Ever since Girls creator Lena Dunham released an unusual, inane pro-Obama ad last year, conservatives have trashed the 26-year-old and her show left and right. I've defended her to people in my party many times, as I like her work and don't care about her political opinions, but she pushed me over the edge with last night's Girls installment, in which her character Hannah makes the biggest deal ever about seeing a guy who happens to be a Republican.
Dunham said earlier this year that she'd be happy to date a conservative as long as he respected her reproductive rights, but that Hannah "has this reverse ignorance where she’s like, If they’re Republican, get them out of my airspace, and that was a fun thought to explore [on the series]." Actually it's not fun or funny at all. It's a tired onscreen "dilemma" that makes you seem really ignorant, sheltered, and shallow – not to mention difficult to relate to.
To be honest, it seemed beneath Dunham and the Girls writers to broach the subject of dating a Republican. Hannah is in her mid-20s, not a college student. This cannot be the first time she's ever been attracted to someone with opposing views. And how about not being a judgmental snob and dating someone solely because of their politics? Isn't anyone better than Adam, her other onscreen hook-up who breaks into her apartment, plays with her stomach rolls, says verbally abusive and hurtful things, and has a serious reage problem?
Whether or not you actually like Republicans, they make up a significant portion of the population. You can even find some of them in NYC, and if Dunham's already-unlikable character treats them like mutant aliens to which she has never ever been exposed, people are going to have a hard time understanding her lifestyle.
There's a scene in episode 2 in which Hannah and her GOP-loving hook-up friend Sandy are brushing their teeth together in the restroom. After Hannah makes a really dumb, unnecessary comment about how much she loves boning him, her gay roommate (and ex-boyfriend Elijah) walks in and acts all flustered about the fact that Sandy is Republican.
"Am I not allowed to be in my own bathroom anymore? I don't know how you feel about being in such a tight space with a queer," Elijah tells Sandy. "Are your parents Republican?"
"Actually not ... you don't need to two Republican [parents to be a Republican]," Sandy responds.
"They must be so proud."
Elijah goes on to joke that Sandy is too busy catching up on The Republican Quarterly to read aspiring writer Hannah's essay, and sure enough, the relationship is over by the end of the episode. Sandy admits to checking out Hannah's work, but says he didn't want to discuss it because he just couldn't get into her story. Of course, Hannah ties everything back to the elephant in the room -- Sandy's politics -- and adds that he probably thinks her gay roommate probably doesn't deserve to have a beautiful wedding and that guns aren't so bad after all.
"I think our political beliefs are too different and we should be just friends," Hannah says, telling her friens later, "I can't be with someone who is not an ally to gays and women."
Seriously, Lena Dunham, you're better than this. Don't make this series about closed-minded, lofty, out-of-touch girls who can't believe they're dating Republicans.