It bears mentioning that Hannah begs her parents for money only after they abruptly cut her off. No warning, no time to find a new job. The rug is pulled out from underneath her in a way that subverts her expectations of her parents’ role in her life and their very goals for her.
Hannah is doing everything she thinks she is supposed to be doing: she want to college and got a promising internship. While there’s no shame in working at McDonald’s, Hannah is justifiably frustrated at spending four years in college and one doing an internship to earn minimum wage and start her life from scratch, from the bottom. She could’ve gotten C’s in high school and smoked a lot more opium if that was going to be her life path, instead of presumably getting straight A’s/doing community service/high SAT scores/theater productions/etc. All that work was supposed to mean something. The fact that it mostly doesn’t is an ice-water dunk tank.
Dunham is not the first to have this problem. In Reality Bites, still the ur-text of post-collegiate malaise (yes, more so than The Graduate), Winona Ryder angrily turns down a job at the GAP offered by her friend and roommate, which creates a tense, vivid moment of culture clash. Her parents, too, have cut her off, but Ryder’s character cleverly uses a gas card from her dad to pay the bills. When she finally gets what she wants, the production of her documentary, it’s twisted and edited beyond recognition — the reward of all her hard work, at the thing she loves and does best, is that the world doesn’t want it. It’s a moment for sympathy.
To Hannah’s credit, after Episode 1, she stops asking for hand-outs. What her Shell card trick will be remains to be seen.
- calummarsh said: I didn’t think the show even wanted us to feel sympathy for Hannah’s situation—it struck me as critical of her entitlement. Her sudden fall from a position of privilege (and extended adolescence) is comic, not tragic, right?
- charlesdingus said: I think the easily drawn comparison to Reality Bites (which I mostly hated) is exactly what bugged me the most about Girls.
- rawkblog posted this