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Pam’s pop culture week

You know when you are standing in the bathroom, blow-drying your hair, and suddenly you have this flash of inspiration for a blog post. But you don’t want to set the blow dryer aside, especially if a good hair day is evident. Then there’s make-up to apply, a bed to make and clothes to put on, in between folding a load of laundry or two. By the time you sit down to write that post, it’s as though you have a sudden case of Alzheimer’s and everything that was so perfect in your head is gone. Gone!

That’s what happened to me today. Hence, here are a few thoughts on the television series, Girls, and the movie Mud. Not what I had in mind for this blog post…but I’ve never been opposed to the path of least resistance. And writing about pop culture is easy.

HBO’s Girls – I recently watched season one on DVD. Lena Dunham, the star, writer and frequent director of the show, plays a young woman, Hannah, two years out of college who had been working as an unpaid intern for a publishing company in New York City for the better part of a year.

Her parents, played by Becky Ann Baker and Peter Scolari (who I loved from Bosom Buddies), have been supporting her; as an aspiring writer, she thinks she could be the “voice of her generation.” Her parents have other ideas, and think it’s time to cut off financial support. This decision seems harder on Hannah’s dad who hates to see his little girl “struggle.”

Hannah is suddenly faced with the prospect of real adulthood, whether she’s ready or not. In the process, she makes decisions that risk making her unlikable to her contemporaries (the “Girls”) – and the viewer. (She also isn’t afraid of taking her clothes off, an interesting choice for a “pudgy” actress.)

I don’t know how closely her life hews to other, real 20-somethings, but I do remember my 20s as tougher than I thought they would be. Girls is Dunham’s take on that life period, only set in an era of Facebook, iPhones and parents who are, perhaps, too emotionally invested in their children.

Even though I couldn’t approve of all of Hannah’s choices, I loved the show. It’s well-written, well-acted, original and real. I can’t wait until Season 2 comes out on DVD.

P.S. – Hannah and her parents are from Michigan where Hannah attended “East Lansing High”. There’s even a reference to a potential job for Hannah at Michigan State University. (Go Spartans!) Anyway, as a former Spartan, I certainly appreciated those specific details.

Mud – The ads for this movie seem to indicate Reese Witherspoon as the star, but she only has a supporting role. While her performance is solid, the real star of the movie is the script: it feels like a novel that starts out slow but builds to a satisfying conclusion.

The movie is about a man on the run, played by Matthew McConaughey, who has found refuge on a remote island in the Mississippi River. He’s discovered by two boys with struggles of their own; one lives with his unhappy parents in a houseboat; the other, with his well-intentioned but at times misguided uncle. Witherspoon plays the love interest of McConaughey’s character, and is the reason he’s in hiding.

There is so much more to this multi-layered, Huck Finn-like adventure – and I loved every minute. (It seems I love everything; maybe I’m not terribly discriminating). My husband thought it was…okay. But he doesn’t read novels, either.

Highly recommended for anyone with a soft spot for stories that build slowly, adventure and Mark Twain.

Have you seen either? What do you think of Girls?

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June 15, 2013 - 4:00 am

Jo-Anne Meadows - I will often be laying in bed trying to doze off and find myself composing a blog post in my head and of course by morning I have forgotten the whole thing and that is annoy because often it was a good post………lol

June 15, 2013 - 1:28 pm

Pam Houghton - That’s how it always goes! 🙂

June 17, 2013 - 1:50 pm

Jeanne - I love love love Girls! Season 2 will not disappoint! The characters are great. I read an article about the costuming and it was very interesting. They purposely make Hannah’s clothes not fit properly to make her look even more disheveled – but I love the fact that she’s comfortable (mostly) with her not-so-perfect figure and men don’t seem to mind, either. And I love the obscure actors that appear in different roles at times. Some great lines/writing in this series.

June 17, 2013 - 1:59 pm

Pam Houghton - I totally agree with you on the comfort level. That is SO un-Hollywood, too, so it really stands out. I think she’s got guts/balls/courage to do that (although, I still have to ask, is it necessary for her to remove her clothes? And yet – it adds to the realness of the story.) Agree with you about the use of obscure actors, too.

June 17, 2013 - 2:12 pm

Debbie - I haven’t seen either of these, although I did read a fun interview/profile of Lena Dunham in Rolling Stone or Entertainment Weekly or the like. For lack of better words, she sounds interesting and intense. Interesting premise: Mom and Dad financially supporting after college. Not sure that would have flied in my life, which perhaps is why I never did that “glamorous” New York City thing. I did the Midwest how-does-an-English-major-end-up-in-inventory-management thing instead, lol! Oddly, producers don’t want to do that show.

June 17, 2013 - 2:17 pm

Pam Houghton - Deb, I did the same thing; Personnel Administration Major (although I was a wannabe Liberal Arts major) who also did the inventory management thing AND the manufacturing engineering thing! Looking back, it may actually make for an interesting story. I think career mismatches are common. As far as supporting children after college, it doesn’t sound all that uncommon now. It’s a scary thought! ‘Cause at some point, you’ve got to cut the ties.

July 2, 2013 - 12:06 pm

Grown and Flown - Mud is on my sit of movies, too. It seems like a very interesting choice of movies for Matthew McConaughey, who, btw, is a fellow University of Texas Longhorn – where I got my undergraduate degree. I understand how you appreciate the plot line in Girls featuring Michigan State. I always love it when UT (or Texas for that matter) are featured in a movie or TV show as long as it is an intelligent reference, of course!

July 2, 2013 - 1:07 pm

Pam Houghton - Mud will not disappoint! And yes, it’s important that those references to our states/universities are intelligent. Too bad it’s easy to make fun of our major metropolis, Detroit. 🙂

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