Entertainment :: Television

HBO’s "Girls" - It’s About Time

by Kevin Taft
Contributor
Sunday Jan 13, 2013
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Lena Dunham in a scene from HBO’s GIRLS
Lena Dunham in a scene from HBO’s GIRLS  

Last we left our naval-gazing 20-something gals of New York City, crazy things had gone down. British hippie-chick Jessa (Jemima Kirk) had flummoxed everyone with a surprise wedding to entrepreneur Thomas-John (Chris O’Dowd), a man she previously despised. Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) was having sex for the very first time with mensch Ray (Alex Karpovsky). Marnie (Allison Williams) was still trying to get over ex-boyfriend Charlie (Christopher Abbott) by hitting on a schlubby wedding guest. Most shockingly, Hannah ("Girls" creator Lena Dunham) had asked gay ex-boyfriend Elijah (Andrew Rannells) to move in right after her boyfriend Adam (Adam Driver) said he’d move in with her. Because of her serious lack of self-esteem, Hannah didn’t think he was serious so when she tells him he’s off the hook, he freaks out and ends up getting hit by a truck. Hannah winds up asleep on the subway and wakes up in Coney Island with her purse stolen and nothing but a wrapped up piece of wedding cake.

The new season begins a few months later with Hannah and Adam no longer a couple, but her guilt has made her become his nursemaid while he recovers from the accident. Meanwhile, she is dating a black Republican she met at the coffee bar where she works, a fact that Adam is thus far unaware. She’s also enjoying having a gay BFF as a roommate and the two decide to have a party. Shoshanna is still a hyperkinetic mess and has dumped Ray, but is clearly not able to resist his awkward and seriously un-sexy advances. Marnie, on the other hand, is still having trouble dealing with the loss of Charlie and that uncertainty causes her to do something not so wise. (Spoiler intact.) Meanwhile, Jessa is off on a three-month long honeymoon with her rich boyfriend she claims she is head over heels in love with.

Directed and co-written (with Jennifer Konner) by Lena Dunham, the writing is sharp and the direction mimics the slacker ferocity that is the bat-signal of her generation. While some find the characters annoying for that very reason, I applaud Dunham for not shying away from her generation’s biggest problem: responsibility. These characters overthink and overanalyze their problems to unhealthy levels. None of their problems are their fault and they consistently try to find someone to blame for their behavior; because even if it’s bad behavior, someone else must have caused (deep-seated or otherwise ) it. They also can’t stop talking about THEIR OWN problems. It’s a wonder anyone can get a word in edgewise or that anyone can hear anyone else because all they do is talk about themselves. Thankfully, the characters call each other out on it. (If only some of the people I know in that generation were as adept at recognizing this issue as these characters were.) No one wants to accept responsibility or blame when things go wrong. And as annoying as that might sound, Lena Dunham illustrates this issue in a smart and interesting way. She allows the characters to be annoying, frenetic, whip-smart, and self-involved, but she also lets them comprehend their actions and take actions against them. Therein lays the pleasure of "Girls." That and the fact that Dunham is self-deprecatingly hilarious.

Tune in next week when Marnie gets a job and Hannah calls the cops on Adam! Ack!

"Girls" airs every Sunday at 10pm beginning Jan. 13 on HBO.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to ’Star Wars’ and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg. He can be seen in the flesh on the weekly PBS movie review series "Just Seen It."

Comments

  • Anonymous, 2013-01-15 12:44:08

    Keep it up Mr. Taft


  • Anonymous, 2013-01-15 12:44:18

    Keep it up Mr. Taft


  • Anonymous, 2013-01-15 12:44:23

    Keep it up Mr. Taft


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