After ten awkward and unpleasant episodes, the first season of HBO’s critically acclaimed show ‘Girls’ has mercifully come to an end. Each week upped the ante with graphic sex, inappropriate innuendo, frequent depictions of masturbation, and even a golden shower. Basically what we’ve come to expect from premium cable networks.
The season finale was no exception. In her weekly recap, Crystal Bell of HuffPost Entertainment detailed the storyline that featured an impromptu wedding and frank discussions of STD's. Two characters who barely knew each other decided to tie the knot. In yet another example of monogamy gone wrong in mainstream media culture, the unemployed bride had ulterior motives.
So naturally, various critics have cheered the show, gushing about its realism and honesty. HuffPost TV critic Maureen Ryan was one of the most outspoken fans of “Girls” from the beginning. In her original review of the series, she called the show “bold” and “transcendent.” More recently, she praised the relatable female characters of the show, who she said were: “every bit as unlikeable, selfish and confused as their male counterparts.”
Hollywood.com reporter Michael Arbeiter called the show a giant leap forward, declaring it’s “hardly a statement about gender at all. It’s a statement about humanity.”
Ratings site Metacritic exposed a noticeable disconnect between critics and viewers however. Out of 29 critical reviews, only 2 even had ‘mixed feelings’. On the other hand, 36 out of 91 registered users on the site were not fond of the show at all. Out of a total 27 actual reviews from users, 14 were overwhelmingly negative. Featured IMDB critics and users had similarly polarizing views of the show.
Some writers were actually critical of “Girls” – and not just because of the backlash from the show’s alleged nepotism and lack of diversity.
John Kucibek of BuddyTV may have said it best in his initial review of the show. “Girls feels less like a commentary on this generation and more like an indictment on [sic] it,” he said. “These characters have been raised believing that they’re special and that they can do anything they want. The problem is that none of them seem to want to do anything.”
HBO plans to return the show for a second season. Numerous left-wing columnists will continue to praise the show for its ‘brutal honesty’ and ‘gritty realism,’ ignoring the question of what exactly is realistic or honest about a show that glorifies casual sex and bizarre behavior.