Monday, March 30, 2015

GIRLS WENT THERE (without saying so)

I've been following Girls since it started in 2012. When I first watched it, I loved it for its quirk, its explication on the twenty something period of uncertainty, its comedy and at many moments, the relationships these girls have. And as a writer, there have been some episodes that really inspire (such as the Pilot, the finale of Season Two "Together, the "Beach House" episode of s03 and much of season four). I won't deny the lack of diversity in Girls as a whole, and see that Lena Dunham as a creator has backed herself into a redundant hole.

But that's not why I'm writing this. I'm writing this because in season four, episode 6, "Close Up" Girls surprised me. They talked about abortion in a way I haven't seen on television thus far. It wasn't an after school special kind of episode, nor was it patronizing or stigmatizing.
Mimi Rose, Adam's new girlfriend, stood by her choice to have one. It was dramatized wonderfully without feeling like an artificial plot device to force a discussion or raise eyebrows. From a writing standpoint, it was well incorporated into Mimi's character arc, and in a larger sense, resonated with the choices (or lack thereof) the other girls were making in their own lives.
Here is a little blurb about it:

Here comes my oxymoron: it was noticeably seamless. Which leads me to question, is this seamlessness simply because it was on HBO which allows more content freedom?


  1. I think HBO is a big part of why it could "get away" with revealing the abortion was done in that way, network shows like Parenthood or Grey's Anatomy that have in the past few years shown principal characters having abortions have always had a counter-point from a loved one who does not want them to have the abortion. Mad Men didn't even have Joan have the abortion she planned on having. Or Jessa in the first season didn't have an abortion because she wasn't pregnant, or was no longer pregnant?
    Everwood is a network show that also did a great take on abortion,and I will also say that Friday Night Lights did an amazing job of showing how a small conservative town could respond to an abortion, taking it out on a guidance counselor. I wrote a paper previously about representations of abortions and reproductive rights, so the network and cable disparities are sticking out to me again. As far as premium cable, Six Feet Under also had the youngest sibling Claire undergo an abortion after an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy. There was nothing PSA-y about these instances, and more often than not, narratives will have characters deciding or contemplating an abortion and deciding not to at the last minute, from what I've seen. It's brought out there that it is a choice, a viable choice, but one that is not carried out in TV representations.
    But the way Girls tackled this, an abortion as a discussion afterwards, was very interesting and unprecedented indeed.It goes back to that first episode,

  2. I really liked how the movie "Obvious Child" handled abortion. The main character gets an abortion, but never considers being talked out of it. I had mixed feelings about Girls's abortion episode. This could be because I couldn't stand Mimi Rose, but I hated how flippant she was towards Adam about the whole thing. I liked the fact that she took ownership of her body and that there was no sappy PSA type scene in which she lamented whether or not she should have the abortion, but I almost wish she had just said to Adam "Hey, I'm pregnant, I'm gonna get an abortion today" or if she felt like it had nothing to with Adam, then not tell him at all. I don't know there was something about the way her character was written that made me strongly dislike her when I should've been cheering her on. I'm not sure how I would've wanted to see it play out, but I felt like her cavalierly telling Adam after the fact seemed manipulative almost. I think I may have preferred to see her do it and not tell him at all.