FUCK. THIS. SHOW.
That's not a particularly eloquent sentence; however, it's how I felt after watching the pilot episode of HBO's Girls, Lena Dunham's first TV series. Seriously, I was so angry that I immediately turned on DMX's "Who We Be" so I could rage dance, which was basically just me flailing around my apartment in a T-shirt, sweats, and white Hanes Her Way gym socks until I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror where I became simultaneously hypnotized and horrified by my rage dancing that I did the following:
Memo to others: don't wear Hanes Her Way gym socks when rage dancing. Or in life.
For those of you who missed the months-long promotional onslaught for Girls from Lena, Judd Apatow, HBO, & co., here's the gist: it's about a quartet of well-off (because of their parents, obv) white women in their 20s living in New York City:
Clearly, as Lena has stated in multiple interviews, this show and her 2010 movie Tiny Furniture are reflections of her life and those around her. Meaning that she came from a privileged family, which is something I don't begrudge her for. One cannot control the life they are born into. What I do begrudge is the narrow focus that so thoroughly pervades her work. Look, I completely understand the concept of "write what you know." Hello, my blog is named Blaria. My brand is contingent on my knowing about being black (plenty of Black History Month reports will do the trick) as well as being sarcastic and droll (being a teenager taught me that).
However, I'm confident that even if you don't look like me or have the same background as me, my point of view is universal enough because I've experienced all kinds of situations and people, so I say to you, Ms. Dunham: go out and learn some more shit, so you will have more things to write about. It's lazy to stay so self-contained and beyond unacceptable to pass off such a myopic view of the world as THE 20-SOMETHING EXPERIENCE.
That is how the show is being packaged after all. Well, Girls doesn't represent me nor the women I know who have matured in NYC. And I'm not stating that it doesn't represent me because of race. Although, the complete lack of diversity on this show, while not surprising, is terrible given that it's 2012. Oh, wait! Girls does have a POC aka a person of color. An Asian girl named Joy Luck Club Joy-Lynn gets about four seconds of screen time where we learn that she's really good at COMPUTERS, specifically PhotoShop. I mean, how else would we know she's Asian, am I light right? FUCK. THIS. SHOW. I'd rather the show be completely white than have a random Asian person be good at computers or, in the final moments of the episode, have a homeless black man try to chat up Hannah (Dunham) with that "Why don't you smile, girl? You're in NYC," magical negro word vomit as she walks down the street. Don't throw us any bones if those are going to be the ones you throw.
Sidenote: before anyone states, well, what about Woody Allen? Or Ingmar Bergman? Or F. Scott Fitzgerald? They all wrote from a narrow point of view, a predominantly white point of view. Yes, and it stung. For example, I have yet to rewatch Manhattan since I first viewed it about a decade ago because it is just so painful. It's painful for me to sit through a film that's supposed to be the embodiment of a multicultural, multiracial metropolitan playground that is New York City and see it be so thoroughly white-washed. I guarantee you that EVERY single POC has had moments like that when they were watching a movie of a TV show and their heart literally broke because there wasn't a reflection of them, let alone a three-dimensional characterization of someone who looks like them.
But back to the question at hand. How exactly did this show get packaged as THE 20-SOMETHING EXPERIENCE? Clearly, someone in the PR department has done his/her job very, very well. So much so that critics are tripping over themselves with praise. The New Yorker called the show "revolutionary." The San Francisco Chronicle deemed it "groundbreaking."
How so? What is different about this show? Not much, in my estimation. Aimless 20-somethings? Reality Bites, among many others movies/tv shows, tackled that subject nearly 20 years ago. Affluent white New Yorkers? See Woody Allen. Sitting in a bathtub butt-ass nekked, while eating a cupcake and watching your friend shave her legs? Oh, that's just some dumb shit that was on Girls. Maybe it's just me, but when I had roommates, the bathroom was my alone time aka where I texted or stared at my afro, willing it grow, or practicing my Inside the Actors Studio interview. I wasn't hanging out in soft lighting and chatting it up, Sex and the City-style about boys. And I most certainly wasn't eating while sitting mere inches away from my roommate grooming herself. #Trifling.
Basically, what this show and all the fan girls need is a strong, hard dose of Robitussin aka #realtalk. This show is not groundbreaking. It's not revolutionary. It's not a game changer. And for the love of God, it is not the female answer to Louie. I'm talking about you, AV Club. Girls is an occasionally funny show and decently written (the pilot episode does move at a fairly brisk pace) about a particular and narrow POV that I like to call EWW (Entitled White-Girl Whining). And you know what? If you want your show to be about such a tiny, niche demographic, go for it. Just don't try and fool everyone and say it's for everyone when it's clearly "for us, by us." As Judge Judy has famously said, "Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining." Well, I would just say don't pee on my leg. Unless I've just been stung by a jellyfish, in which case, lie to me and say it's raining, so I don't have to deal with the fact that you are peeing on my leg.
Now, fellow Blarians, join me in a rage dance on DMX's "Who We Be":
Sample lyrics: (WHOO!) The snakes, the grass, too long, to see (UHH, UHH!)/The lawnmower, sittin, right next, to the tree (C'MON!). X, what the hell are you talking about?
Follow Phoebe Robinson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PRobinsonComedy