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A Girl’s View on Girls: Why It Makes Me Hate My Life, But I Can’t Stop Watching

December 24, 2012

Watching Girls is like having really rough sex.

You might like it. You might ask for it — beg for it, even. In the moment it might hurt a bit, but at the same time it’s a needed release, an escape from the rigid formalities and predictable nature of your life. Those precious few moments when taboos are actually meant to be broken.

But as soon as it’s over, you’re left bruised and alone, feeling as though you’ve been run over (and run through) by an 18-wheeler.

As you sit there, surveying for damage, you’re left with no other thought but: “What the fuck am I doing with my life?”

Not that you’re ashamed of what you’ve done (you’re actually quite proud of that), but you can’t help but wonder: Is your life really in a place where you can walk around all day with a giant bite mark, bruise, scratch on your thigh, arm, neck? Are you really in a place where you can spend all day lying in bed eating Nutella straight out of the jar (no spoon required) while watching Parks and Rec because the idea of moving is that daunting? Are you really in a place where you’re jealous of Hannah Horvath, the alternate persona Lena Dunham created for the purpose of being a hot mess that we’re both supposed to empathize with and pity? The girl whose boyfriend peed on her in the shower as a goof? The girl who tried to fuck her skeezy boss just for the story? The girl who pours water on bread so that she isn’t tempted to eat it, but then does so anyways?

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That girl?

That’s who you’re jealous of.

Because at least she has a boyfriend. At least she has a solid, albeit tumultuous, group of friends. At least she’s an amazing writer (even if she doesn’t realize it yet).

And let’s not kid ourselves, I’ve done plenty of questionable things just for the story, dated various men who treated me like “monkey meat” and once ate a chicken nugget off of a McDonald’s floor (it was a Swedish McDonalds, in my defense).

But why would I ever want to see all my least favorite things about myself, everything that I want to change, paraded in front of me on cable once a week? And then, just because I’m a 20-something living in Bushwick, everyone assumes the show must be my fAvOrItE tHiNg eVeRrRrR.

Those rather assumptive people do have one thing right (as much I hate to admit it). I do feel as though, on a very basic level, Girls does “get” me.

Watching Hannah and Marnie’s fight in the penultimate episode actually hit a little too close to home. It was as though I was watching my inner monologue, the one that keeps me up at night, the one that I get drunk and cry over again and again, broadcast in front of the entire world for their entertainment.

Self-Deprecating Hannah: “You act as if life is only about boys.”

Boy Crazy Marnie: “Well, I’m sad and talking about feelings is scary.”

Self-Deprecating Hannah: “Well, I’m the fucking scaredest person in the world!”

Boy Crazy Marnie: “Not everything’s about you and your neurotic anxiety!”

Self-Deprecating Hannah: “And not everything’s about finding a rich boyfriend!”

Both: You’re a bad friend (and a bad person)!

(Note: this whole interaction is only made worse by the fact that one of my ex-boyfriend’s names really is Charlie, meaning that some of the lines from this scene have actually been said verbatim in my life.)

When discussing my issues with Girls with a friend, she explained that she likes the show because, like Hannah and myself, she also suffers from crippling panic attacks about the state of her life. But unlike the rest of our crazy little trio, my friend’s only in this situation because she has serious health issues to contend with.

What’s my excuse?

I’m perfectly healthy, employed, with a great apartment and am actually at a point where I’m okay with the way I look.

Yet I can’t help but see myself (and far too much of it) in all the worst aspects of Marnie and Hannnah. So what’s wrong with me?

I now realize that’s a question that should only be raised in the confines of one’s therapist’s office. Definitely not my father’s couch on a Sunday afternoon while my stepmom awkwardly fidgets around, asking if I like her new boots for no reason except to assert her never-ending  dominance over my personal happiness. (It sounds paranoid, but it’s true.) But there I go sounding like Hannah, again.

And therein lies my problem with Girls.

Most viewers can see the emotional truths in the series from a nice, pleasant distance, whereas I end up an emotional wreck, continuing this destructive cycle of neurosis.

There is that small part of my brain — the one that more often than not gets ignored — that I continue to hear over the din of introspection and hipster nonsense that is my life and Girls, and it begs: “Oy, get over yourself, will you?”

But instead of listening to Rationality, I sit there, as I always do, while Boy Crazy and Self-Deprecating trade take downs, where their only common denominator is a shared narcissism and insecurity.

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Yet I’m helpless to stop it. I keep poking my bruise, trying to figure out where pleasure ends and pain begins, and put on another episode because maybe, just maybe, in these next 30 minutes the girls will get their shit together and I will, too.

*Note: This essay probably makes me sound like way more of an emotional mess than I am, but in my defense 1.) It’s Christmas, and therefore I’m in Urbana and becoming an emo-teenager again out of habit 2.) I just spent five hours watching the entire first season in a row which would make anyone a little cuckoo bananas 3.) I have a flair for the overdramatic. Everything’s better in excess.

*Second Note: I have a love-hate relationship with Girls, but I seriously have only hate for the way the finale ended. Find me one, just one, New Yorker who would ever get off the subway platform knowing they had no money, Metrocard or way to get home just so that they could wander aimlessly and eat cake on a beach, pretending they were in some college art house flick. Seriously. Bitch should have just waited for the next train and ate her cake while watching the subway rats instead of the sunrise like a normal person. But Hannah isn’t normal. She’s selfish and self-destrustive and I hope Season 2 picks up with her begging Marnie to come get her, which she won’t do because Hannah’s a jackass. But a jackass that I love, nonetheless. 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 28, 2013 11:13 am

    Awesome piece. You should write more often.

  2. Jeni permalink
    April 22, 2013 3:55 am

    Oh my goodness, you read my mind. This was a great piece, and it made me laugh because everything you said was exactly what I was thinking as I finished watching the entire second season. I was feeling so pathetic and like my life wasn’t adventurous enough, but this essay brought me back to reality. Thank you.

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