Who could have guessed we'd be here? Who could have guessed that Season 3, which got off to such an ugly and joyless and borderline unwatchable start (if anything ever trumps "Dead Inside" as the worst episode of Girls ever, I'll be legitimately surprised and horrified), would end on such a touching and effective and funny note? If the fairytale Season 2 finale felt like a lame cop-out (which it was), then last night's Season 3 finale "Two Plane Rides" brought the show back down to earth where it belongs. It was bittersweet series of endings, to say the least, for Hannah and Co. But in your 20s, those are far more common than those elusive happy endings, anyway. Certain things about "Two Plane Rides" felt rushed, which is really too bad considering they could have cut the bullshit from earlier this season to make room for compelling story lines like Jessa's complicated request from Beadie to Shoshanna's understandable meltdown. For the first time in a long time, Girls has not only left me wanting more, but put me back in these girls' corners. Well, except for Marnie. Marnie is the worst.
"Galentine's Day" (Part 2, technically) is the reason why I watch this show. I had a smile on my face throughout the entire episode and was pleased that they found a way to service every single character in one half hour, without sacrificing the funny. This one might end up in my top ten list of episodes, and not just because of Andy determining that he was "Goofus"… but that sure didn't hurt.
When we first watched this pilot last summer, we saw it alongside the similarly themed Hostages and this show was the far superior debut. It had some interesting twists and turns plus the added bonus of putting Gillian Anderson back on our TV sets. But after suffering through Hostages, and seeing how poorly it all played out, the idea of committing to more episodes of another show that is predicated on a kidnapping is a pretty big pill to swallow. (Note: spoilers for last night's twists below.)
In case you hadn't noticed, I wasn't the biggest fan of the episode "Dead Inside". I thought it was cruel and ugly and unfunny and used a death as a way to challenge viewers who don't like these characters. I understand not wanting to conform to what's expected of you, but rubbing everyone's face in their heartlessness seemed like a surefire way to turn off even the most fervent supporters. (See: me.) Since that fateful episode, in which Hannah whined more about the fate of her book than the actual passing of her editor David and all of her (female) pals talked about loss and death with nothing more than eye-rolling boredom and snark, things have been on the upswing of late. Both "Incidentals" and "Beach House" began to make these characters human, and even likeable again. But, if like me, "Dead Inside" still leaves a bitter taste in your mouth (I'm still convinced that Hannah is a sociopath), "Flo" probably remedied that. Instead of a detached, mean-spirited look at loss, "Flo" was sensitive and personal and was reminiscent of Season 1 depth.
With barely a mention of Ann and Chris or their recent departure, we pick right up with the rest of the Pawnee crew for "Anniversaries." While I liked a large part of this episode, the Game of Thrones ending filled me with a weird blend of happiness and anger and confusion, so I still don't know how I feel about it, but I do know that I love Ben Wyatt's stupid surprised face more than I should which goes a long way towards covering up any mixed feelings I may have.
It should be stated, first and foremost, that Steve Zahn really should be in just about everything. The underrated, scene-stealing actor is the best part of anything he's in (see: That Thing You Do!, Rescue Dawn, Joy Ride, among others) and always seems to be the missing link that improves a movie or TV show. The goofy, but lovable Zahn is, without a doubt, the best thing about the new dramedy Mind Games, but even his talents can't save this from being an ultimately ridiculous -- but most notably, boring -- slog.
By all accounts, The Michael J. Fox Show should have been good. It starred television treasures (Michael J. Fox, Betsy Brandt, Wendell Pierce), it had a primo time slot and it did not shy away from Fox's real-life battle with Parkinson's (in fact, that was a prominent part of the show.) But throw some annoying kids in the mix, sitcom-friendly problems (all family squabbles are fixed within the half-hour and no one ever holds a grudge),and the uneasy feeling that Parkinson's is being used as a comedy crutch more often than it should be, and well, you've got a major disappointment.
I must admit something right off the bat: I've never been the biggest fan of Jimmy Fallon as a late night talk show host. I know, I know, that's like saying puppies are overrated and ice cream is a sub-par dessert. I'm of the minority and I realize that. Let me clarify that I actually thought Fallon's Late Night was a fun, hip (The Roots rule all!!) and modern (the guy knows his viral-friendly audience) show, but Fallon's interviewing style of fawning and giggling over every single guest always hit the wrong nerve with me. Again, I realize that Fallon doesn't have the gravitas as Letterman, nor the politics of Stewart and Colbert, but I like my hosts more edgy and daring than agreeable and starstruck, and the squeaky-clean Fallon most certainly ain't that.
Vacation is good for everyone. It's good for me, it's good for you and it's definitely good for TV shows stuck in a rut that it desperately needs to get out of. A change of scenery doesn't just physically take you out of your elements, but it mentally does, too. Destination/getaway episodes are nothing new, but rarely are they used to re-set the course of a series. Typically it's just an excuse to have the characters get into whacky shenanigans in Hawaii or meet Mickey Mouse. But Girls went a different route with "Beach House" and didn't use their getaway as a break from the norm, but rather as a device to have a lot of underlying issues come to a head. Vacation episodes are usually a fun distraction, but this one felt like the first truly authentic, funny, interesting, and -- believe it or not -- emotional episode of this rocky, thus-far-unlikable third season. Girls has had success with getting the characters out of the city before. Case in point: "The Return" and "Video Games." Last night's "Beach House" makes them three for three. (Maybe they need to leave New York more often?)
That Day family is one kooky bunch, huh? We've already met Jess's overprotective papa Bob (Rob Reiner) and her outgoing mother Joan (Jamie Lee Curtis, who popped up again in another phone scene), and in last night's new episode "Sister" we finally met Jess's wild-child sister that we've definitely never heard of before, Abby ( Linda Cardellini). We know that Abby and Jess are different because Abby (who Jess describes as "a girl who looks like me but with chaos in her eyes") gets arrested and causes trouble wherever she goes and wears dark eye makeup and tattered clothes (the surefire sign of a real troublemaker) and Jess sings about everything and has always been seen as the babied baby in the family. But despite their differences (and Jess's attempts to keep Abby away from everyone, including Nick) these two had some really great moments together and, like any good TV hellion, Abby makes herself right at home. I actually enjoyed this story line, maybe because I like Linda Cardellini or maybe because I thought she and Zooey Deschanel made believable sisters, or maybe it's just because anything compared to the nauseating soup-slurping double date between Winston, Bertie (WHY?!), Coach, and Cece seems downright brilliant. Here now are the do's and don'ts of letting your punk sister invade your life from last night's episode of New Girl:
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