The second season of Girls began last week. I have not watched it yet, though I intend to, because as much as the show annoys me, there’s something about it that also intrigues me (and also I genuinely liked the episode where they all went to Bushwick for that awful party).
I also heard that Donald Glover was on the show, and apparently, according to reviews, this means that Girls has solved ALL of its diversity problems and now the writers should be given a Congratulations for Not Being Racist (Anymore) medal.
I posted this status update on my Facebook page: “The only thing more smug than the show Girls is the horde of people who tell you you clearly don’t GET the show Girls if you don’t like it.”
And then this conversation ensued with a friend of mine, who is black, male, and also a former classmate of Lena Dunham’s. Conversation re-published with his consent.
Him: THAT’S THE POINT THEY ARE CLEARLY AWARE OF EVERYTHING YOU THINK SO THEY’RE AHEAD OF YOUR THOUGHTS.
Me: THEY ARE THE THOUGHT POLICE.
Him: BUT THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE GIRLS UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING THE CHARACTERS ARE INSUFFERABLE BECAUSE THEY ARE REAL, THEY ARE SO REAL, THEY ARE THE REALEST.
Me: Every woman in her twenties I know steals from housekeeping and has nothing interesting to say about anything ever! And every man in his twenties I know is a borderline misogynist creep!
Him: It’s so real. You don’t even. You don’t even. So real.
Me: Realer than ACTUAL REAL LIFE. Also, did you know Donald Glover is on this season as a black Republican? Black Republicans are *edgy.*
Him: I did know. And he was meta because he called Hannah out on her shit and people were like SEE NOW NO MORE CRITICISM EVER.
Me: “But what about the fact that the show’s about women and we still don’t have any women of color” “LA LA WE CAN’T HEAR YOU DONALD GLOVER BLACK REPUBLICAN YOU LIKE COMMUNITY SO SHUT IT.”
And that was basically it.
I have not yet watched the beginning of the second season of Girls, and I don’t know how the conversation between Hannah and Sandy went down. Maybe it really was an enlightening, interesting conversation about race.
But on a surface level, I fail to see how casting Donald Glover to play a temporary love interest of Hannah’s is any different from 2 Broke Girls hiring a Hot Asian Guy to play a temporary love interest of Caroline’s.
“We’re getting criticized for lack of diversity and/or stereotyping – quick, let’s throw in a POC love interest for our female lead to bone! That solves everything!”
I think Sex and the City had a similar plot once, where Samantha dated a black guy, and it was all about how reverse-racist the black guy’s sister was on not wanting her brother to date a woman. And from what I’ve heard, the black character on Girls is almost immediately called out on his Republicanism and therefore intolerance of gay marriage.
I’ll withhold judgment of the Girls scenes until I watch them myself, but my gut reaction is to say that the very idea of a black Republican is not as inherently funny as people seem to think it is. And also, if your show has been criticized for its lack of meaningful diversity, and the very first character to be called out on his bigotry is also the first person of color with anything close to a meaningful role, then I have to say that UR DOIN DIVERSITY WRONG.
Okay, so that’s not withholding judgment at all. Tell you what: when I do watch the episode, I’ll give an honest critique of it.