The ‘Girls’ Online Fandom Revival Was Bound to Happen

11 months ago 483

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/HBO

A decade ago, when Girls had just debuted on television and an entire media subdivision emerged to cover the frailties and shortcomings of Lena Dunham, I settled into the first season with a few college friends, determined to see what all the fuss was about. This was the total apex of Girls mania: a time when this unassuming HBO series could induce blind rancor, giddy acclaim, and a bizarre, ambiguous bitterness in all those who came near it.

One of my friends at the screening was especially stricken with a strong anti-Dunham sensibility, and she looked on with a taut, curdled glare—just waiting for something to piss her off. Her wish came true in the pilot episode when Hannah (played by Dunham) swills some opium tea and rolls up to her wealthy parents’ house, lost in a dangerous high. She tells them, hilariously, that she believes herself to be the voice of her generation. My friend had finally confirmed that Girls was out-of-touch, vain, elitist, and oppressively New York, and she gleefully hate-watched the next batch of episodes.

In retrospect, anyone who digested that line at face value was clearly missing the point. Dunham’s character—a privileged, headstrong art-school scion, who has never worked a day in her life—is absolutely the sort of person that succumbs to wild swings of unchecked narcissism. (In other words, the scene was not meant to flatter Hannah.) But this criticism was par for the course during the age of Girls. It became a show that kicked up so much ridiculously overheated discourse, it became almost impossible to watch without being in the thrall of long-forgotten Gawker and Grantland takes of yore (some merited, others barely legible).

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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