Humiliated: Why I hate Girls

By MICHAEL BRAITHWAITE  |  February 4, 2013


I am a girl who hates Girls. I am also a girl who hates wrongly universalizing titles. Apart from the critiques about the first season featuring zero people of color, the critical brouhaha that has surrounded the show since its premiere last year feels like when someone off-putting shows up at a party and everyone falls all over themselves in gratitude, thankful for something different. It's been called one of the "most exciting moments in television," and television critic and feminist Emily Nussbaum went so far as to rave in New York that it's a "retort to a culture that pathologizes feminine adventure." Plenty of very smart people believe that Girls, created by writer/director Lena Dunham, is a game changer.

Who doesn't love smart people declaring things?

And so this girl sat through season one, watching Hannah (played by Dunham) screw over her friends, have a fraught and humiliating relationship with a guy who can best be described as a sociopathic skin-sack of meat, and generously heap emotional grandstanding atop a pile of narcissistic tendencies accented with complaining about non-problems. Let's not forget that the season concluded with Hannah eating her feelings on a Coney Island beach after whining to Adam (skin-sack of meat played by Adam Driver) that her life was hard because she's 13 pounds overweight.

Now Girls is back for a second round (Sundays at 9 pm on HBO). Apparently Dunham is the "voice of her generation," and it has dawned on me that I'm a girl who hates Girls because Dunham's artistic voice peddles little more than abject humiliation with an occasional laugh-out-loud one-liner. Hannah — whose life Dunham has described as being like "when you're dancing in a really joyful way and then you hit your head on something" — continues to be the primary conduit for Dunham's voice.

With season two underway, so is the familiar cycle of vulnerability, demoralization, and humiliation that supposedly speaks for an entire set of twentysomethings. Lucky twentysomethings! So far, Hannah's experienced a boner not intended for her and is playing caretaker for an ailing Adam, who splashes urine from his bedpan all over the floor at her feet as she begs to have a meaningful conversation with him. "You don't have to be nice to people you love," he proclaims.

Hannah is not the only character experiencing abject humiliation in the second season, though. After taking the virginity of Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) and ditching her, the cynical, pretentious Ray (Alex Karpovsky) tries to make nice with her at Hannah's party. Shoshanna holds firm in her anti-Ray stance, so he woos her with a series of backhanded compliments before ultimately just forcing himself on her, which she secretly likes. Just like every girl! Meanwhile, lucky Marnie (Allison Williams) has lost her job to an incompetent, boss-banging coworker, is cut down by her mother, and gets insulted by gay friend Elijah after they have wholly unbelievable and painfully awkward five-minute sex.

Never forget that gay guys love putting the sexy-time moves on straight girls.

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  Topics: Television , Girls, opinion, Lena Dunham,  More more >
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