Girls Will Be Girls: How To Learn From the Worst

HBO’s original series Girls
is similar to Bravo’s reality television franchise The Real Housewives: essentially, everyone on the show is delusional
and completely unaware of how self-absorbed they are in their grossly
privileged lifestyles.

What is somewhat unsettling about Girls, however, is despite the fact that I pretty much dislike all
of the characters, I find myself relating to a number of
their first-world, materialistic problems.

At first, I wasn’t sure if Girls was a complete waste of my time,
but I now realize that this ambivalent reaction is what creator Lena Dunham
intends for my demographic. The series makes me uncomfortable
because I hope that I’m never as irrational and spoiled as these characters. Dunham doesn’t want us to like Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna and Jessa because
each of their roles serve as a critique of how entitled the millennial
generation is.

The most recent episode, “Ask Me My Name” (Season 4, Episode
7), opens with Hannah as a substitute teacher for a presumably high school
English class.

The thought of Hannah choosing a career in educating children is
horrifying because of the incredibly unstable and immature behavior she
constantly exhibits. I mean, she did just impulsively run away from her
prestigious grad school program for journalism at the University of Iowa (she
wouldn’t listen to anyone else’s criticism but her own) only to come home and
sulk in her New York City apartment because her now ex-boyfriend Adam moved
onto someone else.

Yet, Hannah appears very mature and confident for the first
part of the episode and is even invited to go out for
drinks with a handsome fellow educator named Fran. Everything seems to be very
promising in this introduction, and I actually found myself liking Hannah for
once.

“I just think maybe this is the reason that Adam and I broke
up in the first place—so that Fran and I could get married,” Hannah says to
her roommate Elijah in the next scene. And boom. Still can’t stand Hannah. 

“That’s something a Bachelor contestant
would say,” Elijah replies. Elijah is right; it’s so insane and laughable of
Hannah to say that—it’s straight out of a reality show.

So, of course, in classic Girls fashion, Hannah spirals out of control for the remainder of
the episode.

Her date with Fran is going really well until she suggests that
they go to an art show which, unbeknownst to Fran, turns out to be Mimi-Rose’s (Adam’s new girlfriend). Fran eventually leaves, and the night takes an absurd
(actually, pretty typical for Girls)
turn in which Hannah, Mimi-Rose, Adam and Mimi-Rose’s ‘ex-partner’ Ace go to
the after party together.

A wildly awkward scenario gets even worse when
Hannah and Mimi-Rose’s taxi driver accidentally hits an elderly woman crossing
the street with her walker.

Like the true child she is, Hannah leaves the scene after
the cops come because “it’s not [her] fault.” She begs Mimi-Rose to wait for
her in the deli because she’s hungry, so they go in—but she first has to remind
the taxi driver that the meter is still running (who cares about the injured
old woman on the ground anyway?).  Hannah doesn’t even bother to learn the name of the cab driver or the old woman.

The group quickly has to go across the street to
the laundromat because Hannah is infuriated that the storeowner won’t let her
use the “Employees Only” bathroom. How dare he make Hannah abide by the rules?

In contrast to the aloof attitude Hannah has put on for the majority of the episode, Mimi-Rose
definitely has a positive impact on her when they get into a very personal,
real conversation despite the crazy circumstances:

“It’s so easy for us to get wrapped up in ourselves and our
own lives that we just completely lose our empathy. We don’t want get to know
other people, and I get it. It’s easier to not ask and not tell. It’s easier not
to know someone’s name,” says Mimi-Rose.

Hannah is very affected by this comment. She finally
understands that this sums up exactly who she is: a lonely narcissist.

She wants Adam, so she scares away the innocent Fran
(but blames it on Adam); she wants food, so she’ll hire a lawyer to deal with
the authorities; she needs to
go to the bathroom, so “fuck” the storeowner and his policies.

When Hannah sees Adam at the bar, she is inspired to tell
him that she really likes Mimi-Rose and that she “gets it.” Though he was
visibly reluctant and annoyed by her at first (kind of how I always feel about
her), he is taken aback by this rare moment of compassion that she shares with
him.

Is Hannah finally maturing into a woman? Maybe, especially considering
she started the episode embracing her inner child with her students and ended it walking down the street toward a sign that reads
“Sha-Fa,” a women’s clothing store in
Brooklyn.

Hannah’s blatant egotism throughout
the episode is Dunham’s way of encouraging me to do exactly the opposite
of what she does. Some of these ludicrous situations Hannah gets herself into are
moments for me to relate to so that I can evaluate myself and make sure I avoid
acting in arrogant ways.

That being said, it’s also meant to be funny because
of how oblivious Hannah has been to the fact that she’s always the totally
unreasonable one. The reality for Hannah is scarier, though. While I can
sit back and laugh, she may be finally recognizing how pathetic she is and that
she only has herself to blame.

Will Cafritz PZ ’16 is majoring in media studies with a concentration in film/video. He is from Washington, D.C. and has dual citizenship in Switzerland.

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