I’m from a tiny town in New England, population less than 2000. There were 37 kids in my high school class. I thought I knew a thing or two about what it’s like to be in the middle of nowhere. In Australia, I learned I’d been wrong.
In the tiny arctic village of Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, dusk lasts most of the day at this time of year. Against the dramatic and ever-evolving pink and purple sky sits a structure that looks like a cross between a sleek nightclub and an igloo from outer space: Lapland’s storied IceHotel, the world’s largest and longest-running luxury hotel made entirely of frozen water.
Remember that “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy and Ethel take jobs in the chocolate factory and the conveyor belt starts pumping out candy faster than they can pack it in the wrappers so they start stuffing their faces and cleavage with the excess, cowering from the intimidating factory matron?
Perhaps the most feminine of all feminine products to have ever existed on Earth is Love’s Baby Soft. Its packaging, all soft curves and pale pink and frost, was basically an homage to the tampon. Its marketing scheme was Cinemaxilly soft-focus pre-teen beauty queen. It was made out of chemicals. It smelled like babies.
Approaching Coober Pedy, you can see how the earth is pockmarked with white hills that surround small black holes, like anthills. Unlike any alien planet we know, this landscape is inhabited. And clearly there are things to get at underground.
That there’s nothing spectacular is precisely the point: in that way, Girl echoes that other bastion of disaffected ’90s girldom, My So-Called Life, another telling of the gospel of female adolescence, the universal girl-story retold in our own words. Andrea Marr, like Angela Chase, was impossibly, universally compelling because she was us. She was as determined and fickle, as angsty and endearing, as brilliant and insipid as we felt.