aka the off-topic ramble of two TV shows about women.
Valentine’s Day has arrived and since it’s pretty much impossible to avoid it due to social media, I decided to take the high road and face this day head on: therefore accepting that it exists, not being angry at it and focusing on the fact that it could be seen as a day for friendships. With that in mind, and after a two week marathon of Sex and the City, which most likely inspired this daring post title, I figured I’d compare two TV characters who are considered as the voices of their generations – Carrie Bradshaw and Hannah Horvath.
My interest towards this topic spiked after I discovered that Hannah Horvath’s Girls has a much higher rating on IMDb than Bradshaw’s Sex and the City – the movie database usually doesn’t let me down but this time, I have my doubts. For me, Sex and the City is a good show, even though it has some small issues, let’s not even mention the movies, but Girls just doesn’t reach the same level. Yes, I might be a bit biast due to the fact that I have previously voiced my dislike towards the Girls’ creator Lena Dunham, but in order to be less emotional, I’m going to leave Dunham out of this discussion. Therefore I’m simply focusing on the characters in Girls that are clearly inspired by Sex and the City’s famous foursome and discussing the friendship dynamics of the two shows.
Acknowledging differences between the two shows is easy, one’s about 20-something-trying-to-figure-it-out-girls, the other is all about the 30-something-succesful-women-finding-men. Yes, I can relate more to Girls not because I’m in that age-range but because they, like me, are trying to figure out their future but there’s a lot more enjoyment to Sex and the City in terms of feminism and friendship. Having watched both shows, I can’t help to wonder (Bradshaw style), how Girls is reflecting women and relationships to its viewers. In order to understand the difference in friendship dynamics, I hereby present to you the comparison of the four main characters, who represent certain traits.
First, we have The Innocent characters, Charlotte and Shoshanna, who both have the qualities of a classic woman: more traditional, well dressed, reserved, educated. Ironically, Shoshanna’s character is hooked on Sex and the City, making the connection between these two shows even stronger. Similarities between these two may be more evident when Shoshanna hits her thirties and has a career but for now, I would totally believe that she could be the past of Charlotte.
The not so obvious similarity exists between Samantha and Jessa, they, to be totally honest, probably can’t be any different from each other but these characters share one important trait: they don’t give a fuck. In other words, both these characters represent a confident woman who doesn’t care about opinions others have over them. Samantha is simply a much more put together and more successful, as are all Sex and the City women and Jessa, well, she might not care about opinions but she’s still a hot mess and not in a good way.
Every woman has her opinions but the more they voice them, the stronger their beliefs the more they are viewed as stubborn. Now, despite my love for Miranda as the smart lawyer, sometimes her judgmental views on things were a bit too much. Same thing, but on a whole new judgmental level, is with Marnie who is sometimes a lot more annoying than Hannah. Though this characteristic is not the best one, staying true to oneself and actually having opinions is a good thing, just, they should make more sense sometimes.
Lastly, we have the main characters Carrie and Hannah – common factor: both writers! Coincidence? Well, it might be but seriously, how come both so called voice of our generation characters from different times have pretty much the same job? Is it that the writer is the best kind of character to present the ideas and philosophy due to the fact that writers tend to think and contemplate more? Who knows, I just know that Hannah will never be Carrie and I adore Carrie.
The reason Carrie Bradshaw is a much better role model is her ability to see flaws not only in others but also herself – Hannah is selfish and thinks she can do no harm, she constantly only thinks about herself and doesn’t even find the common decency to morn her publisher in front of the widower. And that very same difference between these two main characters (as well as the instability of the other characters in Girls) makes the friendships in Sex and the City much more profound than the ones in Girls.
So, even though some think Carrie’s hair was a disaster and her choice of husband even worse, I think Hannah Horvath is the worst thing that has happened to the current generation of girls trying to create the kind of friendships TV has provided us for years. Sex and the City’s famous foursome is a fine example of different women coming together, mocking each other but still having respect for one another – Girls seems to promote selfishness and bad friendships. Have you noticed lately how little the foursome actually spends time together?
All I’m trying to say is that if I had the choice of friendships, I’d pick Sex and the City dynamics over Girls any day and due to that, I find it frustrating that Girls has a higher score. Fine, Girls represents the flaws in the society, the unknowing present and the future, having no money nor a career, but it also shows us how one character, Hannah, can be so arrogant when it comes to friendships and relationships. Yes, she might pick people up and help them out time to time, but the bottom line is that instead of being united as girls, one for all and all for one kind of style, they are pretty selfish.
And to end the post on a good note: Happy Valentine’s Day, dear readers!0
I’m not sure the word ‘friendship’ even applies to Girls. I saw the first season and it seems to me the 3 girls were simply being punished for whatever crap they did in past lives and they are now forced to spend time with stupid, despicable and profoundly ugly inside and outside Hannah.
I don’t know.. it seems like friendship-based-idea.. why the else would these be even connected if not friendship. They even live together at some point, Marnie and Hannah, so it should apply, friendship, but it really doesn’t…
I would say that was the whole point of Girls, that Hannah is flawed and can’t really see what she’s doing. I’d say that’s more a part of the show than something to criticize about it.
Then again I’ve never watched Sex and the City so I can’t compare, although I think Girls is great.
I just really dislike the show in general, may it be the idea, sure, but it’s that I never really liked the character. For me, to enjoy something, I have to enjoy the character and she was, for me, uncomfortable from the start so I really can’t see myself rooting for her character..
And even if it is a part of a show, it’s definitely something I can criticize ..
I only know that Sati hates Dunham about Girls, but from this, I think I will never watch it. When I think of a show that truly defines a great friendship within a group, I always think of HIMYM first – Sex and the City relates more to, yep, feminism, as you said too. 😉 Great post, man!
Ja head hilist sõbrapäeva!!
I watch it.. just because I need to know it before I say bad things about it..
For me, friendship show Number ONE is Friends! But I just wanted to compare the female friendship foursomes.
totally agree, Sex and the City every time.
I just finished.. Two weeks, 6 seasons. I need help. 😀
Everyone must bow down to Sex and the City. I completely applauded Girls season 1…season 2 was a little less refreshing and season 3 is a complete dump for me. It seems like with the finale of Season 2, the writers had a lot to work with emotionally, but it’s all fallen to emotional cattiness than anything else….it lost that glow from season 1 that I don’t think Sex and the City ever lost from season to season. Great post!
They lost it in the last season of the Sex and the City.. Carrie looked botoxed, not fresh, the issues were less about men and more about them being fabulous, more glamor, less heart.. Carrie’s last relationship to the Russian was also the weirdest thing ever.. I never got that and I hate the fact that the show declined towards bad movies in the last season.. I should have seen that one coming though.