‘Girls’ character similar to ‘Trailer Park Boys’ role

Jemima Kirke plays Jessa on Girls. (Handout)

Jemima Kirke plays Jessa on Girls. (Handout)

Bill Harris, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:52 PM ET

Battle of the sexes aside, there's common ground between Girls and Trailer Park Boys.

Both shows boast characters that are among the most despicable – intentionally so – in TV history.

With the third-season finale of Girls airing Sunday, March 23 on HBO Canada, I actually have been pondering the similarities between Jessa, played by Jemima Kirke, and the Ricky character on Trailer Park Boys, played by Robb Wells.

I actually told Wells back in 2008 that discounting serial killers and cartoon villains, Ricky might be the most despicable character in TV history. Wells replied, “That's hilarious, I never really thought of it like that.”

But now, six years later, Girls has presented us with a new contender in Jessa.

Both Jessa and Ricky are quite hilarious, albeit in totally different ways and in totally different shows. Kirke and Wells are excellent in their portrayals. But both characters are selfish beyond belief, remarkably unaccomplished yet harbour delusions of superiority, consistently awful to their friends, and need to be forgiven, over and over and over again.

Asked bluntly if she likes Jessa, Kirke said, “No, I don't. I wouldn't hang out with her, no. I do understand her. But I don't think she's a good person yet. She has it in her to be. But she hasn't been one.

“She does have moments of vulnerability. But her actions are so detestable. On paper, she's intolerable. She is still a little girl who doesn't know what she's doing or why she's doing it. So you do feel badly for her, much as you do with the other characters.”

There was a time when I felt badly for the girls on Girls. But the show has entered a different phase for me.

Spurred on by the TV-watching community – trust me, it wasn't my idea – I thought very hard about Girls in its first two seasons, trying to deduce why people were taking a show that is 80% comedy so seriously.

That process did lead me to feel badly for the characters, since they're in a horrible stage of life, having emerged from university to discover there are no good jobs. And when they do get jobs that don't match their unrealistic expectations for instantaneous fulfillment, they lack the mental toughness to stick with anything.

But this season I've watched Girls more breezily, meaning my reactions are less intellectual and more at the gut level. So what I've witnessed is, Hannah (Lena Dunham) is so self-obsessed, she has managed to smother the minor professional success achieved by her boyfriend Adam (Adam Driver) with her own neuroses. Marnie (Allison Williams) is an insecure control freak who uses her good looks to manipulate and condescend, even when she doesn't know she's doing it. And as for Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet), was she even in the show this year?

But Jessa is the real prize. After her season-long struggles, did you notice how quickly she got her swagger back in last week's episode?

Hey, Trailer Park Boys is coming back with a new season on Netflix this fall. Maybe Jessa can drop by the park for a visit with Ricky.

My God, who do you think would be more irresponsible?

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @billharris_tv

 


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