‘Golden Globe-winning Girls‘ returns with high expectations for its second outing.
‘Girls’ is cringe-worthy, somewhat gritty viewing about the awkward humiliations and rare triumphs of four girlfriends in their early 20s living in Brooklyn: Hannah (played by Lena Dunham, the show’s writer and producer), an aspiring writer recently cut off financially by her parents, is frequently naked or semi-naked with her boyfriend Adam; Marnie (Allison Williams), an uptight and dependable art gallery assistant who is Hannah’s roommate and friend; cousin and roommates Shoshanna (aka Shosh – Zosia Mamet), a New York University student, virgin and self-help junkie; and British, slightly chaotic, free-spirited, sometimes baby-sitter, Jessa (Jemima Kirke). Hailed as funny, brilliantly written and openly referencing “Sex and the City” as an inspiration, the characters are at times loveable but not always likeable, confusingly self-contradictory and self-obsessed.
In the Season 1 finale, Hannah’s relationship with her boyfriend, Adam came to an end as she panicked when he told her he loves her and asked to move in; Marnie moved out following a row about which of them was the ‘wound’ in their friendship. Adam suffered a broken leg after being side-swiped by a truck as he and Hannah argued in the street as they left Jessa’s surprise wedding to Thomas John, a venture capitalist who she met a few weeks earlier. Meanwhile Shosh lost her virginity to Ray, Hannah’s boss at the coffee shop, best friend to Charlie and Marnie’s ex-boyfriend.
Season 2 opens with Hannah’s new flatmate, Elijah, Hannah’s gay ex-boyfriend and Sandy, her new man who is quickly told the relationship rules, like not saying ‘love’, not even jokingly and not to expect her to show up at his house in the middle of the night or to make up excuses to see him. Meanwhile, Adam, who doesn’t know about Sandy, is bitter about his relationship with Hannah, in pain from his broken leg and dependent on Hannah who’s his caretaker through guilt. Marnie’s together-life takes a 180 when her boss casually tells her she is being downsized. Her underlying emotional instability is exposed as she turns in vain to her mother, Hannah, Elijah and ex-boyfriend Charlie for support and comfort. Shosh asks the universe to ruin Ray’s life as he’s been ignoring her many incomprehensible emoji (emoticons) text messages but they eventually kiss and make up. Shosh, true to her self-help brand does not disappoint viewers, spewing quick fire self-help tips like ‘I am woman hear me roar;’ ‘I may be deflowered but I’m not devalued’. The happy newlyweds, Jessa and Thomas John return from their honeymoon and in the taxi on the way home Jessa finds it hilarious when it dawns on her that she doesn’t know where they live.
Hannah’s nudity in Season 2 is not unlike Season 1, which continues to make no apology for showing her less than model-like figure. We find her nude when changing clothes, while having sex with Sandy, and just in case you missed it the first two times, the episode wraps with her arriving at Sandy’s in the middle of the night, making an excuse to see him, undressing and laying on his bed.
There’s the promise of a reinvented Marnie character and it’s yet to be seen how Shosh will cope with her new-found identity as a deflowered woman or how long the hastily married couple will last given their differences. Hannah continues to self-obsess, struggling to cope with demands from her friends, the men in her life, her need to write and to keep a steady income. Her self-obsession leads her to reject each of her friends, including Adam when they ask for her time or affection. When she rejects Adam yelling that it’s her choice not his, it seems empowering yet the ugliness of it against the wounded Adam, in spite of his general insensitivity for her feelings leaves a bitter aftertaste making her all the more unrelateable.
Whether Season 2 will deliver on the accolade of its Golden Globe awards not just for Best Television Series Comedy but also the best actress award for Lena Durham remains to be revealed. For now, the celebration of awkwardness continues.