Girls: They Are the Ones They've Been Waiting For
If there is hope of such a dialogue, it's most likely going to come from Kirke's world-travelling, sex-loving Jessa. While I hate that the one character who seems to have the least reservations about casual sex is the one in the pilot to reveal that she's pregnant -- sure, the odds may have been stacked against her, but it moves us back a few steps -- her character is a feminist voice of reason at times. Sometimes her thinking and judgment are terribly flawed and upsetting, but Jessa has a sex-positive philosophy that does inspire Hannah, Marnie and Shoshanna to think outside their, at times, sexually repressed boxes, and I hope to see much more of that.
Compare Jessa to her cartoony-yet-hilarious cousin Shoshanna, and Shoshanna's character does become problematic as well. Sometimes it seems that Girls wants us to laugh at this desperate, Sex and the City-obsessed dork, but we're supposed to relate to her as well... or are we supposed to think we're cooler than her, but less cool than Jessa? There's some kind of internal power struggle happening with the character, which forces the viewer to question what happens to the women who actually and ridiculously take Sex and the City verbatim.
There are also other moments when Girls invalidates other women's lifestyle choices. Much as I laughed out loud when Ray's (Alex Karpovsky) young girlfriend who "isn't into eating this week" asked if he was referring to Clueless "the movie or the TV show," the series definitely pokes fun at women who aren't quite as perfectly cool and imperfect as Hannah and her friends. Paradoxically, maybe that's why Girls will resonate with so many women. Because Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and even Shoshanna (as we'll see in upcoming episodes) are all well-crafted and multifaceted, we can relate with at least one of them (less obnoxiously in the way you can either be a Carrie, a Samantha, a Miranda or a Charlotte, I should add), while the other women on the series are those dumb girls we all know and laugh at. Without hating other women to at least some degree, Girls couldn't be as real and accurate of a series as it is. Straight down to Ray -- the guy who is so deep into the concept of capitalism and philosophy that he defends freaking McDonald's -- Dunham clearly proves she writes 'em as she sees 'em, with no notions of actually commenting on this ugly female competition. The genius of Tina Fey's Mean Girls is that it brought the ugliness girl-on-girl hatred to light and then found a way to critique and attack it. Instead, Girls wants to make us feel that we're on the right side of it.