Girls Premiere Recap
THIS ARTICLE IS FULL OF SPOILERS FOR
EPISODE 1 OF SEASON 2 OF “GIRLS.”
Season two of HBO’s Girls premiered Sunday night. The show came with all of the former awkward quips that it brought in the first season’s accurate depiction of the world we college students and “20-somethings” live in.
If you’ve yet to jump on the Girls bandwagon, I recommend scavenging for a friends HBOGO password and cuing up the entirety of Season one. With the HBO app you can even watch it on your iPhone while in line to buy your textbooks at the bookstore.
If you missed the first season, let me briefly catch you up. The show centers around four girlfriends spattered in the New York area, mainly Manhattan and Brooklyn, their male counterparts, and the perpetual revolving door of their living situations, their sources of income, and romantic partners.
Meet Hannah, the aspiring writer. Played by Lena Dunham, she is nimble-minded but not nimble-footed, ‘13 pounds overweight’, and newly cut-off from her parents. Her best friend Marnie, played by the effervescent Allison Williams, appreciates structure and tries to apply a grounded nature to everything she does but struggles to acclimate to the free spirited environment her peers dwell in, which renders her often incapable of coping with the behaviors and situations that befall her. Zosia Mamet plays Shoshanna, a college student living in Manhattan with what she believes to be an astute awareness of social protocol, and an insatiable desire to rid herself of her virginity. Finally her English cousin, Jessa, played by Jemima Kirke, is by far the most impetuous of the bunch, which at times backfires with consequences of varying degrees, but her unfailing ability to accept her friends without judgment proves her to be an invaluable friend when the other girls need her the most.
Featured gentlemen of the show include Adam, played by Adam Driver, Hannah’s hookup buddy turned boyfriend, Charlie, played by Christopher Abbott, Marnie’s boyfriend turned ex, Ray, played by Ray Ploshansky, who inevitably ‘deflowers’ Shoshanna as it is so poetically put, and finally Chris O’Dowd (the beloved Irish cop in “Bridesmaids”) enters the scene later on as Thomas John, a business man who eventually marries Jessa in the Season finale. Other extraneous characters include Elijah, Hannah’s college boyfriend, who has since come out as a homosexual, and Hannah’s parents.
I awaited Sunday night’s premiere with bated breath. There were so many questions to be answered from last season. Would Hannah and Adam be in it for the long run? How was Marnie managing her deteriorating friendship with Hannah? How had Ray and Shoshanna’s relationship panned out post-deflowerment? And finally was Jessa’s marriage for real?
Let’s take these questions one by one.
Hannah’s raunchy sex scene with Donald Glover would imply that her relationship with Adam was less than preferential. The last time we left them they were arguing over Hannah’s incapability to accept someone’s affection for her. Throughout Sunday’s episode viewers watched as a remorseful Hannah tended to Adam who was bedridden with a broken leg after being hit by a car last season. It is painfully apparent, however, that her remorse is the only tie Hannah maintains to an emotionally overwrought and worn Adam who openly expresses his longing for the relationship she had once pushed so hard for. Adam’s transformation from begrudging hook-up to vested boyfriend is a noble one, but Hannah’s disposal of the commitment she had sought leaves a sour taste in your mouth, making her appear spoiled and self-centered.
Marnie’s situation seems to be in a downward spiral. After being fired from her job at the art gallery, and experiencing the natural distance growing between her and Hannah, her frayed edges are only being aggravated by the presence of Charlie’s new girlfriend. In a moment of desperate passion she engages in a halfway-hookup with Hannah’s ex-boyfriend Elijah, who is looking to express and experiment with his passing desires he experiences towards women. We last see her as she crawls into bed with Charlie, looking to avoid sleeping alone at such an emotionally tumultuous time.
The Ray and Shoshanna saga is, quite honestly my personal favorite, in part because Ray is possibly my dream man, but moreover because the dynamic between the (formerly) virginal Shoshanna, and the acutely sarcastic Ray, could possibly be the most endearing of the entire brood. The first hint we have to their relationship comes as we see her dancing around her room with burning sage and beseeching to him negative things from the past. But our perspective on their relationship grows when Ray approaches her at Hannah’s party, expressing his disdain for her emoticon-saturated communication when they are apart, but acknowledging the recurring affection he feels for her when they see each other face to face. The last we see of them, they’re sucking face as Ray spills his beer all over Hannah’s carpet.
Finally the episode closes with Jessa, as she stumbles into a cab with her new husband presumably on their honeymoon donning cornrows with a smile and demeanor that could only be described as genuinely content. It depicts not only the value of maintaining a free spirit, but also the satisfaction in relationship stability, and adapting a lifestyle free of judgment and planning and saturated with spontaneity to a grown-up lifestyle.
One thing I can say with assurance about next week’s episode is that none of the aforementioned situations will be resolved. But that is what makes this show resemble real life.
While my only critique would be that the dialogue in the season’s opener seemed at times overworked, it was most likely an attempt to remind seasoned viewers of characters’ dominant traits, and to introduce new viewers to a colorful cast of people they already know, hate, and see themselves in.
So whether you’re a boy or girl or even in between, tune into “Girls” next Sunday at 9 on HBO.