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Friday, April 19, 2024

Literary Lessons: Alice in NYC

It may be whiny, it may be bourgeois and it may be lacking in diversity. That being said, “Girls” is still one of my favorite shows on television. I tried watching it with someone over the age of 30, and on both occasions the whole experience went quite poorly. There is something so germane about “Girls” and our generation; something so specific and perfectly adept that even though I cannot figure out exactly what it is, I know that the show is a millennial girls’ anthem. At least for this millennial girl. Moreover, because I try to find a way to connect all the things that I love, I have decided that Shoshanna is a lot like Alice from Alice in Wonderland.

First, a synopsis of the show for those who do not watch: four girls live in NYC, all live frustrating but uber normal lives. I have heard it referred to as a 20 something’s version of “Sex and the City”, but with believable characters. In any case, the character I am referring to in this piece is Shoshanna, the once inexperienced NYU student who is having a sexual epiphany. I have a theory that in “Girls,” each character is a part of a full person. We all have our fabulous Jessa side, our up-tight Marnie side, the hypocritical and naïve Hannah side and the new-to-the-world Shoshanna side. Maybe “Girls” is as if each of these parts of our identity was a complete person who just operated under the parameters of small piece of us. Also, maybe not, but that is my hypothesis on the matter.

Shoshanna, like Alice, is generally confused about life. She is having a lot of new experiences and is not really sure where she stands in the larger spectrum of existence anymore. I think the 20-something girl could learn a lot from both Alice and Shoshana. All three of us are trying out new things. Shoshanna (spoiler alert!) just lost her virginity and is deciding if promiscuity might be her calling, Alice just fell into a psychedelic rabbit hole and is deciding if living a life of adventure is her lifestyle choice and the 20-something girl just noticed her very first facial line that she suspects might one day be a wrinkle, and is re-evaluating if she has made enough progress in life as someone who is getting their first wrinkle should have.

 Alice and Shoshanna also have something else in common — they both have this characteristic where they are scared about the future, but they still make really rash decisions that do not seem to follow the actions of someone who is overly concerned about life. Alice, if you are so anxious about trying to get home, why are you always taking so many tangential adventures? I know that there’s a part of you that thinks, “Screw going home, I want to run off into this sunset with this caterpillar” and you are trying to make this work with the familial responsibilities that you hold dear. However, worrying about both at the same time and then still deciding to go to that tea party is just very confusing to the reader.

Now onto Shoshanna, and the confused part of the 20-something girl she represents. Shoshanna, it was probably a big step for you to sleep with Ray, and I am all in support for figuring out at what level of sexually-liberated-woman you belong, but you need to figure out your priorities before spending nights in random guys’ dorms. I saw you get googly-eyed when Adam talked about how much he loved Hannah. If you want that, you need to sit and think about your life instead of jumping into a new self-imposed identity. The same goes for you, confused-part-of-the-20-something-girl. If you are so worried about your future, and how you are going to survive as an adult, maybe just think about it for a little while instead of suddenly making rash decisions.

The joy of “Girls” is being able to watch someone on television make similar mistakes as you did. I haven’t experienced everything those girls on TV have, but every once in a while I think, “I did that” and it comforts me to know that I am not the only idiot out there to make such a silly life mistake. Now, if I could just get Shosh a copy of Alice in Wonderland, maybe she would get to see herself in the mirror and might not feel so bad.

To follow Alice, Shoshanna and EREN KAVVAS into the rabbit hole that is your mid-twenties, email her at ebkavvas@udavis.edu.

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