By Ross Moulton
On Sunday night I went old school and tuned into a television show at the ACTUAL time it was airing instead of catching it on demand. In defying all sense of logic and decency, once my knees had buckled to 90 degrees and gravity had pulled my butt to a sitting position, I locked my gaze on the tv screen at the new HBO comedy, ‘Girls’. Sunday night is my holy grail of leisure nights (meant purely for indulgence of food, drink, and entertainment), so my decisions for its occupation are not made lightly. Considering I was able to not only commit to a show titled ‘Girls’, but also possess a decent amount of anticipation for it meant this was no normal act of television viewing. My intrigue stems from a few sources, most notably:
- The show is produced by Judd Apatow, a comedic genius who can seemingly do no wrong in the late aughts when it comes to inducing laughter amongst the masses.
- Every review I have read has been off the charts, with the atypical labels of ‘real’ and ‘true’, an accurate portrayal of mid 20-something females living in NYC.
- Since How to Make it in America left the air I haven’t had a television show to function as a serviceable reminder of the down and dirty, tight-jean wearing, underground music listening, hipster chic sophisticated, know the bouncer at every joint-style New Yaawk I know and love. So I was hoping ‘Girls’ could fill that void.
- Brian Williams’ daughter is in it. And who doesn’t love anything or anyone that BWill had a hand in creating.
- Most importantly, and ideally, if this show really is ‘real’ , than it should give me a nifty and transparent portal into how to deal with New York women, and all my labor and strife to appease this niche clientele should subside. Ideally.
With that, I sat down to watch ‘Girls’, despite its inherently repugnant title to man of my age and gender (27, male). Rather than strictly review the show (which there has been an abundance of this week) I thought I would take a different spin on things and take a look at some of my favorite quotes, their context, and how a guy (me) interprets what happened (in sequence of the show).
Quote: “Do you realize how lucky you are? I could be a drug dealer.”
Context: The show begins with Hannah, the 24 year old aspiring memoirist, engaged in an impromptu negotiation with her parents over whether or not they will continue to support her “groovy lifestyle” (as described by Hannah’s mom). Hannah is incredulous to the notion that her parents can so swiftly guillotine their financial support whilst sounding so carefree in the process. Her summarizing and concise wrap up of the situation is simply: “This is nuts”.
Guy’s Take: Hannah’s parents are issuing a deft rationality that all young 20-somethings despise (guy or gal), where we know they are being sensible but we still fight to accept it. Her comment that things could be much worse is a classic comparative tactic to lessen one’s own shortcomings to their parents. Of course it could be worse Hannah! It could always be much worse. But Mom and Dad are here to tell you that it could be much better. Now get a move on.
Quote: “What does it even feel like to be loved that much”
Context: Over at Hannah’s apartment, she wakes up spooning her roommate Marnie, she of the ‘still wears her retainer to night’ variety (wait, how young are these girls?!). We come to find out that Marnie is willing to receive said spooning because she is trying to avoid her lameduck boyfriend Charlie, a poor sap that makes me cringe in humiliation on behalf of my gender. Hannah and Marnie are then found in the bathroom, with Hannah naked in the bathtub eating what appears to be a miniature cupcake, oddly enough. There they discuss Charlie’s irrelevance to Marnie’s future and her incapability to end things. Charlie’s futile advances on his own girlfriend are all met by Jess with a combined face of surprise, disgust, and “I’m going to borderline implode with vomit if you don’t retract your iguana like tongue from my face”. Charlie also, bless his heart, delivers a fantastically pathetic line when he motions to kiss Jess: “Coming at you, here it comes, pow. I just blew up a kiss on you”
Guy’s Take: Charlie’s corny pandering is met with equal aplomb from Marnie each instance, in the way I would expect most level headed females to react. I cannot, and will not, feel sorry Charlie. There’s a line, as a man that we need not cross in our blind affection for the opposite gender. Charlie has not only passed the line, but he has turned around to simultaneously pee and spit on it in one constistent stream. His complete inability to play it cool is just too overwhelming for me to get behind the character. A man should never refer to his kiss as being blown up on a woman. It is either placed delicately or emphatically, but never blown up. Guy needs to dial back on the estrogen intake.
Quote: “Joy-Lin knows photoshop”
Context: Hannah summons the courage to ask her boss to finally be paid for her services rendered. Her request is met with an immediate “so sorry to lose you” (despite the fact she wasn’t quitting). Entirely discouraged, she rebutts with a comparison to her co-worker Joy-Lin’s path from rags (internship) to riches (actual paycheck). Her boss simply responds by touting Joy-Lin’s photoshop proficiency. Ouch. Not only is she dissed on her worthiness to receive cash monies, she is also issued a good bye hug from her boss with an emphatic moment in which the clasp of the hug syncs with a “I can’t believe this is real life” facial reaction. Also, when Hannah asks her boss if he will still read her memoir, she is told that “now that she’s leaving, there would be no one here to read it, now would there?” Ouch again. Also, egotistical space-cat Joy-Lin, the photoshop wizard, callously bequests a luna bar from Hannah as she leaves the office. So clueless, it’s amazing.
Guy’s Take: A ballsy and understandable approach by Hannah has unfortunately gone to waste. It’s hard for any gender to approach this situation without being sensitive to their own insecurities (especially women), and unfortunately for Hannah, douchebag boss has only reinorced hers with his reaction. I felt like slapping her on the butt and telling her: “Keep on truckin homey, you’ll get yours.”
Quote: “Okay this is good, I’m going to get lube”
Context: My favorite scene of the episode was quote heavy thanks to Adam, the gorilla-esque aspiring actor from Brooklyn. Adam also moonlights as a carpenter (or the other way around, tough to decipher) because woodworking is “honest” (Yup, hipster juice, flowing right through his vains). Anyways, their casual conversation leads to even casualer sex. But before grimey couch intercourse, gorilla man bounds into the next room to grab lube and issues the best line of the night (from a male perspective), when Hannah asks him if he is going to grab a condom. “I’ll consider it!” Adam shouts, as he gleefully bounces out of the room and starts climbing the walls (I’m picturing). Unflattering, non-arousing sex ensues.
Guy’s Take: The show had been marketed and reviewed as honest, and this scene does nothing to contradict that assessment. There is nothing smooth or charming about Hannah’s attempts to rip her own pants off. Adam is gorilla/ape-like (as Jess mentions later in the show), but is quirky and funny in a way that makes his character likeable. The sex is done quite methodically (albeith humorously) which makes me highly skeptical that he has any feelings for recently unemployed Hannah. It is not normal practice for most 20-somethings to participate in casual daytime sex (unless I’m missing something), so I can imagine it only being this awkward.
Quote: “How am I supposed to get him to him face to face if he won’t even text me”
Context: Hannah is talking to Jess about her ineptitude in getting Adam to text her back. Jess proceeds to describe her layers of communication and their importance (Facebook, email, text, etc.) As Hannah saturates the info and tries to understand her current plight, she questions how she can ever achieve the mecca of interaction (face to face) if she cannot first master a lower level of communicado (text). There is an ironic follow up when Hannah asks “I’ll see you soon?” to which Adam replies “Yea, text me.”
Guy’s Take: I don’t think this needs comprehensive analysis, the writing is pretty much on the wall. Ape man Adam doesn’t text her back, or pick up the phone for that matter, because he has no interest in seriously pursuing Hannah, except when he wants to lube up for a little daytime slay fest. Unfortunately he’s just nice enough to Hannah when he’s with her, giving her a small margin of hope that he actually likes her and will change his mind at some point. What’s more indicative of this dialogue is the portrayal of the 21st century male-female communication paradigm, and the ease within which we guys can pick and choose to make an effort.
Quote: “This doesn’t taste like twix”
Context: Marnie and Hannah have decided to hold a welcome back party in honor of Jess, a British international friend of theirs who has returned to the United States after a lengthy country hopping extravaganza. Jess however shows up 2 hours late, assuming a 730 pm start time “was just a suggestion”. Hannah also shows up late, bemoaning her lack of job prospects and hypothesizes a calculation as to how long she can survive in the city. Jess, with her half-naked buttocks firmly hugging the toilet, spills to Marnie that she is actively engaged in an impending pregnancy (not by choice). A friend named Ray is also at the party with his girlfriend. His main contribution is a pot of opium tea, to which Hannah consumes diligently at the end of the party under the assumption it tastes like a twix bar, not twigs (Ray’s actual description).
Guy’s Take: The scene in which Jess tells Marnie is preganant is another good example of the show’s sense of realness (or my perception of realness rather). After all, girls don’t tell girls they’re pregnant when they’re walking in Central Park with leaves delicately falling on their hair, they don’t gingerly embrace each other with a pitiful caress and tell each other it’s going to be alright. In real life girls tell girls they’re pregnant when they’re half naked pissing in a bathroom! I knew it! I’m not sure if Ray will be a continuing character, but he might have decent potential. He may be the quirky friend who can easily annoy, but he also has a good sense of humor and the unique redeeming quality of knowing exactly when a party needs an infusion of opium tea.
BTW: Jay Z and MGMT both rocking in the background throughout the party. Big ups there.
Quote: “Coffee is for grown ups”
Context: Hannah has consumed an entire cup of opium tea against the wishes of best friend and pseduo motherly figure, Jess. As an infrequent drug user, Hannah loses her shit, luckily not in a violent or harmful way, just in the “this girl doesn’t do drugs normally” way and becomes engrossed in an internal debate over her life’s meaning. Jess issues a motivational speech, motioning Hannah to just “tell your parents you’re an artist.” It leads to Hannah leaving the party en route to her parents hotel to discuss her newfound epiphany, that she only needs $1100 a month to continue pursuing her dream. She tells them that “she’s the voice of her generation, er, or a voice, of a, generation.” Her mother hostiley reacts and tells her to just start a blog, while her father takes pity on her once she passes out and falls off her chair (classic opium-induced tip over).
Guy’s Take: Hannah has met the impossibly frustrating intersection of aspiration and practicality. She is at a major point of vulnerability in her career, and needs to start considering shelving the memoir route for the time being in order to eat real food. But right as she’s making this transformation, bam! Opium tea all up in her face. I’ve never done opium but I can assume it fosters the type of intense and extensive contemplation that Hannah undergoes at the end of the episode. The “Coffee is for grown-ups” line (in reaction to her father’s suggestion to sober up) is highly indicative of Hannah’s view of her own position within the maturity spectrum, which is that she’s not adult-status quite yet.
Overall Guy’s Take: While the first episode didn’t offer as much in terms of non-obvious perspective on the female psyche as I’d hoped, there was enough whetting of the palette to keep me salivating for more. Call it the sorbet of episodes, in that regard. The show is strongly written though, has a breadth of interesting characters, as well as a developing story line that I assume will do little but keep my imagination flowing between episodes. In simple terms: I, Ross Moulton, possessor of a 27 year old male body and mindset, cannot wait to see what happens in next week’s episode of Girls.
The bar has now been set Lena Dunham. You are officially occupying my precious Sunday nights for the foreseeable future. Godspeed!