Monday, February 4

girlsGIRLSgirls: Where Have All Our Friends Gone?

Before dogging on Hannah for everything she says or requesting that you spend the duration of this post listening to TLC's '90s jam "What About Your Friends" as accompaniment, it must be said that the Ray-Shosh train scene was everything. It hit the confusing, odd conundrums of quick-developing romantic entanglement directly on the nose. People don't fall in love by coming home to a perfectly wrapped box with a dress inside and instructions on what time their car will pick them up for a dinner date. It happens, usually unexpectedly, sometimes inconveniently, and often at the exact wrong time. You realize you can't live without the face next to yours not while having drinks over candlelight or on a hot air balloon ride, but while waking up late on a Tuesday, arguing over what shitpile to watch on Netflix or while waiting for the train to take you home after a terrible argument. This scene was done perfectly, and I'll leave it at that.

All in all, this week's looking glass reflected how it really is kind of amazing what you can convince yourself of. Like, that you're in deep with your "sweet, sweet, sweet" girlfriend whom you consistently treat terribly. Or that you're not alone when you've pushed every single person in your life away. Or that things aren't getting serious with the person who leaves a dome-shaped imprint in your pillow every night. This episode was such a nugget of truth that it redeemed this entire season, but in the process, exposed the series' biggest problem as a whole.

Girls' most notable faults have lied within the unrealistic paired with the downright annoying — mesh shirt nipples in the daytime, an inexplicable explanation for how these people pay rent, Pomegranate-gate — but perhaps the most pressing question, the one that rose above any sort of overwhelming case of the sads this week's episode presented on earth did we get here?

The main problem with the second season, the one that's been brewing below the surface, is that these aren't the people or things we were sold on. Hannah was always a spoiled, entitled brat, but she was never as downright callous or shitty of a person as she is now. Shoshanna was always a fast-talking, wide-eyed young'n, but she was never the vapid one-track-minded poof they've turned her into. And Jessa, whose enviable free spiritedness left her always finding her way, some way, is now belittled to tears by a man, his square-ish mom and his small fortune? Is that really the wise-by-way-of-travel resident artist we've come to know and love?

We're used to seeing these girls support each other, but for the past four weeks, the men in their lives have become in full control of their state of mind, and their sole providers of happiness. It's humbling and depressing, and the reason these episodes have been a struggle to watch (and recap, Jesus Christ) is because they serve the exact opposite purpose for what these real-life prototypes are supposed to be: Girls, trying to figure it out together.

That's why that final bathtub scene felt so different — it was dead on; a return to a season dreamt up in Lena Dunham's mind before writers and editors and critics entered that solitary mental room. It shows friendship, loyalty, sadness, and raw state of how when your relationship falls apart, you always have that one person to fall back on. Think to a few episodes back into last season, when Jessa takes Marnie out the night she meets TJ, because the other is majorly bummed. Or how Shoshanna makes time and space for everyone, no matter what's going on in her own life. The lot of them even accompanied Hannah to the gynocologist — in the middle of the day! — but now are unable to sit around six bowls of lukewarm Pad Thai for more than four minutes before going off the handle? Before, there was a clear assemblage of friendship, with weekday walks through the city and daytime playdates; now, there's no unity besides coupled-out duos, with the girls left ruthlessly cutting each other down. Hannah's stealing her ex-boyfriend-roommate's furniture and calling dibs by way of labia, Jessa and Shoshanna have slipped into relationships like the token high school friend who disappears once her Facebook profile's linked to another, and even Marnie is free-falling, save only for a odd, apparently recurring relationship with a borderline serial killer artist.

Just a few weeks ago, Hannah and Jessa sat in the park, proclaiming their happiness in terms of their companions, never in terms of their own crafts. Jessa even argued that Sandy wasn't a viable mate because he didn't support her work — but shouldn't their happiness come from their own successes, instead of a crush's support? The highlight of Hannah's month should have been finally getting that article published and beginning her journey towards becoming a real writer, but instead, her main focus is consistently on herself and the backwards morals and principals that have made her the miserable, intolerable young thing she's become.

What in the world has happened to these girls in the past year to turn them from Sex and The City act-a-likes to characters from the pages of MTV's empty adaptation of Skins? There was a point last season when Hannah even stood up in front of a room to read a story she wrote, sharing her thoughts and experiences despite how vapid the highbrow crowd thought them to be. She did it, regardless of result, but now that version of her seems non-existent. What happened to that Hannah? To that Marnie? To that Jessa? Ignorance isn't so blissful when everyone else around you can notice it too. And that, unfortunately, is something one self-righteous dinner party will never be able to fix.

Girls Season 2, Episode 4: It's A Shame About Ray
Best Line: "They don't say, 'Oh I like your apartment,' but then mumble under their breath about it looking like 'the set of gay Entourage.'"
Best Mate: This week? None of 'em.
What Kind Of A-Hole Was Hannah This Week?: The "Her Own Worst Enemy" type, with a side of martyrdom.
I Give This... 3 out of 4 bathtub snax. It was emotional and it was deep, but ultimately, it was flawed.

Earlier Ladyshow Nonsense:
Girls Season 2, Episode 3: Bad Friend
Girls Season 2, Episode 2: I Get Ideas
Girls Season 2, Episode 1: It's About Time

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