There's been a ton of internet chatter about the new HBO show, Girls. Lots of positives, lots of negatives. I think my favorite quote overall came from Frank Bruni at the New York Times. "Gloria Steinem went to the barricades for this?"
This refers to the dismal sex scenes peppered throughout the first few episodes of the show, in which the main character is frequently humiliated by her "boyfriend" while in bed. (Boyfriend's in quotes because I doubt anyone would really consider them a couple, even on the show's effed up relationship scale.)
To this I say...meh! I'd say it could be argued that Gloria Steinem went to the barricades for a woman's right to have whatever kind of sex she wants, be it enlightened or degrading.
I don't really care about the sexual politics of the show. I say, to each his/her own, so long as nobody gets hurt.
What I care more about, with a new show, is: does something about it ring true? And does it make me want to watch more?
After the first episode, which made me giggle, I'd have said, "Sure!"
After the second, though, it would've been a no. I felt like their handling of abortion issues was sub-par, almost immature...and while that may have been the point, I, personally, found it off-putting.
But last night Charles queued it up on the DVR (God, I love that thing!), and even though I was trying to focus on writing, I kept looking up. I kept smiling. I even, gasp, kept laughing.
In the last scene, two of the main girls danced with reckless abandon to some cheesy club music piped through the tinny speakers of a battered laptop. They'd both had rough days; a dance which started close to tears ended up in laughter.
Charles turned to me as he flipped off the TV. "Do girls really do that?"
I smiled, then realized that yes, yes, we do. And that's why I enjoyed the third episode so much. Because the girls? They were just being girls.
Because in my last year of high school, one of my best girlfriends lived with my parents and me. Our bedrooms were connected by a wall-less, door-less closet. One night I lay in bed, boo-hooing over a teenage heartbreak. She had a boyfriend over, and even though they were otherwise occupied at the time, they stopped everything and came crashing through the closet. The girl jumped on my bed and started bouncing, poking, laughing, anything to get me to smile. The guy just stood and scratched his head at our antics. And soon we were all in hysterics.
Because in college, my roommates and I could tell each others' moods based on the music blasting through our stereos. Sarah MacLachlan meant we were feeling a little down. Ani DiFranco meant we were super-pissed. Indigo Girls or Dave Matthews generally meant we were ok. But you can be damn sure that if one of us came home and another was listening to some Sarah or some Ani, it was soon switched off by the other one. Giggling, laughing and antics would ensue, and soon we'd both be in hysterics.
Because even now, if I'm having a rough day, a few girls can be counted on to help me out, to make me smile.
And if Girls can be reliably counted on to portray the sweet side of friendships as often as they portray the ugly side of them, I can be reliably counted on to tune in.