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Girls: The Good, the Bad and the Funny

by Rachel Stein January 13, 2013 9:33 pm
<i>Girls</i>: The Good, the Bad and the Funny

Isn't it nice to be able to just watch Girls, rather than read think piece after think piece about how various people disliked those ten episodes of Season 1 so much that they feel their thoughts on Lena Dunham must therefore be transcendent? Yeah, me too.

We're kind of split in the TWoP offices, but I really liked this episode (and the following three that HBO sent us). Dunham seems to be experimenting with making Girls more of a traditional sitcom in format -- at times, especially when Hannah and Elijah were prepping their apartment for the party, the action felt like it was happening on stage or even a multicamera set, which makes sense, given that the roommates were putting on a show of their lives. The symbolism didn't completely pound you over the head, either, which is probably what made it especially effective.

It's also interesting that Marnie has dethroned Hannah as the friend whose entire life has gone to shit, and watching her go through the motions this time as a struggling 20-something in New York City will allow for a new take on the topic (and hopefully one that doesn't start a pissing contest between bloggers). In the same vein, the juxtaposition between Hannah and the men in her life has completely changed since last time around, serving as an excellent new spin for Season 2; Elijah is no longer her projection of college self but rather her new presumably nonthreatening roommate, while Adam's no longer an attractive mystery and is now just a pathetic ex-boyfriend. We've also got Shoshanna as a deflowered, but not devalued, woman no longer burdened with the virgin stigma she held herself to for so long and Jessa is... happily married? We'll see. For now, on to the episode specifics -- and hey, welcome back!

Good
I re-watched "Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too" shortly before viewing this, and I definitely recommend the same to anyone else who felt as confused by Adam's character as I was in Season 1 -- the dude has got a lot of pride, and in turn, humiliation about having that pride, so adding a cast to his leg and forbidding him from having free reign to his own penis challenges that nicely, especially since despite everything, he still wants to be with Hannah because she does see the good in him. And I love that we see this while we also know Adam has no idea what he wants from a relationship, except maybe the opportunity to control another person who knows all of his deepest vulnerabilities; see: "When you love someone, you don't have to be nice all the time." And then it's refreshing in the way Girls often is in that Hannah just plain doesn't want to be with someone who isn't nice to her anymore, even if there was once a time where he would come, make her come hard and then they would both have a laugh about it. (Do I love that she's trying to prove to herself that she actually is over Adam by having a late-night hookup with Sandy -- played by Donald Glover? Yeah, but I do want to see this dynamic feel just a little bit more complicated.)

Now, compare this dysfunctional relationship with what we got from Ray and Shoshanna, and the picture becomes even more interesting because there's clearly a time and a place in this world for two people to be mean to each other while loving one another. At the beginning of the episode, I briefly panicked that Girls might run Shoshanna into the ground (the same way that New Girl started doing with Schmidt at the beginning of its Season 2), but all faith was restored when we saw Shoshanna so wonderfully over-rehearsed around Ray when she saw him at the party -- you just know she spent weeks watching Sex and the City and talking to all of her friends in order to prep for that fantastic, "Hello... goodbye!" moment. And when she fought with Ray about him not respecting her by rejecting her Emoji texts (a joke that was also done on 2 Broke Girls, only way worse), rather than telling her "You're the best thing in my life. I don't how to behave without you. I die if you go away" (the way that Adam told Hannah when she told him she was done with his bullshit), we instead got a glimpse of Ray and the hint that we're obviously supposed to like him when he said, "When I'm around you, I remember your... charm, your innocence, your strength, this beautiful fresh vibrant sincerity." What's the difference between getting back together with someone toxic and realizing you made a mistake and should give this person another shot? Clearly, Dunham's got herself an answer... and extra points if your passionate makeout sesh leads to spilling beer all over the floor.

Still, my favorite parts of the episode were courtesy Marnie during the party. I think it's so fun that Audrey Gelman, who plays Audrey on the show, is Lena Dunham's real-life best friend and the inspiration for Marnie, while the character Audrey is so perfectly the new Marnie -- in terms of Charlie, of course -- this season. Girls knows how to write a good old-fashioned bitch, which made watching Audrey's open disdain for Charlie that much more rich, as well as Marnie's not-so-secret delight in watching the couple struggle.

I also appreciate the way the show addressed Marnie and Hannah's friendship, and that we got a chance to see what it looks like when Hannah has the upper hand... but only briefly, of course, thanks to Marnie and Elijah having a pretty hot (at first, anyway) hookup (though I will never be able to watch The New Normal the same way ever again). It reminded us how shitty Hannah's best friends actually are to her and will obviously allow for more difficult dynamics later on.

I should add that from a feminist perspective, Elijah and Marnie's scene managed to be hot and hilarious thanks to a nice demonstration of consensual teasing without anyone feeling taken advantage of. No one has to be anything that we're not, except for when we choose to at least try to be. I didn't love Marnie crawling into bed with Charlie at the end of the night, but that's mostly just because she kept her damn heels on! Who sleeps with their heels on?

Bad
I have a lot of ideas about Donald Glover's character, but I'll touch on them when the show does, as not to ruin your viewing experience. What I'll say for now: I thought "Can I borrow The Fountainhead?" was a joke at first, and I live in the neighborhood where Girls is filmed and I'll tell you right now that no one has ever ran around the Spoonbill and Sugartown bookstore because it is 1) tiny and 2) full of very serious owners and shoppers who aren't exactly fun-loving to begin with. Just sayin'.

I'm also kind of confused by the portrayal of women over 35 on this show, and thought the scenes with both Marnie's boss and Marnie's mom were strange in a bad way. Maybe women over 35 on Girls are the new angry dudes, and I just won't really get it until there's a super-emotional episode about them. We'll see.

Funny
Now including a bonus feature: Minute We Saw Hannah's Boobs: 2:20. As for the best lines...

Sleeping with Your Gay Roommate
"You stay in my bed, and then we'll use your room as home gym."
"I'm sorry I have a boner. It's not for you."

French Salon Party
"I love that idea because I've always felt like I was secretly really good at cutting hair."

NYC Fun Times
"I didn't even know there was a G train." (Not to sound like a hipster douchebag -- if there's still time for that -- but this line kind of felt like a tribute to a line from Tao Lin's Eeeee Eee Eeee: "I didn't know there was a tenth avenue.")

Drunk Karaoke
"What are you looking at, fake lumberjack guy?" (Did Elijah's boyfriend's rant about everyone being boring remind anyone else of Lexi's monologue in "Splat!"?)
Also, I probably laughed the hardest I did all episode when Ray and Charlie did an earnest duet to "House of the Rising Sun."

Successful Banter Between Two Souls
"...A conversation, yeah with two people." (Great performance from Allison Williams here.)

Modern Love
"Our lives our so entwined." "What, like you've met his whole family?" "No, he pays for everything."

Tea for Two
Of important note: Elijah believes the only two groups you can make fun of are bisexuals and Germans, and still gets erections from seeing Lisa Rinna and Allison Janney.

Think you've got game? Prove it! Check out Games Without Pity, our new area featuring trivia, puzzle, card, strategy, action and word games -- all free to play and guaranteed to help pass the time until your next show starts.

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