Photo: Courtesy of HBO
The first season of Girls was a discovery; the second was about backlash, evolution, and those small, doe-like steps toward adulthood. This season, from where I am sitting, is about growing up and maybe getting what you want, and realizing what you want doesn't quite come in the color of your choice. Or that your heart's desire doesn't quite fit in your apartment the way you'd hope.
First off all, if one could turn the sheer excitement of Caroline living beneath Hannah with Laird into a drug, I would do that drug, because it would probably result in me being a more "integrated human being," like Laird, who has subsequently impregnated Caroline, which may finally give Lena Dunham the opportunity to comment on a subsection of New York ripe for exploration: The Williamsburg/Greenpoint new mom, drinking their iced tea from their yard sale jars and visiting their communes upstate.
Humble-brag: I got into the Iowa Writers Workshop. JK, I got into the Young Iowa Writers Workshop, a pre-college program where you spend the entire summer working with Iowa teachers and focusing on your "craft" in Iowa City, so it is not exactly the same thing (though, it is tough to get into allegedly, so there). I bring this up because, in the scene where she invoked the hallowed name of Iowa, I got chills. For an aspiring writer, there is no thing more prestigious and exciting than Iowa. It's Julliard for singers, MIT for engineers, Oberlin for people who want to make films like Lena Dunham. (Badum-tssk!) The Parents Horvath really should feel proud of their daughter, like they say they are. Even though she is out of work, out of a book, and probably out of a relationship, Hannah is really at a impasse, and, whereas she has ended episodes with literally no options, here she has plenty.
Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
So, Hannah with her Edie Sedgwick eyeliner (wonder if she got that idea from her lovely Interview shoot) heads to Adam, and starts off with one of the most kind, mature, understanding speeches she has uttered to date. She explains about how wonderful it has been to see her partner evolve with such creative encouragement, yadda yadda, and then, of course, launches into herself, takes the monumental occasion of his opening night and decides to drop some life-altering news onto his plate. Also, what is it with these characters thinking it's a great idea to go hang out with actors on opening night backstage? Cool, let's just call your massive moment to make or break it a great time for a social hour.
First things first: Where is Marnie's fuzzy little kitten? The second that cat appeared on the scene, I knew it couldn't be good. Even though Marnie had no problem shacking up with Ray for several weeks without feeling any sense of guilt, she suddenly had to come clean. Watching Zosia Mamet-as-Shoshanna snap proved something interesting: While Shoshanna has been, as Dunham herself put it, a nudnick, she really still is very much a girl. She rages, whines, and begs — and as the lake house episode proved, the girl can't even hold her liquor.
In fact, in many ways, the ending of Girls this season had much more to do with Shosh and Marnie than it did with Hannah. In fact, Caroline's hipster greeting cardism proves true for Hannah: She seems, more than ever, closer to her "truth" and heading in her own creative direction. Whereas Marnie and Shoshanna are just making their own lives messier. (Yes, Marnie was glowing because she had just smooched the already-taken Desi, but Clementine was really, really mean, right? Was that called for? I can't decide...let me know.)
Early reports around the web are reticent to declare this a good season, but in retrospect, I think it'll stand up. Episodes like the Hannah and Shoshanna road trip, along with the beach house, and my personal favorite, "Free Snacks," demonstrate that the series has a real flair for humor. But, Dunham still wants it all: That Seinfeld-esque cringe-comedy that occurs when a character embodies the worst of a zeitgeist and also the desire to relate to a complicated, uncouth woman who is trying to figure it out. If a balance is struck, then Girls can grow up. Even if its characters don't.
Next season, let's do shots every time:
Jessa's impossibly beautiful hair is the most emotive thing in a scene.
Someone is "searching for their truth."
Marnie has wet hair.
Shoshanna has a visibly distracting accessory: Hats, earrings, fascinators all count.
Someone has to call 9-1-1, and Jessa is involved.