Girls

7.4 / 10
30 min
Comedy
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" gives "Girls - Season 2" a 8."
Written by on 23 March 2013.
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Girls - Season 2

Before Girls started, the 24-year-old creator Lena Dunham said she wanted to give a voice to a generation. She was critized for many things during the following year. Her breasts were a recurring character on the show, her generation was oddly demographic specific to white rich girls and her characters were weird bordering unhealthy. But with a couple of Golden Globes in her pocket Dunham has little reason to comply with the critics. If anything, the second season improves on everything that made the show so controversial and intriguing in the first place. More breasts, more awkwardness and only one African-American character with lines. And yet, Girls, as gender specific as the show may sound, is, in its own twist up and psychotic way, a voice of a generation.

The second season of the show starts off with Hannah (Dunham herself) having sex with a black Republican (Community’s Donald Glover). She seems fairly moved on from her ex-boyfriend Adam (a polarizing Adam Driver), who only now realizes how vital Hannah was for his life. Best friend Marnie (Allison Williams) is fired from her job and the structural, privileged girl suddenly realizes she has no clue what her life is going to be like. The free-spirited Jessa (Jemima Kirk) enjoys married life because, as she puts it, “the hunt is over”. Fast-talking and naïve Shoshanna (an endearing Zosia Mamet) is dating Ray (Alex Karpovsky) and got more than she signed up for. The four girls, and to some extend their boys, are at very relatable points in their lives. They are young, they are beautiful, they live in arguably the greatest city on earth and they have no clue what to do with that. It’s the truth of a new, lost generation of college graduates who try to find jobs in a harsh economy. They've been given more than their parents used to have, but that may not be enough because when you don't worry much about money, rent, or how to get your next meal, you wonder about your passions, dreams, and expectations. It may seem ungrateful and indifferent towards actual problems, but this is what Hannah and many of her peers actually face. Hannah’s parents cut her off in the pilot but remain a pillar, whether she realizes it or not. They’ve gotten her this far but now she has to stand on her own feet and she has no idea how.

The season chronicles the lives of these characters as they try to find their way and learn from unique experiences. Marnie hooks up with an artist she adores but as usual, she romanticizes it more than she acknowledges the reality of it. Shoshanna, whose sexuality has just awoken, looks around and wonders if life is better without an older boyfriend who calls himself “a loser”. Jessa, as unpredictable and random as she is, realises, thanks to her husband and her father, that she's a unique kind of person and she might not have found an equal as quickly as she would've liked. But the best character development comes from Hannah herself. Obviously the relationship with the black Republican doesn’t last forever and her new roommate isn’t everything she thought he’d be. She finds a job and can't get rid of adam and because of the stress she's visited by an old friend.

There are some amazing episodes in the show that stand well on their own and even exemplify how different themes and different characters balance well in one show when creative chances are taken. Hannah spends nearly the entire episode ‘One Man’s Trash’ alone with Patrick Wilson and, for what feels like a short film, she discovers what she really wants in life. The episode ‘Boys’ features Adam and Ray on a mission and proves the guys are just as important to the show as the girls. The episode ‘Video Games’ that takes Hannah and Jessa back to the countryside where Jessa’s father lives, explores the origins of the eccentric, unpredictable girl that is Jessa. Adam emerges in sexual domination when he gets a girlfriend (Shiri Appleby), the way we’ve seen him before. Marnie gets infinitely more terrible, and thereby more entertaining, as every conversation she has is about her. Seeing how her ex, Charlie (Christopher Abbott), thrives in her absence, results in one of the more memorable renditions of Kanye West’s ‘Stronger’. As the season winds down and Hannah shares a scene with a Q-tip it’s abundantly clear that this is not a normal show. These characters are incredibly layered, even for HBO standards. They are so diverse, self-absorbed and yet endearing. They navigate through life without a road map. Watching them struggle, make mistakes and blame everyone but themselves while they still find love, is exciting and refreshing.

Judd Appatow and HBO made a very right decision to give Dunham her own show and in the experienced hands of Jenni Konner, Dunham excels as a writer, a director and an actress. The second season of Girls is bound to upset you, whether in a good or bad way. It’s frustrating, it’s hipster, it can even be hard to understand, as characters are so inconsistent you question their authenticity. But it’s beautifully shot, acted raw and honest and written with more sense of storytelling and development than most character-driven shows. Though very few girls and boys her age are as comfortable with nudity as Lena Dunham is, what she says about her generation is unique, unheard of and most of all, abundantly true.
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