I realize this blog has been a bit babycentric as of late and I’m sorry for that but, hey, I had a baby. Did you know that? Well, I did. It’s true. I swear! I’m going to switch gears for a minute, though, to talk about one of my favorite topics: tv. I have been watching an exceptional amount of tv lately. I don’t have much of an attention span for other activities that can be done with an eight-week old baby such as, say, reading. You know what? I’m not even going to defend myself against any judgment you may have about this. I love television and I watch a lot of it. There, I said it.
There has been a lot of buzz about the new HBO show ‘Girls.’ I read about it in US Weekly, as well as The New York Times Magazine. Terry sent me an article about it from The Washington Post. I wanted to like the show but the truth is, having seen two episodes, I just don’t. I feel bad about this, but it’s true. I appreciate that the Times and Post writers highlighted its exceptional difference to current women-centered shows like The New Girl and Whitney – two shows I also don’t particularly like or watch (though I have seen). Shows like The New Girl and Whitney have little, if anything, to say about how women live or feel or think, though I don’t think they’re attempting to, either. ‘Girls,’ on the other hand, seems to be a sincere attempt to say something. I guess I’m just not sure I like what it’s saying. For starters, the sex scenes make me more than a little uncomfortable — frankly, they scare me a bit. I know I can be a prude, but watching an early 20s woman voluntarily participating in sex acts she pretty clearly has no interest in makes me uneasy and sad. I’m certain this is deliberate, of course, but I don’t particularly enjoy feeling uneasy and sad. Then there’s the whole privileged business. I know the economy stinks and I feel for anyone unemployed, particularly the country’s youth who may not have much of a shot at economic prosperity, but I find it two parts ridiculous and three parts obscene that the lead character, Hannah, doesn’t even seem to attempt to obtain a paying job. In fact, it seems as though she thinks such a thing is beneath her. “What??” you ask. “Yes, it’s true” I say. “She is a 24-year old woman, two years out of college, living in New York City on her parents’ dime. Or, more accurately, thousands.” You see, Hannah wants to be a writer (don’t we all?) and has an internship that she continues to hope (after two years) will turn into a paying gig. It seems, though, that Hannah can’t be bothered to also get a job in, say, retail or the restaurant industry to pay at least her electric bill. The Washington Post blames my repulsion to paycheck-averse Hannah on my age. You see, I’m over 35 so I just don’t get it. Maybe that’s true; I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure my 25-year old hard-working cousin, Maggie, would be confused by Hannah’s lack of employment and find it off-putting, as well. But although I find the sex obnoxious and the privileged status of the lead annoying, neither of these are reasons for me to condemn the show. And I don’t condemn it but, as I said, I don’t really like it. And why not? Because I haven’t found it particularly funny. I smiled or snorted knowingly (yes, I can snort knowingly) a time or two during the episodes I saw, but I didn’t find the show to be funny or clever overall. I just didn’t laugh. Or at least not laugh laugh.
You know what show did make me smile and laugh? NBC’s ‘Best Friends Forever.’ This apparently little-watched gem has, according to Sarayu, already been canceled. It’s too bad and I’m genuinely sad about it because I was really looking forward to seeing where it was going to go. The show stars its own writers (move over, Whitney!) Lennon and Jessica as, you guessed it, BFFs. The series starts with Jessica and Lennon Skype-ing when FedEx comes to Jessica’s door to deliver surprise divorce papers. Ouch. Jessica then promptly moves in with Lennon and her boyfriend in their cute Brooklyn apartment and the adventures begin. This show totally nailed the rapid-fire, inside joke-laden banter that often occurs between two women who have been great friends forever. TV and the movies so rarely get female friendships right. Too often writers make the relationships too heavy, drama-soaked and tear-stained. It’s almost as if women can’t have friendships on the big or little screen unless they’re held together by some great tragedy. Or they can have friendships a la Sex and the City, but this means each woman is a particular ‘type’ and no one woman may step into another’s territory lest the viewer get confused. In ‘BFF,’ though, we are given two smart, pretty, funny women who were close friends before tragedy hit (hey, they were Skype-ing about bikini waxes). The divorce gets the two friends back together, but not for drunken talk about what went wrong or who was at fault but instead for daytime viewing of ‘Steel Magnolias’ and debating whether Shelby would have had that baby if she’d really known what was in store for her. Lennon and Jessica are different people, but they aren’t so different that I could imagine anyone ever saying, “Oh, you’re such a Lennon with Jessica undertones” or whatever the kids say about SATC characters (see ‘Girls,’ Episode 2). I’m not saying BFF was the best show ever, but it was the best new show I’d seen in awhile and I wanted to get to know my new friends better.