Throughout this season, the characters of Girls have been trying on different lives and personas. They try to be different people and better people, eventually defaulting back to the familiar and the easy.
In night's episode, "Video Games", a minor character says she believes life is one big simulation—a video game. That sounds ridiculous, but it's an apt description for what Jessa experiences in this episode as she tries to reconnect with her absent father and play the role of daughter. lives and personas. They try to be different people and better people, eventually defaulting back to the familiar and the easy.
The episode starts with Jessa and Hannah to go see Jessa's father, who Jessa hasn't seen in years and is living in the country with his girlfriend Petula and her son, Frank. Throughout the whole episode, Hannah is in rough shape: She has a UTI and describes it in the most accurate language. "My urine feels so daggery."
The BBC announced last week that Lip Service—its L Word knockoff drama about the lives and loves of a group of lesbians in Glasgow—would not be returning for a third season. The cancellation was almost certainly due to Lip Service's flagging ratings—its audience declined by half from the first season to its second—which makes sense from a business' perspective. The show was on, and people didn't watch it, so now the show is off. TV 101 right?
Well… maybe. Or perhaps it wasn't that people weren't watching the show. Maybe it was just that straight people weren't watching it.
This hypothesis is, I admit, held together by a mix of anecdotal evidence and educated guesswork (the blogosphere's superglue!). But allow me to explain:
I watched Lip Service. I watched Lip Service despite the fact that it was—let's face it—a terrible show. I watched Lip Service despite the winding, tangential storylines, and the often bizarre, uncomfortable sex scenes. I watched Lip Service, and my girlfriends all watched Lip Service, and my best (gay) friends watched Lip Service, and my favorite (gay) cousin watched Lip Service. We all watched Lip Service because, simply, it was about gay people, and we're gay people. Frankly, we're usually so starved for representations of queer women that that's enough. (Remember Tila Tequila? We watched that. South of Nowhere? Classic. The Real L Word? Every week.) As a group, we lesbians already have desperately low standards for viewership—despite our complaints about the way we're represented, in the end, we're beggars, not choosers. But when it came to Lip Service, neither our desperation nor our begging could keep it around. We may wonder why this strategy doesn't work on our favorite TV shows any more than it does on our dates (zing!), but it seems that in this day and age, gay shows just can't survive without straight audiences.
As many of the West Wing faithful have gleefully discovered, all seven seasons were recently added to Netflix Instant, which means I know what I'll be doing for the next few months.
The West Wing isn't a perfect TV show in its depiction of women, but it's better than most. So what went wrong with Sorkin's newest show, The Newsroom, which struggles to present even one plausible female character?
As a sad teenage liberal, disillusioned with the Bush administration, I grew up on The West Wing. The political world that Sorkin depicted—one that passed the Bechdel test, where women's reproductive rights mattered to the president, the press secretary was a woman, and the first lady was as awesome as Rizzo in "Grease"—wasn't a reality then, but watching TheWest Wing made me think it could be.
Less charitably, The West Wing is porn for liberals.
I wasn't sure it would hold up this time around. But it does. The writing is still excellent, and the issues explored on the show—gun control, abortion rights, marriage equality, gender parity, terrorist threats—aren't any less timely now than they were in 1999.
Last week's weirdly controversial Girls episode "One Man's Trash", was defined by melancholy. This week's episode, "Boys", articulates that melancholy in a precise way with a metaphor about—what else?—Staten Island. Ray describes Staten Island as a place where people who want to live in Manhattan but can't are relegated to watch the city in a "quiet rage" on its fringes.Ray's not talking about Staten Island—he's talking about himself, Adam, Hannah, Marnie and all the other young characters on the show.
Even with book deals, fancy art parties, a seemingly perfect relationships,Girls' characters want more from their lives. The main characters all present a veneer of being okay with where they are, while actually longing to change their lives.
In this episode, Hannah finally she seems motivated. She's sent out some essays and has met with the editor (played by John Cameron Mitchell fromHedwig and the Angry Inch!) of Pumped magazine. He's read her essays and describes them as "sweet, naïve and infuriating" but asks Hannah to write an e-book for him. The only catch is that he needs it in a month.
We live in an era where anyone can increasingly curate their own personas, even us "normals" as 30 Rock'sJenna Maroney would say. Any nobody with the internet can create and filter the public perception of their personality, but of course this self-conscious curation is most obvious with pop stars—Lizzy Grant turned into Lana Del Rey, Christian pop singer Katy Perry became whipped-cream-loving pop superstar Katy Perry.
No one is better at this than Beyoncé. With Life Is But a Dream—the documentary directed, written and produced by Beyoncé herself that aired on HBO this weekend—Beyoncé appeared to give fans an intimate peek into her life while actually delivering, of course, a carefully constructed portrait.
The film is a mishmash of home videos, selfie Photobooth confessional videos (always sans makeup and looking flawless) and more typical documentary style video. It's not completely linear—it's more like you are watching a collage, a scrapbook of moments in Beyoncé's life.
In the third episode of RuPaul's Drag Race, twelve queens remain to fight tooth and nail polish for the crown. In this leg of the competition, a children's show challenge separated the Muppets from the babies. I've illustrated my six favorite moments from episode one and episode two of Drag Race, here's the hits from this season's third glittering installment.
Today is Galentine's Day! This fictional-turned-actual holiday from NBC's Parks & Recreation is a day for ladyfriends to celebrate one another's awesomeness. All week, Bitch has posted two daily Galentine's cards featuring Parks and Rec characters that I drew for you to share with your friends—here's the final batch!
This Wednesday is Galentine's Day, the fictional-turned-actual holiday from NBC's Parks & Recreation, wherein ladyfriends grab brunch and celebrate one another's awesomeness. To help get you in the mood, from today through Wednesday Bitch will post two daily Galentine's cards featuring Parks and Rec characters that I drew for you to share with your friends!
Love it or hate it, Girls fits into a specific, maligned literary genre, noted television critic Emily Nussbaum in this week's New Yorker. Nussbaum compares Girls to previous works about young women, most notably Mary McCarthy's 1963 novel The Group. Like Lena Dunham's show, critics at the time called The Group drivel about self-important, privileged young women. But that hasn't stopped dozens of women from continuing to publish similar stories. As Nussbaum writers:
These are stories about smart, strange girls diving into experience, often through bad sex with their worst critics. They're almost always set in New York. While other female-centered hits, with more likable heroines, are ignored or patronized, these racy fables agitate audiences, in part because they violate the dictate that women, both fictional and real, not make anyone uncomfortable.
This week's Girls episode, "One Man's Trash," reads like a short story from McCarthy, Sylvia Plath, or, I would even say, from Raymond Carver. It's a story that's based on the uncomfortable nature of two lonely people who just want to experience something else for a brief moment.