Because Girls leaves a lot to be desired.
If you finished Season 3 of Girls last night, you might have been left with a tear-filled sour taste in your mouth. Hannah and Adam might be breaking up, Marnie is dismantling yet another relationship, Jessa is assisting someone's suicide, and Shosh won't graduate on time. The last shot of "Two Plane Rides" is Hannah alone in her apartment, smiling at herself, gripping her grad school acceptance letter close to her chest. We're left to think that true happiness, if ever achieved, is found in the celebration of our own success and not others', including that of our very best friends.
The entire season was an increasingly caustic and solipsistic journey into the lives of not only white urban twentysomethings, but the institution of female friendship in its entirety. Are women as competitive, self-serving, and negligent of their supposed friendships as Hannah and Marnie would lead us to believe (or, put another way, are women really just acting like a bunch of selfish, gossipy little girls)? At one point during this sad trombone of a season, Shoshanna even deems her friends "a bunch of fucking whiny nothings.” It's hard to disagree with her.
Dunham's artistic aim was never reaching for the aspirational happy-go-lucky friendships of Sex and the City or the you-go-girls of a Nancy Meyers film. "I feel like a lot of the female relationships I see on TV or in movies are in some way free of the kind of jealousy and anxiety and posturing that has been such a huge part of my female friendships," she told Interview Magazine. While a bit of unsavory verisimilitude is what we have come to expect from Girls as a whole, Hannah and her guild might live in a world that's too bleak, too girl-eat-girl.
It leaves real, constructive friendships — the kind women live in real life — out of the picture. Where is the charm, the bonding, the inertia and sustenance behind these soromances? As an antidote to the Girls whiny nothings, here are some female-friendly television shows currently airing that, while not perfect, aren't nearly as exhaustive or desperate in their take on female friendships. Cue up your Netflix or turn on the tube, because here are some ladies who have refreshingly mastered the complex way women can care for other women.
If you haven't watched Broad City yet, do it immediately. It is delicious, hilarious, and unapologetically absurd (not to mention, exec produced by Amy Poehler). Broad City is like if a goofy Girls collided with Louie and the weirdo from your favorite improv troupe. Ilana (Ilana Glazer) and Abbi's (Abbi Jacobson) friendship is a true girl-mance. They have each other's backs through an awkward foursome, they support one another's art, and are always there to help the other score some weed when the other is dry. Ilana might be looking for something a little more sexual with Abbi, but some good friendships come equipped with a healthy girl crush.
Parks and Recreation
Taking a page from Lucy and Ethel, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and Anne Perkins (Rashida Jones) are a dynamic duo. Anne's reason is the peanut butter to Leslie's enthusiatic fluff. They celebrate life's largest moments together, bail each other out of jail, and their loyalty goes beyond the men who comes and go through their lives. Their friendship can be summed up in one Parks and Rec line: "Ovaries before brovaries."
Doll & Em
Moving from the UK to become Emily's (Emily Mortimer) assistant, Doll (Dolly Wells) is the childhood best friend-cum-employee televisions has been waiting for. The fraught, passive aggressive sweetness of their relationship can be summed up in one early scene between the two in the pilot. Emily offers Doll some ice cream, Doll gladly accepts, and then they each lie in silence on the couch, expecting the other to serve the ice cream. It's still a new show, but its resident BFFs look promising, hilarious, and very real.
If you're looking for honest ups and downs of a long female friendship, New Girl has it. Though the Nick and Jess romance and the male-female relationships might be the heart of this show, Cece (Hannah Simone) and Jess (Zooey Deschanel) are one of the most enduring (and less annoying) relationships of the series. Supportive, loyal, and defensive of one another, they've mastered trapped-in-your-bedroom girl talk – even through dating all those douchebags.
On Trophy Wife, when Kate (Malin Ackerman) joins her new husband's Pete's chaotic family (i.e. three kids and two ex-wives), she brings along some lovable baggage of her own: her best friend Meg (Natalie Morales), a hard-partying bartender who is as unreliable as she is fun. Meg and Kate are learning to adjust to Kate's new life as a mother and wife together, two shots at a time.
Image via HBO.