So what have we learned here, kids? What is the message, finally? That all television shows are stupid, and that television is not art, and to relentlessly valorize a 26-year-old show-runner with tattoos of scenes from children’s books as the voice of a new generation is foolhardy and empty? That youth is callow, and navel-gazing, and small-minded? That wrapping your persona in layer after layer of defensive irony and self-deprecation does not absolve you of the responsibility to be interested in something outside of yourself? That an awareness of your flaws is not a defense?
“But,” you will say. “You don’t get it. The show is a satire. A gentle satire, but a satire. The flaws are the point.”
“And yet you celebrate her as an auteur,” I will say. “The ‘artist’ and the character are virtually identical, and you valorize the artist for skewering the character. Besides, she’s not skewering the character. These people are meant to be loved, to be understood and explained. It’s a celebration, not a satire.”
“Do you apply the same standard to Woody Allen?” you will say. “Is his filmic self meant to be loved or is he a comic foil? Is he the hero or the butt of the joke, or both?”
“Laurie Simmons’ daughter is no Woody Allen,” I will say.
“Stop calling her that,” you will say. “Why do you insist on calling her that? Do you really think a feminist artist who works with dolls can call up HBO and get her daughter a gig? The TV business is rife with nepotism. Why single her out?”
“You misunderstand me,” I will say. “I don’t think she got a TV show because of her mother. But I think that the concerns of the wealthy private school girls ought to be dismissed as a matter of course and not be taken seriously. There are enough people who take them seriously; for largely tribal reasons I don’t want to be among them. Especially if they surround themselves with their well-bred peers. I think that we should fight to rob the Laurie Simmons’ daughters and David Mamet’s daughters’ and Brian Williams’ daughters’ and Drummer from Bad Company’s daughters’ of this world of the opportunities they have been unjustly awarded. Or at least highlight the injustice.”
“Oh bullshit,” you will say. “Ian McKaye’s father was an editor at the Washington Post. Marginal Man’s Kenny Inouye was the son of a senator. Bullshit.”
“They were making something good and worthwhile,” I will say. “Something that mortified and angered their parents, or at least their parents’ peers. Not working for a giant corporation and smiling from magazine spreads while enacting a pantomime of ‘indie-ness’.”
“Do you want to know what I think?” you will say.
“No,” I will say.
“Then I’ll tell you,” you will say. “I think that in time the Lena Dunhams are going to conquer the western hemisphere. Of course it wont be quite in our time and of course as they spread toward the poles they will bleach out again like the rabbits and the birds do, so they wont show up so sharp against the snow. But it will still be Lena Dunham; and so in a few thousand years, I who regard you will also have sprung from the loins of celebrated feminist artists. Now I want you to tell me just one thing more. Why do you hate Girls?”
“I don’t hate it,” I will say, quickly, at once, immediately; “I don’t hate it,” I will say. I don’t hate it, I will think, panting in the cold air, the dank Gawker dimness: I don’t. I don’t! I don’t hate it! I don’t hate it!
There will be no more recaps of Girls.