I like Girls a lot. The show on HBO. Well, also the gender. But this is about the show.
I could love it. I should love it. Lena Dunham is absolutely hilarious, both as a writer and an actress. Zosia Mamet is excellent, Jemima Kirke is great, and Allison Williams is very pretty. The two main male characters are me split in half and hyperbolized, so much so that I’m afraid that Lena Dunham is close friends with a girl I used to date, unbeknownst to me.
So what’s not to like?
The problem is that when I’m watching Girls I don’t see Hannah or Shoshanna or…I don’t even know the rest of the characters names. I see Lena Dunham, Brian Williams’ daughter, David Mamet’s daughter, and that drummer’s daughter. I’m very aware that I’m just watching a quartet of girls with famous parents act out a critically-revered show on HBO.
In the months and weeks leading up to the show, it was EVERYWHERE. I know Lena Dunham better than I know most of my co-workers. She went to Oberlin. I couldn’t tell you where 80% of the people I see every day at work went to college. I’ve seen every Youtube video that Allison Williams has ever made. (She has an excellent voice, by the way.) I know the real names of the other two.
I’ve been watching How I Met Your Mother for seven years and I don’t know Ted Mosby’s real name. He’s Ted. The Office has Jim and Pam Halpert, Andy Bernard, and Stanley. I love you Stanley.
Wouldn’t you enjoy Mad Men way less if you saw highlights of Jon Hamm’s past roles and interviews with him and read all about his life before the first episode ever even aired? He wouldn’t be Don Draper, he’d be an actor playing a guy on a TV show.
I’m sure that the internet craze over Girls has done wonders for the size of the audience. But it destroyed the fourth wall, and not in a fun Modern Family way. More of a “Oh, I see what Lena is trying to do with Brian Williams’ daughter in this scene” way.
I’ll still watch the show. I’ll still like it. But it’s hard to become invested in characters when you’re so conscious of the people behind them. Sadly, that makes it way less fun.