BLOGS

The Telefile

Girls: The Good, the Bad and the Funny

by Rachel Stein January 20, 2013 9:33 pm
<i>Girls</i>: The Good, the Bad and the Funny

Congratulations to Golden Globe winner for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy TV Series Lena Dunham and to Girls for picking up Best TV Comedy. I for one was pleasantly surprised, but when you compare "I Get Ideas" to this week's episode of Modern Family, suddenly the win doesn't seem quite so crazy. I also loved that after the Globes, Robyn's "Dancing On My Own" got a sales bump, but I digress.

"I Get Ideas" is sandwiched between several great episodes, but as a standalone it was perfectly fine, funny and interesting -- though maybe more interesting off-screen than on. To quote our hero: let's open up a dialogue, shall we?

Good
Obviously Girls is not without its problems, but sometimes it feels like the fantasy feminist TV show for me; I'm talking here about Marnie and Elijah's 30-second sexual encounter last episode being "counted," considered and validated as sex because... that's what it was. I feared that there'd be arguments within the show about what constitutes as sex, and I am so glad that, instead, we jumped right into the consequences of what Marnie and Elijah did so as not to downsize a sexual experience with obvious significance. Elijah laughed at himself a little for not being able to get hard, but there was never any kind of attempt at defining intercourse or anything frustrating like that.

And now that Marnie and Elijah are hiding a dirty little secret from Hannah, their characters have this extra layer of depth -- their sneaking-around scenes where they trade insults and eye rolls actually have some stake to them and still just a tiny layer of sexual tension, which is especially funny when juxtaposed against naïve Hannah, who just wants to eat Cool Whip out of the tub (shudder) and defend her wonderful and disadvantaged-by-Republicans friends, even if they are total assholes to her about (in Marnie's case) how she's not hot enough to work a gross hostess job that requires one to dress like a "slutty von Trapp child."

We also got another glimpse of neurotic 40-something women completely not understanding women in their 20s, this time more entertaining than last week, probably because it was much more bizarre than grounded in reality. I love that Girls made what I think is the very real point that there's no such thing as a good job in the art world anymore (suck it, Gallery Girls), thus throwing once-perfect Marnie off of her axis... especially because it allowed us to see Shoshanna be amazing in the process and hook her up with this ridiculous new gig that you have to be "pretty" but not "model pretty" for.

Elsewhere, it's so nice to see Jessa and Thomas-John play house for a bit, even if it does mean that Garbage, Pucker and Hanukkah go without food or water for presumably hours (what was up with that?). It's great that we got to see them through Hannah/Danna's eyes for a bit as she stood around in her shorteralls, staring in disbelief as this ridiculous condo (side note: It is really hilarious and true-to-character that Thomas-John lives in the Williamsburg Edge, an eye-sore luxury condo notoriously hated in Williamsburg and denounced as the rent-jacking of a once affordable area... it's got bitchin' views though, clearly) and later when she talked to her once-lost friend who is now dripping in matrimonial bliss. Jessa does seem genuinely happy in some ways, or at least trying to convince herself that she is, in the same manner Marnie is pretending or at least embracing the concept of making a major lifestyle change -- I'm not a fan of trying to navel gaze my way through an episode title, but I think Jessa and Marnie are the characters getting these "ideas." We all know the hunt isn't over for Jessa and that this isn't the best life is going to be for her (at least disposition-wise), but I do appreciate that she's trying so hard to believe her words are true and that she is capable of this kind of happiness.

I don't feel worse for anyone more than I do Adam, though. Adam Driver knows how to plaster pain across this character, and watching his scenes with Lena Dunham, it's clear that he deserved the shout-out she gave him in her Golden Globes speech, when she said, "I really want to say a special thank you to Adam Driver, who basically made me feel, not like a cartoon character, but like a person who could express emotions. I don't think you know how meaningful it's been to work with you." Hannah's internal struggle is no more real than it is when's going through the motions with Adam, a guy who can dance around her apartment like an imp, request a glass of milk completely straight-faced (fun callback, by the way), scare her enough that she dials 911 and then make her feel terrible for giving her exactly what she literally called for. I look forward to his next appearance and seeing where this storyline is going more than any of the others.

Bad
So, I love George's character and would watch the hell out of a George/Elijah spin-off, but I'm glad that the writers don't try to pretend that they could capture the complexities of a gay May-December romance anywhere near on par as well as they write about young women in their mid-20s living in Brooklyn. It's unfair to say that the show's portrayal of these men was "bad," but it's not my favorite thing I've seen from Dunham and I hope this is the last big we push we get from this storyline.

I can't quite say the same thing for Sandy and Hannah, though, mostly because I don't believe that a 20-something black Republican exists in Brooklyn. Maybe I'm wrong, and I'm relieved that Sandy isn't crazy or evil or anything but a normal guy who just happens to be Republican against all odds, but I just plain don't think you could find a person like him in real life. (And if I'm wrong, I definitely would love to know -- sincerely!) I admire the writers for drawing Hannah as an educated (to a certain extent) Democrat rather than choosing the same route 30 Rock did with Liz Lemon versus Jack Donaghy arguing about politics ultra-cartoonishly (which isn't a criticism of 30 Rock; that's another decision that a different group of comedy writers made, and both are entertaining and fit in with the universes of their respective series) despite how much easier it would have made this storyline. It's just that Sandy -- aside from maybe being a figment of a frustrated liberal 25-year-old white woman's imagination -- feels more like a symbol of Girls and Dunham's naysayers than a casual character here. Sandy read Hannah's story and thought it was well-written but self-indulgent and pointless, a very familiar critique, if you catch my drift. On one hand, it can be seen as a playful way for Dunham to show us a parody of her response to her condemnation, but it's just too on-the-nose, the same way the very concept of Donald Glover even being on this show might be construed as, say "directly addressing all the complaints about Girls". I'd like to say, though, that if you can get past all of this, their conversation was pretty hysterical, complex with race politics and fetishization and keen sensitivity to blue balls.

My least favorite part of this episode was Hannah's casual use of the word rape, where she calls Adam's invasion of her apartment as "space rape." I buy that Hannah would say that kind of thing in her occasionally-pseudo-progressiveness, but it just rubbed me the wrong way. Also, when she had that one dog in her shirt, it looked visibly uncomfortable in a few shots, and when the cameras moved mid-conversation, the dog went back and forth between being in her shirt and then not, despite the very short passing of time. Step it up, continuity people.

Funny
There were a bunch of fun little moments like Hannah's weird workout session in her room at the beginning of the episode, Elijah pumping his hair up just way too much, Hannah's "sad limp little Gloworm" outfit, Thomas-John's fedora and his matching tattoo with Jessa... I could go on. These lines were great, too:

"I used to work at the bread stand, but he also had pesto and mozzarella." (Ah, trying to sell your old jobs to a new employer... and by the way, I definitely looked up cool work-appropriate clothes at Ann Taylor after this episode. )

"You don't need two Republicans to make a Republican... They're like terrorists; you don't need two terrorists to make a terrorist."
"You don't need to have this conversation with him, because people are different -- like you're with George for a very long time and he's still on Hotmail, so."

"I've always wanted to bathe a pig because they're... when you know, physically, tactilely... it feels like a human because they don't have hair but in actuality you're petting an animal. So I think the confluence of those things would make me experience an emotion I've never really experienced before. You know what I mean? I'd love to experience that emotion with you."
"You'd be like, really good at bathing a pig."
"That's so sweet of you to say, I bet you'd be great too. We should bathe a pig together!"
"What's better than bathing a pig?"

"I just don't want to be around people who don't hate everything in their life right now."

On curators: "It's not like pop stars, we don't need like a million of them."

"Just read the newspaper. Just read one newspaper."

"You don't have any feeling that [Elijah] should be allowed to have like a beautiful wedding like all the ones we saw earlier on Say Yes to the Dress?"

"You just said a Missy Elliot lyric."

"How long must I pay for this mistake?"
"It's been like five minutes."

"I can't believe you guys come every time somebody calls, I mean that seems really alarmist and crazy."

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.

Comments

SHARE THE SNARK

X

Get the most of your experience.
Share the Snark!

See content relevant to you based on what your friends are reading and watching.

Share your activity with your friends to Facebook's News Feed, Timeline and Ticker.

Stay in Control: Delete any item from your activity that you choose not to share.

MOST RECENT POSTS

BLOG ARCHIVES

The Telefile

March 2014

25 ENTRIES

February 2014

24 ENTRIES

January 2014

43 ENTRIES

December 2013

15 ENTRIES

November 2013

28 ENTRIES

October 2013

40 ENTRIES

September 2013

37 ENTRIES

August 2013

16 ENTRIES

July 2013

15 ENTRIES

June 2013

26 ENTRIES

May 2013

38 ENTRIES

April 2013

43 ENTRIES

March 2013

35 ENTRIES

February 2013

58 ENTRIES

January 2013

62 ENTRIES

December 2012

48 ENTRIES

November 2012

60 ENTRIES

October 2012

71 ENTRIES

September 2012

67 ENTRIES

August 2012

66 ENTRIES

July 2012

51 ENTRIES

June 2012

60 ENTRIES

May 2012

70 ENTRIES

April 2012

73 ENTRIES

March 2012

72 ENTRIES

February 2012

64 ENTRIES

January 2012

80 ENTRIES

The Latest Activity On TwOP