Friday, June 8, 2012

Guest Columnist Bananasuit Embraces Lena Dunham''s Girls / Friday Scenester Pick: Hospitality at Jackpot

Sure, Chip has rather loud and boorish opinions on almost everything, but certain cultural phenomenons cry out for a woman's touch, and on those occasions we often find ourselves turning to LFK's most prominent sexy librarian / third wave feminist Bananasuit.  Her last column was a penetrating exploration of the #KUboobs phenomenon (reread it here ), and today she stops by to consider Lena Dunham's new HBO series Girls, which has sparked much debate recently, with online eggheads tossing around terms like "hipster racism" and snarky male talkbackers attacking Dunham's (often-naked) body image. 

Enjoy the piece!

Ladies of Larryville: your days of waiting for an actually funny female sitcom are finally fucking over.

HBO's new comedy, Girls, has been described as the hipster "Sex in the City": four girls living in New York, dishing about sex.  This comparison is shit, and the only reason it stands is because no one else has really thought of producing viable sitcoms told from a group female POV.  Girls is as much Golden Girls as it is Sex and the City.

So if it's not Sex in the City, what the hell is it?  Girls is the brainchild of the hilarious 25 year old Lena Dunham, who wrote, directed, and acted in the indie film "Tiny Furniture" last year.  This movie caught Judd Apatow's eye, who then reached out to Dunham to ask if he could help her with any projects.  Thus: Girls.

Dunham writes and stars in Girls, too, as Hannah, the unemployed aspiring novelist living in Brooklyn with her girl friends Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna (brilliantly played by David Mamet's daughter Zosia).  The brilliance of Girls lies in its fearless weirdness -- there are no other sitcoms out there that are doing what Girls is doing.  Any white hipster girl who went to a tiny liberal arts college will recognize herself here somewhere, in ways no other sitcom has ever achieved before: in "Vagina Panic,"  throwing an abortion party and worrying about "the stuff that comes up around the edges of condoms."  Making out with her girl friend in front of the asshole who pays for their martinis at a cheesy bar.  Having her boobs massaged at work by her portly middle-aged boss.  Getting peed on in the shower by the artsy, unavailable "guy she's seeing."  Accidentally smoking a crack pipe at the hipster warehouse party (I admit nothing).

Where Sex and the City was a reductive fantasy of femaleness, reducing its characters to caricatures of the "bitchy one," the "prudish one," the "sexy one," and the "everyone," Girls fleshes these women out and gives them depth: scathing wit, power, complexity, vulnerability.  And just enough tits to make a third wave feminist proud.  Marnie isn't just a bitch -- she's stunted by her fear of giving up control as a young professional woman making her way in a chaotic recessionist economy.  Shoshana isn't just a prude -- she's an adorable spaz who just wants to get deflowered already although she can't find any guys who'll have sex with a virgin.  Jessa isn't just a sexpot -- she's got a darkness and a sadness that you'll glimpse occasionally if you're really paying attention.  And Hannah -- ohhh, Hannah.  I don't know whether Hannah quite qualifies as an "everyone," but she definitely qualifies as a "me."

Lena Dunham is brilliant, much like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, Carrie Brownstein and Diablo Cody are all totally fucking brilliant.  They're capitalizing on the entertainment industry's discovery that it's actually profitable to produce funny stuff for ladies, by ladies.  Well played, Paul Feig and Judd Apatow.

So girls: go watch Girls.  Tell me all about it.  We'll let the boys watch, too, if they want.

Here's a pic of Shoshanna during one of the show's (many) awkward sexual encounters:

We'll be having a big damn time time at the Granada tonight with Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band (reread our interview ), but there are other options as well for those of you who are too hip for washboards and overalls.

You may not always realize it, but the Jackpot still has shows, and tonight they have one that's scenester-approved.  Hospitality is based in Brooklyn, Pitchfork gives their self-titled 2012 album a 7.4, and their video for "Friends of Friends" stars the gal who plays Maeby Funke on Arrested Development (watch it here ).  This band would be right at home in an episode of Girls (we predict they'll be on the soundtrack soon if they haven't been already).  Also, lead singer Amber Papini is a KC native.

Sure, we've written about Hospitality before:  reread that piece here for a full dose of blurbs about the band, such as this one from Rolling Stone:

"Synth doodles and squeaky-cutesy vocals abound on this Brooklyn trio's aggressively adorable debut. But Hospitality have more to offer than mere sweetness: Check how the wistful ballad "Eighth Avenue" left-turns into a spastic guitar outburst, like Tom Verlaine crashing a Belle and Sebastian session."

Here's the album cover:

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