I’ve been enjoying Girls a lot since it premiered — in fact, I can’t think of another show that premiered this year that I’ve liked more. There are moments of such honesty in this show, mixed with some great, off-kilter humour I wouldn’t get anywhere else.
Which is why it’s such a shame the commenters at the A.V. Club have been so awful about it. I haven’t witnessed it first hand, but I’ve seen Twitter chatter from people like Todd VanDerWerff, who reviews each episode for the site, about the misogynistic streak this show has brought out in their site’s users. Lena Dunham, the star and creator of the HBO series, has apparently had her appearance attacked over and over again, for one.
I’m not sure what comment pushed VanDerWerff over the edge — it was evidently flagged so much that it was removed — but he wrote a response that’s nearly as long as his review.
From that response:
But your comment still really gets under my skin in a way I’m fairly sure you didn’t intend it. And I’m sure if I said that, you’d say, “Whatever. It’s just a joke.” Maybe it’s because I just got done watching a pretty amazing Mad Men episode about how no matter how good a woman is at what she does, some men will always perceive her as an object. Maybe it’s because I’ve known a million amazing women who were far more Lena Dunham-esque than Allison Williams-esque. Maybe it’s because, when you come right down to it, Lena Dunham is a very good looking woman. Maybe it’s because I assume you’re a young-ish kid, 18 or 19 or 20, and I know that if you shut yourself off from women who don’t look TV-perfect, you’re going to be missing out on amazing friends and girlfriends, people who could enrich your life. Maybe it’s because what you said is what an asshole would say, and I don’t like assholes. Maybe it’s because this website’s comments section is full of women — and more and more every day — and too many of you want to treat it like it’s some old boys’ club, where everybody can walk around and make sexist cracks and all the women are just supposed to take it (and you can say whatever you want, but what you said was fucking sexist and disgusting).
He goes on from there. If online T.V. criticism has ever felt essential, the battle VanDerWerff is being forced to wage in the comments section is that moment.