What I should really do is post about how the War on Terror is effectively over or about the exploits of Herr Yatsenyuk, but sometimes I feel like having a little fun… which, let me tell you, watching “Girls” was not.
When Monday night DSU was flipping through the channels, we saw the likeness of Lena Dunham, and I said: “Ah! This is a valid blogging research exercise.” So we left it on for about a scene and a half.
The first scene was set at a coffee shop where Lena and her boyfriend were confronted by two mean young women who made the couple feel bad about their relationship. In the second scene, some other young women were having an expletive-laden conversation about their broken hearts. Neither dialog was of a kind that takes place in real world, which, I suppose, is all right as long as the author has a reason to make them sound a certain way. Unfortunately, the words uttered by the women were unfunny, overwrought and revealed nothing unique to the characters’ personality. Thus DSU resolved that he would not tolerate any more of that acclaimed show in our living room.
The quality of the “Girls” segment was pretty much in line with what I already knew about Duhnam. It all made sense: her description of her alleged campus rapist was just as tedious and void of any human traits as her flat screen creations. Why are her characters so listless? Here is the notorious passage where she compares dating a Republican to dating a Nazi:
We liked the idea of a Republican entering their universe. And Hannah doesn’t really have a clear sense of why you shouldn’t date a Republican; it’s kind of just like the same reason why you shouldn’t date a Nazi: You just shouldn’t. My personal position is that you should date anyone you want so long as they treat you respectfully and share your value system. So it might be hard for me to date someone who was against gay marriage and abortion rights — I don’t think I would be attracted to them — but I don’t have any personal problem with dating a Republican. I do think that Hannah has this reverse ignorance where she’s like, If they’re Republican, get them out of my airspace, and that was a fun thought to explore [bold is mine].
Trouble is, Dunham doesn’t appear to explore anything. She doesn’t inhabit a character imagining what it would like to be him, how he feels, what kind of words he’d say. I don’t expect the episode where the screen version of Lena bedded a Republican to be anything other than the predictable parable where the young woman comes to realize that “gee, I guess I don’t want to be around people who might expose me to different ideas.”
That Dunham doesn’t inhabit her characters, but merely records her feelings about individuals that she might had met, is expected from a doctrinaire narcissist. And when she writes, she doesn’t seem to know when to stop because, I suspect, she believes her accolades when they tell her that she’s funny.
Am I too hard on the author? After all, good writing and good comedy takes years to develop, and Dunham is still wet behind her ears. Perhaps she needs to live a little, mingle with the common man, keep writing… Go to a writing workshop. Be told to shorten her stories by 1/3.
She’s certainly no Woody Allen, a true comedic genius who made films about New York City and relationships. There are questions about his character — just as there are about Lena’s — there is, however, no question that when he was at his best, he was funny, learned and insightful.
Nuh, I’m not too hard on Dunham — after all, she is the self-proclaimed voice of her generation, so the expectations are high. It’s hard to to believe that millennials can’t do better.