors. I'd feel strange if someone referred to me as Steve.) (One more side note: My name is Adam.)
I'm not so sure Adam is an asshole. He's just an oddball, much like many of us out here in the real world, who has a series of (mostly sexual) interactions with Hannah. He's broken and self-absorbed just like Hannah (and many of us). Is he an asshole because he sent Hannah a picture of his penis and then said it wasn't meant for her? Is he an asshole because he doesn't contact Hannah for long periods of time, but then when he does, he acts like nothing happened? Doesn't that just mean that he has his own life? Is Hannah supposed to feel guilty when she's at brunch with the other girls and she's not talking about or communicating with Adam? She has her own life too. When Adam and Hannah do see each other, they have fun, they have sex (whether the sex is good or bad is for Hannah and Adam to decide), they communicate, and I think he genuinely cares for her. Once they officially become GF and BF, he really does commit himself to her.
The "Girls" / "Sex And The City" comparisons are all over the place. In fact, the show makes self-conscious reference to that bygone HBO hit early in the series. Shoshanna (aka Zosia Mamet) is a BIG fan of this show. She has a poster of the movie on her wall. I had a "Back To The Future" poster on my wall for many years, but I digress. These girls, whether consciously or unconsciously, are living in the post-"Sex And The City" world. The "Girls" world is a new world. And it's a world where Lena Dunham is the driving creative force behind the fictional representations. Lena Dunham is living in the post "SATC" world too. We all are. I'm not sure what "Sex And The City" and its impact have to do with what I'm saying here, but the point I AM trying to make is that the GIRLS are the focus of "Girls." The guys are certainly interesting. But we experience less of their lives than we do the girls of "Girls." I think Dunham is perfectly capable of writing interesting men, though when I first watched the show I thought of Adam as sort of an alien. He didn't seem real to me. But I recently rewatched the first season of "Girls" and realized that we were just watching his character unfold in a slower way than the female characters. We get a smaller glimpse into his equally complex life (and the equally complex lives of the other "Guys"). But let's not jump to conclusions and call Adam (or me) an asshole. If you could only see in him what Hannah and I see, maybe you'd understand.
Also, he doesn't wear a shirt. I know I'm not the first person to point it out, but I'm pointing it out. That is something about him. Most of the time he doesn't wear a shirt. He is much more fit than me, and much less hairy than me. So I'd probably go shirtless most of the time if I were him too. I have a secret dream of having women watch me shirtless on "Girls" season 4 and saying "that Adam Two character is so cute. I wish I knew him in real life." Well you can tweet at me after you're done reading this. I'm a real person. Adam on the show isn't.
Well, Adam Driver is a real person, but I don't much about him. I'm sure he's nice though.
I like "Girls." A lot. It's a glimpse into a world that I perpetually want to know more about. The world of girls. I love these girls. I love that the world of art and entertainment is broadening by the day and that someone who I feel is a valid "voice of my generation" is sharing stories of interest on "Girls." The other day I told my parents that they should watch "Girls" because it would give them a unique look at my generation. I don't particularly want to tell my parents about all my adventures and sexual escapades over the phone or over FaceTime (getting a FaceTime reference in here shows just how much our world has changed in just a few years, and it shows how I'm a member of the "Girls" generation). They can just watch "Girls" instead and draw their own conclusions/be horrified/laugh/cry/react however they want. That's what's great about TV and movies. They shape our ideas about the culture we live in.
It's odd to watch the show "Girls" and feel like it's fiction, and yet in a way it's somewhat of a glimpse into my own life. Maybe I'm Adam from "Girls" in some ways. And maybe I'm Hannah. Maybe I'm ALL OF THESE CHARACTERS. Who knows. But I live in New York, I'm young, I'm uncertain of where my life adventure is headed, I'm looking for love, I'm looking for sex, and I'm looking for meaning.
It's a "Girls" world. I'm just living in it.
WATCH A TRAILER FOR "GIRLS" SEASON 2 BELOW (via HBO):
Follow Adam Goldberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ajgoldberg