Sunday, February 2, 2014

20 Something Girls vs. 30 Something Girls

First off, I am a wizard.

Check out this article about a woman who got drunk six weeks back and broke into the elephant enclosure in the Denver zoo.

Sound familiar?

I wrote about it in a blog last November. Sure, maybe not exactly the elephant enclosure, but pachyderms are pretty close. They're both grey and leathery and gigantic and can totally rip your head off very easily.

This post was made November 9, just a little over a month before someone stole my glory.

I can't decide if I was beaten to the punch or if I possibly inspired and changed the life of an individual.  I like to think the latter, leaving out of my conscience the probable ailments and court date she was assigned.

Just another days work for us at Sexless and Cynical!

Second, today I am taking a break to talk about my meaningless personal life to rant about television again. Yay! I bet you are excited. It is a long overdue post I outlined awhile ago before school hit me like a brick. I've been trying very hard to stay on top of it and prove my worth as an intelligent human being, all while trying to fight the feeling of mediocrity via community college, so blogging hasn't been a priority. You'll hear more about it later. But please excuse the fact that this blog will mostly be other peoples images, because I simply don't have time to draw anything. I'm trying to stay stretchy and also sane right now.

Here is what I'm going to be ranting giving an analytical and open to debate discussion on:
(because that sounds way more intellectual)

Girls vs. Sex and the City

Once upon a time I made a status update on Facebook, as per my usual boring life behavior. This post was about my guilty pleasure and undeniable love for Sex and the City. Someone commented back saying I should just watch Girls, because it is the same thing except with younger women. I scoffed. I didn't care that Sex and the City was an outdated 90s show that applied to literally nothing in my life. It held a special place in my heart.

I started watching Sex and the City on TBS in high school when my mom finally put a TV in my room, mostly because there was nowhere else to put it and it was about 12x12 inches and no one else wanted it. It came on for an hour every night at 10, and I was soon a devotee to the sage-like words of Carrie Bradshaw. It taught me what being a woman was truly all about. Kind of.

The basis of the show is four women with inexplicably endless piles of money* to spend on designer brands of everything and bitch about how men don't like how whiny and needy they are. They search for happiness and true love through sex and marriage all while upholding the true, untouchable "BFF" bond.

I justified my watching of it by claiming that every woman, no matter how "down to earth" she was, had a secret inner need for fabulousness. I'm not the "fabulous" type myself, despite my stunning grace and beauty, but there was a little part of me that always sighed in desire while viewing the show. It filled that tiny space in me that ached for expensive shoes, cosmopolitans, and rich boyfriends in New York City.

Ok. I know. It's basically a complete and total fantasy world. Maybe that is why I liked it. It is not exactly an…empowering show for women. The four main characters, despite what careers they have chosen, act more or less like airheads at least half the time, more for Charlotte, who is more marriage obsessed than the rest. Strangely enough though, she is the only one who ever dresses in relatively normal looking outfits? Their focus on men is a headache at best and screaming at the television screen at worst, along with some really sub-par moments of acting that make even me embarassed. The only character that is bearable is the nymph-o, Samantha, and only because she is crazy. So that is at least fun.

Despite this, I still enjoyed it. It was a romp, I suppose, in a world I'll probably never know. (Unless I get super internet famous and earn piles of money, move to NYC, and can pay people to be my friends).

But the years did pass and eventually I decided it was time to give in and watch Girls, because it clearly wasn't going away and I needed something new to watch. I got over my laziness and scrounged up the links online and sat through all 20 episodes, which was peanuts compared to the nine? seasons of Sex and the City, plus two movies, that I had seen all of which multiple times before. So this might not be the most thorough of comparisons.

Everyone makes this comparison though, right? Girls and Sex and the City. OooOoOh the controversy. I'm sure I'm breaking new ground here.

As stated on the Girls wikipedia page, which I looked up because I'm such a legit writer I do my research. On wikipedia. Apparently Girls was inspired by Sex and the City, mainly by the women striking out and trying to "make it" in NYC thing. Girls aimed to fill the gap in between being the rich teenagers of Gossip Girl and the rich 30 something women of Sex and the City by being broke 20 year olds. How that works, I'm not sure. The point is, the show is aware of the ties. In the very first episode there is a little nod to SatC, both highlighting the comparison but also blatantly trying to separate itself as a production. What it said to me was "We know about Sex and the City. And we know we are similar. But in fact, we are different."

That seems to be a central theme surrounding the main character, Hannah, in fact. How different she is. She's overweight and weird and so artsy and writer-y that it makes my head want to explode. She is basically like every illustration major I've ever met. As the show progressed I couldn't help but get that little itch in the back of my mind that there was something I did not like about it. It wasn't the writing. At times it could be very poignant and beautiful, which was a deep contrast to Sex and the City, where the writing was more or less an afterthought between sexual innuendos. The stories were fine, and the characters were complex enough I suppose. And then I hit episode 5 of season 2, where Hannah shacks up with this stranger she randomly meets for a couple of days, and well, obviously it doesn't end in happily ever after. Mainly due to the fact that she gives this long speech that makes the guy think twice about her. I don't blame him, either. It made me pretty irritated.

Here is more or less the transcript, because I couldn't find the scene on youtube: 

"Please don't tell anyone this, but...I want to be happy. ... I didn't think that I did. I made a promise such a long time ago that I was gonna take in experiences, all of those, that I could tell people about them and maybe save them but it gets so. tiring. Trying to take in all the experiences for everybody, letting anyone say anything to me. 

I realize I'm not different. You know. I want what everyone wants, I want what they all want. I want all the things. I just want to be happy. 
Something is broken inside of me. 

You know what I think I didn't realize before I met you that I was like, lonely. In such a deep, deep way. You know and I was reaching for all this stuff but all I really needed was to be able to look at a person and be like "oh that person wants to be there after I'm dead," you know?

You think I'm a crazy girl? 

If anything I just think I'm like, too smart and too sensitive and too like, not crazy. So that I'm feeling all these big feelings and containing all this stuff for everybody else and it's like... Ok I read this article about Fiona Apple in New York Magazine and where she said, "Oh everybody acts like I'm nuts. I'm not nuts, I just want to feel it all." It's like that is what I'm like, I just want to feel it all. You know? "

These people, the main character especially, are so wrapped up in themselves. It's all about them. And their needs. Every time they have to be supportive for someone else they complain and say "People just need me all the time and I can't do everything for everyone all the time! Blahblahblah."

This show is clearly aiming to give a more realistic portrayal of the young woman of New York City. I suppose women with less money is honest, sure. And maybe they aren't quite as sex and relationship obsessed, by you know, having conversations not about men once in awhile. But christ! These characters aren't airheads, no, but their heads are still up their asses. "I'm too smart and too sensitive" Please. Just stop. You have people looking to this show and this quote like it's actually a good thing to feel that way. At the end of season one/beginning of season two, Hannah dumps the guy she's been chasing for an entire season because she's "afraid." When he tells her "We're all afraid," she responds, "Yea, but I am more afraid than everyone else."

At least when Sex and the City has it's earnest moments, they have a sort of purity to them. That makes us not want to completely slap characters upside the head. The acting isn't great, but at least she isn't ignorant about other peoples feelings.

THIS is why I don't like the show. The characters are all selfish and unrealistic as human beings. Just LOOK at Shoshanna for goodness sakes, and tell me real people act like that.

Ok but I do kind of love her just like I love Samantha.

Maybe there is a rawness to the lives they live, but that doesn't make it real. Maybe there is some very eloquent and poetic scripting at times, but it all still exists in the magical fantasy land of NYC, where people only move to so that they can be broke and wish for their dreams to come true their whole lives. IF they do, their heads just go right up their asses because somehow they've "made it" in NYC and can afford an apartment bigger than a toenail and that makes them better than the rest of us, who prefer to not follow our dreams and live in homes with room to do cool stuff like make pillow forts and have crazy dance parties to 90s pop.

Or perhaps I don't like the selfishness and dysfunction of the characters because it is so realistic, and I don't like facing the truth of reality. The truth that people are self absorbed and sad all the time. Maybe I don't want to admit it displays a reflection of who I am and I just don't like who I am.

Or maybe I just think these 20 something Girls are kind of stupid, just like the 30 something girls of Sex and the City, but with less exciting and romantic plot lines.

So, in conclusion, my overall assertion is that both shows exist is magical fantasy lands where women have inflated heads and are full of shit and care too much about men and wear really weird fucking clothes. Like what the fuck? People don't dress like that.

I prefer the over the top, sickly sweet shows about women and lives so far out of reach we don't have to despise them, but that is just me.

And now this, because I think it's funny:

*Not counting those few episodes where a writer realized that the main character, Carrie, writes a single column in a newspaper for a living in one of the most expensive cities in the world and still manages to live a high end lifestyle, so they put "money problems" in as a plot device, but then forgot about it after a few episodes when the conflict had run its course just like every other relationship Carrie has. 

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