Monday, January 14, 2013

Girls Recap: If You Hated It Before, You Might Still Hate It. Get Over That.

Posted By on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 9:30 AM


"I'm sorry I have a boner. It's not for you." And just like that the second season of Girls kicks off with what I think is a better response to all the criticism directed at Lena Dunham than her other scripted response to media criticism, which is to fuck Donald Glover before the show's title flashes on screen. Because it certainly does seem like every media outlet, including this one, has a major hard-on for Dunham. The amount of content generated off this one woman and her television show is mind-boggling. But all that content gets eaten right up, so it isn't only the media that has a boner for Girls, it's also the consumer. And, yet, despite the fact that there is a lot of adulation directed toward Dunham, there is also so much criticism aimed at her too—about everything from her supposed solipsism to her bodily imperfections. So, sure, here's a big hard penis seeking you out, Hannah Horvath. But, don't take it personally. We don't really like you that much. Ahh! Girls is back.

So where did we leave the characters last season? What was going on in their world which looks so suspiciously like our own only we somehow get by without parental support? Well, Shoshanna lost her virginity to Ray. Boom. Done. Virginity is gone. When we check back in with Shoshanna this episode, she explains her newly deflowered (ew, terrible word) status this way, "Miss would definitely be the wrong word. I wouldn't say that I miss it. I would just say that I feel like there's something missing." Oh, Shosh. Also, she burns sage and wears a small hat to a house party and even though I think all of this is somewhat endearing in a fictional character, if she was a real human that I had to spend any time with at all, well, I wouldn't spend any time with her at all. There is no one like Shoshanna in real life, I hope. Anyway, maybe she'll get more nuanced as the season goes on? Or at least wear more appropriate hats. Hats are not for everyone.

Marnie ended last season in a sort of drifting state. Suddenly, she was boyfriend-less and living with Shoshanna and all of those terrible mini-hats instead of with Hannah. But at least Marnie had her job, right? Well, not any more. Marnie gets fired from her job and learns a little bit about office politics in this exchange with her former boss—who wears pigtails, not incidentally—about why it is that Marnie is getting fired instead of her idiot co-worker, Julian.

"You're keeping Julian instead of me? Julian spilled Yoo-Hoo on a Prince. Why would you keep Julian?"
"Well, I fucked Julian, so he could sue me.

Right there? That is a valuable life lesson. Always sleep with your boss so they can never fire you. Of course, I am not exactly serious. But it isn't the worst advice in the world. (Yes, it is. It is literally the worst advice in the world. Never sleep with your boss.)

Jessa, of course, got surprise-married to an investment banker. We don't see Jessa nearly enough this episode. She and her banker husband skip the airport line and hop in a cab and all we can tell is that Jessa must be coming back from the Caribbean because she has half a head of braids in her hair and everyone knows that the best reason to go to the Caribbean on vacation is to get your hair braided so that when you come back to New York, everyone knows that you were on an island somewhere. At least, that was the rationale when I was in middle school and so I'm sure it holds up today, years and years later. There wasn't much of Jessa this episode. More Jessa, please.


And, so, Hannah! What is she up to? Well, Hannah is still working at Café Grumpy and writing (which she claims are "two full time jobs") and secretly-ish hooking up with Sandy, who is black and owns a copy of The Fountainhead, and taking care of Adam and his broken leg. Hannah stands up more to Adam, telling him that he's not being "nice" to her, but she also holds a pot for him to piss in, so there are still some issues there. But, also, Hannah is living with Elijah and they seem to really be making it work. They even get it together enough to throw a big party and plan more festivities for the future—themes will include "fondue night, craft night, Japanese snack night, and French salon night." The last of which is not, as Hannah thinks, about haircuts or lesbians, but was instead inspired by Elijah having recently watched Midnight in Paris and thinking, "Oh, I could do that."

So, the party is pretty solid. It involves Elijah's old, rich boyfriend getting wasted and shaming everyone via the karaoke microphone and saying that they're all "too fucking boring." Things were, as you can imagine, different when he was their age. Ah, old people! When will they learn that nostalgia is death? Also at the party is Marnie's ex, Charlie, with his headband-wearing girlfriend. This necessarily sends Marnie into a tailspin which hits its nadir after the party is over. Marnie and Elijah sing Sarah McLachlan's "Building a Mystery" and try to have sex. It doesn't work. Oh, it doesn't work at all. Poor Marnie just wants to be close to someone and Hannah has already told her that they just aren't as close as they used to be because they don't live together and, well, since physical proximity is the key to emotional intimacy, they're screwed. Hannah has the amazing ability to say really cruel things in a really matter-of-fact way and, I know she's just a fictional character, but, yeah, I think she'll be a good writer. Anyway, Marnie winds up going to Charlie's apartment and climbing into bed with him because she doesn't want to be alone. Oh, Marnie.

Hannah makes a quick run over to Adam's to bring him his pain pills and then, despite his protests that he makes her feel better than anyone else has (something about "making her whole body feel like a clit") Hannah bails. She changed her mind about Adam. And the episode ends with Hannah undressing in Sandy's apartment while he goes to get his copy of The Fountainhead for her.

Premieres are always drawn-out establishing shots for the rest of the season, and this one did a pretty good job. Each of the main characters is in a place that is newly disorienting for her, and we get to see who will sink and who will swim. Marnie, who had always been so stable and successful, just wants to curl up in the fetal position next to her old boyfriend. Shoshanna, who speaks the letters OMG out loud, is entering into something with a guy who actually hates emoji (which is crazy to me, but whatever.) In the words of Ray, "You sent me a panda next to a gun next to a wrapped gift. It makes no sense." Jessa, who was portrayed as the ultimate free spirit, is now tied down in a way that it doesn't look like she's even begun to process yet. And Hannah, who always seemed to be begging for someone to love her, now has different romantic options and is choosing her path instead of letting it unfold for her. All that I hope for Hannah is that she heeds the Lilith Fair-approved words of Sarah McLachlan and goes ahead building her mystery, but, also, choosing carefully.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen

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