They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover because you may miss out on something inside. However, there are times where your gut reaction to a book cover turns out to be correct.
So indulge me as I judge a TV Show I have not watched by some bad reviews by J. Maureen Hendersen of Forbes, Nina Bahadur of HuffPost Women, and Dustin Rowles of Pajiba.com— all decidedly not fans of HBO TV Show Girls.
Bahadur of HuffPost says her “mild dislike turned into a strange kind of loathing for “Girls”…. I couldn’t figure out quite what it was that bothered me.”
Hendersen of Forbes writes article How HBO’s ‘Girls’ Gets Everything About Millennial Life, Like, So Totally Wrong, where she criticizes the show for it’s lack of diversity, and unreal depiction of an all-white, unambitious, privileged urban tribe. In response to her article comments Hendersen says “the show is wrongly held up as universally relevant and reflective [of a generation]”
Dustin Rowles: “They have a safety net of wealth to break their falls…They feel they have the right to accept the money but reject the lifestyle, reject the choices their parents made to earn the money, and reject all the strings that are associated with wealth.”
Somehow this is supposed to be interesting?
“It makes me — and other like-minded viewers — furious, furious because they don’t take advantage of their money, of their education, and of their socioeconomic position… They’re spitting out the silver spoon, scuffing it up, scraping off the polished finish and putting it back into their mouths. They want to go it alone, but not really. What they really want is the illusion of going it alone.”
Many things are off according to critics, but it sounds like the greatest thing Girls has going against it is diversity. Any diversity— ethnic, culture, religion, background, socioeconomic status. Since apparently Girls found this unnecessary in portraying Millennials, they now have the enormous task of trying to incorporate a few “token” diverse characters, whether it be religious, ethnic, socioeconomic. Diversity breaks down the barriers of our own existence. The show seems to be so boxed in to one view, that an outsider may prove to undermine the whole premise of the show. An outsider may not find a Rowles aforementioned “scuffed up silver spoon” as interesting, and would pop the privileged bubble in which the Girls have been formed. Girls, has been praised by some for “getting Millennials”, but they clearly don’t, and anyone outside the same tribal-bubble will fail to see it.
WHY ARE MILLENNIALS STILL ELUSIVE?
This is a rhetorical question that I haven’t had a chance to analyze or answer yet. Why does Millennial entertainment so far miss the mark so badly? In a previous post I write some of my thoughts on CNN article The novel America needs in 2013, in which author Mark Bauerlein describes how Millennials continue to be drawn to irrelevant and inauthentic entertainment. We are stuck. Girls shows that we haven’t found “it” yet.
I guess my challenge to Millennials (even if you enjoy Girls) is to at least keep up the hard work of self-examination. Who are Millennials, and how we identify this generation? Keep an eye out for a show, or novel, that truly “gets it”.
In the words of Nina Bahadur: “Maybe [Dunham] is a voice of a generation — but she doesn’t speak for me.”