I've only seen the first episode of Lena Dunham's Girls and it left me surprisingly cool. I wanted to like it—I enjoyed Tiny Furniture, and I'd love to add another name to the too-short list of female writers & directors whose work I pull for. (Nicole Holofcener, Kathryn Bigelow, Tina Fey, Lisa Cholodenko, Debra Granik, Jane Espenson, Kelly Reichardt, Madonna... just kidding, Madonna's last movie was terrible.) But Girls' pilot just didn't resonate with me—and worse, I didn't find it very funny—though enough people I respect are swooning over it that I'm going to give it another chance or two.
The author of this piece comparing gender in Girls and Game of Thrones gets a bit carried away in denouncing Dunham's show ("As a representation of women,Girls rings of a kind of terrifyingly banal view of women that is boggling"—hyperbole AND a terrible sentence), but she does make one interesting point about the relationship between oppression (institutional or otherwise) and character development:
The juxtaposition of Game of Thrones versus Girls might not be entirely fair. Where Dunham’s limpingly unfunny portrayal of women in Girls is meant to be satirical, Game of Thrones is not. Yet both are supposed to be heavily character-driven shows and have the common feature of portraying beautiful, mostly upper-class, mostly white women. Sitting through the first episode of Girls, however, I was struck by the notion that I’m more inclined to root for women who are oppressed by their circumstance as opposed to themselves. Where the world of Westeros is hopelessly misogynistic, it represents a contextual gender inequality that still inspires more powerful women characters with whom to empathize, rather than these modern Girls in a post-feminist American comfort. And it boggles me why, as a woman, I would want to watch the graceless foibles of the “women” of Girls when I could find powerful women characters to watch in another HBO time slot.
And while we're on the internet yelling about gender and movies, everybody saw this yesterday, right? It'll make you hate everything and everyone! Good day.
(h/t to Jacob!)