Being 20something, trying to figure out how to make your mark on this world, how to be productive, and how not to disappoint your parents and, most of all, yourself is rather difficult. I realize that millions of people have done it before, and much like child birth, at this point, humanity should have it down to a science. But, much like child birth, you can plan everything from conception to c-section and at some point not even Siri will be able to accomodate every unpredictable outcome. That being said, I bet Lena Dunham never would've guessed that after she scored her own series on HBO, the webosphere would simultaneously applaud her for giving a voice to this generation of young women, and gut her for failing to depict every single type of young woman of this generation.
However, Dunham did not set out to create a series about the world or about New York or about race relations. She created a series about a struggling writer who is so intensely crippled by her insecurities that she doesn't believe in her talent, desperately clings to an emotionally abusive relationship, and pushes the only friend who loves her unconditionally further away with every episode. In order to tell this story, Dunham did not feel the need to include a sassy black friend or a kooky, heavily-accented Asian neighbor. She told A story. Just one.
I think what's most amusing about everyone's negative opinions about the series is that they read like producer notes, as if the viewer has any right to tell the writer what to write about. As if she were taking a poll on what the character should do next. It's just a story. If you don't like the story, then you don't watch the series. You don't get to change the show so that you can like it. If you're really that concerned about not seeing minorities on TV, watch shows with minorities in them so they can stop being cancelled, and show networks that you're interested in black culture.
The multi-hyphenate James Franco had a more testosterone-fueled complaint, heading up the why-are-men-so-poorly-depicted camp with a Huffington Post piece called "A Dude's Take on Girls." His main point was that all of the male characters were not properly fleshed out and were either assholes or wimps, which is an easy complaint to make about a series named "Girls." However, Franco made this complaint three-quarters of the way through the season and probably couldn't have predicted that Hannah's glorified fuckbuddy Adam would eventually get a personality (and a shirt) once he finally committed to her. He probably would've never predicted that in the end, Hannah would be painted the insensitive douchebag in the relationship and Adam would end up being the vulnerable victim. And surely, he would've never guessed that actually both couples would experience epic role reversals, as Marnie became obsessed with Charlie and Charlie became the unfaithful bad boy. My advice to Franco and viewers who agreed with him: Patience is a virtue. And character arcs are a given.
I, however, am of a different camp, the just-because-female-writers-are-having-a-good-run-this-year-doesn't-mean-everything-they-shit-out-is-gold camp. I know what you're thinking. It's what everyone thinks when they read that comment: Clearly, she's jealous. Yup. I am jealous. I'd love to write a series, a book, an article. Anything. I'm a writer. That's what I aspire to do. But as a writer, I hold other writers to a higher standard. It's not enough to entertain me. You have to prove that you deserved this big break, these accolades, this worship. And if you do, I'll jump on the bandwagon, but if you don't, I'll be damned if I'll let you think you do.
So after watching the entire season and thoroughly examining all of the characters, their arcs, the clever one-liners, and daring plot twists and turns, I've decided that it does deserve a place in the pantheon of female-generated and -geared fictional content. It is quite impressive how Dunham captures her people: 20something white girls who have absolutely no idea what they're doing. And it's most impressive because to be perfectly fucking honest, none of us know what we're doing regardless of how old or what race we are. We're all pretty much just winging it.
Getting a job is hard. Keeping a job can be harder. Coping with the fact that you have to keep the job you don't want in order to survive is excruciating. Getting a boyfriend is hard. Keeping a boyfriend is harder. Being unable to decide if you even want that particular guy is a totally exhausting mindfuck. And whether Franco would like to admit it or not, those male characters actually exist. Yeah, they suck, but that seems like more of a complaint he should log with his own gender and not her.