Tuesday, February 19, 2013

If I wrote for GIRLS


Allow me to channel my inner 25-year-old girl with tattoos and try my hand at GIRLS.

INT. APARTMENT BATHROOM – NIGHT

Hannah (Lena Dunham) is completely naked, brushing her teeth. Marnie (Allison Williams) is taking a shower, fully dressed. Jessa (Jermina Kirke) is shaving her armpits. And Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) is on the toilet. This is where the four friends seem to have all of their meaningful conversations. Oh, outside the door we hear a party going on.

HANNAH: My life is such a tragic joke. I loathe myself every minute. I have now registered so low on the degradation scale that I actually went back to Adam. I guess I should have called first because when I got to his place he was fucking my best friend-slash-slut from high school. Awk-ward! I of course was furious but he convinced me that this was all my fault.  Then he let me stay and watch. Like this was great theater.  I asked if he wanted me to join and he said no but did want me to darn his socks.  So I did.  But things improved. I said, “Hey, how come you don’t fuck her in the ass?” and he said, “I only do that to you.” Like that’s supposed to make me feel special.  Well, it worked.

MARNIE: Booth, that super weird conceptual artist who scares me came back into my life. Maybe the rudest most appalling human being I’ve ever met. I told him to go fuck himself and he said, “I’d rather fuck you” which of course I found so endearing that I let him. It’s just so refreshing to find a man who doesn’t admit to masturbating over how hot I am. Once we got into bed things took a turn for the deranged. What sick guy asks a girl to take off all her clothes to have sex?

SHOSHANNA: NowthatI’mnolongeravirginIthinkIwanttomodelmylifeafterSamananthanotCharlotteorCarrie.

JESSA: Now that we’re married, NOW that lame-o has a problem with my heroin addiction, atheism, and near abortion? My cute phony accent isn’t enough for the douchebag?  What’s next, I should get a job? When we first met and he tried to have a three-way with me and Marnie, that should have been a sign. Okay, it was and that’s why I fell in love with him. But I’m still too fucking adorable to have to endure this shit! I’m too young to have all my abortions with just one man.

HANNAH: Adam masturbated in front of me last night. How intimate. I see us getting ever-closer to a deeply emotional relationship. Now if I could just get him to call out my name while he’s doing it instead of Adele's.

MARNIE: I had this hideous dream last night. I was walking around Soho shopping and there were all these guys. At least fifty. And they all wanted to fuck me of course, but there was this one dude who like didn’t. I woke up and cried for an hour.  Why do these things happen to me?  I couldn’t go back to sleep so I watched SID AND NANCY on Netflix.

SHOSHANNA: CarrieissowisebutCharlotteiskinderanddressedbetterthanCarrieineveryseasonbutthethird.

JESSA: I fucking hate when people tell me to grow up. Like it’s their business. Taking heroin is an adult decision. Having unprotected sex is an adult decision. I don’t know where they get this.

HANNAH: Maybe the world would be a better place if I weren’t in it. Would Adam even know if I killed myself? I would have to use his gun.

MARNIE: (drying herself off) That was so sad about Nancy. But what a traumatic way to go – stabbing yourself? I wouldn’t know what to wear. You have to look nice for when they find you.  I cried for an hour.

SHOSHANNA: (wiping) Samanthahadthehardestlife. Iwouldn’tbesurprisedifshetookherlifeonceherlooksstartedtogo.

HANNAH: Or I could do it right in front of him. I’ll strip naked, point the gun, and if he doesn’t say it’s okay to wash his dishes while he sleeps with one of you I’ll do it.

JESSA: Y’know, I feel so much better having you guys to talk to.  I so appreciate your input.

MARNIE: Yeah, where would I be without all of you and your caring insight into my shit? 

SHOSHANNA: (pulling up her jeans) You’retheonlypeopleintheworldwholistentome.

HANNAH: I love you all so much. (gestures to all come together) Come on. Last-scene-of-MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW-hug.

They all embrace. 

HANNAH: So we're good?

MARNIE: Amazing.

SHOSHANNA: I'malwaysgood.

JESSA: Still, I need a drink.

HANNAH: Yeah, I could use some leftover cake.

MARNIE: I need someone who will love me less than I love myself.

SHOSHANNA: Ineeddictionlessons.

HANNAH: Let’s get fucked up!!

Hannah opens the door and exits.

MARNIE: Hannah, wait! Put your clothes back…. okay, whatever.

Marnie, Jessa, and Shoshanna exit as we:

FADE OUT.

38 comments:

Pat Reeder said...

Bravo! Much better than the real thing, which around here we refer to as "Low Self-Esteem Theater."

Dwight Weathersby said...

That might be the single greatest thing I've ever read. Highlights all the themes that make me dislike the characters so much and exactly expresses why I couldn't get into the show.

Mac said...

That's both very funny and deeply depressing that you could nail it so accurately. There a UK newspaper called the Guardian which keeps punting that show as proof that women can be funny. Of course they can, but anybody with a TV set and a brain knew that anyway - and why they choose "Girls" to try to make that point, I've no idea.

Carl Tyler said...

I watched a few episodes of that show, and was amazed when it was picked up for a second season. There must be something about it I'm missing, because I don't find any of the characters in the show even remotely likeable.

You episode captured all of them perfectly.

Chooch Slackenerny said...

I started watching GIRLS with my wife fully expecting to hate it, annoyed at the prospect of seeing a bunch of trust fund babies navel gaze for half an hour, but the show drew me in. First, it made me laugh. Second, I think it's pretty honest, about the general cluelessness of being in your their twenties and the self esteem issues young people, especially girls, face these days. And third, it truly feels like one person's view of the world. Much like Louis CK's show, it's not always great, but it's so rare to see and individual point of view in this homogenized, focus tested TV landscape that it's a breath of fresh air. Also, how often do you see a woman so ordinary and homely looking headlining a network show? I'm thinking never. And I think Lena has a lot of guts putting her fat little body on display for all to see.

Jessica T. said...

This is great, but for the record, that's Jemima's real accent! :)

Carol said...

One thing - Sid stabbed Nancy, she didn't stab herself. (I don't know why I feel the need to correct that, but I do, so I am.)

Friday question: Are you writing at all for television nowadays? Sending out specs or whatever you have to do once you're an established writer? Is there anyone we can petition to get you writing for something? (I'd LOVE to see your take on Castle.)

Michael said...

I've never seen the show. And having read this version of it, I don't need or want to, either!

Janet T said...

I realized in the first episode when I was cheering on Hannah's parents and their decision to cut off Hannahs allowance that I was not the target audience for this show.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Michael. Not even remotely funny. But then I'm not their demographic. My daughter is and she doesn't find it funny either.

Pam aka SisterZip

Valerie Noble said...

This was an awesome read. I watched the first ep and I too was cheering Hannah's parents for cutting her off. I don't find the show funny but then again, I'm not its target audience. Of course, I watch a lot of shows in which I'm not the target audience and I enjoy those, so...

Gary Theroux said...

I've never actually watched more than ten seconds of "Girls" because any amount over that has been shown to kill brain cells. Fortunately the ten I did watch didn't affect me at duhh uh um dere uhh dough dum-de-dum doopy-doopy uhhhh...

Oliver said...

I laughed my ass off. Thanks Ken! I would hire you on spot if i were Lena! It's no accident, that the average GIRLS viewer is male, white and over 50.

Go girl!

Larry said...

GIRLS has gotten so much attention that I keep giving it one more chance, and I'm always disappointed. (It's not that I can't like comedies featuring a bunch of young women--I enjoy BUNHEADS, for example. How come the media doesn't do a bunch of articles about the significance of that show?)

David Kukoff said...

Spot on, Ken, per usual. "Girls" and "Homeland" are probably the two most award-considered shows worthy of lampooning. Your take on Zosia Mamet's one-note acting was especially great!

Ed said...

Ken:

Thank you for this!

This piece was long overdue...and your posting of it is another reason why you are a national treasure.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you.

Christodoulos said...

Ok, Ken, you convinced me... to start watching MIKE AND MOLLY!

Just kidding. Great sendup. I don't watch GIRLS anyway, because it didn't click for me when I watched 2-3 episodes. Maybe I'll give it a try again sometime, but I really don't like nudity in my sitcoms or gratuitous sex scenes in my dramas.

Michael Maller said...

The only thing missing was the disdain/disregard the characters seem to express for one another. Otherwise... yeah, that is totally the slow, plodding train-wreck that is Girls.

The awards attention has me trying to figure out what it is that's connected with people about this show, but the best idea I've been able to find is a combination of morbid curiosity and some sort of mistaken sense of "liberality:" watching a show written by a woman and starring a female cast, with the central character being tv-overweight. Women doing comedy, no less!

It's Sex and the City, but dumber, meaner, and more derivative.

BigTed said...

Yes, but why doesn't this scene of awful women jabbering about nothing include any people of color? And why doesn't Hannah feel guilty about her middle-class, heteronormative privilege while she's letting losers do her from behind? And isn't hiring the daughter of a network newscaster to be an HBO actress an example of unfair nepotism? And why does Lena Dunham get to have her own show and I don't, just because she created and wrote and directed it? --From every commenter on every blog that covers this show

Future Man said...

I'm not the demographic for this show. But I still enjoy watching it. Maybe because I relate to the low self-esteem and infuriating life choices.

But that's just me.

Powerhouse Salter said...

Ken, what do you make of the notion that Hannah in GIRLS is an update of Diane Chambers in CHEERS? You can read the idea by web searching for "Cheers to The Downwardly Mobile."

Anna B. said...

Funny Ken! Especially since this season Marnie's clothes seem to be plastered to her body. But I hope you enjoy it too. I absolutely LOVE this show and Lena and look forward to whatever projects she gets involve in. I am not sure if it has to do with demographics but my husband and I (30s, employed, parents, responsible types) look forward to seeing it ever week.

Brian Berry said...

This hit it out so of the park I heard Randy Newman's fanfare in my head and then the light bulb in the lamp in my computer room exploded.

Unknown said...

thank you - excellent work now i never have to watch the damn show....

Porkchop said...

I don't understand how Jemima's accent can be real! She was born in England but came to the States at a very young age. Most people who do that lose the accent or at the very least develop a mid-Atlantic one instead...I also have to ask this..are all women in their twenties so eager to be naked together?

Greg said...

It's interesting... your takedown nailed the surface elements of the show, and is funny. Of course, if the point was saying the show doesn't work, it fails. But maybe that's not your point...

It's sad to me that most of the people who criticize the show say "But I was rooting for the parents, these kids are self-absorbed/sheltered, etc." when they don't realize that THIS IS THE WHOLE POINT.

I feel like screaming at these people (not you)...

THE CHARACTERS IN ART DO NOT HAVE TO BE LIKABLE. IN FACT, IT'S OFTEN BETTER IF THEY'RE NOT.

WATCH ANY ALBERT BROOKS MOVIE. PLEASE.

Lena Dunham understands that much of what these characters do is "unlikeable". That's kind of the point of satire. She is both sympathetic to, and highly critical of these characters. It is astonishing to me how many very smart people can completely miss this point.

But maybe that's the tenor of your whole post... simultaneous admiration and revulsion. If so, great work!

Anna B. said...

Agreed!

Mike Barer said...

Never heard of the show, but are you serious about the girl showering fully dressed? They didn't even do that on the 60s sitcoms.

A_Homer said...

I like that you had the idea and the skill to pull it off. Nice.

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Wendy M. Grossman said...

porkchop: if her parents are English then she's likely to have picked it up at home even if she can pass as American from the accents she learned in school.

David Kukoff: Zosia Mamet's character in GIRLS may be one-note, but the character the same actress plays in MAD MEN is very different.

I find GIRLS interesting and recognizable, if not necessarily overtly funny. I am not a 50yo man.

wg

Diane L. said...

I liked the first season a lot. I think if you have ever been a young 20 something woman living in a big city for the first time in the last 20 years, then some part of the series will resonate with you. Having said that, I think the show is limited in that her perspective is small, because as a 26 year old, her life experience is not vast. And her problems are not based on adult reality. But for the snapshot of life it's portraying, I think it's worth watching.

Harold the Sex-Starved Kitten said...

Speaking of gangbanging, can you explain why Whitney has two shows on the air?

Todd Ayres said...

I get what you did there because their quirks can be annoying, but it's kind of a moot point. Highlighting ridiculous 2-D characteristics of any character on TV could yield the same results.

Honestly, try doing that with any show you love, just boiling them down to the most annoying idiosyncracies. It's surprisingly easy.

sschriver said...

I am female, was 20 something in a new big city, but none of Girls resonates with me at all. Maybe because I didn't have low self esteem, and didn't have patience for people who did. I tried watching Girls and couldn't make it through the first show. I guess I just don't find stupid people funny. Watching people stumble out of a bar at closing time equates to Girls for me, and I'm totally shocked that the show is winning ANY award.

Sam's Hairpiece said...

Best. Episode. Ever.

Also the only good one.

Jud Stacer said...

Is this the place to submit sitcom questions?

I have a question about pitching your own show to get picked up.

Traditionally, established writers in Hollywood pitch a series to a network and receive money to make a pilot.

However, as technology continues to enable more people everywhere to produce their own films, some people make their own pilots.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia was picked up in this way. The creator had a manager who got him meetings with networks, but he also wrote/filmed/edited his own pilot ep with some actor friends. They went into the pitch, played the tape and got offers.

NOW to my question. Let's say that I actually did have an industry connection that could get me these kind of meetings. Then let's say I made a KILLER pilot episode on my own dime. If I was able to set up a pitch meeting, would there be any benefit to keeping the produced pilot a secret before going into the meeting?

Let me rephrase it another way. Is there any reason this produced pilot should not be published on the web first, in an attempt to build interest from the general public? Or do networks want to feel they are getting something "exclusive"? I suppose it is possible that something could have support online and for them not to have seen it going into the meeting.

Sorry for the really complex hypothetical. My thinking is that if you can make something really good, putting it out there can never be a bad thing. But I wanted to get an industry opinion. Thank you.