WHY HAS GIRLS BECOME A PAIR OF SKINNY JEANS?
Every girl has a pair and they are called their “skinny jeans.” No, I don’t just mean a pair of jeans that taper on the bottom. I’m talking about the pair of jeans women have hidden in the back of their closet. The ones they once deemed as their “going out” jeans. The ones they felt hot as shit in, the kind of jeans you wouldn’t dare wash because they finally had found just the right amount of give around the ass and thighs. Then…one day…something happens. They start to feel tight, sitting down becomes stressful and slowly but surely they are pushed out of the rotation.
You’ve grown out of your favorite jeans. For some, the idea of parting with a pair of jeans that clearly don’t fit is as easy as a trip to the Goodwill. For others…no.
The rest of us hold on to dreams of one day fitting into them again. We will pull them out from time to time and attempt to convince ourselves we’ll be there some day. But we don’t get there again and we sometimes need to let go. Now, what does this have to do with Girls?
When Lena Dunham burst on the scene and charmed us all with her candidness I was immediately hooked. The first season of Girls was something I couldn’t devour fast enough. Every Sunday night each episode was a refreshing as a $1 sweet tea from McDonalds on a scorching summer day.
I fell in love with Dunham as a person and her show. I mean seriously, she was the reason I started wearing dresses because I figured if she could why couldn’t I. Not to mention she was a huge inspiration for chopping most of my hair off.
The anticipation for season 2 was almost the same excitement I felt for The Dark Knight Rises except the second season of Girls completely delivered. Sure, season 2 seemed to push some fans away but I appreciated all of its bold moves.
Then something happened. Season 2 ended and for a while I was missing the show. Eventually the buzz about season 3 started and there were a few promos. For some reason the excitement wasn’t the same. The magic that I felt with the promos for season 2 with that yellow shirt just wasn’t there.
Even then there was an inkling of what was coming but I decided to ignore it.
The night of the season 3 premiere provided 2 episodes and after I finished both there was a familiar feeling setting in but it took me a few weeks to figure it out. Actually it took until episode 7 titled “Beach House.”
I realized after finishing the episode that Girls had become my new pair of skinny jeans. I was coming back every week trying to convince myself that I was still very much in love with the show when in reality I had outgrown it. Or maybe it wasn’t so much that I outgrew the show but that it had already hit it’s highest point in season 2.
I began to feel disappointment. The same kind you feel after watching a movie you loved as a child only to discover as an adult you can see every flaw and find yourself questioning the $5 DVD purchase.
Spoilers for “Beach House” coming up, although I don’t think there is much to “spoil” in this season as nothing is quite that interesting.
In the episode Marnie invites all the girls over to stay for a weekend at her mother’s friends beach house. This is all in an attempt to “heal” and “talk” about whatever problems are going on between them. However, Elijah and his friends are staying in the same area and squash whatever fantasies were in Marnie’s head. But, this is Girls and of course ultimately the ladies end up calling each other out on their shit.
Skipping to the end for a moment, the fight between the girls seemed along the same lines as Marnie and Hannah’s argument circa season 1. That moment when two best friends became raw and relentless. We all watched in horror as they said things many of us might have felt about someone in our lives but never had the balls to say. The moment felt real and it touched a nerve with many of us.
This time however it felt calculated and cheap. Having Shoshanna suddenly be the girl that has acted dumb for so long but is really self aware was not surprising but cliche. Calling out Hannah for being a narcissist?? Haven’t we all learned about that and delved into it heavily in season 2? It felt like watching an episode of One Tree Hill where the next scene will have Band of Horses playing with lots of hugs while they make up.
But let’s get back to my main point here.
At some point they decide to go into town to get food and Hannah wears a bikini because as she puts it, “It’s a beach town.” We all know it’s not that kind of beach town as a viewer. Let the comedy ensue. She wears this almost the entire episode and from the minute you hear they are going into town the joke is funny for maybe 5 seconds and it’s done. It was the first time I felt annoyed by the series. The need to play this joke that the supposed overweight girl is wearing a bikini on a bike and into town felt sleazy.
I know using the word joke may not be the best choice of words. I’m sure Dunham would say it isn’t a joke she was trying to present; but rather it’s just what Hannah would do. Well why couldn’t it be one of the slimmer girls that wears the bikini into town or even participated with her? Sure, her bikini attire leads to a chance meeting with Elijah as his group makes fun of her on their walk but it would have worked the same with another girl standing next to her too.
It’s no secret that Dunham’s nudity and presentation of her body on the show has been the subject of much scrutiny. I was never turned off by it and it never really bothered me on the show. So I never thought I’d say this but…enough already
By enough already I mean tone it down, you’ve made your point about Hannah. She’s cooky and comfortable with her body. This aspect of her character is becoming tiresome and drawn out. It’s the same way I felt about this joke in Pitch Perfect.
It’s not interesting anymore. Last season when we saw the extreme sides of Hannah or her wacky side it was to push the storyline along and even her character. Such as a sudden interest in mind altering drugs, jamming a Q-tip in her ear, cutting her hair or sleeping with Laird.
Season 3 seems stuck and all the characters do as well. Except Marnie has become a cartoon version of herself. Her dialogue has started to sound like how someone would write Marnie if they were making fun of Girls. The emphasis on her perfectionism and bitchyness has become exhausting. It’s hard to remember interesting things that have happened this season or even find moments where I laughed out loud. Watching the show has become a chore. Why not stop watching you ask? Well obviously I want to keep complaining. I’m only human so hush.
That’s not to say I can just give up though because I feel very sad about even writing all of this. The show held a great amount of significance in my life and I don’t want to be done with it. And sure, there have been a handful of shows that have redeemed themselves from a bad season so there is still hope. I mean who can forget that first part of season 2 with Friday Night Lights? Obviously, Tyra just isn’t allowed to leave the house.
But even then there were moments and episodes that kept the shitty season going. I’m not finding that with Girls. By this time last season we already had the controversial episode with Patrick Wilson and it did something different when Ray and Adam joined forces.
Giving up on Girls would be the same as taking my skinny jeans to the Goodwill right now and I’ll be honest, I can’t do that either. So I will keep going back every Sunday telling myself that this can work and it will fit again.
Hopefully by the end of season 3 I don’t have to hide Girls away in the back of the closet only to one day have to sell my season 1 and 2 box sets at Half Price Books. The show has already been renewed for a 4th season. Maybe Girls will be like a pair of skinny jeans that a girl pulls out one day and discovers that once again they are a perfect fit and I’ll feel like this: