Girls: A Voice of a Generation, and Generations to Come.

The finale of Girls ended exactly how I wanted it to, with the complex, abusive and deeply flawed relationship that was the nucleus of the show, Hannah and Marnie. A partnership almost completely based on ignoring what the other was sharing in order to tackle the much more pressing issue of ‘you’ll never guess what happened to me today’. Two people held together by sporadic moments of complete devotion. Even after 6 years of lectures, fights and long periods of continental drift Hannah and Marnie still seem to have almost no understanding of how to have healthy interactions with each other. During the episode Marnie is trying to enforce a blog-worthy, inspiration board version of what it is to be a parent/co-parent, becoming increasingly frustrated by Hannah’s unwillingness to comply. Meanwhile Hannah feels suffocated by Marnie’s standards while simultaneously shunning the positivity Marnie is trying to bring to motherhood. The expressions Hannah and Marnie’s paint on their faces affirms that they aware that this is a completely dysfunctional set-up. They endure this set-up though, because they both want to be there for each other during their time of need. Neither of them willing to give up the much sought after title of ‘good friend’.

It’s the focus on these friendships that have set Girls have set itself so far apart from any other comedy, in fact the show deserves to be given it’s own genre, my suggestion would be ‘fiction-nonfiction comedy porno’. Many compare Girls to Sex and the City based on the fact that they saw an advert for it that had four females on it, ‘Is it like Loose Women?’, but if those people had taken the time to watch the show they would’ve have instantly realised they were suffering from a severe case of vagina blindness. In Sex and the City (I’m a Stanford/Magda/brownstone hybrid in case you were wondering) the relationships are a frayed tightrope that the characters are attempting to straddle, and the friendships are the safety net, at the ready to comfort you with a cosmo and a perfectly timed penis quip. Girls however takes a much more unforgiving approach, creating a world where the relationships are once again the tightrope however in this universe the friends are stood at the other side of the canyon hacking away at the rope, brandishing a machete that has all of the ways your fucking up neatly engraved on the blade. In the final series Ray breaks off his semi-relationship with Marnie, when Marnie informs Hannah of this news she is met with the damning statement ‘I mean, you’re, like, a horrible cunt to him, so…’ True words, simply put.

Although the sexual partners do play second fiddle in the show they are still essential. Nothing made me feel safer than knowing that there are other poor souls in this world who are also having sex so bleak they may need professional assistance to reintegrate back into society. The actors have to be commended for their commitment to the bizarre sex scene’s, of course there are cups and socks and cloth and glue and probably some sort of paper mache to create a barrier for the flesh, but there is no way to reenact ass eating without having somebody’s face nesting neatly in between your bum cheeks.

When I felt like one of girls was entering an encounter that would whittle away at their self-worth I found that it evoked the same emotions that I experience watching the final scene of Silence of the Lambs, where Clarice shakily hunts down Buffalo Bill, but instead of shouting ‘don’t go in there, he has a gun!’ I’m shouting ‘don’t go in there, he’s a massive d-bag!’ However even these relationships were portrayed in a completely new way, this was the first show I had ever seen where the protagonist was at times somebody else’s poor choice. In almost all TV programmes that have come before Girls the central characters have more often than not been the victims of drive-by romances. Gunned down by men that are ‘too good to be true’ or strung along by a temptress, who despite being intelligent, beautiful and have the ability to choose any man she wants, has chosen to dedicate her life to destroying the marriages of middle-aged dentists. Contrary to this formula Girls dared to show the main characters using others to fulfil their own personal agenda. Whether that be a dark fantasy, an ideal of what their partner should be or to kindly remind an ex that they have 100%, absolutely, positively (not) moved on.

Girls does have it’s critics, which is perfectly understandable. Many complained that the characters were entitled, selfish and achieve a level of narcissism usually reserved for serial killers or politicians. That is actually a fairly spot on analysis. I believe that the world had been starved of these characters for far too long. There are an abundance of TV idols for the viewer that wants to see a character who may make mistakes, but will regularly remind the audience that deep down they have a heart of gold, there are six of them on Friends (I’m a Gunther/Janice/coffee mug hybrid in case you were wondering). This show is doesn’t portray that person though, this show is for the people in the world that are sometimes so self involved that they begin to believe that they are trapped in some sort of Truman Show type scenario. The people who will read a heartbreaking story about an individual coping with a terminal illness and almost instantly think about how they would bravely cope with that very same illness. How they would tell their partner that they would ‘find someone else’ and sometimes even imagine the secret tape they would film before they passed, letting their loved ones how they made it all worth it. Girls is the show for that person, it’s about time we had our idols.

When I first began watching Girls I thought it would be a lesson in how to avoid doing shitty things, this was not what I learnt. What I did learn is that I am going to do shitty things, both to myself and others, but I can choose to become a slightly better person when I do. It is because of Girls I discovered that over time I will learn that my personal grievances are not those of the world, that I should be caring and compassionate towards my partners and maybe most importantly I can learn to be a ‘good friend’.

Advertisements

The Whimpering 20’s: When the Best Years of Your Life Are Alright.

I’m doing everything I can today to distract myself from having casual sex. Being a young gay man with only a slightly doughy frame I have found that casual sex is a shockingly accessible pastime but I have managed to find a number of inane tasks to complete instead. I’ve rearranged furniture in my bedroom, I took a lengthy walk on a route that I know well and I’ve treated myself to 2 showers followed by a bath. Despite not having any plans that require me to be clean. Finally I have masturbated 3 times, which was partially the reason for the unusual spike in personal hygiene. I have done all these things to alleviate my boredom because once again I’ve arrogantly assumed that my social calendar would be flooded with invitations. With so many channels of communication available I’m not even allowed to pretend there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for why these invitations haven’t reached me, like a defective carrier pigeon. However I am determined not to allow this boredom to drive me to sleep with a stranger, because I believe boredom is probably the saddest excuse for sex.

This is not to say I haven’t had sex for questionable reasons, like loneliness or to finally achieve double figures, because that would be a royal stinker of a lie. However I refuse to let an unknown into my bed to commit the most intimate of acts because there was nothing better on the TV. I can’t justify that behaviour while were experiencing this golden age of programming. Luckily this time I had Don Draper to pry me out of the arms of a gentleman unfortunately named AssPissSlave27. Despite this determination I have to confess I have been cruising Grindr every 10 minutes, and if a man under the age of 43 had thought I was worthy of a hello the day might have gone in a different direction.

This unquenchable boredom is not a new experience, in fact it has littered my weekends frequently since I left university. Which like a number of other world events that have occurred in the last 15 months has left me mystified. For anyone wondering I am equating society’s harsh swing to the right with my lack of binge drinking, in my mind they carry equal weight. I had always thought that when I left home and got a job and left home there would be an easy to assemble support network ready for me when I got there. An instant posse of dreamers that would be waiting to help me unpack failings in my romantic endeavours and the monotony of being a young professional. We would all have the exact same of what constituted ‘blowing off steam’ when the much anticipated weekend finally arrived. The itinerary would be catchup with a bottle of pinot of Friday, dancing and coke on a Saturday, and an ‘ironic’ brunch on Sunday, because brunch is for middle-class fools, which obviously wouldn’t be us. However this has not been the case, I do not have a flat-pack friendship circle to ease the burden of an uncertain future. Instead I find myself awkwardly balancing on a structure made of loose wood and corrugated iron that can just about hold my weight but is at constant risk of collapsing, as most of the parts are looking for a graduate job in London.

That’s not to say that I don’t have good friends, in fact it’s quite the opposite, my friends are a fucking carnival of fun. Some of them are psyching each other out playing ‘splat the rat’ fun and some of them vomiting on the waltzers fun. They are very present and I love them endlessly. My issue is that we’re not all on the same street experiencing absolutely everything as a solid, intoxicated unit. They’re not all at my beckoning call for a hand-holding session when I’m suffering through any given twang of emotion. Instead the stories of foolishness are shared during scheduled monthly phone calls, usually lasting between 40 and 50 minutes. To avoid sounding too completely and utterly devoted to the divine purpose of me, dreaming of a world where my friends an infinite resource waiting patiently to feed me grapes of empathy, I would also like to highlight that in this fantasy the shoulders and ears lent to me would be reciprocated. There’s nothing I desire more than to be bestowed the honour of being the supplier of chocolate and blind support during a particularly brutal break up. This not the case as it turns out there’s nobody battering down my door demanding to be comforted by the grasp of my pasty, gangly arms. They remain vacant.

As I have discovered being in your twenties is not an extension of your time at university. I had previously thought it would be a period that would merge the camaraderie of living in student accommodation with the luxury of being able to being able to afford fresh herbs. At university everybody is enduring a shared life experience and therefore everybody has something in common. There isn’t one person who has attended university that doesn’t have a tale of waking up on the bedroom floor of an undisclosed location or finding a mystery poo that was found in a place that poo does not belong. Because of the uniform way that university students live it is easy to form support networks, the lifestyle forced upon you transcends personality and interests. The ray of sunshine Katy Perry fangirl will bond with the the brooding introverted new romantic if you pack them into a small enough space. However even if a tight bond is formed, when the captives are released they will instantly run in different directions.

I understand that it may just sound like I’m being a whiny brat because the world isn’t recognising the significance of my company, but thats only 85% of what’s going on here. The other problem I have is that because my friendships have dispersed over the country and overseas I have only allowed myself to be vulnerable maybe twice in the last year. These slip ups have been caused by a very specific combination of alcohol and somebody going first. Displays of icky feelings were frequent at university, when every interaction was a social one and your sobbing can be heard by the next 2 floors having to confess when things were going a bit shit was unnecessary. But not now, now if I’m feeling blue I find that the simplest remedy is a cocktail of Norah Jones and a dark room. Although I always enjoyed being left alone during these periods, it would be pleasant to be welcomed by a smile and a takeaway for two when the wallowing ends.

The reality of this new world are slowly beginning to burrow into my brain though and the positives are starting to appear. As I said before when you are at university an entire world is forced upon you and you have to assimilate. I think at this turning point it’s a positive, if I had not gone to university the only thing I would have assimilated to would have been my bedsheets. When you enter your twenties though the opposite occurs, you have to force yourself onto the world. You have to find a a job that supports the existence you desire and you have to fill your existence with the people and experiences that won’t cause you to go batshit crazy. I have managed to achieve elements of this, I can finance trips abroad when I save up and with a headlamp attached I have managed to find obscurest of niches hiding in the city. If university is an easily assembled piece of furniture then the only problem is that it is mostly assembled by other people, the friends that you have been assigned to you, the university that has allowed you to join them, and the government that determines what you can afford to do. Now I have my own furniture and although it’s barely fit for purpose at least I’ve built it, and I am beginning to have faith in my craftsmanship.