GIRLS: An Intergenerational Dialog (Episode 2, “We’re the Ladies”)

Race, abortion parties, Feminism, Gatorade, and the Rashomon of orgasm debates


Gen X: I think it’s very uncharitable of Adam to offer Gatorade in place of an orgasm. Especially orange Gatorade. Is chivalry dead?
Gen Y: If it’s orange, yes. I already polled my friends. Orange is like the grossest of the Gatorades (apparently). I would think it would be blue.
Gen X: So on that level, I think the show is somewhat flattering to men. We watch it and go, “Oh, I’m not that bad!” All I have to do is stock blue Gatorade and I’m good to go.
Gen Y: Just don’t be too nice. Or too not nice. Unless that’s what we want, which you will just have to guess, since we won’t tell you because that would ruin it.

The Anti-Climax

Gen X: So do girls of your generation expect or want to have an orgasm as part of sex?
Gen Y: What? Are you joking?
Gen X: God no. I never joke about such things, I came of age in the 90s, let’s not forget.
Gen Y: I’m taking away your Feminist card. In the 90s girls also wanted to orgasm during sex, I’m pretty sure.
Gen X: That has always been my assumption, but so far in Girls that appears not to be a goal. Or perhaps a distant one.
Gen Y: Well, maybe they are scared. Sometimes if you try to have orgasms, you miscarry, according to Girls. So be careful (or not?) ladies!
Gen X: Oh wow. Your generation is so blase about everything!
Gen Y: I mean, that is what happens. I am just giving you a plot summary.
Gen X: Um. I don’t think Jessa had an orgasm in that bar. I mean, I wasn’t there…
Gen Y: Female orgasms are elusive things to behold.
Gen X: Seemed a little premature to me.
Gen Y: Well, she appeared to at least be very into sex, which is the first time we’ve seen a female character enjoying herself on the show. And Jessa strikes me as the multiple-orgasm type.
 Gen X: I suppose objective truth is hard to come by. It’s is the Rashomon of orgasm debates.

How to Apply for a Job

Gen X: So let’s just admit it—all these girls are terrible. Only redeeming thing is that the guys are worse.
Gen Y: Welcome to our generation! We make rape jokes at job interviews! (No we don’t.)
Gen X: Ok, yeah, silly scene. I don’t buy that Hannah would make that joke. Whole thing feels like a set-up.
Gen Y: It did seem like that guy was hitting on her though?
Gen X: Sure. But to me it’s another case of Lena Dunham engineering a scenario to make Hannah look bad, but charmingly so, and the authority figure look worse.
Gen Y: Apparently our generation’s voice is coming from a dark, deep well of self-loathing, outwardly projected in a passive-aggressive manner.
Gen X: Yes, but somehow remaining adorable…


Gen X: I detect a sub-theme here that is interesting, which is that in a way there are no taboos for your generation. You have all his information and are so “grown up” that you can have abortion snacks and wish you had AIDS and joke about date rape, but ultimately you know nothing.
Gen Y: What we don’t know is how to relate to authority figures. Hannah is an over-sharer, which is something that apparently now applies to people outside of the Internet. It’s like this idea that you can create an insta-bond with someone older than you if you act like you know everything and aren’t afraid to be edgy. But in a backwards way, that’s anti-rebellious: Hannah is always either not thinking about the people she’s talking to (or their reactions), or she’s trying to impress them. And then she’s baffled when her behavior is seen as inappropriate. Another problem with professor parents, I guess.

Having Your Abortion Party Cake and Eating It Too

Gen X: What do we think about this non-abortion abortion? Is it brave, game-changing TV or a cheap cop out?
Gen Y: I cant believe Jessa missed her own abortion party. Wait, no, I can’t believe they used that AWESOME line in the show. It’s not a cop out, because unlike in say, Knocked Up, abortion is presented as the attractive alternative—or the realistic alternative—to actually keeping a baby.
Gen X: Yes, but for the writers, they came up with an easier solution, a miscarriage.
Gen Y:  …That’s the easier solution?
Gen X: So again, the show has it both ways. It gets to be edgy by joking about abortion (and it was funny, sure) without having a character actually go through with it. If you want to be edgy enough to have a character bring snacks to an abortion, you can be edgy enough to let another character go through with it and represent what plenty of women go through every day. Instead, the scene gave the impression that nobody takes abortion seriously, but then wussed out on the follow-through, which would have shown quite the opposite.
Gen Y: I think we see Jessa having reservations about it. After all, she doesn’t even bother showing up. And how does a miscarriage hold less weight than an abortion, especially when it’s portrayed as a positive thing?
Gen X: Well it’s God’s will, for one thing, as the religious right would attest. That life wasn’t meant to be. Jessa didn’t take on any responsibility for ending the pregnancy.
Gen Y: Wait, back up. Are we SURE it was a miscarriage? Because I got the sense that she over-reacted and her period was late.
Gen X:  Hmm! That’s an interesting interpretation. Although we did see her taking a pregnancy test last week, and would a clinic schedule an abortion without an examination?
Gen Y: Well, this is a very laid-back clinic, where you can schedule STD tests and abortions for your friends, who are apparently too lazy to do it themselves. I’m pretty sure there is nowhere on Earth that let’s you have an abortion before they check to see if you are actually pregnant.
Gen X: This episode made me think maybe Girls has has less in common with Sex and the City than with South Park.
Gen Y: Is Kenny Jessa’s baby?
Gen X:
Gen Y: Sorry, my generation is the worst.

GIRLS: An Intergenerational Dialog (Episode 2, “We’re the Ladies”)