You're not totally burned on talking about Lena Dunham, are you? No? Well good. Because today, the Observer explored the hottest new trend sweeping New York, which it turns out is pretending to know (or sort of know) Lena Dunham. Ah.
So we're in the woods with this one. Hannah and Jessa have taken the Metro North upstate to visit Jessa's father and let's just say that he does not live in Valhalla. He lives in Manitou with his wife Petula and her turtleneck-wearing, center-part having, camel toe-sporting son, Frank. And a lot of bunnies. But before we meet Mr. Johanssen or the rest of the menagerie, we see Hannah and Jessa while they wait at the train station. Hannah doesn't like to wait. Hannah still seems to think that she's the star of this story. But not this week. Hannah complains about waiting and about never wanting her parents to be late when she was a child. Jessa thinks Hannah is still a child. Jessa is not wrong. Jessa always had to wait. Jessa does not like Hannah making her feel bad about her parents and says that waiting is only ever really bad if "you get molested by the weird sub." Hannah asks Jessa if she was ever molested by a weird substitute teacher. Jessa replies, "Yeah. No. I don't know. Maybe. Probably." And the truth is, it doesn't really matter anymore what happened or didn't happen with that weird sub. Jessa was fucked the moment she was born, and she doesn't like being reminded of it. In the meantime, Hannah has a UTI and has to pee. Jessa advises her to pee by the train tracks, telling Hannah that what she really ought to do is "stick garlic in her pussy...like a whole clove" but that isn't an option right now. So Hannah goes to pee and asks Jessa to make sure no one can see her. Jessa tells her the coast is clear, even as we see an elderly, upstate couple walking on the platform, taken aback by the site of Hannah's indiscreet squat-and-release. Jessa smiles. She smiles because she knows she's fucked and she might as well amuse herself on the way to wherever she's going.
As is so often the case with freelance bloggers who write about their own drug-fueled exploits, Hannah has a book deal! Well, an ebook deal, which doesn't seem to have any contract or advance involved. But still! An editor played by John Cameron Mitchell has taken Hannah out for a meal—which, fancy—in order to ask her to write a book for him as sort of a high-low lit-world situation. Does Hannah know what "high-low" means? Sure, she says, "like Target." But in fact, Hannah will not be a high-end person slumming as in "Toni Morrison doing Target", she will instead be the "low-end" part of the deal and bring her own viewpoint to the "lost generation" she's a part of. So, wait. Hannah is actually going to be the voice of her generation? Just like she told her parents she would be wayyyyy back in the first episode of Girls ever? What a coincidence. Anyway, Hannah is told she has to write this whole book in a month, but she shouldn't worry because John Cameron Mitchell assures her, "You're my new protegée." Which, being John Cameron Mitchell's protegée is all I've personally wanted since I saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Jane Street Theater when I was 16. Much like I would have done at 16 though when presented with such an overwhelming offer, Hannah leaves the meeting and promptly throws up.
You know, not to compare everything to Girls, but here, it actually does seem kind of apt. East Willy-B, a Kickstarter-funded web series premiering its second season on March 20th, does, after all, revolve around a group of young people who live in Brooklyn, are actually from Brooklyn, are not exclusively white, and are actively pretty concerned about social forces outside of themselves.
Or, per a description in one of their Kickstarter videos, it's "a Latino-based hipster invasion gentrification comedy." Which, you know, is a mouthful, but it also makes sense.
Was this episode a dream? Was it Hannah's dream? Was it my dream? Probably not, no. It was probably not my dream. Or anyone else's dream. But it was a surreal half-hour, full of elements that contributed to the dreamscape atmosphere. It was definitely a departure from the last episode, which was, in effect, a recalibration of all the characters in the series. This episode—"Another Man's Trash"—left all the story lines from last week hanging in the ether and just focused on Hannah. There was a brief set-up, with Patrick Wilson's character getting into a fight with Ray at Grumpy, over all the coffee shop trash that wound up in his garbage cans. And we got to see Ray both perform and explain "corporal percussion" which was nice. We were also introduced to the concept of the "sexit" which is a word that Hannah most definitely did not invent and which no one should ever, ever use. We last see Ray as he mutters under his breath at the Grumpy customers to "Keep watching panda videos before I turn off your WiFi." And then we're gone. Into a strange world of ping-pong and Bonne Maman jam and steam showers. Girls.
Well, so this was basically the best episode of the series so far. Where last week wound up being a practically unwatchable half-hour because of all the ways it rang false—for example, cocaine does not equal Ecstasy—this episode was consistently awesome because of how it moved the characters forward by being all too honest about their strengths and flaws. Mostly their flaws. These are flawed young women. But then aren't we all? I mean, not everyone pees in the bath, but I think you can understand what I'm saying. Nobody actually does that, right? Pees in the bath? I really hope nobody actually does that. Anyway! Girls.
In all fairness, Super Bowl halftime shows are supposed to be strange, tacky spectacles that don't ever stand the test of time. That's how it is, and how (I assume) it always will be. Even so, the combined forces of football, network sponsors, and the pressure of trying to appease the taste of every single person in America tend to make for pretty odd bedfellows. More specifically, combinations of musicians who should never be sharing a stage together under any circumstances at all. Because watching old YouTube clips is generally better than "reading news" or "doing work," let's think about the times it's gone the most wrong.
Well, geez, that was pretty fast. HBO has already put Lena Dunham at the helm of another series, which she'll be writing along with Girls co-executive producer Jenni Konner. And yes, it actually is about shopping.
Can we all just agree to pretend that this episode never happened? Because, did it even happen? It didn't seem to happen. It didn't, after all, seem real in any way. And I wanted it to seem real. But it didn't seem real. It started off real enough, and then it all went horribly, horribly wrong. It could have gone in such a good direction, what with Hannah finally getting a freelance writing job from Jazzhate.com—which, I guess, Buzzfeed? Vice? xoJane?— and being told to go outside her comfort zone to write something great. And Jazzhate pays $200 for an article? That is crazy money. So, the pay structure isn't exactly real, but at least its relative unreality explains why Hannah would compromise her "weird nasal passages" by snorting massive amounts of coke in order to "make the magic happen." Because, as anyone who has ever done coke or been around people on coke knows, it's pure magic, like newly driven snow that tastes like aspirin going down the back of your throat, making you really thirsty. That kind of snow. That kind of magic.
Yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter, uh, Hollywood reported that the long-speculated-upon Bored to Death movie is really, truly happening. Alright! Good, maybe even great news for fans of detective stories and/or Jonathan Ames and/or any type of Brooklyn-related media. But what, precisely, will happen in this movie? Well, per the logline obtained by THR:
Here's something about being involved with someone much older than you. You might think that they are very open and understanding, and maybe they are in many ways, but also, they tend to be extremely sensitive and need a level of faithfulness that callous, younger people just can't fully understand. Maybe this inclination toward loyalty is why so many older people stick with Hotmail? Unclear at this time. But what I'm trying to say is that Elijah's much-older boyfriend, George, breaks up with him because Elijah had sex with Marnie. And even though it was "like three pumps, two-and-a-half pumps" before he lost his boner, it's too late. George tells Elijah, "I don't want to be with someone who's confused. I thought you knew what you wanted." George leaves. Plaintive guitar strumming ensues.
"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.
No. She's not. Or at least that's what Dunham claims in an interview she did with New York Magazine. When asked whether or not the fact that she appears naked and straddling actor Donald Glover within the first few minutes of the season premiere is a nod to the critiques that the Girls cast is monochromatic in a way that doesn't reflect the population of Brooklyn, Dunham responded, "It definitely wasn’t a 'Fuck you, haters!' That’s not really how I tend to roll my game." Cool. So that's settled then? Dunham is not saying "Fuck you." She doesn't roll that way. Except, wait.
A little weird, though, that she did it with 17-hear-old Conor Cruise in tow, the same night his dad was on the show promoting Jack Reacher. Sort of a crazy, totally coincidental convergence of creative types, isn't it?
We've been living in a much-lauded "golden age" of great TV for what, about a decade now? There's a wealth of formidable options in essentially every genre, which is wonderful, of course. But at the same time, you can't possibly watch every single show that you've "heard good things about" without ending up like the "Sloth" victim in Se7en, strapped to your own bed with slowly decaying muscles as a punishment for your sedentary lifestyle. So, rather than run down every Emmy-nominated episode of every show you've already been guilted into DVR-ing or whatever, instead, let's take an arbitrary look back at the 10 best televised moments of the year, as chosen by a person who may or may not actually own a TV.
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