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It even makes her smile, two white jewels of teeth prominent between parted lips, seem devout.
Though the word “GIRLS” is spread across the advertisement (for the second season of the HBO show, now available on DVD), the show is really only about the one: Dunham’s character, Hannah Horvath.
From the accuracy of its location (shooting in restaurants, shops and bars revered by twentysomething New Yorkers), to its never too matchy-matchy wardrobe, and messy sex scenes (until “On All Fours,” I’d never seen semen on screen outside of porn), Binge-watching the first season from the couch of my apartment in Greenpoint – behind the scenes, so to speak – it occurred to me that, since Hannah and I could be neighbors, I must live in a cool neighbourhood. I began to notice it around me: the swanky apartment complexes – like the one where Jessa’s now former husband, Thomas-John lives – sprouting up on the waterfront steps away from defunct warehouses, and the thirty-dollar Voss water my local grocery store stocks next to its Poland Spring.
Meanwhile, a number of the Polish family-owned stores on Nassau Avenue were closing down, to be replaced by pseudo-hip cafés offering vegan treats and free Wi Fi, and boutiques displaying retro dresses that Jessa would wear in the window.
(When I say “we,” I refer to the subset of a generation that Hannah ostensibly represents, namely twentysomething lady writers living in New York – the group that I belong to as a Brooklyn-based writer in my twenties.) Indeed, we regard Hannah with a simultaneous respect and repugnance.
Sometimes we want to be like her; we admire her ability to speak her mind, her willing tenacity, and gumption.
By giving us imperfect characters who threaten to be as human as we are, Mc Carthy and Dunham discard the curated versions of women that pop culture likes to show us, upholding not a mirror but a magnifying glass to their respective generations in order to learn more about them.
High though she was, Hannah’s line carried with it a sting that’s stayed with the show’s audience and critics since its delivery.
Being the same age, and sharing this liminal terrain, the girls are lost, together. But for the Girl to gather her life together, she must leave the group.
Hannah begins to do this in the first season, as she busies herself with writing and then working a day job as a barista, gradually falling out of sync with her friends.
Both were shouting into their respective smartphones, complaining about the expensiveness of crappy apartments they had viewed, and the crappiness of expensive apartments; they were looking to move to Greenpoint.
“It was this difficult when we moved to DC,” the girl insisted between phone calls.
Where Bushnell admires “Mc Carthy’s determination to embrace life as it really was as opposed to how one might wish it were,” we either respect or repudiate Dunham on the same terms.