Why Boys Should Watch ‘Girls’
I remember reading about HBO’s Girls when it was on TV. The critics would rave on about how ‘real’ the characters are and how controversial their sex scenes can be. What sparked my interest was the fact that Judd Apatow is the executive producer, and at the time I couldn’t get enough of his movies. When the first season was released on DVD, I picked it up at the store whilst recommending it to my girlfriend. She was always trying to get me to watch Sex and the City, so when Girls was released I thought this would be close enough. It’s all about girls (funnily enough) and it should share some of Apatow’s particular humour. Luckily I was right on both parts, and with the series half way through its third season I am still watching every episode.
You might be thinking that it’s strange for me to be drawn to Girls instead of Sex and the City, when both shows have four main female characters. It’s not the girls that I am hooked on; I find that the male characters in the show are just as intricate as the females. Yes I also like the main character Hannah Horvath, which the show centres around, but it’s her spirited and narcissistic boyfriend, Adam, who draws me in.
In the first season, Adam was portrayed as a jerk and nothing more than a sex crazed lunatic who seemed to never leave his apartment. But as the show progressed and developed, so too did the male characters, particularly Adam. We all knew that Hannah needed Adam in her life. When the tables turn and we are told that Adam actually has true feelings for Hannah, we as the audience start to develop a connection with him. As I watch the show I can often relate to how he feels and acts towards certain situations. Certainly not all situations, but some. He holds a lot of emotions back, like many males. This certain trait is relevant to many men, but as Adam progresses as a character more of what he does and says opens himself up for more men to relate too. In the first season, his main locale was his dirty apartment where he would parade around shirtless working on wooden sculptures.
As he progresses forward through to the second season, Adam begins to deal with his inner problems and we start to see a much more real character who is even willing to step out of his apartment and go on a real date. That is of course after he partakes in the pathetic and somewhat relatable heartache over the girl he proclaimed his love to. Adam has proven to be more than just the sex crazed, arrogant giant that stomped around his apartment. His progression as a character makes the show interesting for the male audience to watch as he is a believable person who we can all relate to some way, shape or form.
On the other spectrum of the male characters is Ray. The oldest of all the characters, Ray runs a coffee shop and hasn’t done much with his life even though he is more than capable of doing so. In season one, Ray was nothing more than Charlie’s friend, not taking much of the spotlight off of the female characters. As the series moved on, and with the withdrawal of Charlie from the show, Ray has made himself known within the show. Initially his character grew through his relationship with the young and innocent Shoshanna, but has now moved to a fully developed character who has become even more prominent in the series.
His attitude comes across as very angry at first. He rants on about social problems as well as his own problems, but as you dig deeper into his character Ray shows true compassion towards his friends. He is a very smart character but is still yet to fully understand how girls act. A relevant trait for most men. Ray’s social commentaries and the way he is very abrupt and truthful are relatable qualities that I can see myself doing. I can sit back and listen to Ray babble on about relationships or watch him bob his head to a Smashing Pumpkins song at a party, to then get angry when the song is changed to ‘Sexy and I Know It‘. After which I can say “that’s something I’d do.”
His vocal personality puts Ray in some funny positions, making it entertaining for the audience to watch. He is a very cynical and judgemental character, which shows through his anger towards many situations. But these traits are just a shell over his insecurity as a middle aged man who can’t really get on his own two feet. This is why I find Ray to be such a worthy character within the show. I feel that this is a very true situation for men, and a relatable subject for those that watch it.
Ray is the typical male in some ways; his ability to be strong and truthful to others is just the barrier that covers his true feelings. While Adam on the other hand is more of the contemporary male; someone who is more in tune with his life and open about his insecurities and complexities. These small aspects further developing the characters are missing within the female cast. I find that the girls in the show develop into contradictory characters. They grow tired of being with men, but when that male moves on and becomes successful, they just want him back. To me, the girls remain the same character each season.
The other main male character, Charlie, who I mentioned before has yet to make an appearance in season 3. We know that he ran off from an engagement, but nothing more has been said about him thus far. Charlie was the normal guy who was in a normal relationship with a girl that couldn’t stand him. His progression occurred mid-way through season 1 when he was dumped and he changed his persona totally; dating a much more edgy girl and not having things bother him which would have before. This phase didn’t last long, but is also a relatable trait to those men who have had someone break up with them. Personally, I didn’t think Charlie brought much more to the show other than his progression in season 1 and the show doesn’t suffer without him in season 3.
Girls has been able to showcase the struggles and the emotions that girls have to go through in their everyday lives, but it’s the inclusion of the struggles and emotions of the male characters that should earn the show even more praise. The title will always make men second guess whether they should flick the channel or continue watching it, but if they stick with it, Girls proves to be a rewarding show for both sexes.
What do you think? Leave a comment.