The Meaning of Girls, Ctd

Jan 24 2013 @ 9:25am

A reader tones down the enthusiasm:

Ugh! Why do we have to analyze the “meaning” of Girls? I’m a 45-year-old married hetero male currently living in the dreaded suburbs and I’m a fan of the show. I think Lena Dunham has created a terrific but very specific group of women living in a specific place at a specific time. Somehow, this leaves a number of critics and viewers either dismayed or disproportionately giddy. On one side, the reaction seems to be, “It’s not accurate, it’s too cynical, and the women don’t seem to respect themselves.” Or: “It’s brilliant, unapologetic, and these ladies are archetypes for their generation.” Neither viewpoint says anything that hasn’t been said before about a television show.

Me? I like Girls for its interesting characters and the way they interact with themselves and the city they live in. I’m not looking for an anthropological exploration of 20-somethings in Brooklyn, as if it would answer profound questions about the wider world. And, please, Girlsdoes not validate the importance of so-called Millennials.

Every generation gets a label from an earlier generation, usually for self-serving marketing or political campaign purposes. Then that labeled generation picks the parts they like and reinforces the stereotype through contrived behaviors. That doesn’t prove anything except that some folks are willing to play along. Girls may, consciously or unconsciously, play into cliches about 20-somethings, but can’t we recognize the good work of 20-somethings like Lena Dunham without turning it into a thesis on an entire generation?