Cultural Commentator

My Life Got Simpler When I Stopped Watching ‘Girls’

Cultural Commentator

My Life Got Simpler When I Stopped Watching ‘Girls’

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I missed last night’s Girls finale. Missed the whole season, in fact. This wasn’t due to any particular choice, it just so happened that after the first episode of the second round premiered, I had no urge to torrent it, convert it for use on my DVD player, and watch it on my incredibly fancy $40 TV. (That’s right—it’s a Trinitron.) The fact is, I just don’t like that show, and I’ve spent the last seven or eight months trying to puzzle out why.

There’s no good reason for me to dislike Girls. The show is funny, well-made, and occasionally features Chris O’Dowd. It’s about a place where I live and characters that are like people that I know. And Lena Dunham is ungodly talented—as a writer, but as an actor too. The show is sickening in a way that I like my television—sickening like Curb, like the British Office, like Peep Show—and yet it leaves me cold. The best answer I can come up with is a cop out, but a beautiful cop out, a cop out so elegant and wonderful that you will thank me for sharing it with you. Why did I lose interest in Girls?

Because I hate its stupid face.

It’s a wonderful phrase, isn’t it? I coined it in the run-up to the Oscars, when I was trying to explain to someone why I can’t stand Bradley Cooper. I ran through all the usual reasons—he’s not much of an actor, he always plays jerks, blah blah blah—and I finally realized that I was dancing around the fundamental issue. My distaste for Cooper’s work has nothing to do with the work itself. It’s completely irrational. There’s no good reason for it. I just hate his stupid face.

It works for any pop culture figure whom you dislike and can’t sort out why. Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, James Franco, the dude from LMFAO? I hate all of their stupid faces. (Though not as much as I hate Bradley Cooper’s.) Because it’s an admittedly bad reason, because it wears its irrationality on its sleeve, it’s impossible to argue with. Try it out!

Does this mean I hate Lena Dunham’s stupid face? No. Her face is fine. She doesn’t really bother me at all. And her show has a lot to like about it. And yet, for no reason at all, I can’t watch it. It makes me angry, and that anger makes me confused. I’ve got no good answers. I just hate its stupid face.