As I join the cheering chorus on the Season Five finale of Girls I'm struck not once but twice by some pretty infinite wisdom about the perils of fame in the Love Stories episode.
I've definitely developed an ear for this as I've been blogging here for several years and am now writing a book about how fame changes a person. And I literally sat up straight when I heard two beautifully written soliloquies about how celebrity can infect and destroy.
Elijah (Andrew Rannells) to his older flame Dill, (Corey Stoll) a well-known New York television correspondent:
All those guys you have around, all those fucking guys you just have, they are only going to tell you what you want to hear and cater to you because of your fame and the stuff that you have. I don't want your stuff. You are going to end up with nothing and you deserve everything. Dill, don't you want to be with someone who sees you for you? Don't you want a boyfriend, someone who's honest?
And then, just moments later Hannah tells her nemesis Tally Schrifin (the luminous Jenny Slate) that she's always been jealous of her literary success. And here's the response:
I guess everyone is jealous of me - do you know I Google myself every day - it's so gross but I do and I just want to see if like Gawker or whoever they are has written a snarky comment thing about what a hack I am or even if there's a pretty picture of me in the Financial Times roundup of Books of the Year.
I need to see how other people see me because it's the only way that I can see myself - I wake up every morning and I think well, ok, what would Tally Schrifin do - Tally Schrifin is not even me now, she's just like this thing I've created, she's a monster I've created and I have to feed, and she feeds on praise and controversy and it's exhausting and boring at once - and I'm too smart to be exhausted and bored. And now I have a book of essays due and not to be like boo-hoo about it but what the fuck am I going to write an essay on when all I do is google myself and smoke weed...
It's all there - the isolation that comes with fame, the entourage of people who only tell you what you want to hear, the dearth of people who truly love you for who you really are as well as the obsession that comes with celebrity - validation from social media as well as becoming totally stuck in a created and branded image. How being seen by so many becomes an identity of itself and how lonely and frightening that can be. Lena-not-Hannah allowed in "Inside the Episode" that she was definitely addressing her own experiences with attention and acclaim and was so happy to have Tally channel her struggles with it all.
Hannah is always thinking about how things around her make her feel about herself - and the trick here is that it's actually the opposite of the narcissism she is sometimes branded with - because the bright light of Lena Dunham's intellect questions everything. And wow, does she get it when it comes to how a shit ton of attention can really mess a Girl up - unless you think it through. Very nice.