I’m worried about the white people. It happens every so often. They’re attacked for that which they cannot help—their whiteness—and that which they can help—their whiteness. Since Lena Dunham’s new project, “Girls,” premièred on HBO a few weeks back, black journalists, women of color, and any number of blogologists have weighed in on the show, citing the great discrepancy between their concerns—the rightful representation of people of color—and what Dunham’s show actually reflects: her concerns.
While New Yorker writer Hilton Als plays the "Best Black Friend" role by empathizing with Dunham's day-to-day travails of unbearable whiteness, I can't be bothered to care for Dunham's myopic introspection into a relatively sheltered life and perspective that many wish they could dive head-first into.
I didn't know what to make of HBO's latest foray into post-hipster television. At first, the show was worthy of being dismissed as just another vapid "Pretty White People with Problems" show. Kinda like "Sex in the City," sans sunspots and the overwhelming aroma of desperation. Turns out it's a self-absorbed showcase of the latest in "mumblecore," apparently defined as a bunch of twenty-somethings with self-induced "problems" that turn out to not be problems after all.
Many black American bloggers were miffed about "Girls" being rather...mono-cultural in a sense. Once you realize that this is all going on through the eyes of people encased in their own sheltered, privileged bubbles, it starts to make lots of sense. As far as they're concerned, people who are not "like them" rarely exist outside of "[ethnic] best friend" or other utilitarian scenarios.
So Als feels that Dunham has no obligation towards a true representation of the environment surrounding "Girls" and is instead entitled to portray her immediate NYC surroundings the way she wants. Fair enough. Too bad most people just don't relate to the whitewashed environs in which the characters move about.
Despite epic amounts of cheerleading from Jezebel and other online venues, most people just aren't feeling this show. It seems, for the lack of better words, fake. Many people know what it's like to live as a twenty-something struggling in NYC, but not the way it's portrayed in "Girls."
Eileen Jones of The Exiled skewers and roasts the show on a spit. One of the comments from that article puts it all in perspective:
Of course we know 20 something, white females, are not the only group of people living in NYC. But I am glad to see a show that focus on this demographic. Everything show does not need to appeal to every group of people in the world, that’s not the point.
Ever notice how some people whine about a show focusing on a black demographic requiring the inclusion of a white perspective? Keep this in mind whenever they start up a rant on that front.