HBO’s Girls get Kareemed

It’s not often I find myself agreeing with Kareen Abdul-Jabbar, but the Airplane! actor-slash-basketball Hall of Famer sure knows Girls.
He alcindor-ated the HBO series in an insightful article for The Huffington Post (did they pay him?) headlined, “Girls Just Want to have (White) Fun.”
Abdul-Jabbar posts up on an oft-expressed criticism of Lena Dunham’s show–that the steady parade of white characters does not reflect the reality of 20-something relationships in today’s New York City.
Similar observations were made about Sex And The City and Friends, too. Still, Abdul-Jabbar proves black men can jump all over a TV show. The NBA Great–who could be my new favouite TV critic–does not let Girls off the (sky) hook:

Last season the show was criticized for being too white. Watching a full season could leave a viewer snow blind. This season that white ghetto was breached by a black character who is introduced as some jungle fever lover, with just enough screen time to have sex and mutter a couple of lines about wanting more of a relationship. A black dildo would have sufficed and cost less.
I don’t believe that people of color, sexual preference, or gender need to be shaken indiscriminately into every series like some sort of exotic seasoning. If the story calls for a black character, great. A story about a black neighborhood doesn’t necessarily need white characters just to balance the racial profile. But this really seemed like an effort was made to add some color — and it came across as forced.

Abdul-Jabbar also comments on the part of the show I find most offensive. To use his sub-head, “They’re too self-conscious, too cutesy, and not that funny.”

We’re supposed to find these girls somehow charming because of their flawed characters. Their intense self-involvement is meant to be cute and it can be… at times. But not enough to overcome our impatience with their inability to have any personal insight. They’re all educated but fatally ignorant.

Abdul-Jabbar goes on to name two other girl-centric shows that, he feels, were more insightful and original in their attempt to express the voice of their generations: My So-called Life and Wonderfalls. Who is this guy–Kareen Abdul-Shales? Funny he didn’t mention New Girl, having guested on that series.
Surely he knows television–just don’t call him Shirley
As the 65-year-old basketball legend notes, Dunham has waved off similar criticism as coming from 50-plus dads who don’t get it. I’m squarely in that category, and admit that is probably why I have such an adverse reaction to Girls–I don’t want to believe that this bleak, shallow, creepy, ugly, self-absorbed world is anything like the one my 20- and 22-year-olds inhabit.
Granted, neither of them lives in New York, but their worlds are urban, too, with both living smack downtown in big cities. I guess I need one of them to weigh in with a guest review.
I can remember back to a time when I thought I knew more than I know (like…now), so hats off to Dunham for bravely putting her perspective out there. 
Now can we get Abdul-Jabbar’s perspective on The Following, The Newsroom, The Americans…let’s start with anything beginning with “The” and work him through every schedule.

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