This is so funny and sweet and also weirdly calming.
@Plexia I see what you're saying 100%, but I also read the disconnect here as something that fit with the rest of the confusion/misunderstanding/fucked-up-ness of the situation at large - she didn't understand anything about this person's family or where she was going, and all of these strong impressions and the way her expectations are thrown over add to the overall sense of displacement and dread. E.g. comparing the snow in Ireland to the snow in Wisconsin when she gets there, thinking she knows exactly what will happen and then finding out that things here function according to rules she's not even aware of. The observations about Ireland that she got "wrong" read less like assertions and more like little reflections of the disconnect that runs through the piece. (The only thing that gave me real pause was the thing about the dole, but again, I think it's the same - she thought this situation worked one way, and then the ground shifted.) That's how I read it, anyway.
@werewolfbarmitzvah More Paul Feig should be like the More Cowbell of the TV industry. Except it is TRUER. You are right. And I think I am with you re: Undeclared also; it's been a while since I watched that show and I couldn't remember if my impressions of it were actually 100% correct.
@Heat Signature Yes! Definitely. I kinda just wanted to point out that if people feel like the difference b/w Girls and e.g. Bored to Death is that if Bored to Death doesn't make any particular claims to "voice-of-generation-ness" or even accurate-representation-of-being-of-a-certain-age-ness, which is kinda what JA's built a large portion of his TV production career on, then you can still point to these other shows as examples of where that logic breaks down.
@werewolfbarmitzvah Totally fair point! How about Undeclared?
@laurel OH GOSH LONG POST ALERT I CAN FEEL IT COMING ON SORRY IN ADVANCE:
Something I keep thinking about is the lack of diversity in, oh, I don't know, every other Judd Apatow production EVER? and then wondering how the reaction to that issue w/r/t those previous programs vs. this one kind of maybe speaks to what's driving this neverending Girls-discussion? Like yes absolutely Girls is not diverse and there's much about that that is or seems wrong, but I also don't remember nearly as much (or any) outcry over the fact that e.g. every central character on Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared was white white white. Like, obviously that's not in any way good or something we should be cool with but I think the fact that I have never heard so much as a PEEP from all the people I know who have got so much to say about Girls re: the lack of diversity on those other Apatow shows seems to indicate that at least part of everyone's problem with Dunham's writing has a lot to do with their ideas about Dunham as a person, and I don't think that's really all that helpful when it comes to pulling all this stuff apart and looking at it in a way that's clear or productive. Like I've seen so many criticisms of the show which conflate her as a person with Girls' protagonist, which while she's said the show is based off some of her experiences is still not the same as saying SHE IS THE SHOW.
This is just a theory but I think the issue of race here is getting tangled up with the fact that a lot of people see Girls as a thinly-veiled autobiographical show written by this immensely privileged and self-absorbed person; add to that the fact that they think this show is trying to represent THEIR lives as well as hers, and people get upset that this shitty person is trying to speak for them. Which, we have NO IDEA what Dunham's actually like beyond the few interviews we've seen with her already, and since when did we become so naive as to think a one-page NPR interview constituted a full and accurate representation of a person's attitude/views/whole life?
This all reminds me a bit of how people's criticisms of Zooey Deschanel are always couched in that Manic Pixie Dream Girl thing, but also tend to come off like people think she IS the characters she's playing - which doesn't really end up doing much for our understanding of that trope nor of what might actually have caused her to pick the roles that she picks as an actor, both of which are the actual issues worth discussing, NOT whether or not SHE AS A PERSON is actually as annoying as the characters she portrays. The criticisms leveled against Dunham aren't based solely on the idea that she's written a show about white privilege - they're also quite often based on the assumption that SHE HERSELF is a shitty white person with no concept of her own privelege, and that this show is a direct extension of her life and mind. Which if nothing else gives me a bit of pause as a card-carrying Oversensitive Feminist - the fact that this criticism is getting thrown at her so hard but that you never really see anyone going, like, HEY FUCK YOU FOR NOT HAVING ANY NON-WHITE FRIENDS, PAUL FEIG, I BET YOU'RE A TOTAL ASSHOLE kind of highlights for me the questionable feelings that seem to be running under much of the criticism/ongoing discussion about the show. I bet you if I had said that thing about Paul Feig a lot of people would have told me Freaks and Geeks only had a half hour a week to tackle a very particular sheltered corner of this very particular time and place and that it was a comedy anyway, and that it takes a lot of people to create and produce and make casting decisions about a show and that it isn't fair to frame it like it's all his fault, blah blah blah. While I absolutely think that Dunham as well as HBO should be held accountable for trying to put forth the dumb idea that it's realistic to have a show about girls in their 20s living in present-day Brooklyn and have all those girls only be white, I think it's also important that we try to be honest about why we're so upset about this, and whether or not it also has to do with e.g. our own concerns about being misrepresented in pop culture or maybe even our tendency to pick on super-successful women whose art attempts to do some of that representing (cf. everyone hating on Miranda July for her aesthetic as opposed to the quality of her work).
SORRY FOR WRITING A NOVEL TL;DR I WATCH A LOT OF TV AND FEEL TOO MUCH
Oh this is so good. Thank you, Jane.
Also I am pretty tough and it is pretty hard to make me cry and that particular "LET ME CLEAR MY THROAT" definitely didn't do it at all. I've just got something in my eye. And also my throat. And, uh, my heart. :(
@Decca YES! I've only lived in Ireland for like 9 months but this was one of the first slang terms I learned and made me so, so happy and also confused about my decision to move here. "Getting the shift off someone" is my favourite verb-iteration - makes the whole thing sound like flag football.
@Hooplehead Just in the interest of balance - I've been in MTL for like 3 years and my French is food-service subpar (thanks for nothing, Ontarian immersion system! You spent all that time teaching me how to conjugate when you could have been teaching me to swear!), and I have experienced next to no dickishness re: my shitty, shitty near-lack of French. Even when I've begun conversations in English, admitted my ignorance to a crowd of Francophone acquaintances, etc. I think sometimes the weirdness also has to do with a different kind of cultural tension - I grew up in downtown Toronto, doing shit like apologizing when someone else stepped on my foot on the streetcar. One of the biggest adjustments for me on moving to QC was getting used to the fact that people would be snippy with you and not expect you to take it personally. Sometimes I've looked back on situations when I'd thought, at the time, I was being sniped at b/c of being anglo, and in retrospect it'd seem pretty clear I was just being sniped at because I was a fellow human being in the world. Yknow?
@sunnyciegos OH MAN I have been wearing contacts since I was 2 weeks okd and therefore have all manner of disgusting/horrible contact lens/eye stories. Decades' worth! Like the time I got surgery where they put stitches in my actual eyeball and then when I woke up I had to actually lie there, conscious, and stare up to watch the surgeons tugging on the THREAD THAT WAS HANGING OUT OF MY EYEBALL before they tied the stitches off. For some reason nobody ever asks me about this stuff! Like, at parties or anything. It is weird, I don't get it.
@Trilby Giiiiiiiiiirl, not to rain on your parade-raining, but I think you are a little bit missing the point? If not of the entire Marilyn Monroe phenomenon then at least of this post? Also that story/"reading" are a little the most raising my feminist hackles I AM JUST SAYING. Like, this year starts with a 2, I think we are all cool to acknowledge by now that ladies can be (and frequently are) capable both of publicly displaying or even using their sexuality and also being functionally literate human beings?
Anyway. I'm sure you didn't mean anything on-purpose offensive by it, there was just something there that didn't sit well with me & I hope you don't mind my pointing it out.
Now we can all get back to talking about how All About Eve is the best movie ever in the history of movies. Yes? Yes.
[EDIT: further apologies for use of 'hackle-raising', possibly one of the grossest-sounding expressions ever]