thoughts about girls
(If you haven’t watched this week’s girls and don’t want to know more about it, go away now).
I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Girls pretty much since the very beginning–when all of my friends were fawning all over it. I had issues with the format. I felt like the subjects explored in the show needed more space and time to develop–would be better served by the traditional hour format. (I still feel like that). But my biggest gripe about the show was how effing unlikable every single character was. Like no redeeming anything. I mean–they were well-written, well-acted, and even layered to an extent–but totally just ugh.
This is where my being a writer comes in. I wholeheartedly believe all characters should be layered, living beings with their own unique set of motivations. And I’m all for really ugly people. We need more of that. But I need to invest in these characters. So, if someone is really unlikable? At some point, there has to be a glimmer of something I can hold onto. Otherwise, who cares?
So, yea–I’ve basically hate-watched this show from the beginning–hoping one week I’d suddenly see what everyone else saw and would fall in love.
But it didn’t happen for quite a while. Last season, it started getting better. But not totally. It made me wonder–are they trying to make me hate everyone? Is all of this on purpose?
This season started off making me want to gouge my eyes out with Marnie’s wedding. (Good God, what a cluster). Last season made me want to hang in there, though. And last night’s episode finally delivered on the potential I always felt the show had, but never quite landed.
Last night’s episode focused on my least favorite character: Marnie. The controlling, shrill, perfectionist, primadonna who is so utterly annoying her voice makes me want to stab myself. She has zero self-respect and is prone to massive delusions–falling into weird relationships and never quite owning anything.
I think I hate her so much because she reminds me–in many ways–of myself when I was younger. Of all the girls in the series, she probably is the most like who I was in my 20s. Before I had self-respect or any sense of worth. She bugs me on a cellular level. Everything about her just kills me.
So, I was not happy about an entirely Marnie episode. I thought about deleting it off TiVo and pretending it never happened.
The episode started with a scene between Marnie and her new husband–a total asshole who is so pathetic and clueless you actually feel sorry for him. He’s that guy you dated because the sex was good who you routinely felt guilty about–but couldn’t quite leave. The sensitive artist who is so damn fragile. But a total asshole who uses others to distract himself from his own insecurities.
They hit this stage of living together where everything feels like an invitation to fight. Where you can’t stand his face anymore and you just kind of want to punch him. They fight. She leaves–goes for a walk–and runs into some guys on the street. Who treat her as guys on the street do–until one doesn’t–and she realizes it’s her ex. The guy who broke her heart after she broke his. And they go on this day-long adventure–where they discover there are still feelings there–and it highlights everything that’s been missing from her new life with the new husband.
Now, it may be because I love the actor who plays Charlie–but I loved everything about this day. Marnie was lighter and happy. She let go and gave in to circumstance. She didn’t freak out or try to control anything. She accepted him–with all his differences and let things breathe. Even after being mugged. Even after landing at his shitty apartment. They make plans to be foolish idiots and leave everything. She realizes she can leave everything–that nothing is actually really stopping her.
It’s kind of beautiful. Until the morning comes, and she finds a needle in his pants. And he lies about it. She leaves–in her dirty red dress–without shoes–and walks home to her husband. And she tells him she doesn’t want to be married anymore. She calls him out on his bad behavior even as he tells her she’s going to get murdered. And in an odd way, I think the idea appeals to her–and pushes her out that door to her estranged best friend’s apartment.
The whole thing made me cry because I’ve been there. I’ve run into exes randomly and found the feelings still there. I’ve gone on adventures and played pretend. I’ve been that neurotic girl who lost herself for just a day and ended up walking without shoes on a too-bright morning. The truth that the fantasy in my head hurts just as much as the reality I’ve chosen to live. And I, too, walked away from everything safe and easy–to embrace my life. The one I chose. Not the one chosen for me.
And in a weird way, choosing to let that girl die was what allowed me to live and be someone of worth and someone capable of actual love.
It was an important episode for any woman who has settled for anything in her life. I’m glad I kept watching.