The “Girls” premiere on Sunday night left me underwhelmed. I lived in New York City in my 20s and I expected to relate to the show. But I didn’t. Not by a long shot. Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham) whined and pouted her way through the episode, balking at the idea of weaning herself off her parents’ checking account. She’s 24 years old! Doesn’t she want to succeed? Doesn’t she want to be independent? More troubling, doesn’t she have any pride?
Speaking of pride, you know who has a lot of it? Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) on “Eastbound & Down.” The show’s series finale aired the same night — Spoilers Ahead! — and it was an interesting juxtaposition to “Girls.” Like Hannah, Kenny Powers whines and pouts through life. He ended the series returning to April and his son, Toby, which was a little too neat for the usually unhinged Kenny Powers. It’s a shame because I would’ve liked to have seen a different kind of shake-up in his life rather than fatherhood to keep things interesting.
Then, I had an idea: Hannah should switch places with Kenny Powers. Transport Kenny Powers to Brooklyn. Plop Hannah in Myrtle Beach. I’m already laughing just picturing it! Sure, a 24-year-old New York mumbler and an immature baseball pitcher may not appear to have too much in common, but I’d argue that they do: (This may contain spoilers if you haven’t seen both shows, so proceed at your own risk.)
1. Rejection: Kenny struggles with the ups and down of his waning baseball career. Hannah never had a career, but her parents cut her off from their financial support within the first few minutes of her show. Instead of realizing that maybe it’s time to take responsibility for their lives and be grateful for the opportunities they’ve had, they both act like total fucking babies about their predicaments. Which leads us into the next point nicely.
2. Entitlement: Kenny bursts into college classes to dump his girlfriend, completely oblivious to the disruption he’s causing. He stomps, kicks, and throws tantrums like a toddler when he doesn’t get his way. Hannah complains to her parents that she’ll need $1100 a month for the next two years to do continue her lifestyle of banging a dude that looks like Pinnochio on steroids. She shows up late to her friend’s dinner party and brushes it off with a shrug. They both show complete disregard for the people around them. All the time. With everything.
3. Both of their love lives suck: Kenny dates a teenager and constantly messes up with April, his baby mama. Hannah seems to settle for crumbs of attention from the loser she sporadically humps so, yeah, she’s not exactly well-adjusted in this area either.
4. Their wack pack of buddies: Kenny has his loyal buddy/assistant Stevie, who wouldn’t hesitate to commit a crime if it served Kenny well. Hannah has her spattering of fellow New York drifters. Both serve to boost their egos and make them feel “normal.” Instead of issuing wakeup calls, both sets of friends validate their terrible life decisions.
5. Both have memoirs: It’s funny how both Kenny and Hannah feel the need to be memoirists. Is that the default setting for immaturity now? You need to put a book out about it? Okay, then!
6. Both love drugs: Kenny snorts rails to “Walk Like an Egyptian” and Hannah eagerly gulps opium tea like it ain’t no thang but a chicken wing on a string. Their motto when it comes to drugs is clearly: “Just Say Yes.”
7. They’re both delusional: Hannah says that she could be the “voice of a generation” even though she’s only written six pages of her book. Kenny Powers still thinks he’s on top of life and refuses to acknowledge his setbacks. They’re like two peas in a (delusional) pod!
Kenny and Hannah clearly have a lot in common so I propose that they switch places in order to make their shows better. Yank ‘em out of their comfort zones; shake things up!
Imagine Kenny Powers eating a cupcake in the bathtub, drinking opium tea and barging into his parents’ hotel room. Would Kenny steal the $40 left as the maid’s tip? In a heartbeat. And he’d spend it on a few cases of High Life or a bag of crappy drugs. Take him to a dinner party in Greenpoint. Let him interact with a newly pregnant globetrotter. Have him weigh in on the hierarchy of dating communication walking around Brooklyn. I wanna see him bring his lowbrow weirdness into the world of NYC snobbery.
Likewise, imagine Hannah whipping around on the Panty Dropper after giving Shane (RIP) a handjob under a beach towel. Have her blast “Candlebox” at Shane’s funeral. Have her carry a baby around in a backpack and try to steal a truck. Bring her navel-gazing to a Myrtle Beach strip club. I’d wanna watch that! Make her go somewhere! Make her do something other than flop around a small, dim apartment. If she thinks being an unpaid intern at a publishing company is hard, have her try and train a Russian immigrant on the art of using a trident. How hilarious would that be?
I think this calls for a switcheroo. Who’s with me? If the Jetsons and the Flintstones could pull it off, then these guys should do it too.
Anna Goldfarb if the genius blogger behind Shmitten Kitten.