Girls Season Premiere Faux Pregnancy…Ramble

After last season, I was neither counting down or dreading a new season of Lena Dunham’s “GIRLS” on HBO. Two new episodes aired this past Sunday against the last hour of the highest rated viewership for The Golden Globes. Dunham attended for the second year in a row in an ill-fitting Zac Posen gown. Is he really her friend? Honey, we’re neighbors, please I’ll help you for free. How come your BFF Taylor Swift, who looked amazing, didn’t veto that gown, which put Lena’s famous boobs basically in her arm pits? Bizarre. 

I digress. Spoiler alert. At the end of last season, Adam dropped what he was doing to run to Hannah, who was in distress and having a massive panic attack. In the season premiere, Adam and Hannah are ‘partners in love and life’, who encounter Adam’s ex-girlfriend, that really Pretty Girl he degraded sexually. She was with a friend and reluctant to cause a scene until Adam took Hannah’s hand and said he and Hannah were going to leave. Pretty Girl took one look at Hannah’s lumpy body in ill-fitting clothes “did you have to leave the house in a hurry today?” and let loose with her rage.

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How could Pretty Girl lose to Hannah? The outrage of it all! Pretty Girl’s friend, Big Mouth, dropped the bomb that Adam, post declaring his love for Pretty Girl, abandoned her and their unborn child because Pretty Girl was pregnant with his son. BTW, Pretty Girl’s stomach was inverted, so it seemed a little suspicious. Also, in my real life, all of these ‘surprise, I’m pregnant’ announcements have been happening, leading to the old ‘let’s give it a go, even if I never wanted to stay/marry/engage with you long term in the first place.’ This seems to be the way modern dating is going. If you can’t get a guy to commit to you, just get knocked up. I’m not saying it doesn’t work out sometimes, but not in the couplings I’ve seen forced together for the sake of a child.

During a recent holiday party, a male friend of mine brought up the subject of surprise pregnancies, as in, they are bullshit unless someone has been told they medically can’t have kids for years and bam, they get pregnant. “All men know how not to get a woman pregnant.” Didn’t we all learn how to avoid pregnancy in health class at like age 12? He has a friend who is about to pop any day with a kid. Said friend got surprise! pregnant after two weeks of unprotected sex with some guy she met in a bar.  So, the Big Mouth announcement about Pretty Girl being knocked up pissed me off. This is something GIRLS do to manipulate men into feeling as crap as they do for leaving. While I understand that need to strike out at someone who betrayed you, broke your heart and shattered your illusions about yourself and your own loveability, fictional pregnancies only make you look like crap. So readers out there, don’t do that to yourself now that you’ve seen watched via HBO or their YouTube (the first two episodes are available) channel.

The question I have is how delusional and manipulative does a woman, who is surprise! pregnant, have to be, to make a huge splash out of pretending that proposal/commitment was going to come any other way? I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being committed and then a baby comes along, like Olivia Wilde. I do have an issue when it happens to a couple who was semi-serious, have never even discussed marriage, and are not in an exclusive relationship and they decide to ignore all of that. I’m all for whatever works for your relationship, but I think there are so many challenges even for a more traditional sequence of events. Hillary Duff, who just announced she and her hubbie of three years, who dated three years prior to marriage, are splitting. They have an infant son. She has been a devoted stay-at-home mother. They have more money than anyone needs and it seems amicable (is that possible!?) And they still couldn’t make it, so what kind of chance does the surprise! I’m having your kid couple have?

In any case, back to the faux pregnancy claim. Though it pissed me off, that was the most exciting scene in both of the new episodes of GIRLS. In the second episode, Hannah complains the road trip she is on is boring, guess what? The audience is bored too. I’d rather read a book. So, much as I dig Lena Dunham, as a professional,  I’m going to be cutting the chord (oh yes, that was totally intentional given this post), on GIRLS and leave it for younger, listless hipsters who live tweet their break-ups.

 

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GIRLS: How They Pay The Rent…Ramble

I just read a tweet about the season finale of HBO’s Girls:

Last night’s #GIRLS episode made me upset because most of us don’t have the luxury of being complete wastes of life. #HowDoTheyPayRent

Hmm, well Sarah, I used to get infuriated and still do from time to time about the suspension of disbelief entertainment wants us to accept. ‘Friends’ at least got away with the huge apartment being their grandmother’s rent controlled legacy, same supposedly with ‘Sex & The City’ although I loved the temporary financial crisis Carrie had when she realized she couldn’t afford to rent anything after she broke Aiden’s heart. The moment I really thought was New York reality was when she realized over she’d spent $40K on shoes. Seriously. Meanwhile she decided to rip up a check from Mr. Big to buy the apartment and instead go off and guilt the money from Charlotte, who’s biggest crime was she married and divorced well. Carrie Bradshaw was just as much, if not more, a narcissist as Girl’s Hannah Horvath.

As for money, we know on Girls Marni has now resolved that issue. It looks like she will follow in the steps of Charlotte and marry well in order to resolve her Madison Avenue tastes and her downward spiral after she lost her also Charlotte-like art gallery job. I think Marni’s downward spiral this season was pretty realistic. She moved in with college girl Shoshanna, who’s parents pay for her apartment as did Shosh’s older and shiftless boyfriend Ray. Poor Shosh didn’t even realize Ray had moved in with her. That living situation seems pretty realistic to me. 

Jessa’s living situation started off in one of the high-rises in Williamsburg. She was blissful, a newlywed wrapped up in the comfort of new love. One dinner with her new in-laws was all it took for her insecure husband played by the wonderful Chris O’Dowd (how awesome was he as Kristin Whig’s policeman love interest in Bridesmaids?) to throw out their marriage. While she didn’t even bother to suggest they take a moment, even a night to calm down and talk about it in the morning, Jessa took only a few seconds to be insulted about the suggestion of how much cash it would take for her to walk away from the marriage. They settled on ten grand. Ok, it’s not enough to live off for a long time off, but Jessa was certainly a) not paying for the rent/lease/mortgage in the high rise b) didn’t seem to be paying rent when she crashed with her cousin Shoshanna initially in season one and not with Hannah in season two c) she doesn’t seem to have an even temporary new address and is probably using that ten grand to fund her restless wandering. 

That would lead us to Hannah Horvatz. She initially shared her rent with Marni in the first season and then with her ex-boyfriend-now-gay-but-tried-to-have-sex-with-Marni, Elijah. Elijah’s rich boyfriend was paying his half of the rent. I’m not sure why those two wouldn’t just live together but stranger things have happened. After Elijah’s failed attempt at amore with Marni finally came to light during a cocaine fueled experience for an online magazine (supposedly Hannah got paid $200 for this- how much did that net after the price of the drugs and alcohol and then the dinner she made for her friends to celebrate it? Probably negative fifty bucks)- Hannah had to carry the rent on the two bedroom herself. 

Ah dear friends, this is where Hannah picked up some more shifts at Cafe Grumpy but still that doesn’t seem like it would cover it. So then enter the book advance! Hallelujah! Yes, Hannah is having a melt-down of epic self-sabotage and the threat of the publisher suing her is on the line, but that does explain how she pays her rent for the time being.

As for the guys, Marni’s ex is now a mobile app mogul. Ray as previously mentioned was living in his car and technically homeless thus he moved in with Shoshanna. That leaves Adam. I have never understood how Adam pays the rent. His apartment is full of nails and wood and random unfinished products that seem to reflect his internal mind. It was amusing when his new love interest said he wasn’t as dark as his apartment. Aw shucks lady, you should just call a car service back to Manhattan. 

There’s also the small matter that this show has been hugely controversial from the very first episode it showed a young girl in her twenties getting cut off from her parent’s supporting her. We all know those people. To her credit Hannah went out and got various jobs to pay her share. Hope that helps resolve the question of how those GIRLS pay their rent, or don’t.

As for ‘being complete wastes of life’- fair enough! These characters seem not to have a moral compass very often or be ambitious. This season even the Mary Poppins-like ‘Sex In The City’ diehard, Shosh, cheated on her boyfriend in a closet off the lobby of a friend’s building with the doorman.  Suspension of disbelief is what entertainment asks from the viewer. If you can’t then change the channel or read a book like Sheryl Sandberg’s forthcoming Lean In about how women need to lean in to challenges in the work place, step up and be leaders, negotiate for salary and help each other which can certainly help real women in real life pay the rent. 

In Defense of Lena Dunham…Ramble

Season 2 of the Lena Dunham created “GIRLS” for HBO has brought a lot of controversy for Lena Dunham. She had a lot of buzz with her film “Tiny Furniture” and season 1 of “Girls” and some the hipster nod which also came with some expected snarkiness.  Now she has won main stream accolades sweeping up a Golden Globe from under Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who during the ceremony said Lena could make a signal and they’d help her if someone was forcing her to be “so naked” on her show, the spotlight has turned to discussion of her “responsibility”.

If you hadn’t heard about Dunham’s latest controversy, or part three of her racial criticism  part one: the cast of is extremely white- all four of the main female characters and their partners are all very, very white making me think of SNL “I am white, extremely white I walk with my buttocks extremely tight”, part two: her character Hannah Horvatz briefly had an African American boyfriend but his fateful flaw was he didn’t like her essays and he was a Republican! During their break-up Hannah fumbled the race card even though she was the one who raised it but really she wanted to break up with him for the previously mentioned reasons, and now the real life part three of it all – ‘comedian’ (and I quote that because I don’t think she’s funny or any woman who has to use gross out guy humor- look at Ellen she’s not like that and she is one of the funniest people on the planet!) Lisa Lampenelli tagged a photo of her and Dunham calling Lena her “n” word. That is horrifying. As you can see below writer Shayla D Pierce expressed her outrage.

 

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As a result of that tweet, Pierce went on to be connected and interview Lampenelli for Jane Pratt’s xoJane.com but… that wasn’t enough for Pierce. She wanted Lena Dunham to have denounced Lampenelli somehow for her verbiage. She tweeted Lena Dunham’s silence about the issue spoke volumes about her- and then she got a little taste of what Dunham was trying to avoid.
 
Shayla has 1366 followers, while Dunham has 783,146. Shayla had one guy give her a bit of grief and get over it just as fast because both parties back off and were reasonable. But we all know the Internet and Twitter in particular is mostly not a happy happy place, but full of haters waiting to pounce on anyone else’s mistakes.
 
The day after Dunham and Pierce connected on Twitter and “made up”  Zeba Blay, a HuffPo writer wrote that Dunham’s reason for staying silent on the matter is what spoke volumes for her. 
 
If you can’t be bothered reading that article, which is posted on a site that only a few months ago posted an article of why they wouldn’t join the Lena Dunham backlash, it refers to a blog post Dunham wrote at 23 about a trip to Japan calling it an “Orientalist disaster”. For the record, Ms. Blay, your use of the word “Orientalist” is a word that is mildly offensive to me as an Asian (oh the irony). When in doubt, use the word Asian. 
 
Anyway, in the blog Dunham wrote for a ThisRecording.com she described a Japanese guide who insisted on carrying her bags though that was nutty because she was 73 lbs and had hands “like paper cranes” – well, Ms. Blay, I think that’s just Dunham reaching for Japanese imagery. It was more irksome Dunham incorrectly stated she might have “Yellowish fever”- Lena, honey no, just no. Yellow fever (the social disease, not the physical one), um, it’s really being racist and it’s more of a fetish and you didn’t even want to goto the fetish bar in Japan. But do I think this makes you racist? No, misguided yes.
 
Tangent (love this song but Coldplay were not referring to Asians in this song): 
 
When I worked at a record label fans were constantly attacking the label on Twitter. They preferred to say enough was never good enough instead of applauding the label who had inherited an artist through a merger and was supporting that artist like she had never been supported prior so I’ve grown really tired of this behaviour. When is enough enough? If I’m tagged in a photo on Facebook next to Quentin Tarentino (please let this NEVER happen!) should I have to apologize for his insane use of the ‘n’ word? I really hope not. He is a grown man and he made his decisions. If I posted that I was completely disgusted by it would it start another debate? Think about those times on Facebook when just one of your friends had an over the top reaction to something you posted, attacking you and then multiply your private account reaction (out of what 600-700 ‘friends’) to 700K friends. Yuk. The price of being a public figure? Okay, fair enough, but Dunham isn’t Lohan so can we back off and give her a spring break? Both writers stated they didn’t think Lena was a racist. 
 
Lena Dunham is 26. She gets a lot of crap for being successful at a young age, growing up   with successful parents (does that mean she should instantly and magically know better than other people how to behave? If we’ve learned anything from Bravo’s Housewives, it’s that ‘Money can’t buy you class’)  and getting her huge book deal. She seems to own up to her own faults head on, take on being attacked by the Gross Out King, Howard Stern, stands up for fellow women being attacked like Anna Hathaway, and even posted this hilarious send up of herself:
 
 
 
In summary, thanks Lena for making us think, making us uncomfortable with your nakedness, making us laugh and standing out there on your own, in your own skin and trying to find a way to please everyone, which is impossible.