Hannah takes a road trip on Girls

Last updated 10:53 15/06/2012

Girls has been one of the most pleasant surprises on television this year, entertaining (and occasionally informative), even though I probably shouldn't have much, if anything, in common with any of the characters. But I have to be honest and say that last night's episode struck a nerve with me. It reminded me too much of New Zealand.

(Warning: spoilers follow from last night's episode of Girls).

In case you missed it, the episode follows Hannah (played by creator, producer, writer and star Lena Dunham) as she took a trip to her home town of Lansing, Michigan, for her parents' 30th wedding anniversary, going on a date with a local pharmacist, before landing at home in a horribly awkward situation and enjoying a pair of touching moments with her mother* and with on-off boyfriend Adam (the hilarious Adam Driver).

20120615But it was some of the earlier scenes in the episode that made me cringe: Back in her home town for the first time in years, Hannah visits an old friend working at a coffee shop - the friend insists that she's going to get out of small town Michigan and succeed in Hollywood, while Hannah can only stare in disbelief at her delusional buddy, looking down from her "I've lived in the big city, I know what it's like" pedestal.

Later, as her friend takes centre-stage in a painful rendition of "Pretty Girl Rock" by Keri Hilson, Hannah has to bite her tongue to avoid saying something much harsher about how she felt about the performance (lacking originality compared to the creativity of central New York, for example).

These were just the most obvious examples - and this wasn't even really the point of the episode - but I couldn't help but think about New Zealand's "small town" mentality. Like Hannah's old friend, we're always looking to bigger and more exciting places for our cues; often, we don't create anything truly original (and when we do we don't really know how to respond properly), instead relying on what we see and know of the larger pop culture picture.

People are always looking for something bigger and better. Being in Whangarei, I've met people who want to leave for hope and opportunity in the big city lights of Auckland or Wellington. I've also met people who've left smaller places (Kerikeri, Kaitaia) to come to Whangarei.

But then I've also met people from Auckland who still aren't satisfied, and feel the need to leave for the bigger lights and bigger opportunity of some far-off land; heck, we're celebrating exactly that notion on The GC. I'm convinced there are people in Sydney and London who are thinking of moving somewhere else.

The grass is always greener on the other side, after all. But as Hannah seemed to learn by the end of last night's episode, you can find happiness wherever you are. A rendition of some Keri Hilson song might look ridiculous through the big city lenses Hannah has adopted, but her friend was happy, content, doing it for the right reasons.

You can't argue with that.

Are you watching Girls? What did you think of last night's episode?

(*) I'll be going to therapy after that sex scene between Hannah's parents - played by Peter Scolari and Becky Ann Baker. Although, awkward sex scenes might be par for the course with the Horvath family, judging from Hannah's various outings in the series so far.

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12 comments
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david c   #1   11:00 am Jun 15 2012

Ah the small town mentality of New Zealand...so ubiquitous but still routinely denied. As soon as we embrace our trashiness we can move forward. NZ's Next Top Model knew it...where the US edition drove the contestants around in a stretch hummer, quaint ol' NZ had a ... minivan.

Bogan till the end.

johnny2   #2   01:07 pm Jun 15 2012

The mother had a big set of lungs

danny sims   #3   03:16 pm Jun 15 2012

she took a road trip a few weeks back. hannah needs to stop getting nekkid. it's so nasty. especially with the bevvy of other hot girls on the show. she's the only one getting it all out. at least the other girls kiss each other. small victory.

Jessica   #4   04:56 pm Jun 15 2012

@Danny Sims #3 - That "road trip a few weeks back" is this one. Judging by your reference "at least the other girls kiss each other" you are up to date with the USA airings. Enjoy the finale this Monday afternoon (NZ time)

Scott   #5   10:49 pm Jun 15 2012

Size is relative. I come from a town of 3000 people. The "big smoke" was a city of 30,000 that it took 40 minutes to get to. Went from there to Christchurch which was even bigger, and then Wellington.

The odd thing with that last move is that Wellington is actually smaller, but seems bigger. I know others who say exactly the same thing. Wellington just seems more like a city than pre-quake Christchurch did. Not trying to be rude there - I really adore Christchurch.

I've watched some of Girls, and I liked what I've seen. It just doesn't quite grab me though. As for those sex scenes..I couldn't watch..my embarrassment factor went right off the scale.

wazza2222   #6   04:45 am Jun 16 2012

It is what it is! Yes, the grass really is greener on the other side... Cheers Wazza (ex-Auckland now Dubai)

Jen   #7   11:21 am Jun 17 2012

Girls followed by Veep is by far the best hour of television on at the moment.

MarkoPoloT   #8   03:34 pm Jun 17 2012

It's a great show. Even if you can't always connect with the situations all characters are going through, it's very well-written and produced/directed with a focus that doesn't slip, and and a truth that relates to real life. I watched the first couple episodes not quite sure about things - but the sheer quality 'bump' over other television carried to the next show - and the next... Yes, I'm a male, almost 40, and I'm not really a demographic it's targeted towards, but the show is first-rate and I'm watching future shows for sure!! great quality, well cast.. I cannot relate to people who get grossed out by the non-model nudity and whatever - it's always done rather tastefully, and tends to make Hannah look better without clothes than in when she's involved (which is weird... I would totally do her..) This is not a show for plastic, shallow people (Sex in the City was for them) - this is more true to life.

MarkoPoloT   #9   12:46 pm Jun 18 2012

8 comments?? ugh - aren't people watching this show?? it's awesome!!

Rosie   #10   03:28 pm Jun 19 2012

Why do we have to watch ANYbody, good looking or not, having sex on TV? I'm 35 and far from a prude but I've ever seen any pornography, feel uncomfortable watching sex scenes in movies and on TV and think that way too many people are watching it instead of doing it! People need to spend more time fondling each other instead of the remote.


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