7 Reasons We Should All Lighten Up About “Girls”

It's time for a literature review. But that's OK, because it's one about television. Lots of digital ink and even more opinionated thought has been spilled in the shaming of HBO's new series Girls. And a bit less (but still some) has been used for touting the show's redemptive qualities. What started as a social media phenomenon hasn't yet ended, and there are thinkpieces as well as clickbait across the spectrum to consider. But now it's time for a breakdown. Calm down, people. Sit a spell. And consider these seven reasons we should all lighten up about Girls.

  1. It's Only Two Episodes Old

    Two episodes, people. At the time of publishing, we've only really seen two episodes of the show. While there's plenty about the setting, casting choices, and stated goals of the show that's criticism-worthy, we've seen less than 150 minutes of the thing total. Let the episodes play themselves out, and then let's hear some criticism. The corpus of the show as it currently stands is much too thin to make the kind of broad, sweeping generalizations that the Internet is known for propagating.

  2. It's Not The First of Its Kind

    Like Sex and the City before it, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show before that, Girls is not a unique television phenomenon. It's not groundbreaking; it's just HBO. There are, however, some marked differences in Girls and other television girls that have clearly informed Dunham's work — namely that the Girls aren't career-focused. They're a more emo, navel-gazing, hipster bunch, and so far we've only seen the main characters act fairly entitled. Girls is a reboot of a popular narrative trope (life through the lens of female friendship), and we've yet to see how this will play out. What we figure, though, is laughs, tears, and character arc resolution in the end.

  3. Lena Dunham Is (Probably) Not A Racist

    Fine. We'll be the ones to say it. The criticism that Girls is yet another white-washed show about the Big Apple (think Friends, Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, and every Woody Allen film, ever) has been a two-week-long campfire around which many an online destination has gathered. An insensitive Twitter gaffe by one of the shows writers served to make things even worse. Thoughtful pieces from everywhere on the web both demonize and praise Dunham for sticking with a micronarrative about an insular community of females that (accidentally, says the show's creator) happen to be homogenous looking.

    Breaking down stereotypes and critical responses to our image-based culture are a wildly important and wonderful part of the thinking world, but the casting of Girls is not the end of the world. If anyone's surprised that typecasting and racial caricatures followed us into the new millennium, their eyes simply aren't open to the world. It's a good critical conversation to have, but it's part of an ongoing discussion about macroculture.

  4. Everyone Doesn't Have HBO

    If you're hemming and hawing about Girls, then you're at least rich enough to have access to HBO. Regardless of the fact that you'll probably sound sexist or racist (read: stupid) if you take up the cause (without bothering to read years of critical race or gender theory) and become an early (read: preemptive!) Girls hater, you're definitely a filthy classist for even spending your money on premium cable. How do you even live with yourself?! By watching the best TV out there? How do you think you're making all of us proles feel, you patronizing bourgeois HBO watcher?! All we have is 200 other cable channels, with some dedicated solely to shopping, golf, and fly fishing. Be careful with all those -isms, people! Best form you could take is leaving the analysis (and jokes) to the learned experts, or simply opt out of watching the show.

  5. 15 Million Children Will Starve To Death This Year

    It sounds like a canned response, but it's absolutely not. If the Internet spent a fraction of its time criticizing social travesties and demanding a populist response, there'd be a lot more love, happiness, and proper food distribution efforts in this world. We're not saying Girls doesn't beg important conversation, we're just saying this: there are other things.

  6. It's Clogging Up Your Twitter Feed

    Be a part of the conversation, not a part of the noise. That's always a good reason to chill out. Millions of tweets peppered the show's premiere, and HBO's Girls was an instant social media phenomenon. But we're just plain tired of hearing about it. There's legitimate criticism, and then there's a bandwagon. Very few have the self-control to lovingly straddle the two, and therein lies a reason to lighten up.

  7. It's All Just Way Too Meta Much

    Hipsters, non-hipsters, and hipsters parading as normal people are blowing up the Internet with whines about a show by a hipster, about hipsters, for not being something enough. Tweets about tweets from a writer who tweeted, then deleted, abound with great fervor. Backlash, counterbacklash, and the backlash to that have left a show written by a high-achieving, thoughtful young woman as a lamb to the Internet slaughter. And seriously, it's all just too, too much. Go outside. Smell a flower. Call your mother. Take a shower. Solve a Rubik's cube. Get a clue — or (gasp!) a date. Watch the show. Don't watch the show. Don't be caught dead watching the show. If you're paid or impassioned to talk about it, talk about it. Or don't. It's really not that big of a deal.

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