“I’m offended by all the ‘supposed to’s.’ I don’t like women telling other women what to do, or how to do it, or when to do it. Every time I have sex, it’s MY choice. And if I wanted to go on some dates, I would. But I don’t. Because they’re for lesbians.” – Jessa, “Girls,” Episode 2
After months and months (and months) of deafening buzz, the new Judd Apatow-produced HBO series “Girls” is finally here! Well, almost here – it debuts this Sunday, April 15 at 10:30pm ET. And to listen to the critics, the press and the Twitter feeds of young women everywhere, television, comedy, and the modern female experience will never be the same.
I was lucky enough to catch the first three episodes, and here’s the short version of what you need to know:
*The show is awesome.
*Lena Dunham (the creator, writer, director, and lead actress) is a S.T.A.R.
*If you watch it with a friend, you will have to constantly pause your DVR to recount “that one time you sooooo did that, OMG, and it was just as embarrassing and horrifying and confusing and messy…and wow, why hasn’t anyone ever mentioned that on television before??”
Much has been said about “Girls” – that the relationships between the women feel authentic, that the Millennial sense of mild entitlement feels all-too-real-and-damning, that the sex is horrifying (and, oh dear god, it is). But here is my favorite thing about “Girls:” it takes place in the post-dating world that any WTF?! reader knows all too well. At long last, the post-dating world, warts and all (seriously, they talk about warts), is finally out there for everyone in TV land to see and understand.
Sure, it might feel like the most bleak, depressing, f**ked up version of the post-dating world – without all the excitement and empowerment that comes along with embracing ambiguous connections and non-dates and techno-romance and Dating & Hookup. But cringeability aside, it’s the most accurate portrayal of the post-dating world that we’ve seen on TV so far.
The show revolves around four early-twenties girls living in New York City – but “Sex and the City” this is not. If Carrie and Co. were going on swanky dates, marrying successful lawyers, and celebrating their meaningless sexual flings, then the girls of “Girls” are texting their undeserving Boyfriend Prospects, flirting with Career Boosters at job interviews and work events, pondering the “weird and aggressive” nature of having an ex’s ex like your Facebook status, and googling “the kind of stuff that comes around a condom.” Oh, and they are not going on dates. At least during the first three episodes, not a one of them.
The modern romantic authenticity of the show stems from the fact that, out of four girls, zero of them seem to be living any sort of traditional love life. And not only are these friends’ love lives different from any others portrayed on TV, but they’re also different from each other, further proving the fact that every woman’s post-dating journey is completely unique to her experiences and needs and wants. One girl is chasing a guy who won’t even text her back, and whose most genuine attempt at a compliment is, “You’re not that fat anymore…” Her best friend, who should be living the most traditional love life of all – she is in a four-year relationship with a sweet and dedicated guy that began in college – is finding herself stifled and frustrated by the trappings of a relationship that seems too good to be true, yet leaves her miserable, mean, and feeling like her boyfriend’s touch “now feels like a weird uncle just putting his hand on my knee at Thanksgiving.” Throw in an insecure virgin who lives by the strict rules and judgments of her dating books and a free-spirited European who can’t seem to be in a room with a man (including her friends’ boyfriends) without demanding that he stick his hands down her pants, and you have, well…you have several version of what life can be in the post-dating world.
As you can probably imagine by now, there is much to discuss about modern love, romance, and incredibly awkward attempts at talking dirty here. But I’m going to give you the weekend to watch the first episode, and then we’ll reconvene here early next week to delve deeper.
Oh, and here’s my advice – no matter what you’ve already read about the show, and it’s supposed status as the voice of our generation (or “a voice of a generation”), don’t immediately judge it on its worth and accuracy as a 100% realistic portrayal of your very own life as a Millennial woman. Millennial women all have their own paths to success, happiness and self-realization, just as we all have our own paths to love. So for now, don’t watch the show with that at the forefront of your mind. Just watch it to enjoy it.
And then don’t be surprised when you think back on it later and start matching up scenes, moments and quotes to your own life…
So let’s talk again next week! Until then, if you’re looking for me, I’ll be just like Dunham’s character Hannah – busy. Because, like her, “I have work, and then I have a dinner thing, and then I am busy. Trying to become who I am.”
Call your Accessory, invite him over for TV night on Sunday, and enjoy.
Jess is the co-creator of Dating & Hookup, alongside her childhood best friend Becky Lynch, and is the author of the book - yep! - Dating & Hookup. She never tires of hearing your post-dating stories. She wants you to enjoy your love life, and is full of advice on how to do so.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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