Girls Just Wants to Have (White) Fun
Clearly on an emotional high from her Golden Globe wins, Lena Dunham, Creator/Writer/Director/Star of the HBO series Girls, recently gave an interview in which she dismissed criticism of her show as coming mostly from 58-year-old men who didn’t understand — and I’m paraphrasing and reading between the lines — the show’s new-generation originality and youthful exuberance.
That’s odd considering that Vulture reported that the show’s single largest audience, 22 percent, is “white dudes over 50.” In fact, 56 percent of the show’s audience is male. Some say it’s because of the frequent nudity and graphic s*x. That doesn’t hurt. But the main reason to watch Girls is because the show obviously is struggling to be a voice of its generation, just as The Catcher in the Rye, Go Tell It on the Mountain, The Naked and the Dead, On the Road, Beloved, Generation X, The Joy Luck Club, Slaves of New York, Less Than Zero, and Bright Lights, Big City were voices of their generations.
Girls wants to tell us something important about twentysomething females of the 21st Century. And, as the elders of our society, we should always be listening to those new voices crying out.
But what are they telling us?
1. Their world is mostly white.
Last season the show was criticized for being too white. Watching a full season could leave a viewer snow blind. This season that white ghetto was breached by a black character who is introduced as some jungle fever lover, with just enough screen time to have s*x and mutter a couple of lines about wanting more of a relationship. A black d***o would have sufficed and cost less.
I don’t believe that people of color, s****l preference, or gender need to be shaken indiscriminately into every series like some sort of exotic seasoning. If the story calls for a black character, great. A story about a black neighborhood doesn’t necessarily need white characters just to balance the racial profile. But this really seemed like an effort was made to add some color — and it came across as forced.
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