Friday, 29 March 2013
I've been in Cape Town for a few weeks. It's a long flight so I loaded up my iPad with Girls, a series I've been wanting to watch for a while. I saw the first episode months ago but didn't really get it. However, people I know and trust have raved about it and I decided it needed a 12 hour flight for me to really get into it. I love watching whole TV seasons on flights, it's so decadent. And there is no guilt, you actually can't be doing anything more productive.
Girls is a show that made me feel old. I don't feel much different now to when I was in my early 20s and then I watch a show like this and realise that 24 year olds today are a different generation and I have to accept that. It doesn't mean I don't enjoy watching them but for once I was watching something I absolutely couldn't relate to because I simply wasn't like this at 24. At least I hope I wasn't. These girls are horrible. They are self-involved, mean to each other, have no career success (I can relate to that!) and seem to take their clothes off in front of each other all the time. I work with a 26 year New Yorker and I asked her if this was what 20 somethings did. Do they get into baths with each other, for example? She looked slightly confused at my questions and said, yes. Like d'oh. She said her and her friends were really mean to each other, not so much now but when they were in college. My girlfriends and I were so nice to each other at college. We adored each other and spent most of the time saying how much we loved one another!
Back to the show. It centres on Hannah - Lena Dunham - who writes and directs the show. Lena is 27. Read it and weep. Hannah lives in Brooklyn where she is trying to write for a living. In the opening episode, her parents tell her that after two years post graduation, they are no longer going to fund her life and she has to earn some money. Her reaction to this is hilarious. Hannah is spoilt, selfish and bitchy. Despite this, you like her because she is funny. The point of this show is it's very, very funny. Laugh out loud hilariously funny. I was snorting with laughter on the plane. She writes each scene so beautifully and it all rings true. This is not a Sex and the City life, these girls really are struggling and you feel sorry for them. They are so clueless yet think they are so sophisticated.
Lena is excellent, all the cast are very good but the stand out for me is Shoshanna played by Zosie Mamet. Mamet was also in Mad Men and she couldn't be playing a more different part. She's so good, every scene she is in, you can't take your eyes off her. I also have a very soft spot for Adam, Hannah's very strange boyfriend. And I love Elijah, her gay ex-boyfriend.
Girls has divided people, many hate it but I enjoyed it even though sometimes it is hard to watch. It feels real. Hannah has a normal body and Dunham isn't afraid to have characters who aren't sympathetic and treat each other badly. That is life. To make it compelling television takes real talent.
There is a scene where Hannah is tested for STDs and she gives a monologue about how if she had AIDS it wouldn't be so bad because it's treatable now and her friends and family would have to be nice to her because she has AIDS. The doctor looks at her incredulously and tells her "you don't want AIDS, I am glad I am not 24 anymore." I can only agree.