*Who knew the HBO’s breakout hit “Girls” would pique the interest of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – so much that he wanted to share his conflicting thoughts on the series.
The 65-year-old, 7-foot-2-inch NBA Hall of Famer posted an essay Thursday evening to The Huffington Post offering a thoughtful critique of a show that leaves him divided — on the one hand acknowledging that it’s both “original and insightful,” on the other dismissing it as “mostly white” and “not that funny.
The series, which picked up some Golden Globes earlier this month, is the brianchild of creator Lena Dunham and stars the writer/actress as Hannah, one of several twentysomething friends trying to define themselves in New York City.
So what does Abdul-Jabbar think about “Girls?” After establishing that the show aspires to much more than your average sitcom (“[It] obviously is struggling to be a voice of its generation,” he writes, then name checks some of the greatest works in the American canon, from Catcher in the Rye to On the Road), Abdul-Jabbar then breaks down his still-percolating thoughts.
He is certainly not the first blogger to point out the preponderance of non-minorities orbiting in Hannah’s social circles — a criticism Dunham seemingly addressed head-on in season two with a brief, doomed affair with an African-American Republican, played by “Community’s” Donald Glover.
Abdul-Jabbar isn’t impressed, however. Watching any given season, he says, “could leave a viewer snow blind,” while the Glover character he writes off as “some jungle fever lover.”
“A black dildo would have sufficed and cost less,” Abdul-Jabbar zings, in a line that wouldn’t sound entirely out of place in an episode of “Girls” itself.
Those awkward, graphic sex scenes? Those are actually one of the show’s strengths, he argues, writing that the fumbling and nerves in the Internet age of “nothing’s shocking” comes off as “fresh and original and insightful.” But the characters’ stubborn narcissism, he says, ultimately dooms them: “They’re all educated but fatally ignorant.”
And for a show called “Girls,” it’s the boys who pique Abdul-Jabbar’s interest most, calling Hannah’s carpenter sometimes-boyfriend Adam (Adam Driver) a “wonderful character whose quirkiness never diminished his depth…”
By comparison, Abdul-Jabbar cites “My So Called Life” and “Wonderfalls” as examples of TV series that get it right.