So Girls. It’s back as of Sunday. I watched the first season intermittently, not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because I was doing other non-television-type things (aka writing, she said pretentiously). And so now I’m making a concerted effort to catch up, a side effect of which is having to bear witness to a high concentration of excruciating and awkward sex. Girls carries on the fine tradition of the British Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and (further back) The Garry Shandling Show in its power to induce the cringe.
But worse than the bad sex for me was the visceral horror I felt when Hannah screwed herself by reading something she’d written on the subway ride over to her former prof’s reading series, instead of reading a personal essay about dating a hoarder. I found this so distressing that I actually covered my eyes, something I don’t even do watching the horror flicks Seth can talk me into.
Obviously, this was supposed to be funny, but underpinning it was Hannah’s very real anxiety about her writing being trivial. (I wish clips were available – there’s this hilarious scene with her roommate’s ex-boyfriend’s friend rattling off a long, long list of non-trivial things she could be writing about—the soul-crushing blow that led her to screw herself at the reading).
I don’t want to extrapolate too much, but it’s very probable that Lena Dunham writes from experience about that concern. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have the very same concern about my own work. The box of “women’s fiction,” how when women write about family, it’s a “domestic story” whereas a male author’s exploration of the same topic is more likely to be lauded for its art (see: Franzen). But better to carry on with the work than lose oneself in the injustice of an imperfect society.
*I’m kind of ashamed of quoting this song, and yet I did it anyway. Perhaps I’m still sad about Adam Yauch.