We haven’t seen HBO’s “Girls” yet — who are all these Internet writers who can afford premium cable anyway? — but one thing’s for sure: We know we’re supposed to hate it, for various dubious reasons. Its characters are unlikeable! They’re unrelatable! They’re unrealistic! Et cetera, et cetera.
But of all the anti-“Girls” arguments, there’s one that’s been annoying us: The idea that creator/star Lena Dunham (and, to a lesser extent, the other three lead actresses) only got where they were because of nepotism. Or, as the most popular snarky image meme puts it, they’ve been “born on third [and] think they hit a triple.”
As much as anyone else, we love to pick out the different ways that class privilege messes up our society — ask us about Mitt Romney, please! — but there’s an undercurrent to this line of thought that’s distressing, a drive to shut down the show and declare it illegitimate somehow*. Yes, Lena Dunham’s parents are connected to the New York art scene, and that undoubtedly made it easier to for her to make a feature at 23 than if her parents were stevedores. And Allison Williams probably would not have been cast on the basis of one viral video (and probably wouldn’t have even been in said video in the first place) had her dad not been Brian Williams. But what the “Girls” detractors are missing, is that they still did the work. They still conceived a show, wrote it, produced it and acted in front of the cameras. And we’re sure that at no point in that process did anyone think “I don’t think this project is worthwhile, but I’m worried about speaking up because of what these girls’ fathers would do.”
We’re going to sound like Mitt Romney, but guess what? The feeling that’s driving this whole debate is envy, pure and simple. And here’s the uncomfortable truth: Lena Dunham’s parents are not the reason you haven’t finished your script. The sooner you realize that, the less mad you’ll be about “Girls.”