“And thank you to... those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films, with women at the center, are niche experiences. They are not -- audiences want to see them and, in fact, they earn money. The world is round, people.”-Cate Blanchett
If the audience of television viewers shifted from the Academy Awards to HBO’s hit series “Girls”, they would find Cate Blanchett’s words echoing in the context. The episode was almost exclusively all female. The only exception was a few scenes with Adam, Hannah’s boyfriend. Encapsulated within the episode was an illustration of women and all of their palpable complexities. The plot followed the impending death of Hannah’s grandmother “Flo”. Hannah makes the journey to meet her mother, her two aunts, and her cousin Rebecca to sit vigil. What unfolded were the sharp emotional pangs of any family: judgment, venomous insults, and an atmosphere of intensity that simmered in truth. One of the great things about the episode was that there were no men to quiet or corral them. When the sisters ranted over who would get certain things when their mother died, the profanity laced attacks were left perfuming the air-unfiltered. Women can curse. Women can be cold, calculating, and conniving. Female disarray and rage can be glorious. Nobody in the episode really got along. The combative nature and aggravatingly aggressive tone of the comments were veined through all generations. When Rebecca tells Hannah “a bar is the place to go with a person like you”, the conversation that followed showed the labeling women ascribe to each other. The unsolicited advice and arguing was not unforgiving. These were merely woman who cared for each other deeply with their level of intimacy displayed completely naturally onscreen. Once grandma Flo appeared to get better, the tensions between the women subsided on the surface.
Many female helmed shows on television are classified as comedy. But these shows are not simply just comedy. Life at its rawest and most truthful form is the pinnacle of humor. Shows like “Girls” express the palate of the human experience. This estrogen infused episode was witty, sharp, climactic, and of course hilarious. Cate Blanchett’s logic expands from female helmed films to all heroine led projects. People can assume that these works are niche but, to quote grandma Flo, “people aren’t always right.”