HBO’s new comedy series, Girls, aired for the first time last Sunday. Before it aired, there was already controversy swirling around the premise of the show. Girls? 20-somethings? Just girls? How could a show be just about struggling young ladies? Lee Aronsohn, creator of Two and A Half Men (The. Er, OPPOSITE of Girls), famously said at a conference a few weeks ago, “We are approaching peak vagina on television, the point of labia saturation. Enough, ladies. I get it. You have periods.”
LABIA SATURATION. OH NO! We’re approaching peak vagina? This sounds critical. So what a terrible time to launch a new lady show! Thank goodness Aronsohn made his brilliant comments BEFORE the show’s pilot episode, so the writers had time to change all the period jokes to blowjob jokes, or fat jokes, or whatever it is Aronsohn thinks is funny (I’ve seen Two and a Half Men before, but. I’m confused. Is it a comedy?)
Girls centers around four girls in their twenties living in New York City and trying to make it as writers. They’re struggling, because they are young lady-writers in New York City, and the show follows along with their embarrassments and occasional victories. Last Friday night’s pilot met with sort of a lukewarm, “meh,” response, which has been slowly escalating into a big ol’ mess over this past week. It all started with one little question: where are the black people? (Hint, Spoiler Alert, Whatever: They are NOT in HBO’s new series Girls.) For a show that is set in New York City, there is a painfully obvious lack of diversity. The main characters are white. The secondary characters are white. The crowds are white. Are the camera people white? Someone find out for me, I’ll wait. While I think this is unfortunate, but not a good reason to write off the entire show, one of the writers (Lesley Arfin) responded to the questions about the lack of diversity in pretty much the most unfortunate way ever:
The above tweet has since been deleted, but the internet has this crazy way of never, ever, ever letting your cover your tracks completely. There have been plenty of angry bloggers publicly taking issue with this over the weekend, and I’m not going to do that right now. Mostly because it seems pretty obvious that there is quite a large difference between an all-white group of pretty, young, trust-fund ladies doing whatever the hell they want to and “following their dreams” in New York, and a horribly abused, overweight, illiterate, and pregnant black teenage girl. Maybe that’s why she deleted the tweet.
The show is produced by Jud Apatow. In a recent interview with Huffington Post, when asked about the issue of racism, he said: ”The show will be on for a long time, so there’s plenty of time to have every type of person on the show. We want it to reflect an honest life in New York, and we’ll do all sorts of stuff by the time the show is over. Hopefully, we’ll be around for a long time.”
My initial reaction to what I have seen is positive. I love that the girls have realistic bodies. I love that their voices seem real and true. They are smart, funny, and strong. I hope that if the show does continue, though, that they do work out how to embrace diversity more. They’ve had a strong start and it seems like it will be a really refreshing break from the standard Broken-Bird-Girl-Meets-Boy-Who-Will-Save-Her routine. So KEEP TRYING.