When I was in high school, all my girlfriends and I would have DVD marathons of Sex and the City. We thought it was the most “relatable” show on TV as we struggled with boyfriends and the garden variety of school issues. We’d see ourselves in the various characters. I was unofficially dubbed Carrie because we were both writers. But I preferred being Miranda for her sharp tongue and wit.
By the end of the Sex and the City, I really hated Carried. I thought she made some horrible life decisions. It really angered me that this was supposed to be the mirror that reflected our own lives. When in truth it did quite the opposite.
We were teenagers in the Bay Area. Some of us had jobs. Some of us were artists. We didn’t buy expensive shoes. Our social gatherings never rotated around brunch.
The closest thing we had to that was Lovejoy’s teahouse on Church street in San Francisco.
By the time GIRLS came around in 2012, I was intrigued. I was drawn in under the assumption that this was a “realistic” version of what I had missed in Sex and the City. My hopes were that GIRLS was delivering a version of life turned to art that I had only seen in shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Unfortunately, I never saw myself in any of the characters of GIRLS. I never talked like them. I wasn’t going to write a book in New York while I parents gave me cash to live the dream of being a writer.
It was really hard for me, as a Bay Area, mixed race woman to watch GIRLS and feel represented.
I wasn’t white enough to see myself in the world, but I wasn’t too OTHER enough to say it didn’t hit some points along the way.
I remember I was living with roommates when I first started watching GIRLS. I lived with mostly Caucasian women, so as a half White, half-Asian women I figured it was high time I embraced my dominate inner white girl.
But like I said, I didn’t see me in any of it. And I fooled myself for a while thinking I did.
The most real moment for me was earlier on when Hannah and Marnie have an epic fight. My then close friend and I were drifting apart and that particular moment captured all the anxiety and anger.
After seeing the episode, I really wanted to scream at her: “YOU ARE THE WOUND!”
One of the few things GIRLS gets right (and wrong) is the fragile state of female friendships. Throughout the entire lifespan of the series the characters drift further and further apart. It isn’t til the second to last episode of the season, at Shoshana’s engagement party that Shoshana basically throws down the hammer when she declares the girls incapable of being friends.
While GIRLS gets a big ole’ D- for diversity, the relationships between the characters hold a lot of truths. This is specifically relevant in the finale season. Jessa and Hannah are basically over. Sure, you’ll have moments or regret. You’re able to look back on your history fondly. But at the end of the day, you know you’re too different. You know they’re too different. It’s been fun kid, but I gotta go.
Not everyone is supposed to be besties for life. Sometimes, things end.
Unfortunately for GIRLS universal issues like this get bogged down by the show’s own tone deafness that often comes off as a film students attempt to “express their vision”.
The end of GIRLS feels like an overreach into an artistic vision and becomes a sort of non-poetic irony that critics will be able to scoff at for years.
Despite the attempt to be the show for millennials, it devolved into something much more self-serving than a bigger, inclusive party where everyone’s invited.