February 9, 2013 by Ian Goldstein
In creative writing it’s not ideal to have your characters say what they are thinking. It’s good to have an upsurge of emotions in a tense atmosphere with people who are afraid to say what they really mean. Eventually the characters reach a breaking point and explode in a fit of rage, irrational judgments and leave emotions lying everywhere.
Last week Kareem Abdul-Jabbar posted his thoughts on Girls. It went viral; the Internet liked seeing an NBA legend speak his mind. It was a nice contrast to the vast amount of PED stories muscling their way around the internet from our sports heroes.
“Girls Just Wants to Have (White) Fun” left readers intrigued and confused. Kareem writes eloquently? Kareem analyzes television? Kareem…watches Girls? Yes, yes, and of course. His main critique of Girls was how it is attempting to be a voice of a generation when really the characters are “too self-conscious, too cutesy, and not that funny.” He had some positive points on how its male characters are more interesting than the girls and that “Girls’ heart and mind is in the right place,” but the 7’2 inch legend expected more.
Kareem’s article offered a side of him we don’t see. He spoke on a subject unrelated to what he’s known for. He critiqued Girls as if he was rooting for the show, listing the problems he’d like Dunham to fix. He spoke his mind.
If you’re invested in the eponymous characters of Girls then Kareem’s critique may have made you livid you or maybe it excited you like it was a Wednesday night. In the most recent Girls episode, “It’s A Shame About Ray,”—which aired this past Sunday on HBO—each character had a lot to think about, and in turn, a lot to say.
Here’s this week’s say-what-they-mean moments from Girls:
Jessa is the Kareem of this episode; she quantifies the most forthright, honest, spiteful words. When meeting with Thomas- John’s parents, she doesn’t want to pretend the way most significant others would when meeting the in-laws. She sees his mother’s uptight manner and she attacks.
She tells his parents why she dropped out of school: to go to rehab…for her heroin addiction, much to the chagrin of Thomas-John and his mother. His blissfully unaware father thanks the lord that heroin didn’t harm her face or body.
Jessa:”I wish there was a lord, but I know there isn’t.”
Shoshanna recollects the days, nights, weeks Ray has stayed with her and in her perplexed state, she realizes she is in love with an older man who is currently homeless. Her confusion becomes surprised anger.
Shoshanna: “…do you live with me!?”
Shoshanna will say what she means when she figures exactly what her brain is shouting out for her to connect. But it takes take a while.
When Audrey realizes Marnie still has feelings for Charlie.
Audrey: “I’m tired of being polite. You’re a…Stepford psycho. I’m tired of seeing you around everywhere.”
Hannah is unable to choose whether to throw out Marnie or Audrey from her apartment.
Hannah: “I didn’t think you’d show up since you so recently double crossed me.”
Marnie: “Grow up.”
The episode ends with Hannah splashing water on Jessa in the bathtub. Jessa contains her crying and laughs. They’re children—lost, uncertain, and scared. But they speak their minds. After biting their tongues, each character breaks the politically correct barrier: Jessa can’t be uptight for Thomas-John anymore; Shoshanna loves a homeless man; Hannah will hold her grudge against Marnie and Andrew; Marnie despises Hannah’s indecisiveness and uncertainty. Maybe that’s more of what Kareem wanted, the girls saying what they’re thinking, to represent a generation of kids who don’t know what they want or how to feel.