The appropriate response to Girls, a television program about networked mobile digital displays, the nature of freedom, and millions of callow, navel-gazing shits on a halting, fumbling journey toward adulthood, is to press pause and use the bathroom. But today is the 51st birthday of Motörhead guitarist Philip Campbell, so here is a recap.
The only rendering of how it feels to watch Girls that really matters was issued by the Circle Jerks in 1980, when Keith Morris sang:
All I do is think of her
TV screen, picture's blurred
So take it way
Every night the scene is set
I've got to drink to forget
I cannot incur this debt
Where's the gun?
Here's my head
The first thing we hear is the digital belch of an iPhone announcing the arrival of a text message on Laurie Simmons' daughter's phone, because remember kids these days are the Always On generation. It's the woodworking devil-may-care actor; he's sent an image of his semi-erect penis surrounded by some sort of fur garment. Laurie Simmons' daughter awakens Brian Williams' daughter and her bald penisless boyfriend to alert them to the photo. "I'm so glad you woke us up," Brian Williams' daughter says. "This is mental."
Shortly thereafter comes another text from the woodworking devil-may-care actor: "SRY that wasn't for you." Whoops! Laurie Simmons' daughter seems a little confused, and begins to write back. NO DON'T DO THAT says Brian Williams' daughter, uptightly. "You're smarter than this, Hannah."
After Brian Williams' daughter and her penisless boyfriend go back to bed, Laurie Simmons' daughter begins taking naked photographs of herself to send back to the angry woodworking actor.
NUMBER OF NAUSEATINGLY SELF-INVOLVED, PRECIOUS, AND/OR ENTITLED MOMENTS IN THE FOREGOING SCENE: 0
Laurie Simmons' daughter has a job all of a sudden, which resolves the supposed crisis that inaugurated the series in a rather unsatisfying fashion. Her boss is the guy who was interviewing Tom Cruise for Princeton in Risky Business, which was released three years before Laurie Simmons' daughter's birth. He is a handsy boss, and gives her massages. Laurie Simmons' daughter asks her new colleagues—real SALT OF THE EARTH-type ladies who wear heavy gold jewelry bearing their names and have accents and probably don't know much about LCD Soundsystem or anything—if this is normal. It is! He will feel your breasts, they tell her. But he's really nice, so deal with it.
Laurie Simmons' new colleagues very earthily take her in, explaining that her eyebrows are "patchy." Earthy Colleague No. 1 pencils in new heavy eyebrows. Earthy Colleague No. 2—who, as it happens, is played by internet racist and Girls writer Lesley Arfin—explains that sugar is good for your complexion.
"Brown sugar," interjects Earthy Colleague No. 1, who appears to African-America, Latina, or both. "No," says Earthy Colleague No. 2, "White sugar." Make of that exchange what you will.
NUMBER OF PREPOSTEROUSLY UN-SELF-AWARE MOMENTS OF WHITE PRIVILEGE IN THE FOREGOING SCENE: JUST THE VERY STUDIOUSLY TELEGRAPHED EARTHINESS OF THE COLLEAGUES, REALLY.
But Laurie Simmons' daughter isn't the only one with earthy colleagues. The Drummer From Bad Company's daughter is a nanny now. She hangs out with other nannies at the playground and is SHOCKED at how little money they make.
"I'm just like all of you," she says, whitely (they are not white). "That's insane to me how little you make. Personally I'm offended by that. You know you need to tell your bosses that you are valuable, that you have their children's lives in your hands. You know maybe—have nannies ever unionized? [I don't think so but they did organize to pass a domestic worker's bill of rights in New York.] Maybe there could be like a local one just for this neighborhood. I would take a paycut just for the good of the group, I really would. I don't consider myself to be a political person, but when there's a cause that I find meaningful—"
"Excuse me," says a nonwhite underpaid nanny. "Where did your kids go?"
NUMBER OF ENRAGING SIGNIFIERS OF UNEARNED SELF-REGARD IN THE FOREGOING SCENE: 0
David Mamet's daughter runs into an old friend from Jewish camp. They set a date. She wants to have sex. She tells him that she is a virgin. He does not want to have sex.
NUMBER OF OVER-DRAMATIZED MOMENTS OF UNMOORED YOUTHFULNESS IN THE FOREGOING SCENE: 0
Brian Williams' daughter's penisless boyfriend and his cranky friend are hanging out. They are in a band together, called Questionable Goods. The cranky friend is complaining about Brian Williams' daughter. "Someone should just fuck her to teach her a lesson, you know? Just fucking chain her up to a post and fucking fuck her hard." OK WE GET IT BRIAN WILLIAMS' DAUGHTER IS UPTIGHT AND THAT UPTIGHTNESS WILL ONLY BE CURED BY A GOOD RAMROD FUCKING SESSION.
The cranky friend says a number of things self-consciously designed to inoculate the show against its own cloying pretense and demonstrate an awareness that the characters depicted therein are on occasion horrible.
For instance: "It's not adult life if your parents pay for your Blackberry." And: "Of course she keeps a journal. Like all the girls who listen to tori amos and masturbate." This gambit is largely successful.
NUMBER OF EYE-CRACKINGLY RETROGRADE NOTIONS OF GENDER ROLES DRESSED UP AS 'THE WAY WE FUCK NOW' WISDOM FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES: 1
The dickpic thing was too much, so Laurie Simmons' daughter goes to the angry woodworking actor's apartment to break up with him. He asks her what happened to her eyebrows. "You look like a mexican teenager. It rules."
"I don't even want a boyfriend," she says.
"What do you want?"
"I just want someone who wants to hang out all the time and thinks I'm the best person in the world and wants to have sex with only me."
They end up having sex.
NUMBER OF GRATUITOUS AND ANNOYING REFERENCES TO COMMUNCATIONS TECHNOLOGIES: NONE! IT WAS PRETTY WELL-PLAYED.
We're at a Questionable Goods show in BUSHWICK, BROOKLYN which is where the Always On generation goes to its cool nighttime music shows. We know this because the word "BUSHWICK" appears in large letters behind Questionable Goods (or is it The Questionable Goods?) on the stage. All four of the Girls girls are in the audience. Questionable Goods announce a song called "Hannah's Diary." The lyrics consist of quotations from Laurie Simmons' daughters' diary, which the penisless boyfriend had found earlier in their apartment. The quotations talk about the penisless boyfriend's "smothering love" and how Brian Williams' daughter should just dump him already on account of him having a vagina, rather than a penis, which is the thing she really needs to be fucked with, to cure her uptightness.
As the song goes on, the camera focuses on Laurie Simmons' daughter's face. She looks mortified. The camera moves to Brian Williams' daughters' face. She looks...constipated? Crampy?
"Thank you very much for all coming out and everyone have great fucking night," the penisless boyfriend says, angrily.
"Fucking bitch," Brian Williams' daughter says to Laurie Simmons' daughter, tossing a drink at her.
The credits roll over a song in which a lady sings;
I never did grow up
Feels like a never will
My friends are all adults
I'm still a teenege girl
TOTAL NUMBER OF HORRIBLE, AWFUL, IRREDEEMABLY PRETENTIOUS AND STUPID MOMENTS IN EPISODE FOUR OF THE TELEVISION PROGRAM GIRLS: A RELATIVELY SMALL ONE, ALL CONSIDERED.
Who knows why. Last night's episode of Girls was the first to be broadcast so far that wasn't directed by Laurie Simmons' daughter. Just saying.
Watch this space for next week's recap of Girls.
Last week's Girls recap: 'My War'
Image by Jim Cooke