Friends, acquaintances, fellow Marnie Bubble Dress enthusiasts: I'm sending in my resignation letter.
I don't think I can review GIRLS any more.
I know. I know. It’s hard to imagine a season of Hannah Horvath speed-talking without an accompaniment of GIFs precisely 12-14 hours after its debut, even as the person who painstakingly creates them. But I gotta be honest with you. Something’s changed.
I watched both episodes back-to-back after the Goldy Globes on Sunday, and despite my typical nature to pull an all-nighter and delve into the nuances of Adam and Hannah’s relationship, it took me this long to actually sit down and write what was going to be a review. Was I was more focused on finding a hi-res image of Zooey Deschanel's dress and home juicing than contemplating Adam’s potential fatherhood? Perhaps. But something heavier, something more depressing was more at play: the sad realization that I just don't think this is the show for me any more.
I started feeling it last season, when Adam started dating a girl who, by not just Greenpoint standards, could be considered a fucking supermodel. I couldn't shake it when, out of nowhere, they had an episode where Hannah got all wifed up and then never mentioned it again — like it was fucking Simpsons Halloween or something. But, after watching both halves of this season's debut, it’s clear that there’s a rift between what I once obsessed about this show for, and the purpose it currently serves in my life.
It’s become just a show. A good one or a horrific one is for you to determine, but for me, it’s just shifted. It's not a movement, a voice of our generation or even an endless simile for my twenty-something freelance writing experience. (Well, ok, maybe that one rings a bit more true.) It's evolved into a show with complex characters, relatable storylines, and a voice of reason found within Adam of all people. I think it sums up the twenty-something experience unbelievably well, and even helped curate what living in Brooklyn and being confused about your future feels and looks like, but as Hannah grows up and gets her shit together, Marnie grows up and still somehow avoids crows feet and I grow up and realize I’m seriously addicted to The Blacklist, I just find myself wanting to walk away.
Since this show debuted on HBO in April of 2012, the entire landscape of television has changed drastically. Where us TV obsessives used to all nod our heads in unison over the brilliance of The Only Shows Everyone Watched, like The Wire and Arrested Development, there's now such an endless array of programming (and great programming at that) to fill every freaking hour of the day with that judging this show’s societal impact is like trying to hear a gunshot while a plane flies overhead. When GIRLS first originated, it was by far a shot heard round the world, and it may have even enacted that very growth across television programming. But, with every comedian I adore having their own show, Netflix lobbing a plethora of mind-blowing things my way and even the brilliance of recent network television (The Blacklist, seriously, people!), the playing field has become over-saturated. The rosewater ice creams and crack-smoking Twitter trends of two years past is a "oh hey, wait, did you see that?” in today’s entertainment stratosphere. With shows like Breaking Bad and House of Cards and The Blacklist (last time, I promise) available at all hours of the day to view, I don’t see GIRLS’ cultural significance as piercing during its third go around. I know people are still watching,and there really are no other female characters this nuanced on television, but frankly, I don’t think it has that same significant impact on my life it once did.
Honestly, I feel kind of weird tearing it to shreds, because I don't hate it, and I'm definitely going to keep watching. It's just morphing into something else. The characters are different, the plot lines are heavier, and in a way, the bathtub cupcakes have been eaten. Really, though, that's fine! Though I want to get a clean, concise 30 minutes of quirk and "Oh my god, that's totally happened to me" embarrassments, the show has become more serious and more significant in its story lines. Three cheers for them, as that's likely a sign of longevity and growth, but for me? I really just want to see Charlie being abused as an emotionally battered boyfriend, and a tiny Navajo stirring up shit in the line for the bathroom.
I loved seeing them lost as faux-interns, underpaid assistants and aspiring wannabes. I loved seeing them fall in love with the right people, the wrong people, the completely inexplicable people. I even loved seeing them lost upstate, at the wedding, and in their lives as a whole.
Watching them get found, though, just isn’t as interesting.