HBO's "Girls": Can You Relate to a 'Girlfriend' Show With No Black Characters?
1 year ago
New series is considered racist and unrealistic
After hearing much buzz about HBO’s new show Girls, I finally got around to watching the pilot yesterday (I still have to watch the second episode).
Girls is the scripted comedy from 25-year-old creator/director/writer/star Lena Dunham. The show is about three 20-somethings surviving life and dating in the Big Apple. It’s been dubbed Generation X’s and Y’s Sex and the City.
Let me say upfront, I really enjoyed the first episode. (But I’ll come back to this).
Girls received a lot of backlash for its one-dimensional portrayal of young women. The characters are all white and come from privileged backgrounds. Yet, the show declares itself as a window into this generation. It's been called racist (the only brown person in the first episode was a homeless one) and not relatable.
Journalist Toure tweeted:
[ALSO READ: 'Girls': A Not-So-Fly 'Sex & The City'?]
Ever since Sex in the City came onto the scene in 1998 and revolutionized a culture of young woman, Black women have been pleading and begging for a similar, well-written, well-produced show to relate to.
Girlfriends made a fairly decent attempt at showing young Black women’s experiences in life and love during its first few seasons. Then Single Ladies, with Lisa Raye and Stacey Dash, tried filling the void in its first season (aside from reading and hearing about it, I never actually watched the show).
Nevertheless, I couldn’t particularly relate to either series. Yes, the characters were Black, but those women were in their thirties, some already career-established, while the others were fixated on finding the right, well-to-do man of their dreams. I was still in high school (when Girlfriends aired) and college, interning, and fresh on the open-market dating scene.
What I found most interesting about Girls is that I could relate on some level to Dunham’s character Hannah: a 24-year-old recent grad and aspiring writer living in New York and working an unpaid internship, whose parents cut her off financially in the first episode. Mostly, because I too am in my 20’s, a recent grad, a writer of this blog, and have worked several unpaid internships, while still looking for the next step in my career. And up until a few months ago, I was living in New York, my mom helping me pay portions of my rent while I finished graduate school.