April 17, 2012

TELEVISION FOR THOUGHT: Real Girls Versus Television Girls

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Is Sex and the City a show?

You don’t know Sex and the City? That’s like saying you don’t have Facebook.

I don’t have Facebook.

You are so fucking chic.

This is a paraphrased conversation from the pilot of Girls, which premiered this past Sunday on HBO. The show is about four twenty-four year old girls living in New York City who are trying to, as one character puts it, become who they are. If you are a college or recent post grad who has lived for at least few years in a middle upper class culture, this show is your zeitgeist. For better or worse, it’s our zeitgeist.

Over the past couple of days, the show has gotten me thinking about the girl world we live in. Frequent girl talks in the bathroom while one person is peeing. Being asked to bring back a Luna bar and some Smart Water from a coffee run. Being totally wrapped up in Facebook, media, and our own lives. Meeting someone who doesn’t have a Facebook and thinking, “Holy shit, she is cool”. Taking looks over at her and trying to figure her out, and by the end concluding that she is a hipster goddess. You know you’ve done it.

It seemed like every scene had a piece that was familiar. I couldn’t help laughing out loud because what was happening was ridiculous, and because it was so true. For most of it, I laughed, but there were some parts that were so true it kind of hurt. Fights between Hannah and her mother about financially supporting her, her mother telling her how spoiled she is and Hannah retaliating with some version of: well whose fault is that? It is strange to think about how common some problems in your life are until you see them in a TV show. And even more painful to realize that they are mostly #firstworldproblems.

At one point Hannah and Marnie are sitting in the bathroom shaving and talking about Marnie’s boyfriend.

Hannah: “What does it even feel like to be loved that much?”

Marnie: “I don’t know, I can’t feel it anymore…and it makes me feel like such a bitch because I can feel him being so nice to me and yet it makes me so angry.”

Watching this scene gave me a huge, “Shit, that is me,” moment.  I think I have had this exact conversation with my best friends about a guy, but never thought that there were other people having the same one. Maybe that makes me selfish. Maybe more selfish yet, I still completely agree with Marnie. Her boyfriend was so sweet and doting that I wanted to gag.  As much as I laugh at some of these characters, I can’t ignore that I do some of these things. A lot of us do. Maybe if anything, I’ll leave with a little more humility.

All in all, these characters certainly aren’t lovable, but they are honest. At points, my disdain for Hannah living off her parents and asking for more money was overwhelming, but I couldn’t stop watching because I know her too well.

This is one girl’s opinion.  Watch the premiere for yourself. It will be free on Youtube for the next few weeks. Comment, readers, and tell me if you agree.

Arielle Cruz is a freshman in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. She can be reached at amc462@cornell.edu. Television for Thought appears alternate Wednesdays.

Original Author: Sun Staff