GIRLS: An Intergenerational Dialog (Episode 3, “All Adventurous Women Do”)

Of babysitting and baggage...

In which the voices of their generations (or two voices…of two generations) discuss The World’s Most Important Show, seeking common ground on the series’ hot-button issues. Like that stuff that comes up around the sides, etc.


Generation X: I noticed an interesting leitmotif in this episode—people not dressing the way they’re supposed to. It starts with Charlie’s haircut, then we have Hannah’s goth look, Jessa’s see-through dress, and Elijah, the gay ex-boyfriend, with his scarf. And there’s even a discussion of him shaving his beard in college, which made Hannah cry.
Generation Y: Yes. Sometimes people in our generation dress differently, because they are still trying to find their identity, or because someone in their office has cancer, or, I think in Jessa’s case, because she is a giant weirdo.
Generation X: But what’s funny to me is they actually don’t really dress that differently at all. You look around the city and everyone is in uniform. There used to be these things called punks, for instance, with mohawks…
Generation Y: Um, hipsters are DEFINED by an image, Aaron.
Generation X: True. Anyway, I find it interesting in the show that so many conversations are aout people enforcing a narrow set of costumes for each other.
Generation Y: They are defined by their deep insecurities of how people will perceive them
thus: a scarf, to represent one’s wordliness, a goth outfit, to represent that you are in a weird, slutty mood. When Hannah gets all gothed up, I read that as her “you can’t tell me I’m a little girl” retaliation. Like, she was putting on an identity that Adam wouldn’t be able to infantalize.
Recently, a friend came to this really fratty party I invited her to, dressed totally in goth and when I asked her what was up, she said “It’s called looking GOOD on a Saturday night!” But the thing is, she never dresses like that. I think it was a reaction to going to a preppy event.
Generation X: I bet she did look good.
Generation Y: No, she really didn’t. Think black lipstick. (Also it was my sister.) Charlie could have handled this better than having his girlfriend close her eyes and surprising her with an “American History X” haircut.
Generation X: I supposed I particularly enjoyed that scene because when I was in my 20s, my girlfriend once cut her hair off, and I was horrified. It was a big deal. She looked like a “lady.”
Generation Y: I had Charlie’s haircut all through college.
Generation X: Really!?
Generation Y: Yup. Shaved head. I looked dope.
Generation X: Can this internet thing display images?

Generation X: Cute.
Generation Y: See that giant bruise? I was a baller. I could pull of a shaved head because i have good bone structure! In terms of changing my look every five minutes to fit my identity, yes, i definitely did that.
Generation X: Did you find it upset guys?
Generation Y: This guy dumped me the first time I shaved my head, and subsequently through college we would hook up, but everytime I would cut my hair he would refuse to. Eventually I learned my lesson, I guess?
Generation X: Maybe it helped you weed out a bad suitor… You tested him and he failed.
Generation Y: True. Eventually I learned my own self-worth, and grew my hair out!
Generation X: I stuck it out with my short haired girlfriend and now we are married. And her hair is grown out.
Generation Y: Wow! Score one, Generation X! So when Charlie told Marnie why he shaved his head, she says something like “Oh, now I’m the asshole because you did it for cancer!” The levels of solipsism in this program are truly amazing.
Generation X: Right, which extends the theme we saw last week during the famous vaginal exam, in which Hannah joked about wanting AIDS—the notion of being too blithe or shallow in the face of something deadly serious. This anxiety about not being serious enough is really central to Girls and perhaps to the generation you belong to. It’s repeated when the little girl Jessa is babysitting says “I wish I was homeless.”
Generation Y: Anxiety of not being serious enough…or just not taking things seriously enough?
Generation X: Not living a real life i suppose. A sense of inauthenticity, which certainly we had as well in my day, but maybe not so acutely…
Generation Y: Well, that’s why babysitting is so great for Jessa. She gets to live in a la-la world of over precocious children, and she is an overly precocious child
i thought the “dad trying to smoke pot and hit on the babysitter” cliche was kind of tired.
Generation X: I hope so because my daughter is now babysitting.



Generation X: So Hannah did actually have some serious news this week, her HPV.
Generation Y: But again, how serious is that? Here is where I found the MOST hedging and Lena wanting it both ways, because HPV is pretty serious, but as a culture we’re still not sure HOW serious. We’re told everyone has it, and there are shots for it (which Hannah is still eligible for), and there are like, different types of strains of it, most of which them don’t do anything? Herpes would have been better. Or maybe it’s the perfect disease, because we’re still in the dark about it and people don’t know how to act about it.
Generation X: It’s a metaphor. Um, illness as a metaphor.
Generation Y: But can I make several points here? (1) Guys CAN get tested for HPV
(it’s just not that common, unless they have symptons). And (2) You can’t really get HPV if you wear condoms. I think those were my main two points.
Generation X: Okay, but (1) no they can’t. Just checked the internet! And (2 ) what about that notorious stuff that comes up around the sides?
Generation Y: I stand corrected.
Generation X: Either way there is a vaccine and we should probably all go get itl If we’re under 28 or something. The preceeding has been a public service announcement from the New York Observer.
Generation Y: See, okay, perfect example. Apparently I am just as clueless as Hannah about HPV, so maybe that shows it’s the perfect disease to use on the show. Also: it’s very ‘in’ right now, because of the Republican debates.
Generation X: So Adam is lying. We establish that. But Hannah feels bad for accusing him and wonders, “Will you still have sex with me?”
Generation Y: My first thought was he was lying, then I thought “this dude probably gets tested a lot” and doesn’t notice whether he’s being tested for HPV.
Generation X: That scene reminded me of this terrible but indelible episode of Taxi, where this very overweight woman has a date with Judd Hirsch. And he blows her off and then she says, “Can I still call you…like if I need a hug?”
Generation Y: Your ability to bring up old Nick’at’Nite shows to compare to Girls is amazing.
Generation X: Nick at Night? Listen we didn’t have cable. These annoying sitcoms like Taxi were all we had. This is the most excruciating scene on television ever. Judd Hirsch and Alan Alda are the sort of men guys of my generation were taught to be. Which is why Charlie has a vagina. Please enjoy. Start around 6:00.

Generation Y: So in this scenario, Lena is the fat girl?
Generation X: I didn’t say that. I would never say that. Because I was raised on things like Taxi.
Generation Y: I dont know who this is more offensive to, Jews or fat people. Anyway, back to the matter at hand, would you feel the need to tell an ex if you found out you had HPV?
Generation X: I thought Shoshanna had very sensible advice, but maybe too sensible? More than a year later, with a non-deadly disease, perhaps one wouldn’t bother. Is that bad?
Generation Y: I totally agree.
Generation X: Maybe just tweet it out, it and if he’s a follower, great.
Generation Y: She calls up an ex she hasn’t talked to in TWO YEARS, invites him out to dinner
for the express purpose of telling him he might have given her HPV…
Generation X: It’s played as a demonstration of her narcissism, and what a great scene. Elijah is played by Andrew Rannells from the Book of Mormon.
Generation Y: Amazing.
Generation X: To me the really extraordinary thing here is that Hannah is really upset. She tears up at the idea that he was gay all along. That’s the first time we’ve seen her show real emotion.
Generation Y: It makes sense. That was her only real relationship… Then he confirms that she was “handsome,” basically that he could tolerate sex with her because she was manly.
Generation X: It feels very honest, because she’s terrified under all her bravado she’s not attractive, and this sort of confirms her worst fears. Meanwhile, she’s talking about how she lets Adam “hit me on the side of my body.” Which…um…
Generation Y: That happens.
Generation X: It’s not playing as funny for me as it might be intended.
Generation Y: Yeah, i think it tries to strike (no pun intended) a certain tone that it misses.

GIRLS: An Intergenerational Dialog (Episode 3, “All Adventurous Women Do”)