Sunday, March 3, 2013

Judy Collins - "Song for Judith"

When people, friends of mine even, say they don't like Girls, I think either they don't get humor, they don't get life, or that they are misogynists. This current season has been some of the most amazing television of recent years, of any years - brutally honest and sincerely engaged with what it means to be young and living in these times. And for whatever reasons it's really hard to go about portraying that these days, that there is either too much self-awareness or too much animosity about people that aren't totally held back by their own self-awareness and instead do something with that knowledge, especially if that thing receives reception in a broader culture, that there is something especially suspect about it in that case. It's stupid to even have to argue these things, to feel preemptively defensive about this show before I even hear whatever snarky comment may be directed its way. Girls is insanely amazing and when people talk about how its portrayal of New York as this very rich and very white place is so offensive, I want to know why they aren't lobbing the same critiques when they are praising Annie Hall or Manhattan, that if that's your critique of the work, what you bothered to take away from such brilliant portraits of what it means to be human, then you simply are an idiot. So it bothers me quite a lot that this show and its creator incur all sorts of abuse (e.g., Gawker's not kind obsession with Lena Dunham) that really seem to stem from misogynist and body-fascist issues rather than any issues with the show. And that's because the show is genuine, that it is honest, that it gets it. 

For instance, from this week's great episode, here is a scene, this insanely beautiful recounting by Adam of a relationship and in what absurd and cruel ways desire and love work, and done so in this very poetic Woody Allenesque monologue that is framed brilliantly by an AA group leader complaining about how no one ever brings cookies to the meetings but him, complaining about this while wearing a t-shirt that says, "Too Many Freaks, Not Enough Circuses." That setup itself is such a beautiful setup, such a perfectly painted scene, but then you have Adam unloading his heart, and it gets so much better:

The group leader of an Alcoholics Anonymous says: "Now, final order of business: next week's cookies. I've been the only one buying cookies for the last three of four weeks, and it might be nice if someone else decided to step up and buy a batch. Aw, come on guys, it's part of the deal -

Adam cuts him off, says: "Hi, I'm Adam, and I'm an alcoholic."

The members of the AA Meeting respond: "Hi Adam"

And Adam begins: "I have been sober since I was seventeen. I knew I had a problem pretty early on but I dealt with it because I didn't want to wait and I knew it would just get worse. I felt pretty solid after I stopped drinking. I stopped coming to as many meetings, but lately I haven't felt so solid anymore. I had this girlfriend who at first I didn't like pretty much. Or, I didn't take her very seriously I guess. She just seemed like, you know, a piece of ass. But, she was persistent, man. And she just hung around, and hung around, and showed up at my place, and gradually it started to feel better when she was there. It wasn't love - the way I had imagined it. I just felt weird if I didn't know what she was up to, or whatever. I liked knowing that she was just going to be there, and warm, and staying the night. And she acted like I was teaching her everything about, fucking, history, about sex, and she didn't know what street Central Park started on, or how to use soap, and I showed her. And I wanted that chance to show someone everything. But she changed her mind about me and it was [snaps fingers] that fast. I'm so exhausted. Okay. And I'll bring cookies. I don't really like cookies that much, so don't get mad at me if I bring the wrong shit."

The group leader says: "Thank you Adam. So Adam's bringing the cookies."

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