Remember back in the salad days of Girls thinkpieces, when all the talk about racism and nepotism and feminism was all speculation. People were applauding or condemning the show and its audience before anyone watched it. Well, as the show is about to air its finale, it is apparent that people are watching and having opinions on it. Todd VanDerWerff of the AV Club argued this morning that the show is judged too harshly because the viewers overly masculine expectations for what “good tv” should be like. He writes that the show isn’t given the benefit of the doubt that other shows are afforded:
And every week, the goalposts move. One week, it’s that the show doesn’t depict the city of East Lansing, Michigan, entirely accurately. The next week, it’s that it somehow makes crack seem “fun.” One week, it’s the idea that the show’s “not funny enough,” whatever that means. The next week, it’s the idea that the show’s male characters aren’t well-developed enough. It’s not that there aren’t grounds to criticize this program—some of the supporting players could still use development, and Dunham occasionally becomes too enamored of over-the-top gags—but the series is too often expected to somehow be a perfectly realistic depiction of the lives of young people in the big city, while also the funniest show on television.
Though in reality he might be talking just about the type of dudes who would comment on his recaps because Vulture reveals the majority of Girls viewers are in fact male. HBO estimates that about 56% of the people who watch Girls either live or on DVR are men. Meaning 44% are female, which seems even smaller when you compare it to the 52% female viewership of True Blood. Add in the facts that the biggest market for the show is Providence, Rhode Island and its largest viewer demographic is males over 50 and it seems the perception of who watches Girls differs greatly from the reality. Girls might be about young women in New York but it is good enough to appeal equally to those who are not young or women or in New York.