I am just grumpy as hell today, I thought as my neighbor met me half way on the sidewalk to borrow our shop vac. I wasn’t grumpy at him or anything. I just felt like venting, but kept the conversation - or whining - in my head since he had bigger problems than me at the moment and I knew it. One thing about me is I am a listener, not really an interrupter or a complainer. When he told me his ceiling had collapsed in due to poor reconstruction from the previous owner, I felt he had his work cut out. I returned to my private cavern to continue watching 6 seasons of Girls on HBO compulsively - which I’ve been doing for four days in a row. It doesn’t seem like much, but it'll be finished. It may be the only thing I’ve finished in a while.
I mean, granted I finished DaVinci code in two days, but that was reading so there was no waiting on the unfolding of story. Still I think for six seasons four days is pretty quick. It took me about 7 days to listen to Tommy Caldwell’s book Push - which was just great by the way. I love books on tape - it is a great way to get more than one thing done at once. That’s me - you're ever efficient asian multi-tasker!
All the tasks at hand are done so it’s time to put the show back on. Is it trivial? Is it “of little value or importance; trite, trifling, frivolous, shallow, unthinking and inconsequential”?
I ponder this as I go through motions.
I see these characters and each one is a mirror - or my reaction to their behavior is a mirror for me to reflect on. They fascinate me. There's Hannah, the main character who is overweight and needy. Shoshanna - your typical type A with a hint of naiveté. Marnie - our beauty queen who not only is a rock star, but sort of turns out to be a rock star hero in the end. Then there's Jessa, our Ophelia, our wicked smart, yet damaged flower child.
The whole thing fascinates: the story, the production, the decision to make THIS character the main character. It’s a new chart of the female archetypes. It’s a new paradigm. The subtlety of the incorporation of mental illness seen yet unseen from he surface that touches all of us adds an unanticipated, now acknowledged layer to the mystery of and uncovering the human condition.
So, Hannah. We're going to stick with her for this exploration to keep things simple.
I hate her. Well, I don’t hate her, I don't know her - it’s more like a combination of jealousy, annoyance, shock, disgust and admiration. To be completely cliche, she is the train wreck that I usually discipline myself not to gawk at. That combination drives me crazy. This is why I had to compulsively watch it - to figure out what this reaction was going on inside me. First of all, I catch myself having this negative reaction. Can’t she see herself?! I wonder. Why did they write her this way?! Her behavior is so petty, so self involved, so unreflective and yet, she’s a writer. I get angry about it until I realize how brilliant the writers of the show, Lena Dunham (who also plays Hannah), Judd Apatow, Jennifer Konner, Leslie Arfin and Bruce Kaplan, are.
Then this odd feeling - similar to eating natto - vanishes and I become fascinated.
Hannah feels like the antithesis of me, but is this true? Let's start with jealousy. Hannah behaves badly without remorse. She does all these things to either push people away (lie to them, yell at them and sometimes physically push them away) or she calls on them out of melodramatic need (she's sick, she's having a breakdown, she's gotten all dressed up and "happens" to be in the neighborhood or she's in the hospital). My brain goes way back to elementary school. I mean its not even high school level drama and she does it so well it comes across as unconscious behavior. This sounds like a huge criticism, but it isn’t a criticism. And I am jealous of her even though I would never want to behave like her. There's like this freedom in her lack of awareness.
I feel they eluded to archetypes in season 1 when they highlighted that huge poster of Sex and the City in Shoshannah’s room. Another show I shamelessly watched compulsively juxtaposed against my believes in Joseph Campbell’s Power of Myth and Carl Jung’s Red Book. Except these ladies were supposed to be our modern version of the archetypes and now we have the classic ideas of archetypes put through the lens of a dirty, poor and mean New-York-City-style-neurosis. .
So, again, it’s trivial, but I tend to over think things. I start wondering, 'What are these behaviors I’m reacting to and are they behaviors I dislike in myself? And are there behaviors I love? Why are the behaviors I love so much harder to see or react to?'
The very first thing I became fascinated with was Hannah’s weight - she's overweight - and I love it and dislike it that they made an overweight girl the main character. This weight issue is a topic which they talk about continuously throughout the show. Also, she is just visually a mess. She's plain, she has bad hair, she’s awkward, she makes funny faces when she’s thinking and, maybe, she’s just like me. My whole life I’ve battled with weight issues and self esteem coupled with zero social compass … not to mention my hair. That’s part of the reason I have no trouble cutting it all off - it’s nothing but trouble plus, frankly, I don’t think it looks that bad shaved.
Now, here I am relating to her. Yet, I know I would be super judgemental and superficial if I saw Hannah standing outside in a smallish bathing suit waiting for a surf board and then not knowing anything about how to wear a wet suit and then holding up a whole class due to her lack of preparedness. Of course, that doesn't mean I’d be rude. No, I'd hold it all inside.
After watching the whole show now and knowing how shallow and superficial she can be, I wouldn't feel bad if I were. Why are we like that with strangers? Well, I guess we’re like that with our friends as well. Anyway, if I saw her standing there, eventually I guess I’d hope I would look equally as interesting. Wait .. is it interesting or "interesting"?
The question begs, why is it so easy for me to be so judgmental and critical of myself? Why do I even care, I wonder, and most importantly is it holding me back?
Hannah, for me, would be what is known as a trigger. If indeed I do have things within me that are holding me back, it will be only I who can explore these things, find answers and change my own patterns while creating new ones that will lead to pathways of success. We all have triggers, we may just not be aware of them. We all have unconscious patterns.
Maybe we all have varying degrees of Hannah in us or maybe we more easily relate to some of the other archetypal characters portrayed in Girls. In the end, I found myself equally as angry at this impossible human being as I was in the beginning. Would I recommend it for a binge watch? Yep. Yep I would. Grab some Ice cream and chips and embrace your inner Hannah.