There’s nothing more awkward than being the one guy hyping up a TV show widely labeled “the new ‘Sex and the City,’” but I’ve lost the capacity for shame ever since I yelled “I think you’re pretty” in the middle of my fourth grade class to Julia Goldberg. So “Girls” it is, the show, the topic and even the classically juvenile Beastie Boys song. Because, per the usual, it’s all I really want (one guy out there is loving the Beastie Boys jokes. Hang in there, good buddy. Also, cramming my digressions into one parenthesis, I really hope nobody knows Julia reading this. I mean, it’s a joke, but that actually happened, and that I remember it and am broadcasting it in public is probably creepy).
“Girls” is one of those shows that may very well make some people puke out of its grotesque self-awareness, but hopefully you’re not reading this column if that is the case. It’s about, uh, girls living in NYC. They’re your usual Duke students, regardless of gender: privileged, well-educated and total messes … in a potentially good way. They’re unfocused, like the dog from “Up” or like a columnist grasping at straws for his last column. They are all unemployed to various degrees and still somewhat reliant upon their parents. In short, they’re what the rest of our generation is in terms of employment: F***d. Also, the stars stand for “ucke.” We’re all adults here.
Actually, that’s sort of the point. We’re not. Adults, that is. See, on “Girls,” everyone has all of those ostensibly adult responsibilities: They pay rent, they are looking for careers, they have sex … ual relationships. But Christ are these girls intolerably immature. The show is a series of first-world problems. When our hero, Hannah, says, “I am trying to become who I am,” it’s hard not to self-knowingly gag at the amateur Emersonian (Thoreauian looks even worse, trust me) wisdom she’s reaching for.
But the show knows that. These people are utterly human—petty, self-involved, clumsy, destructive and all too self-aware to do anything about it. They’re crushingly, crushingly honest, even as they do the douchiest things imaginable. And since this isn’t Recess (which you should really read instead of this—they actually know how to write reviews), I’ll stay away from the pure review aspect of this column and move into the “And this is what my book report has to do with Duke” category.
This is the point where I invite the relatively well-adjusted people reading this to leave the room. If you’re in a stable relationship, have a pretty good idea of what your career will be, are hard working but not obsessive and are truly at inner peace about it all, that’s your exit cue. I know a few of you, and your true inner goodness and kindness disgusts me.
Damaged kids? The ones who find the reference to damaged kids a cliché, but are stubborn enough to stay around because I didn’t pull out that one quote from “Heathers” about my angst having a body count? You’ve only got to slog through 150 more words, and that essay isn’t going to procrastinate itself.
Between you and me, the only thing left to say is … everything. Life is a little like the show “Lost”: For every new answer, you get three new questions. The endings aren’t always as climactic as you hoped, and occasionally a giant smoke monster kills your friends. I think.
Life is all about the awkward, unsorted s**t in between (like the word “hi”). Answers aren’t important—answering is. We’re not adults yet, because adults don’t complain about cowboy-themed clubs being crowded on Wednesday. We’re kids, boys and girls, searching out there for whatever answers we can find in this increasingly complex world. Love, jobs, friends, substances, metaphysics, family, aging, existentialism: Don’t even get me started.
So let’s live with the awkwardness for a little bit. Forget folksy wisdom, forget this if need be and just find whatever makes you happy, fulfilled or whatever feeling gets you going. Let the mess accumulate, and sort it out later.
After all, life’s like a box of mixed metaphors: Dig it.
Harry Liberman is a Trinity junior. This is his final column of the semester.