Why I Love HBO’s Girls

*Explicit, frank discussion of sex below*

Hey readers! I hope everyone is still enjoying their summer. If you’re anything like me, you’re spending your free time watching absurd amounts of tv with your cats  having fabulous adventures. Even if it’s just vicariously through your favorite characters.

One of my favorite new shows is Lena Dunham’s Girls. The show has raised a fair amount of controversy because of it’s whitewashing of New York City, and the criticism is certainly fair. TV shows have a responsibility to represent all of their viewers, and Girls struggles in the diversity category.

An accurate portrayal of young New York?

But the show also has a very redeeming quality to it: the very realistic portrayal of sex.

As I’m sure all of our readers are aware, television shows and movies all have this really annoying tendency to gloss over the awkward parts of sex. They make it all seem so easy, like everyone knows exactly what to do, even when sleeping with someone for the first time.

But sex, real, actual sex, is RARELY perfect. Clothing never just falls off (take it from someone who wears a lot of skinny jeans, there is nothing sexy about getting those off), people don’t fall gracefully onto the bed or floor, and switching positions might as well require an instructional video. Sex is AWKWARD (at first, anyway). There’s a lot of maneuvering to be done that requires good communication skills-something a lot of people lack. So I’m always frustrated when I watch a movie or tv show that makes sex seem so easy and flawless. It gives everyone unrealistic expectations and probably makes us all feel a little weird when the sex doesn’t go smoothly.

And that’s why I love Girls. Sometimes (well…a lot of the time), the main characters have REALLY bad, cringe-inducing sex. One of the male characters on the show has obviously watched way too much internet porn, and another seems incapable of realizing that his girlfriend might actually want to be, well, fucked, once in a while. My favorite moment of the show so far (mind you, I’m only on episode 3, being poor and lacking HBO), is when Hannah and her nonboyfriend Adam are in the “throes of passion” and he looks down at her and says “You’re a dirty little whore and I’m gonna send you home to your parents covered in cum!”

You can literally feel Hannah’s discomfort and confusion at this moment. Maybe that’s because any sexually active person has had that moment…when you or your partner does something so awkward that all you can do is mumble your way through it or leave.

Another great thing about these sex scenes is that they’re between REAL people. Lena Dunham is not a size 2 supermodel. Her nonboyfriend Adam, despite acting like the hottest man alive, isn’t exactly Ryan Gosling circa Crazy, Stupid, Love. They have imperfections like the rest of us, and HBO isn’t covering that up. How fantastic is that? Real people having realistically awkward sex.

Okay, maybe not totally fantastic. I’d actually like to see Hannah have good, orgasm-inducing sex. But I think it’s wonderful that a show like this is out there. Do I wish the show had cast people of color? Of course. But the writers are taking steps in that direction. But I also want to focus on shows like this that present realistic images of women, men, sex, and relationships, because this is definitely a step in the right direction.

2 thoughts on “Why I Love HBO’s Girls

  1. Wow-you said you loved it when that douchebag called her a dirty little whore and he said he was gonna send her back to wherever covered in cum?! I-as a Feminist-find that quote APPALING! How could you watch that scene without throwing the remote @ the tv?! Fine-the show represents sex in a “realistic way.” If that’s “real” to you then I don’t know what to say. I bet that quote-if being said to a young girl-would make her react in a number of different ways-and not many of them would be positive. I am livid about how the media portrays girls and women alike-so sexist and misogynistic. I would never support a show that has scenes like THAT in it! Thanks for giving me a preview of this trashy show-I’ll try and boycott it! Women are not sluts-whores-or cum receptacles.. (How that jackass spoke to her sounds like it was taken from a porn film)!

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    1. Jennie,
      I didn’t say I loved it, I simply said it was my favorite moment because it was an extreme example of how awkward and uncomfortable things can get during sex. The first time I watched that I actually did yell at the screen. And if you actually watch the show, it doesn’t glorify things like that at all. That character is made out to be a sexist douchebag for at least the first half of the season, until he actually comes around and stops acting like an ass. And I actually think that that scene was meant to be a commentary about men whose expectations for sex are warped by watching too much internet porn. Don’t write off this great show because of one misunderstanding!

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