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Monday, March 18, 2013

Girls. Season 2, Episodes 5-10

Girls has ended its second season, and it's left us a little confused about the future of the show.

Where's the funny?
Plenty of people are asking whether this show has taken an unintentional turn for the unfunny. After the hilarious episode three where Hannah tried hard drugs, the show has gone to the dark place and never really came out. The show was always darkly funny, but this season has dropped a lot of the absurdities and one- liners in exchange for mental illness and ethically questionable sex. We think the show is allowed to do this, as long as it picks the humor up in season three. A dip into darkness can be genius, as long as the show hasn't lost the voice that sold us on it in the first place.

What about that "on all fours" scene?
The season finale had Adam picking up Hannah, saving her from her own OCD mind with a kiss. It was romantic and fit perfectly with the fun. song the show put at the end. But, in the back of our minds, is the question of whether Adam's bad sex with Natalia bordered on rape. There are questions floating around: Is it really up to the woman to say "no," or should it be the guy's duty to get clear consent? Is it a sad reflection of our culture that the onus is on the girl to stop it? And yet, at the same time, our culture pushes girls to be sweet, submissive, and avoid "awkwardness?" Did we just use the word "onus"?

If you consent to one kind of sex, are you consenting to most kinds of sex? Are some girls unable to say no in certain situations, because society has taught them to be sweet and they could be confused in a particular situation? Should the guy hop off and apologize as soon as he knows the woman is uncomfortable or not having a good time? We have our own answers to those questions, but it's not for us to tell you what's right or wrong (only to get you to think about it).

We have questions about the show's take on it too. Does Lena Dunham condemn what the Adam character did to Natalia. Or was the whole scene just filmed to make us think, "Oh, Hannah is a way better girl for Adam than stuffy, preppy Natalia, because Hannah likes that kind of sex?" If it's the latter, then our respect for this show has gone way down. Vilifying a type of girl over what she wants done to her in the bedroom is completely anti-feminist in every way. Adam should have been called to the carpet over that scene by Natalia, and he should have apologized BEFORE he came running, the hero in every way, to Hannah's rescue.

We don't like it. Mostly because it came out of nowhere. There was no hint in season one at all that Hannah had ever suffered from mental illness. What would be the problem of having Hannah develop it, slowly, for the first time over the course of season two? Why did it have to be recurring? Why did they have to tack it onto the very end of the season, like an afterthought? Is it the sort of mental illness portrayal that is helpful to the OCD community, or one that stigmatizes sufferers even more? The eardrum thing was horrifying and so so sad.

Good episodes:
We loved the Patrick Wilson episode. It was one of the highlights of the season for us. Patrick Wilson is so sexy and such a good actor. His character felt real. In fact, all of it was believable. Having Hannah go all "manic pixie dream girl," and then get tossed on her ass when it turned out to not be as charming as it is in the movies? Brilliant. Hannah lives a fantasy for a while, and then ruins it with total awkwardness that was painful to watch. We also liked "Boys," the episode that paired Adam and Ray, although it continued the worrying trend of focusing on the men in the show and not the girls. That episode had Marnie walking away from Booth, not even pausing to comfort him about his lonely life. Perfect.

Is Jessa fun or a pariah?
We were huge Jessa fans until the episode where she went home and then took off. We know the actress is pregnant and had to go hatch the young, but having Jessa disappear just highlights everything flaky and stereotypical about her. The sad sack episode with her daddy issues didn't help matters either, although it was funny that Hannah banged an underaged guy. Her conversation with him about it was one of the funniest moments of the season.

Men and women this season
In this season, the girls completely fell apart. Jessa is off the grid, Hannah is losing her mind (and is probably going to be sued over that book deal), and Marnie was just a complete mess. The guys, Charlie and Adam, came to the rescue. The girls were bad friends to each other. Is it fair to have the men in the show, being around the same age, acting more maturely and having it together, while the girls frustrate us? Does that reflect reality for 24-year-olds today?

A tinge of disappointment
This season had a great start. But at the end of it all, this series has a lot more problems than "lack of diversity." Lena is completely consumed with herself and mining her own experiences for this show. It's time for her to start creating her own world, rather than just spitting out her own culture. It's time to take this show to the next level. Our hopes for season three is that the writers will remember that young women are people, not just needy messes. We also hope that the show remembers it used to be hilarious. The last three episodes really, really lost that. The ending wasn't very satisfying either.

One Man's Trash: B+
Boys: B+
Video Games: C
It's Back: D
On All Fours: B
Together: B


  1. actually Hannah does briefly talk about her OCD in season 1, something about obsessively masturbating (which she then brings up in season 2 again).
    The OCD is based on what Lena has really experienced. I thought it was such an interesting insight. Loved all of season 2.
    and just my opinion, that wasn't rape, just an uncomfortable sexual experience that Natarlia (she'll always be liz from roswell to me!) could've stopped if she wanted to, but she let it happen even though she didn't enjoy it. I think it was so wrong that Natarliya was ok with Adam drinking again, despite her mother also being an alchoholic.

    1. Huh, I guess we didn't catch OCD from "obsessively masturbating." But it's something, which is nice. We did know that the eardrum thing was a real Lena Dunham experience. Yikes.

      I think one of the reasons we were annoyed with the sex scene was that after it happened, when Natalia was freaked out, instead of asking her if she was ok or apologizing, Adam said, "So, are you done with me now?" Ick. But yeah, she shouldn't have let Adam drink.