The first two seasons of Girls were divisive ones among viewers, to say the least, and that's because it's an either-or show. You either chuckle or cringe at the self-absorbed antics of Hannah (Lena Dunham) and her pack of equally misguided twenty-something friends Adam, Marnie, Shoshanna, and Jessa (Adam Driver, Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet, and Jemima Kirke, respectively.) You either love and defend Girls (even when it makes you squirm), or you hate it and attempt to will it out of existence (especially when it makes you squirm.)
At the risk of pulling a Britta, I could logically understand Lena Dunham's defense of not having a racially diverse cast in Season 1 of Girls, but I can't stand Season 2's acceptance of male anger. Adam has risen to co-star status this season, which from afar seems like an improvement given that Adam Driver is clearly the best actor on the series, but I think that it generally has hindered the show in a very serious way. Girls Season 1 was about a group of young women struggling to find their identities through their various relationships with each other, and occasionally, through men. Season 2 was about several fair-weather female friends who completely unravel when there's not a strong male presence in their lives, while the men who matter to them thrive or at the very least, actively try to become better people. (And now that Season 3's writing staff is mostly men, to say I'm pessimistic would be an understatement.) Whereas Hannah stumbled through the season coping with overwhelming stress-induced OCD, Adam made a few charming speeches and was rewarded with a girlfriend on whom he could take out his repressive issues in what I'm going to go ahead and call "gray rape," becoming the storybook hero the show so desperately wanted him to be in the Season 2 finale. In the same way that, say, Rihanna is not responsible for being a role model for battered women and has every right to get back together with her abusive ex-boyfriend, just because Girls was marketed as a series for young women to commiserate with, I guess it is technically okay that it's become a show where the ladies are emotionally immature (at best) and the guys are the focal points, if not the anti-heroes. Sure.
I'm not entirely sure I "got" "Video Games," unless the point of it was to make me not want to see Jessa again for a while and like Hannah even more. My colleague Ethan Alter made a very good point that despite its flaws, the episode did add to the expansion of Girls's universe, thanks to the addition of beautiful Upstate New York (and last episode it was Staten Island, the episode before that, an alternate look at her own neighborhood), but beyond that, we're all kind of just waiting for next week.
It will probably come to no surprise to you that "One Man's Trash" was written by Lena Dunham -- after all, you'd have to be crazy to have your own show without devoting at least one entire episode to a hot older guy finding you so wildly attractive that he puts his life on hold for you and lets you frolic in his ballin' apartment.
With "It's a Shame about Ray," we've now seen the exposed sides of Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna's relationships, teaching us about our main characters' vulnerabilities and projections, and how they look when they're at their most raw. Hannah is sloppy, tortured and afraid; Marnie is lost without her labels; Jessa is full of pain; and Shoshanna is strange but quite innocent. I think this might be my favorite episode of Girls so far, in no small part thanks to the well-proportioned screen time each of our protagonists got and, like in "All Adventurous Women Do," there was this wonderful moment of female friendship at the end, framed by a completely on-the-nose song that was just too perfect to really sneer at... you know, unless you hate-watch this show. In that case, I'd imagine that Hannah and Jessa in the tub is one of those scenes that made you cringe harder than ever before and only furthered your antipathy for Lena Dunham. To which I'd ask: unless you're getting paid to do it, why are you still watching this show, really?
Girls haters have another loss to groan about this week: Lena and the gang have been picked up for a third season. And if virgin viewers took that news to heart and decided to check out the show starting with this week's "Bad Friend," I'm pretty sure they will never ever be back.
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.
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.
From here on out, whenever a character has a completely out-of-nowhere (but not improbable) engagement or, God forbid, surprise wedding, it should be referred to as pulling a Draper. Used in a sentence: "Jessa and Chris O'Dowd totally Draper'd us in the Girls Season 1 finale."
As is the case with most penultimate episodes, "Leave Me Alone" was primarily a set-up for Girls' Season 1 finale, which we're going into with Hannah and Marnie no longer living together, Jessa maybe actually trying to get her life together and Shoshanna internet dating. None of the storylines are particularly enthralling, but the teaser for next week included Elijah, so my hopes are cautiously high. Until then, let's look at the episode's highs and lows.
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