April 25, 2012
Marnie on ‘Girls’: TV’s Latest Beautiful Control Freak

Two weeks into the new HBO series Girls, one character has emerged as the most divisive: Marnie, the gorgeous, uptight roommate of the show’s heroine, Hannah. In a discussion about the most recent episode, Slate's L.V. Anderson asked, “Does she have any redeeming qualities?”Vanity Fair's Julie Weiner echoed the sentiment, calling Marnie “a gallerina with overbearing mothering tendencies.”
Marnie is not TV’s first beautiful control freak: She fits squarely into a character type formed by Mad Men's Betty and Sex and the City's Charlotte, two stunning women with deep neuroses. Marnie, Betty, and Charlotte highlight a strange trend in highbrow television: With beauty comes a desire for control—which the character ultimately must lose in humiliating fashion.
Most television characters are physically attractive, of course, andGirls is no exception. But the other women on Girls have qualities that blunt their beauty in some way and make them seem “realer.” Jessa has her ridiculously bohemian outfits and tough attitude; Shoshanna her laughably dated Juicy jumpsuits and tense, eager-to-please smile; and Hannah her well-documented arm and tummy fat. Marnie, however, is basically physically flawless. She has beautiful hair, clear skin, and a long lean frame, and she wears classically fashionable clothes that fit her well. She has no obvious outward flaw to signal to the audience that she’s “just like us.” […]
This combination of beauty and obsessive self-control is toxic. Countless articles and video montages decry Betty’s poor parenting skills,self-pity, and all-around annoyingness. Charlotte didn’t inspire the same amount of vitriol as Betty, but still had her detractors. Over the course of the Sex and the City's six-year run she was dismissed as “dopey,” “prudish,” and “conventional.” After just two episodes, Marnie is getting the same treatment: Good magazine wonders why Hannah would ever be friends with her; Vanity Fair calls her the show’s “most polarizing character.” Even her defenders couch their approval in apology: A male reviewer at Mother Jones says, “I fully understand the kind of guff I’m inviting by reserving praise exclusively for the hot one.”
Read more. [Images: HBO, AMC]

Marnie on ‘Girls’: TV’s Latest Beautiful Control Freak

Two weeks into the new HBO series Girls, one character has emerged as the most divisive: Marnie, the gorgeous, uptight roommate of the show’s heroine, Hannah. In a discussion about the most recent episode, Slate's L.V. Anderson asked, “Does she have any redeeming qualities?”Vanity Fair's Julie Weiner echoed the sentiment, calling Marnie “a gallerina with overbearing mothering tendencies.”

Marnie is not TV’s first beautiful control freak: She fits squarely into a character type formed by Mad Men's Betty and Sex and the City's Charlotte, two stunning women with deep neuroses. Marnie, Betty, and Charlotte highlight a strange trend in highbrow television: With beauty comes a desire for control—which the character ultimately must lose in humiliating fashion.

Most television characters are physically attractive, of course, andGirls is no exception. But the other women on Girls have qualities that blunt their beauty in some way and make them seem “realer.” Jessa has her ridiculously bohemian outfits and tough attitude; Shoshanna her laughably dated Juicy jumpsuits and tense, eager-to-please smile; and Hannah her well-documented arm and tummy fat. Marnie, however, is basically physically flawless. She has beautiful hair, clear skin, and a long lean frame, and she wears classically fashionable clothes that fit her well. She has no obvious outward flaw to signal to the audience that she’s “just like us.” […]

This combination of beauty and obsessive self-control is toxic. Countless articles and video montages decry Betty’s poor parenting skills,self-pity, and all-around annoyingness. Charlotte didn’t inspire the same amount of vitriol as Betty, but still had her detractors. Over the course of the Sex and the City's six-year run she was dismissed as “dopey,” “prudish,” and “conventional.” After just two episodes, Marnie is getting the same treatment: Good magazine wonders why Hannah would ever be friends with her; Vanity Fair calls her the show’s “most polarizing character.” Even her defenders couch their approval in apology: A male reviewer at Mother Jones says, “I fully understand the kind of guff I’m inviting by reserving praise exclusively for the hot one.”

Read more. [Images: HBO, AMC]

4:08pm
  
Filed under: TV HBO Girls 
  1. sexualhollywood reblogged this from feministfilm
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  6. benitah reblogged this from feministfilm
  7. lookwhatkatdraggedin reblogged this from theatlantic
  8. whereabout reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    Jesus, she’s not overbearing she’s right. Her friends are late and sleeping with shitty men and she has a garbage...
  9. reginalambert reblogged this from feministfilm and added:
    I actually like Marnie, I think she’s my favourite character. Why do women on tv have to be ‘clumsy’ and ‘insecure’ and...
  10. samanthamvb reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    I am happy to admit that I’m a control freak which makes me a little biased on this topic. With that said, I find myself...
  11. nofamilytoo22 reblogged this from feministfilm and added:
    Also, Jane from “Happy Endings” is one of the most interesting characters on TV for me. She is lovely-looking and...
  12. neutralmlkmotel reblogged this from theatlantic
  13. popcornheaux reblogged this from feministfilm
  14. lookuplookup reblogged this from feministfilm and added:
    I don’t even really have thoughts on this at all, but that moment in the first episode of Girls when Hannah asked Marnie...