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TV Review: GIRLS Season 2

Girls-Season-2-BluGIRLS Season 2
Starring Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet and Adam Driver

Hannah Horvath: Y’know what I think I didn’t know until I met you was that I was, like, lonely, in such a deep, deep way.

When Lena Dunham’s Hannah says these words in episode five of the second season of HBO’s “Girls”, a standout episode entitled, “One Man’s Trash”, she is entirely removed from her every day existence and finally able to see her life, her completely self-involved and self-destructive life, for exactly what it is. All the time she spends trying to be the most sufficient and superior embodiment of who she purports to be, has actually kept her from forming any genuine connections with the people in her life, without even realizing it was happening. Naturally, she should have this epiphany after spending what she considered quality time with a total stranger (Patrick Wilson!) but that’s Hannah for you. This is also why Dunham is not so off base when she declares herself the voice of her generation (or a generation anyway).


When we last saw Hannah, she had broken up with her troubled boyfriend, Adam (Adam Driver), only to see him get hit by a car, and she and Marnie (the enchanting Allison Williams), had a falling out that led to Marnie moving out. The second season picks things up a few weeks later. Hannah is now seeing someone new (Donald Glover from “Community”) but still taking care of Adam, who is bedridden from his accident. She also has a new roommate, Elijah (Andrew Rannells), a former lover of hers who is now gay (and naturally fabulous). Things with Marnie are still rocky, even though Hannah isn’t willing to admit it, but aside from that, everything seems to be going well for her. This does not last long.


In fact, nothing lasts very long in the second season of “Girls”. Secondary characters come and go as if the show hadn’t already tested these waters in the first season. There is a slight lack of certainty in the overall direction of the season that ultimately undermines it and leaves it feeling forced and unfocused at times. It is still often hysterical and incredibly well acted by this fantastic ensemble, which also includes the neurotically beautiful insanity that is Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet), but a peculiar shift in tone in the eighth episode threw the whole thing off for me. Without saying what specifically happens to her, Hannah’s character changes and in a way that seemed to me to come out of nowhere. As a result, it never sat well with me and, by the time the season wrapped up, I was less involved with the girls’ journey.


The aforementioned “One Man’s Garbage” and an episode entitled “Video Games”, in which Hannah and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) visit Jessa’s father in upstate New York, and have a miserable time there, are two strikingly different episodes for the series. They pair down the ensemble into smaller, more specific stories and take deeper breaths with the pacing of the show. Both are directed by returning director, Richard Shepard, who shows that he has a singularly unique perspective on these characters. Dunham meanwhile, takes a bit of a step back from creative duties, directing one less episode than she did in the first season, and actually allowing herself to have absolutely nothing to do with the writing on three separate occasions. I hope she gets more involved in the third season, which is shooting now and expected to debut in early 2014, because relinquishing control provided some reasonably unwieldy results.


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