Watching GIRLS with one’s father is very strange. Particularly if much of the episode deals with the uncomfortable reality of a newly-uncloseted dad, and a twentysomething daughter trying to cope. My dad isn’t gay (I asked him, just to be sure). That’s not awkward. The tough moments are those like the recent restaurant confrontation between Hannah and her father, where she admonishes Tad for his immaturity—and in response, he dares her to produce her wallet as the bill arrives. Yeesh.
I am approaching a birthday that could well mark the end of my mid-twenties. Well, I probably have one year left before I cross into “late”—it’s kind of a judgment call. Regardless—I do not foresee a time in the next year or so when I will bring anything other than my ID (with which to order fancy drinks that I could not usually afford) to dinner with my parents. I can mock them all I want about their insistence upon arguing with Google Maps and their constant need to redecorate. The reality is, they are grown-ups. I am not. Even though the numbers tell a different story.
This is typical of my generation. Man, do I hate talking about my generation. From what I can tell, nothing good comes of lumping oneself in with all people born within a certain span of years. As the group grows up, it is uniformly resented (I’m looking at you, Baby Boomers), and accused of self-absorption, shortsightedness and laziness. I get it: my job prospects are doomed. My children will be born onto an imploding planet. This is fate: I can’t choose when I was born, and I can’t change my (terrible) circumstances. I’m stuck—but also welcome to the digital age, so I had better move really, really fast anyway.
You’ve heard this kind of thing before. Back to GIRLS.
This past Sunday, the season four finale aired on HBO. It’s been four seasons, you ask? Yes, it has! For casual viewers like my dad, who have only seen snippets of the show (another one of his favorite moments being Hannah’s declaration to her parents, “You said it was cheaper for YOU if I was on the family plan!”), it’s easy to recap each character’s trajectory during a quick commercial break. Because the primary foursome, like myself and Alison and our similarly-aged readers, seem to be frozen in time. Things happen to them, but nothing ever seems to change.
GIRLS takes this the extreme, following four young women so totally and ludicrously immobile that nobody cares what happens to them. They are, however, amusing to watch—as overblown stand-ins for our own paralyzing anxieties.
I still like GIRLS—but have noticed recently that Lena Dunham’s world reflects less upon my own. Many friends of mine are ready to move forward. Not toward the Capital F Future (parents still treat, and help us with our taxes), but they are considering real-life career changes, cross-country moves. Graduate school. Marriage.
So I’m starting to wonder where GIRLS can go, and how much longer I will continue to watch. Even a glimpse into the six-months-from-now future isn’t much of a hook – is a new relationship all it takes to fix the broken people? How much longer can I laugh along with characters who refuse to acknowledge reality, instead of simply being victim to it? It’s getting a little old. You know?