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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Girls, Girls, Girls


Have any of you watched the HBO show Girls? I stumbled across it one day On Demand when I wanted a short break from writing. I chose it because it’s one of the shorter shows and I didn’t have much time to spare. I think I was on deadline, but sometimes the brain needs a break, ya know?

The first show didn’t hook me, but it was intriguing enough to bring me back a couple of weeks later. It’s about four girls in their twenties living in NYC trying to make their ways in the world. Does it sound a lot like Sex in the City? It’s certainly a less glamorous version. Hannah is the aspiring author with OCD. Marnie is the driven museum curate who ends up losing everything. Jessa is the free spirit running away from herself. And Shoshanna is the virgin college senior who is very sweet, but totally uptight and anxious to the point of being annoying. The characters are so tragically flawed that I can’t help but feel compassion for them. I want to hug these poor wounded souls as much as I want to shake them and yell, “What are you thinking??? Get your act together!”

Why?!?
Because of my work in the helping field, I’m not usually up for these kinds of shows. It feels too much like work. But I don’t enjoy perfect, trouble-free characters either. *YAWN* But watching these characters sabotaging themselves is like a car accident. I know I should look away, but I can’t!

Part of the appeal might be due to the fact I didn’t have things very together when I was in my early twenties either. My life kind of fell apart when I was nineteen. My mom and the man who raised me divorced, and my stepbrothers and stepdad disappeared from my life. Later my mom remarried and moved to Africa, and suddenly, I was a formerly overprotected kid having to face the big bad world on my own. I floundered for a while, but I had the most amazing childhood girlfriends who held me together.

You know who you are. Love you!
In retrospect, it was the best thing for me. I have a lot more compassion for people struggling than I used to, and I feel confident in who I am and what I can do now. Plus, I reunited with my bio dad. Tough times in our lives provide opportunities for growth, even though it’s not without pain.

But I digress… The characters on Girls have it much harder than I ever did, and they’re much more screwed up than I was, so maybe there’s some appeal there too. I just finished the second season, and I have a better understanding of not just the girls, but some of the other characters – Adam (the socially awkward artist/actor & sexual deviant) and Ray (the 32 year old angry manager of the coffee shop with no place to live).

Adam, played by Adam Driver, is my favorite. He’s the most bizarre, complicated, vulnerable, and infuriating character I’ve EVER seen. He’s so outside of the box. The actor is fantastic!

So, here’s my question. Are you drawn to messed up characters, or are you more likely to gravitate toward the ones that have their acts together? Who are some of your favorite TV show characters right now?

21 comments:

  1. Oh I hope you don't hate me after my post Samantha. I hate this show. But I have a personal reason. I live across the street from Lena Dunham. She went to the same high school as my kids; her sister was in classes with my daughter. These kids portray themselves as screwed up but really they are just rich trust fund babies pretending that they have problems. I guess it's just prejudiced me against the show. Ugh. I'll stop now. As an actor you are right, Adam Driver is great.
    I love a character who's experienced pain, struggle-it allows them to grow.

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    1. LOL. I could NEVER hate you, Nancy! How surreal that you live across the street from Lena Dunham. :)

      Do you have a favorite show right now?

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    2. Yes, although I never see her! She used to babysit Zac Posen, and always wears his clothes. I think that's so cute. They went to school together too.
      Right now, Scandal and Chicago Fire are my two favorites,along with Mr. Selfridge and I'm getting into Call the Midwife

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    3. I like Zac Posen on Project Runway. He brings some youth to the show. :)

      My friend loves Chicago Fire and says the cover model on Lady Vivian looks like one of the characters. I've been hearing talk about Call the Midwife. I should check it out. I think I'm recording it on the DVR, just don't ask me how. LOL

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  2. Sam ~ I've never seen the show, but I wasn't a huge SITC fan. Don't know why.

    Who is my favorite TV character right now? Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. She *is* everything. She is smart, she is strong (despite being told otherwise her whole life), she is surprisingly moral. Just when you think she's naive and being taken advantage of, she flips the situation around and doesn't let anyone push her around (not anymore.) As far as great leaders go, she is sensitive to the plight of her people and a *dragon* as far as her steely determination.

    Cannot love her more than I already do. :)

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    1. SITC was all glam & glitz. Girls is a huge departure. Much more raw, but probably not quite as raw as Shameless.

      I've loved Daenerys from the first season. She's definitely tops for me, too. I hope she can reclaim the throne. :)

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  3. I love the show, though maybe a little less now that I've read Nancy's comment. I'm completely drawn to screwed up characters. One of my favorite shows is Shameless. You cannot find a more dysfunctional bunch if characters on tv than you find in Shameless. Love them and all their struggles!

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    1. I'll just keep telling myself Girls is fiction. That makes it better for me. :)

      Oddly, I didn't get into Shameless. I should try it again. Sometimes it's a matter of needing to be in the right mindset to watch certain shows. They are like dysfunctional royalty. LOL

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  4. Hm. I've never seen the show, but like Ava, I wasn't a fan of SITC. Maybe if the characters are more *real* I'll like it more. I found SITC very superficial and trite. Plus, having lived in NYC for 15+ years, I never knew anyone like any of those women. It just didn't feel realistic to me. BUT, young women *struggling* in NYC? Well, that I can definitely relate to. lol.

    However, my tastes run towards completely fantastical characters/shows. Once Upon a Time, The Vampire Diaries...and then lots of sitcoms with funny, OTT characters. Oh, and Smash, but that's a given :)

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    1. Jerrica,
      I share a lot of the same loves. Once Upon a Time and The Vampire Diaries are on my list of shows I watch, but I'm behind on Vampire Diaries. I had to take a break when I wanted to stake Elena. Hahaha...

      I haven't seen Smash, but I've heard you say how awesome it is. I wonder if I can rent the first season or find it on Netflix.

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    2. We're really behind on VD, too. We just watched the Christmas one. It was a little disturbing, so now we're gun-shy about continuing. Why do they have to take it so dark!?!?! Damn you, Klaus! lol.

      Smash is great. There are a lot of "hokey" moments, but we're hooked. NBC is planning to cancel the show, so now we're part of a HUGE movement to save it. E! Online lets you vote for one underdog show to vote back on the air. Fingers crossed!!! But you should be able to find season 1 -- maybe on Hulu??

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  5. As you know, Samantha, I'm not a TV watcher, but I've seen this played out in books. No matter how they begin, I really need the characters to get it together, which is the main reason I'm not a Janet Evanovich fan. Her heroine never seems to learn from her mistakes. Interesting post. I tweeted.

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    1. Ella,
      I definitely like characters to learn from mistakes. Sometimes I'll stick with them anyway, because they have a way of stringing me along by making me hope they are going to change. :D

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  6. I love flawed characters because I am the most flawed person. I think it's important to have a character arc and growth for anyone, whether they learn the lesson or not.

    I haven't seen this show yet, though I'm like Ella and I don't actually watch much tv. My free time is spent playing games I guess lol. I really, really like the characters who pretend to have their stuff together but behind closed doors they're a mess. Those are fun characters sometimes. It reminds me of Desperate Housewives even though I've never really seen the show more than a handful of times. But so many of us appear to have wonderful lives but then when you scratch the surface a little, you'll find each story is unique and all too often, flawed. Great blog!

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    1. Suzie,
      There is something very intriguing to me about seeing beyond the masks of characters. I totally get the appeal of characters who seems to have it all going for them on the surface, but maybe underneath they are a hot mess. :)

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  7. I'm all about the flawed characters in fiction and the broken people in real life. :) There's something about them that draws me in every time, and I can't get enough of them. That's why it is pretty rare that you'll find characters in my books that aren't fairly heavily flawed. I just don't relate to perfection. I've never met a perfect person, and I get bored if I'm reading or watching something where all the characters are perfect.

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    1. Me too, Catherine. Maybe perfect is so boring, because it's an illusion. We all know it isn't real.

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  8. My first response was going to be that I’m drawn to characters who have their acts together. But when I started thinking about the TV shows I like, I found that most certainly is not the case. For instance, I’m a fan of Dexter, Mad Men, Games of Thrones...and the list of shows with flawed characters goes on. Catherine Gayle seems to have hit it on the head with her comment about the fact that there aren’t any perfect people out there. We’ve all made mistakes in our lives and will continue to do so I’m sure. That’s what makes us human. The big thing we have to do is forgive others and ourselves for those mistakes.

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    1. Connie,
      I'm a huge Dexter fan, too. To be honest, I'm not thrilled with where things ended last season. I can't see the series ending well, and I've loved Dexter and Deb from the start. :(

      Sometimes forgiving ourselves for mistakes seems harder than forgiving others. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I'm sorry I didn't get by yesterday to respond. It was non-stop getting ready to head to Kansas City today and then I dropped into bed.

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  9. First, I'm a big fan of Girls...in large part because the women on that show look (for the most part), normal...and do not have their acts together and I think a lot of times Hollywood puts out a more glamorous, perfect figure that most can't relate to. So, that's how I prefer my heroes and heroines with flaws... Many of them because that is more true to life.

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    1. Christi,
      I agree! I love how they have average bodies and really screw things up sometimes. Okay, most of the time. LOL

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