May 1, 2012

The come-on line everyone's talking about, from last Sunday's episode of the new HBO show "Girls."

Hanna Rosin sets up the discussion at Slate:
I don’t quite know what to make of Booth Jonathan’s come-on: “I want you to know, the first time I fuck you, I might scare you a little, because I’m a man, and I know how to do things.” Marnie was touched by it, obviously...
Marnie is the character whose actual boyfriend is so sensitive to her needs she finds him boring and hopeless. "Girls" is like the new "Sex and the City," and Marnie's the closest thing to Miranda — the main character's best friend, the confidante.

The ladies over at Slate go on and on about this line, e.g.:
[L.V.] Anderson: As that scene and others showed, this was the episode I thought Allison Williams' acting chops proved really not up to the task of playing Marnie. She can do annoyed and bitchy just fine, and we've seen that (and almost only that) in the first and second episode. But between the crying scene (when Hannah tells her she has HPV) and the masturbation scene, Williams in this episode was in over her head. I have never seen such bad fake crying in my life, and the bathroom masturbation is the least realistic scene in this show so far. Could I imagine Marnie going home and masturbating later that night? Sure. Can I imagine her SO INFLAMED with lust that she had to alleviate her sexual urges as soon as possible? Not for a second. What did you guys make of that scene?...

Dana Stevens: Not to get too personal, but do any of you know any woman, however hot and bothered by the manly charms of Jorma Taccone, who would masturbate standing up in an art-gallery bathroom while wearing pantyhose?
Allison Williams is the daughter of TV newsman Brian Williams, and what he feels is:
It’s kvelling, pride. It’s incredibly great. Her co-creator and I have known always that she was going to be an actress. So it’s fantastic.

You’re fine with the awkward sex scenes?

Unmitigated joy.
We've been watching this show, by the way. It's actually quite different from "Sex and the City" in that the sex lives of these girls — called "girls," obviously, to highlight their immaturity — is not glamorized. It's actually so sad it conflicts with the humor. One of the 4 girls is a virgin. (She's the Charlotte analogue.) She's our favorite character, played by Zosia Mamet, who is David Mamet's daughter. (I don't know what's with the famous dads angle, but Mamet is a fine comedienne and Williams is... as noted above.)

66 comments:

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Awesome!!

Thanks for posting this. I'll add this show immediately to the list of things I will never watch.

Michael K said...

I'not talking about it. I watched "To catch a Thief" again last night. The scenery is so spectacular. The appearance of Grace Kelly was spiced a bit by knowing the story of Prince Rainier once asking David Niven who gave him the best blow job in Hollywood. Niven started to replay, "Grace...", then was horrified to remember that Rainier was marrying her next year. He finished the sentence "Fields !"

I'm a mental guy, not into soft porn.

Scott M said...

I only caught about three minutes last week in which the main character(?) seeing her gynecologist and telling the doctor that she thinks it would be a good thing to get AIDS. The doctor said something to effect of "you couldn't pay me to be in my twenties again."

THAT'S the line they should be obsessing over. It was brutal.

Jay said...

Further proof that modern feminism benefitted men more than it did women...

Lyle said...

Nepotism is killing Hollywood, if it hasn't already.

sydney said...

It's a replay of the scene in Gone With the Wind when Rhett Butler told Scarlett he was going to kiss her like she should be kissed, by a real man. They didn't have to use profanity in those days to get their point across. (Scarlett's other love interests were all more sensitive types than Rhett, so the theme's echoed there as well.)

sydney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

I don’t quite know what to make of Booth Jonathan’s come-on

It works. Women will chatter away about how they just want to find a nice guy. But its the alpha-cocks they get down on their knees for.

Quayle said...

"Sex in the City"

Now "Girls"

Previewing in 2020, "Lil' Kittens"

Is is Amazing that the purveyors can't see that this seems to be going exactly where all the 'uptight prudes' said it would go.

Sometimes slippery slope arguments are more akin to exact specifications that only need the trigonometric specifications and the static and dynamic coefficients of friction filled in.

Darcy said...

Good call, Sydney. Sounds like we're missing a few Rhetts.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"Girls" is like the new "Sex and the City,"

Thanks for the warning.

edutcher said...

Fascinating.

Really.

First, the title tells us feminism is really dead (and it may have been "Sex and the City" that killed it).

Also, the idea the guy "Knows how to do things" is right out of Barbara Cartland. The idea a guy might be just as clueless and scared is apparently anathema here. I guess they're going to use it to show how the girl was taken advantage of, blah, blah, blah.

But, yeah, if they didn't show the occasional Percy Jackson movie, The Blonde would have gotten rid of HBO long ago.

Mary Beth said...

I'not talking about it. I watched "To catch a Thief" again last night.

Me too! I watched it with my daughter. It was the first time she's seen it.

rhhardin said...

If there's no airplane battle scenes, I'm not watching.

damikesc said...

First, the title tells us feminism is really dead (and it may have been "Sex and the City" that killed it).

Ironic that a show written by gay men about how women "really" talk about sex could kill feminism.

It works. Women will chatter away about how they just want to find a nice guy. But its the alpha-cocks they get down on their knees for.

Very true. Men are inherently results-oriented. If being jerks didn't generate a lot of success, no men would be jerks. It's not always easy to be a jerk --- but if a guy can do it, he will have women begging him to have sex with her.

damikesc said...

Also, Brian Williams?

You’re fine with the awkward sex scenes?

Unmitigated joy.


Does show business REQUIRE anybody involved to lose whatever semblance of shame you have?

That is YOUR daughter --- and you're not only not uncomfortable that she is rubbing one off on film, you're HAPPY with it?

Darrell said...

...and you're not only not uncomfortable that she is rubbing one off on film, you're HAPPY with it?

The new term for women is "rubbing one in." Please keep up.

edutcher said...

damikesc said...

Does show business REQUIRE anybody involved to lose whatever semblance of shame you have?

Not really, but those people either died years ago or haven't worked in decades.

Scott M said...

If being jerks didn't generate a lot of success, no men would be jerks.

A point of order, sir. I have known plenty of unsuccessful jerks. Whether their lack of success made them jerks is debatable, much like success can also make a normal guy a jerk. On the other hand, I'm sure we all know jerks from childhood that are jerks today, regardless of their success.

Ann Althouse said...

You social conservatives actually should give the show a chance.

I think it is antagonistic to the values you think it promotes.

And, like, I actually watch the show.

For example, in the second episode, the girls were assembled at the abortion clinic and some anxiety was expressed, causing the main character to say something -- intended to console -- (not sure if this is verbatim): "I'm sure they've done this millions of times."

Delivered deadpan. But I thought it was hit-you-over-the-head effective as an anti-abortion message.

AJ Lynch said...

I am boycotting HBO after they cancelled the excellent series "Luck" over a few dead horses. Also, there is about a negative 100% chance that I would enjoy any show that Hannah and the Slate crowd enjoys.

rehajm said...

Allison Williams is the daughter of TV newsman Brian Williams

Gives me the feeling there was a three team trade involving Chelsea Clinton, couple of minor league prospects, and somebody eating millions in salary...

Curious George said...

"...everyone's..."?

Don't you scold others for lazyily writing in the absolute?

viator said...

Yet more Hollywood nepotism. Acting chops (and directing, producing, casting, griping, etc) most be genetic skills since a look at the crawls reveals famous name after famous name. Or is this yet another symptom of the American embrace of decadence?

Scott M said...

I am boycotting HBO after they cancelled the excellent series "Luck" over a few dead horses. Also, there is about a negative 100% chance that I would enjoy any show that Hannah and the Slate crowd enjoys.

You know nothing, Jon Snow.

Jay said...

Ann Althouse said...
You social conservatives actually should give the show a chance.

I think it is antagonistic to the values you think it promotes.


Ann,
your take on this presumes the demo this show is targeted toward has the wisdom & insight to see how damaging the values actually are when applied in reality.

I'm not so optimistic.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

You social conservatives actually should give the show a chance.

I think it is antagonistic to the values you think it promotes.


I kind of got that impression, which is why I made the Barbara Cartland remark.

But I really have a problem with these gutter-eye view of life shows.

Besides, I have to agree with rh; if it doesn't have Adolf and Eva and a couple of landings behind enemy lines, I'm going to have problems with it.

AllieOop said...

What a waste of an evening, I'm with DBQ, strangely.

prairie wind said...

You social conservatives...

That made me laugh, though not so much as DBQ's comment.

So you think it is impossible that social liberals would be put off because of the crude sexual references/displays and refuse to watch? I'm guess I'm glad that you think it IS possible that social conservatives would be able to see it objectively if they would just give it a try.

CatherineM said...

In Episode 1, a character had a SATC poster on her wall.

I have only watched the first episode and found it sad (for the lousy relationships) and then annoying for the entitlement. Expecting to be continually supported by your parents and grandparents. The main character thinking it's nothing to ask her parents not to cut her off and support her for the bargain price of $1200 a month.

damikesc said...

Not criticizing the show because I will never see it. Not due to the subject matter, but because I am fairly sure critics would rave about how great the show is if HBO televised a test pattern for an hour for 13 weeks.

It'd take...well, an accident, for me to watch a hyped HBO program.

bagoh20 said...

I just used that line over the phone on a close fried of mine who's a lesbian. She said it made her blush. I think I'm up to bat. Thank you, Althouse.

Darcy said...

LOL, bagoh20

William said...

I watch it mostly because it comes on after Game of Thrones. The sex in Game of Thrones is titillating (tits a lotting, and with midget orgies). The sex in Girls is depressing, but in a very funny way. I don't deny the talent of the writer, but, my God, what a bleak view of human sexuality. It's sort of anti-pornography. It takes real genius to make sex seem this distasteful, pointless, and at cross purposes with any chance of happiness or fulfillment.....I suppose there's a kind of balance to the programming. In Game of Thrones the id is allowed to violate the kitchen wench, and in Girls the superego perches on our shoulders and tells us how seedy and pathetic our libidinal urges truly are.

Thorley Winston said...

You know nothing, Jon Snow.
I think you’re about four weeks early with that line ;)

Scott M said...

I think you’re about four weeks early with that line ;)

Nerd.

yashu said...

I'm watching and liking this show a lot too. I actually relate quite a bit to these girls (mostly for reasons that are safely in my past). I find it really honest, a little sad, very funny.

It's gotten a lot of hate (hype backlash), but not from social conservatives. The hate is ostensibly about (I say "ostensibly" because I'm not sure that what the hate says it's about is what it's really about, but anyway): 1) they're all white! it's a show about 4 friends in NYC and they're all white girls! 2) they're not only white, but spoiled and (as Catherine says) "entitled" white girls! Ugh! Goodness me, how can you expect us to enjoy a comedy with characters who are flawed and confused, often dislikable, who embarrass and humiliate themselves, make such bad choices! (A girl who willingly sleeps with a guy who treats her badly-- who could believe such a thing? How implausible is that? Never heard of that, nuh-uh.)

Both of which make me roll my eyes.

I guess comedy can only be found in shows with characters who are racially/ ethnically/ socio-economically diverse salt-of-the-earth types, model citizens with dignity and self-respect who make admirable choices and lead exemplary lives. "First world" problems? No comedy there!

Jana said...

I don't get the nepotism criticisms thrown at the show. It was created, written, and pretty much completely conceived by Lena Dunham with Judd Apatow. Nepotism? Come on. More likely the actresses were already in Dunham's orbit and she felt comfortable with them playing alongside her, saying the lines and acting out the scripts she'd written.

This was pretty much entirely Dunham's baby. HBO execs aren't known for pushing bad casting decisions, and what, HBO is trying to ingratiate itself with Brian Williams, David Mamet, and the daughter of the drummer from Bad Company? Huh? "Nepotism" seems like a stupid charge to make.

As for entitlement, it's a story about how one can be entitled and then experience the slap of reality. I don't think you're supposed to "like" Dunham's Hannah. She's purposefully not completely likeable.

All that said, after all the fawning praise for the show, I was a bit underwhelmed. Will continue to watch, though.

Jana said...

And I, like yashu, recognize a lot in these girls to which I relate -- at least the 7 or 8 years ago me, before I got married, had some children, and matured (not in that order!). I don't love the fact that I did some remarkably dumb and self-destructive things, but I think this show reflects what it is like to be a certain kind of person in a certain specific world.

AJ Lynch said...

Scott M:

Who is Jon Snow? I will google him. And yes, I am a close-minded curmudgeon with an acute disdain for most things if it pertains to liberal NYC.

And I too, like PJ O'Rourke, wonder why shows like L&O, set in NYC, seem to have very white casts and plotlines [does anyone go to a public school up there?]. Heh.

Mitchell said...

Had I known there were women out there willing to tolerate lousy sex I would have made the attempt more often.

CatherineM said...

Entitlement - maybe that's the reality now, but I don't recall any of my peers being fully supported until they were 24. Even those that lived at home, had to pay rent to their parents and have a paying job. Most of us, when we wanted something from teenagers on, worked to pay for it (babysitting, shoveling snow). I was one of those dumb dumbs, when I was broke starting out in NYC, got a job bussing tables at a fancy restaurant to make extra cash and cover expenses. Or I would work at "fashion sample sales" in Secaucus for cash on the weekends. I didn't expect my parents or the state to pay for things. Didn't occur to me. And it was hard.

The show may be realistic, but I think that sense of entitlement it's a fairly new thing. Am I wrong or am I and all of my friends (now in our 40s) weirdos?

Crunchy Frog said...

Who is this "everyone" of which you speak?

CatherineM said...

LOL Mitchell.

Scott M said...

Who is Jon Snow? I will google him.

You had better google him. Winter is coming.

GoT is about as far from "Girls" as you could possibly get. The one bone GRRM seems to have tossed HBO, in order to get copious semi-porn into the show, are a couple of completely tacked-on gay men scenes, thankfully short. There was a rumor that Renly and Tyrell were bumping greaves, but there's literally nothing in the books like the show is portraying between them.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

You social conservatives actually should give the show a chance.

I'm hardly a social conservative. I just refuse to watch stupid shows with bad dialogue about moronic people.

Michael K said...

"Me too! I watched it with my daughter. It was the first time she's seen it."

Funny, I didn't see you sitting there. We watched it on Blu-Ray and the scenery is worth Blu-Ray.

I have to show it to my daughter, whose 22nd BD is next weekend. When she was 14 and 16, we were there where it was shot. The Corniche road where Grace was driving the Sunbeam Alpine so fast is where she was killed.

Apparently, the area where the Monaco scenes were shot (the steps to the harbor) has been extensively rebuilt.

Canuck said...

"You had better google him. Winter is coming."

:) Winter is coming.

How fantastic is Ayra? I want a kid just like her. She has it all over the girls from "Girls."

Quayle said...

You social conservatives actually should give the show a chance.

Point accepted.

I do sense that the cutting edge seems to now be to contrast things against the prevailing 'free love', highly cynical culture of the past 50 years.

We saw "Damsels in Distress" last weekend at the Angelika, and was amused at how at every turn, when you expected the same-old-same-old turn to cynicism, mean girls, sex is salvation, "aren't we cool" junk, the story never went there.

It led you on then faked you out.

I won't say more to avoid spoiling the movie, which I would recommend for a fun few hours.

But it was the first bit of lively art I've seen in a while, so I can imagine that Girls may well be in that same trend.

Widmerpool said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dreams said...

"Thanks for posting this. I'll add this show immediately to the list of things I will never watch."

Me too.

Thorley Winston said...

I'm hardly a social conservative. I just refuse to watch stupid shows with bad dialogue about moronic people.

I’m nominally a social conservative but I agree with you on the reasons for not watching the show. Ditto for most sit coms and reality television and for the same reasons.

yashu said...

The show may be realistic, but I think that sense of entitlement it's a fairly new thing. Am I wrong or am I and all of my friends (now in our 40s) weirdos?

CatherineM, good question. I don't know to what extent it's generational or new. Like Jana says, "I think this show reflects what it is like to be a certain kind of person in a certain specific world," a certain specific time and place.

Agewise I'm somewhere between Girls and you, and I knew individuals like that-- individuals who were financially supported by their parents through their early twenties. I might as well make the embarrassing shameful confession that I *was* one. You see this particularly among young adults with creative/ artistic aspirations (Hannah wants to be a writer), taking unpaid-internship type jobs, in long-drawn-out grad school, living in ridiculously expensive cities like NYC, with parents who've long coddled them (and if they're trust-fund babies, they've never known and will never know anything else).

Re trust-fund babies, cf. someone like Jessa, adventurously traveling the world with her Louis Vuitton luggage. Then see her encounter with the dad of the kids she's babysitting: a 20something girl and a 50something guy both of whom may never have had a proper job, both in a way lost when it comes to being an "adult".

But I wouldn't say most of my friends were like that: the vast majority (even among those with creative/ artistic aspirations, in unpaid-internship type jobs, in long-drawn-out grad school, living in ridiculously expensive cities like NYC) were like you, not dependent on their parents, hardscrabble at work one way or another to make ends (somehow, barely) meet.

But perhaps today's economy-- Obama's economy-- is something significantly different for 20thsomethings out of college, something different from what you experienced. I'd still bet most kids out there are like you were; but I wouldn't be surprised if there are more Hannahs out there now than there have been in the last 30 years. I don't know. But if so it may have less to do with the economy and more to do with the baby boomer to gen x parents who raised Hannah's generation.

I think the show captured a lot of the real contradictions and ambivalence involved here. Again, as Jana said, "it's a story about how one can be entitled and then experience the slap of reality." You can agree that Hannah's parents are 100% justified to withdraw their financial support, yet still see how this would be a shock to someone like her, suddenly pulling the rug out from an existence she'd become accustomed to… accustomed to in large part *because of her parents* (cf. when she turns the tables and blames *them* for having "spoiled" her: it's funny 'cause it's true).

Yet Hannah is not so "entitled" that she'd doesn't feel shame about having been dependent on her parents at her age. Cf. when she confesses that fact to Adam-- a shameful secret that she expects him to judge her on and even "hate" her for. Adam would never take money from his parents-- but then casually admits that he gets an $1800 check a month from his grandmother-- so he's "not a slave to anyone." Haha.

Kylos said...

Co-creator? Is that what you call your daughter's mother?

Methadras said...

HBO porn at its worst. Why do they bother? Frankly sex scenes have no point being in a movie or a show unless they move the plot forward. Outside of that, they are just gratuitous nonsense.

yashu said...

The sex scenes in this show are graphic-- but so not porn-y. Not titillating at all. Not erotic, but funny and sad. I agree there's plenty of gratuitous sex and nudity on cable, but these are different from any sex scenes I've ever seen on TV. IMO they're not about showing skin but revealing character (very specific peculiar ambiguous complicated things about the characters, especially Hannah).

Penny said...

Feminist Althouse now has a "Girls" tag.

That's entertainment enough for me.

Revenant said...

Is is Amazing that the purveyors can't see that this seems to be going exactly where all the 'uptight prudes' said it would go.

And where is that?

Did the uptight prudes predict that Sex and the City would be remade with better-looking women or something?

CatherineM said...

Thanks for your note Yashu. I forgot that funny line about "not being a slave" while getting 1800 a month from Granny.

I also forgot how the lead character stole the tips when she left her parents hotel room. That was beyond.

I'll try a few more episodes.

Another generational difference I suppose would be having parents born in the late 1920s who grew up in the depression and WW2 who weren't cheap, but stretched the dollar.

XWL said...

Dunham doesn't seem like that common of a name, wonder how closely related this show's creator is to Stanley Ann Dunham (and Lena even has a similar mouth and nose, bet they're at least cousins of some sort).

Tried googling her father to see if the connection has been made already, but when you do that, all you get are plenty of paintings of penises (which makes the, 'your dad is gay' line from this week's episode resonate even more).

Penny said...

"Did the uptight prudes predict that Sex and the City would be remade with better-looking women or something?"

No. But they did assure us that "Sex and the Country" would be XXX-rated.

MOOooooooooo!

Mary Beth said...

Arya is fantastic. Everything about GoT is fantastic...except for my seething hate of Joffrey, but I guess that's really just another sign of what a good job HBO has done with the story.

rcocean said...

Unlike DBQ I like shows with "bad dialogue about moronic people" - I never miss "Meet the Press".

Penny said...

And I rarely miss ABC's Sunday morning show, now that Tim Russert died.

While I get your snark about shows like this, rcocean, I've got to say that they still serve a very important "niche" in my personal political news gathering.

This is STILL how the vast majority of political junkies get their "fix". For that reason alone, it's well worth watching.

What I think you're reacting to is how much stronger the appeal of the "blog fix" is for TRUE political junkies.

TV politics is last week's news for us. We know all the major talking points, and we pretty much know who is going to tell us what we're supposed to "know".

Penny said...

These shows remind me of what TIME magazine was for me back in the day when I was working too hard to catch the nightly news, let alone a before-noon show on Sunday.

It served a very valuable purpose.

I didn't know it all, but I knew "enough".

Methadras said...

yashu said...

The sex scenes in this show are graphic-- but so not porn-y. Not titillating at all. Not erotic, but funny and sad. I agree there's plenty of gratuitous sex and nudity on cable, but these are different from any sex scenes I've ever seen on TV. IMO they're not about showing skin but revealing character (very specific peculiar ambiguous complicated things about the characters, especially Hannah).


If that's the case, then I wouldn't have any issue with them. If the sex scene is used to highlight or show what kind of person this is as a character it isn't a problem for me at that point.