When I was a child, I loathed the very thought of broccoli and mushrooms, despite having never tried either. My mom would put them on my plate with each meal and I’d either mash them up and move them around the plate, as if to say, “Look, I ate some of them”, or I’d knock them off the table and let the dogs have at them. Even though I had never tried these foods, I had heard they were awful, and I therefore wanted absolutely no part of them. That’s basically how I feel about HBO’s award-winning show Girls.
I have never watched a second of Lena Dunham’s controversial hit, and I don’t plan on ever changing that, despite the fact that I now eat broccoli and mushrooms with almost every meal. I’ve been told that I won’t like Girls and that it wasn’t written for me, and I will just settle for that so I can avoid the wrath of the show’s fans. Then again, if it’s anything like this sexy moment from last year’s Emmys, maybe I should be watching…
That said, I was a little shocked yesterday to see that NBA Hall of Fame legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has not only watched Girls, but he thought enough of it that he decided to write a piece for the Huffington Post about it.
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) February 1, 2013
Here’s the short version: Kareem thinks the guys are more interesting than the actual Girls, the show pretends black people don’t exist, the one black character was “forced”, the Girls talk about sex way too much, Girls is really not that funny, and he loved Seinfeld and My So-Called Life.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 65-years old, so people can assume that he’s a grumpy old man, demanding that Dunham and Co. get off his lawn, but if you read the whole piece, the guy seems to know his TV. Some of the more interesting excerpts:
I don’t believe that people of color, sexual preference, or gender need to be shaken indiscriminately into every series like some sort of exotic seasoning. If the story calls for a black character, great. A story about a black neighborhood doesn’t necessarily need white characters just to balance the racial profile. But this really seemed like an effort was made to add some color — and it came across as forced.
Fair point. And he doesn’t completely hate the show, because he totally digs all of the sex:
It’s like a checklist of being naughty: masturbation (check), sex during period (check), oral sex (check), anal sex (check), virginity (check), etc. The show is actually at its most engaging during these awkward, fumbling, and mostly embarrassing (for the characters) scenes.
I really wish this had been a TV interview so we could see Kareem checking off anal sex.
When it takes itself seriously is when it stumbles. I just wish it would express its seriousness by being funnier. Seinfeld made it a point to ridicule the characters’ shallowness and self-involvement, raising it to a level of social commentary. And it was funny. Two other girl-centric shows that reached these same heights to be voices of a generation were My So-Called Life and Wonderfalls. Both funny, yet also insightful and original. Perhaps that’s why they both only lasted one season before becoming cult hits. Girls, a safer more mousy voice, has already been renewed for a third season.
See? Kareem really knows his TV, folks.
Adam, Hannah’s (Lena Dunham) abrasive boyfriend, is a wonderful character whose quirkiness never diminished his depth of character. The episode in which he performs in the one-man show is brilliant. Charlie, Marnie’s ex-boyfriend, is a complex mix of too stable and too nice. The fact that he’s dumped by a girl who is actually more boring and shallow than she claims he is, makes for some excellent social commentary, although that seems like an accidental byproduct. Could it be that Dunham actually is better at writing guy characters than girl characters?
Beats me, I watch Archer.