GIRLS: An Intergenerational Dialog (Episode 4: ‘Hannah’s Diary’)

In which the voices of their generations (or two voices…of two generations) discuss The World’s Most Important Show, seeking common

Just chatting about 'Girls' (HBO)

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.

Back to Races; Meditations on Creepy Father Figures

Generation Y:  I’m so glad we didn’t jump the gun with accusing the show of racism before Lena Dunham got herself some Mexican eyebrows.
Generation X: We also had a black nanny. And maybe a Tibetan nanny.
Generation Y: And a gay redhead nanny…
Generation X: And Jessa very eagerly taking up their cause.
Generation Y: We’re learning a lot more about Jessa, I think. Because how creepy is that dad that she’s always digging? And why do really beautiful, confident women always end up with daddy issues?
Generation X: Jessa’s confidence has always seemed a little thin.
Generation Y: Though it does round out her character. She’s now more than just “snobby Brit.”
Generation X: And if I may speak for the creepy dads out there. We’re people too.
Generation Y: Aaron, I see you as more of the best friend of the creepy dad. So: what is with your “ass like Rihanna” comment? Do old people know about Rihanna’s ass? Is it great?  I feel like Shakira would be a better, more outdated reference.
Generation X: I think Rihanna is a beautiful woman. but yes, I’m a devotee of Shaki. I interviewed her once and remain wholeheartedly in love. Partly because she was wearing a Psychedelic Furs t-shirt and, well, they were this band that like, in the 80s… Drew, I imagine you’ve done some babysitting. How creepy are these dads?

Generation Y: I’ve actually never babysat. I’m pretty sure no one will let me hold a child, let alone watch one.
Generation X: Now you never will.
Generation Y: I’ve had a lot more of Hannah’s boss than I’ve had Jessa’s.
Generation X: Yes, another creepy older man. This seems to be a recurring motif. I have to say I’m beginning to feel as if my demographic is really being insulted by this series.  I’m your boss… I don’t believe I’ve ever been that handsy. Have I?
Generation Y: nope
Generation X: I mean nominally your boss…Your editor.
Generation Y: I do think there’s definitely a thing, a “trend” you can say, of bosses being able to turn the sexual harassment thing around. By addressing it and making sure you’re down.
Generation X: Really?
Generation Y: Like I’ve had bosses say “You’re okay with this, right?” implying that of course I had to be, and that to say “no” would involve a lot more weirdness.
Generation X: I’m taking notes… HAHA. Just kidding!
Generation Y:  …
Generation Y: Anyway,  I worked once with this guy, a former MTV exec, and he’d listen to Howard Stern ALL DAY and just make comments about my weight.
Generation X: Right. Well as I noted before I was trained back in the 90s to be terrified of harassing people. It’s really held me back in my career I suspect. And personal life. What comments did your boss make about your weight?
Generation Y: I had a cold once and I had the sniffles. My boss looked at me and said, “I thought cocaine was supposed to make you thinner.”
Generation X: Wow. I’m sure you have a claim.
Generation Y: As a temp (which was what I was) you don’t really have a claim, because you don’t really work there. I think the two coworkers of Hannah’s had the same attitude I did. Which was like “Whatever, he lets me come in late.” It’s the #1 most important quality in a job for me…
Generation X : Right. Which got me thinking maybe I’m playing it too safe?
Generation Y: Yes Aaron, I think if there’s anything holding you back from being a Raiki-loving dental hygienist, or whatever, it’s that you don’t grab your employees’ asses enough. Also why was that office circa The Tracey Ullman Show?
Generation X: Well I believe reiki is actually done without touching. For all you know I’m doing it to you right now. I might be reiki-harassing all the girls in the office.  The boys too.
Generation Y: I’ve actually had experience with reiki, my ex-boyfriend’s mom did it to my face. You have to be kind of close to the person, but not touching. It’s not a Jedi mind trick (it’s kind of a Jedi mind trick).
Generation X: Well fortunately the rules at the Observer are clear. Nobody here would ever date anyone else who worked here, under any circumstances, so…
Generation Y: I just Google image searched “reiki face” and everyone is getting touched in it.
Generation X : Hmmmm….Perhaps I’m doing it all wrong.
Generation Y: Haha. Once again, your problems stem from a LACK of touching.

Sextism and Body Image

Generation X: So about this dick pic. Need a quick lesson here. Is that the same as sexting?
Generation Y: Yes. Kind of. Sexting is like, God….everyone has their ideas on it. It can get a little vague and all-encompassing. But dick pics are like, the definition of sexting. That is what you should be worried your kids are doing in school with their post-9/11 cell phones.
Generation X: So this is a common thing? Have you ever actually received one of these photographs?
Generation Y: Not of dicks. Dicks are gross-looking.
Generation X: I…um…
Generation Y: I mean to get as a photo. Who is looking for that?
Generation X: That’s what I would think… But it seems to be a common thing among people of your age.
Generation Y: Maybe on Grindr.  Boob photos are always thumbs up.
Generation X: No doubt.
Generation Y: Though for some reason I’ve always used email to send those kind of pictures on my phone. Higher resolution, i think.
Generation X: But less immediate.
Generation Y: Life is full of trade offs. I did kind of love how that’s Hannah’s response to finding out Adam sexted the wrong person. Like, you know she’s going to text him back. But then: BLAM! Boobs!
Generation X: Yeah, was that the first time she really went full on?
Generation Y: In this program, yes. Though I feel like Lena Dunham, as an actress, has taken off her shirt so many times that it’s making me uncomfortable. Like I don’t see my friends or sister naked as much as I see Lena Dunham.
Generation X: I would not be surprised if overweight people start getting a bit more action because of Lena Dunham’s amazing courage.
Generation Y: Woof. Want to unpack that one? First: it’s not “courageous” to show boobs on HBO, just because you aren’t a size 4. They’re still boobs. She’s not obese or disfigured.
Generation X: Well at first I was like, “How brave of her to show her average body.” But by the fifth time she got naked I was like, “Man….she’s hot!”
Generation Y: Right?
Generation X: She is desensitizing our whole culture to fatness.
Generation Y: I don’t think she’s fat! But maybe I’m just a lot more body-conscious than you.
Generation X: I can’t really afford to be body conscious. I’m old.
Generation Y: Well on another level, I totally agree with you. Because I remember years ago, I told Lena that she was going to be the female Seth Rogen and get guys to be into the chubby girl thing….and then i felt bad about it, even though it ended up being exactly true.
Generation X:  Did she seem offended?
Generation Y:  No…but then again, I probably went into her journal that night.

Boning with Siblings

Generation Y: I was surprised she went so analog with the journal thing. I think that realistically, Hannah would just have a Twitter feed called @Charlie’sMangina or like, a LiveJournal.
Generation X: Right. Well that journal is where she works on being the voice of her generation.
Generation Y: So a Tumblr, then. Or a Thought Catalog entry.
Generation X:  What I don’t believe is that exchange between Charlie and Ray.
Generation Y: What didn’t you believe about it?
Generation X: Well this sex talk. I don’t really see guys doing that. Ray saying he’d like to tie Hannah to a post or whatever?
Generation Y: I mean, first of all, doesn’t charlie NOT live with them? So what the hell was he doing, letting his friend snoop around? His reaction was also totally whack and not in-character. Like, everything we know about Charlie says that a) he’d respect boundaries and b) he’d never do something confrontational in public.
Generation X: It felt very contrived. Most interesting element of that for me was Ray saying “For once I want to have sex with someone who looks like me.”
Generation Y: That’s a thing.
Generation X: I couldn’t help thinking it made for a sort of veiled retort to Jenna Wortham and the race issue.
Generation Y: Nah, this was written way before that.  But I think wanting to have sex with an attractive version of yourself is reasonable. I was oddly proud of this guy in college that I dated, because everyone confused us for siblings.
Generation X: But it is an interesting counterpoint. He cites his family members as potential hookups. I guess I would prefer to date someone hotter than myself.
Generation Y:  Right, well, there’s a difference between looking like someone and being related…
Generation Y: I guess.

‘Jewish Camp’

Generation X: On to Shoshanna’s hookup. Did you go to a Jewish camp?
Generation Y: I went to a Catholic camp, but my boyfriend cracked up at every single line in that bit about the girl who gets stuck between two kayaks, so I assume he did. But for some reason, Delaware didn’t have a Jewish camp, so we went to the Catholic camp instead.
Generation X: A catholic camp? What the hell?
Generation Y: Yeah. They had mini-communions, and we made Eyes of God with string and Popsicle sticks.
Generation X: You could always have gone to Maryland…
Generation Y: Well you take a time machine and tell that to my parents 20 years ago.
Generation X: I don’t know what to say about Shoshanna’s encounter. I feel creepy even talking about it.
Generation Y:  It was AMAZING. I love how the dude is like “You can touch it.” You think he’s talking about his leg in the brace, and then it pulls back to reveal his massive boner. And Shoshanna says “Not without kissing.”
Generation X: She’s right. Good for her.
Generation Y: Do you feel creepy because they sexualized the virgin? Or because Zosia Mamet might actually be a good enough actress that we buy the whole virgin act?
Generation X: Yeah. She’s young and she seems even younger. Even thinking about her sex life feels wrong. I buy every minute of her performance.
Generation Y: I cannot reconcile Shoshana with (Mamet’s) character on Mad Men, where she’s the fast-talking, hard-drinking lesbian.
Generation X: Indeed. She’s a really amazing actress.
Generation Y: I think that Shoshanna might just be a one-note character because she’s not developed then, and not because of Ms. Mamet’s performance. I kind of hate her dialogue, but that’s not her fault. The way she kept saying “I’m not a bleeder, I totally won’t get attached,” when the guy wouldn’t have sex with her.
Generation X: “I’m like the most unvirginy virgin ever.” I think she has some layers. But the character’s also fairly consistent. Whereas some of the others don’t seem to quite know what they’re becoming.
Generation Y: Hey, kind of like 24-year-olds all over!

The Voice of Occupy Wall Street’s Generation?

Generation X: I did think the scene, like a lot of this episode, was undeveloped and a little cheap.
Generation Y: I mean, that’s what the show has going for it: no one can be “a Samantha” or “a Carrie” because these characters keep trying on different roles, as confused new grown-ups tend to do.
Generation X: For me the show is already in a slump. Feels by-the-numbers.
Generation Y: How so?
Generation X: Another example: Jessa’s losing of those kids played very flat to me. I have lost my children so I can tell you it’s a bit more dramatic than that.
Generation Y: Well, she found them right away. Or that other nanny did…wait, you’ve lost your kids before?
Generation X: Why lose them if you’re going to find them in 30 seconds? I mean, from a writing standpoint.
Generation Y: To show that side of Jessa: that she’s all this bluster about union-forming when she’s too flaky to actually do her job. She IS the Occupy Wall Street generation, Aaron.
Generation X: Yeah, I get it. Maybe that’s the problem.  The mechanism of the show is starting to creak a bit.
Generation Y: Maybe you just hate my generation?
Generation X: I think you guys are awesome. You’re just not as awesome as you think. Or maybe you are. I don’t give a shit. Fuck you all.
Generation Y: Look: obviously we do not care about you guys, why should you care about us?
Generation X: Um, because you are trying to kill us?
Generation Y: Lena doesn’t write older characters very well, as we’ve already established, and this show is very navel-gazing. So i would get it completely if it doesn’t ring true for you oldies, because watching a generation of self-absorbed 20-somethings must be as realistic as like… me trying to relate to Friends, pre-Fat Chandler.

GIRLS: An Intergenerational Dialog (Episode 4: ‘Hannah’s Diary’)