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Home » Culture and Criticism

Girls 101: One Final Push

Submitted by on April 16, 2012 – 12:39 PM19 Comments

L.A. Times Show Tracker

From my Girls recap at Press Play:

[H]e pulls a move he obviously thinks is super-hot, biting Hannah's lower lip and stretching it like four inches off her face; Hannah's expression in response is equal parts "henh?" and "I guess I have to pretend I like this so that he'll like me back." And that is how guys can keep getting away with doing and saying goofy shit they saw in pornos: because girls who really like them will play along and not mention how Smurfy it is, and hope they get boyfriends for their trouble. And they never do. You, reading this: he's not different. He'll keep not caring about you until you get fed up (or he turns 30). Then he'll marry a 21-year-old who doesn't need a bra or call him on his shit. Save yourself months of energy and neg him now.

With a special guest appearance by the word "douchecanoe," tm Jen S. 1.0! (I think? Correct me if I'm wrong. It's apparently everyone's favorite thing about the recap, so I'll totally provide a shout-out in next week's.)

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  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    I'm pretty sure I read "douchecanoe" in the comments of a Vine column, but I'll happily take the credit! Hell, maybe I did make it up. I'm old, I can't track these things as well as I used to.

  • MsC says:

    I read the Slate responses and was amused that at least one of the male reviewers basically said he didn't think there could really be a guy like Adam, or that anyone would date a guy like Adam. If only that were true.

    I think Hannah was wary and already expecting what he was going to try as soon as he mentioned lube.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    one of the male reviewers basically said he didn't think there could really be a guy like Adam

    Yeah, in retrospect I kind of can't believe it either…but they're out there.

  • MagyKitten says:

    My girlfriends and I were in Vegas this weekend and I introduced them to the term douchecanoe (after I read it in the comments of the Vine column last week). Trust me, we found many uses for it this weekend! It is certainly everyone's favorite new term.

  • Isabel C. says:

    Yay more recaps!

    Loved the recap. Loved the relationship stuff.

    Kiiiiinda wanted to punch Hannah in the face during the money talks. Yes, the economy sucks, but…it's called "temping", princess. Or secretarial work, or folding shirts at the GAP if it comes to that. I'd have any sympathy at all if she'd at least been trying to find a paying gig, but her "I cannot work for I am an aaaaaaaaaaartist!" RENT-style bullshit makes me really sympathize with the parents more than anything else.

  • Jeanne says:

    I sympathized more with the parents too. Hannah is just so effing spoiled, I kinda hated her. I know that time of your life is tough (I'm only a few years removed from it) but many of us manage/managed it just fine without expecting to mooch off our parents.

  • Kara says:

    @Isabel C., I fully wanted to punch Hannah. I loved when she all snottily said "It's not like I'm draining your finances" and her mom pointed out that she didn't know anything about their finances. And while I think unpaid internships are bullshit, I cannot fathom working anywhere for TWO YEARS and not even ASKING about a paycheck.

    Also, that's the whitest Brooklyn I've ever seen; I fear the show is going to be another Friends where apparently no people of color even live in the city. Homogeneous groups of friends exist, but NYC is not a homogeneous city.

  • alanna says:

    Folie a duh! I will be using that at the earliest opportunity. Which… will probably be quite soon, unfortunately.

    If you'll excuse me, I have to go read that sentence several more times and giggle with pure joy.

  • Isabel C. says:

    @Jeanne and Kara: Dude, seriously.

    And if she'd said a single line like "Look, I'm sending out applications everywhere, it's just not happening," I'd honestly have been fine: it's 2012, the world is what it is, sometimes you do need to get help. Cool. But…apparently not. Unpaid internship? Great, if you're in college. Hannah…isn't, and it's been two years, and she needs to put on her big girl panties and deal. And stop stealing money from people who actually work, oh my God.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    I'm pretty sure we're not meant to find that behavior attractive — that that's the point, that she's a self-centered dick in that way. (see also: the snotting about "having to" work at McDonald's) Not to say that the show succeeds in making that point if you think it doesn't, but I don't think Dunham is unaware that that's the impression.

  • Isabel C. says:

    @Sarah: True, but…

    …well, it's always the thing about unpleasantly-realistic characters, or characters who begin their growth arc at the bottom: after watching that first scene, I don't really *care* about Hannah's future growth. I don't feel that sorry for her regarding Adam–although, douchecanoe–or her friends or anything, and I don't want to watch any more of her life, except maybe an infinite recording of her getting hit in the face with a football Marcia-Brady style.

    That said, I'm not sure that having an unlikeable main character reflects on the quality of this show: it could have a Seinfeld thing going on, I didn't like Seinfeld, but it was objectively a pretty good show. So there's that.

  • Isabel C. says:

    Three-seconds-too-late-for-main-post thought: I do give Dunham credit for *not* hyping that attitude as some kind of deep artistic one true way to live, unlike half the media out there (RENT, again, some more, with really catchy music to make things worse, shut up, Holden Caufield Sings).

  • LDA says:

    Yeah, I tapped out when Hannah, after having it made clear to her that she would not be paid for that internship (the one that puts her a seat away from someone who will read her writing), let herself get fired rather than just backing off or asking to intern only two or three days a week, so she could work a paying job all the rest.

    I spent most of my twenties working two to three jobs- while going to school. I can't even.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    after having it made clear to her that she would not be paid for that internship (the one that puts her a seat away from someone who will read her writing)

    Hee hee hee! "Someone who will read her writing." That…wasn't ever going to happen. He was going to dangle it indefinitely so she'd stay under unpaid conditions. Asking to get paid = carrot revoked. Second oldest story in publishing.

    Hannah not having the tools to just go and get any old mungy job — coffee shop, data processing, who cares, it's not forever — is an irritant, but I have compassion for the bits that show that being a young writer is depressing and shitty, even the parts where the writer herself is the depressing and shitty part. Especially those parts. This life phase is appalling to observe, but it's the first great post-college writer self-cull, that first point where about half of them are like, "You mean it's a job, with work, AND it might never pay? Oh hi, LSATs." I see how this is not interesting, necessarily (it wasn't interesting to actually live it), but the sharpness of the observation makes up for a good deal of insufferability.

    For this writer, at least. Those of you who do grown-up things for a living might differ.

  • Kara says:

    Hee hee hee! "Someone who will read her writing." That…wasn't ever going to happen. He was going to dangle it indefinitely so she'd stay under unpaid conditions. Asking to get paid = carrot revoked. Second oldest story in publishing.
    Yeah, her boss made that clear when he said "[she] wouldn't be there to read it," meaning it would go in the slush pile that she read and rejected as part of her job. He wasn't ever going to read it himself, or circulate it. That's not a universal publishing truth, though – I've worked and have friends who work for major publishing houses and interns there are paid, the programs are formal as opposed to indefinite, and the time there is finite. (The paid summer internship and rotational associate programs at the biggest house are on hold this year, though – but they're just not bringing people in, not bringing people in that they refuse to pay.) I can't speak to the smaller houses or literary agencies(I somehow had the impression that she worked for a literary agency), though.

    the sharpness of the observation makes up for a good deal of insufferability
    Jury's still out for me, particularly since I don't think Hannah's made that observation yet.

  • LDA says:

    Oh, I get that this particular guy might never have read her book, although the fact that she has nothing to sell (as I think you pointed out in your recap, that thing looked like ten pages) is important. But that internship put her into contact with people who might one day be interested and if she really felt like she needed to hang onto it, there is actually a solution.

    I agree that a lot of the details felt very true, but on a similar note, while at least I was getting paid at all my jobs, I had artist friends who staged readings or danced with local troupes in public spaces or painted taxi cabs for free during the afternoons and then stayed on their feet doing restaurant work all night. I think the fact that Hannah is a writer is supposed to make us more sympathetic to her- Dunham skewers the "Flaubert" stereotype but still leaves room for "what is a writer supposed to do?" and I personally just can't relate.

    The fact that everyone is white also didn't work for me.

  • Eva says:

    The first place I read the term douche canoe was on The Bloggess. E.g. here, from 2010:

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    Ha ha, I knew I'd seen it somewhere. And I also saw it on Jezebel, which loves the Bloggess with a fervid passion, so that's probably where I picked it up.

  • Karen says:

    Thank you for the awesome recap! The things that resonated with you are the same things that struck a chord for me, especially her icky "relationship" with Adam (unfortunately).

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