Girls Premiere Recap: Bedpan's Labyrinth

girls season 2 premiere donald gloverThe debate over whether HBO’s Girls is one of the most overrated comedies of all time or a brilliant-hilarious look at an aimless generation of American twentysomethings is perhaps as polarizing as whether Carrie should or shouldn’t have ended up with Big at the end of Sex and the City. My opinion falls squarely in the latter camp (on both matters), but that doesn’t mean I didn’t occasionally want to reach through my TV screen during Sunday’s Season 2 premiere and violently shake some sense into several of the show’s maddening characters. (Actually, if I’m being honest, I think I just wanted to shake self-absorbed Adam just for the fun of it.)

Let’s review the goings-on in “It’s About Time” for each of the four Girls in question.

HANNAH | The episode kicked off with a shot of Dunham’s protagonist’s legs intertwined in bed with…gay roommate/ex-boyfriend Elijah? Wha? Not to worry, the sleeping arrangement was strictly platonic, with Hannah imploring her pal not to get his own mattress. “You stay in my bed and then we’ll use your room as a home gym,” she brainstormed, in a typically unrealistic flight of fancy. Turns out, though, Hannah’s got herself a new lover after all — played by Community‘s Donald Glover — but the poor guy couldn’t even say something as benign as “I love how weird you are” without getting a lecture about not peppering their conversations with the L-word. See what being Adam’s “main hang” can do to a girl? Oh, and speaking of that gnarly dude, Hannah — perhaps driven by guilt over Adam getting hit by a car during their argument in the Season 1 finale — found herself in the role of reluctant nursemaid, helping Adam pee into a bedpan (that splashing sound effect made me die a thousand deaths) and enduring typically awful bits of philosophy like “When you love someone you don’t have to be nice to them all the time.” No wonder our gal wanted to be totally unencumbered by dudes when she and Eli hosted a party together — side note: I don’t buy that Hannah is so ditzy she believed Elijah’s “French salon” theme had anything to do with cutting hair — where she brushed off Marnie, (literally) kicked her roomie’s drunk boyfriend to the curb and got the courage to tell Adam she felt like she never wanted to see him again. Whether the late-night, end-of-episode booty call to her new man is a sign that Hannah is going to demand more (and better) for herself remains to be seen.

SHOSHANNA | For me, Shoshanna is the ridiculous but undeniably sweet center of the show. I howled watching her burn sage and thank the universe for “a keen mathematical mind and fairly fast-growing hair,” then request that it also go to the trouble of ruining Ray’s life. “I may be deflowered, but I’m not devalued,” she announced to Hannah and Elijah, while also working a casual “bee tee dubs” into the convo. I loved her awkward indignence when she finally ran into the guy who took her virginity then (apparently) dumped her.

Ray: Hey.
Shoshanna: Oh, hello. [Pause] Goodbye. [Turns her back]

I also love how, for Shoshanna, those self-help-esque prononouncements aren’t just hollow words (like the ones that drip from Hannah’s tongue on the regular) but an actual belief system. “You don’t wanna date me? That’s fine, because I don’t wanna date you either, because I only wanna date people who wanna date me because that is called self-respect. But I do not have to like you. Okay? You were never my friend, you were only my lover, and that is now over.” Yes, girl! But ultimately, Ray really does get and appreciate Shoshanna’s charms, as evidenced by his conversational olive branch (“pretty bitchin’ cheese plate you brought over”) and later, with this dreamy pronouncement: Despite the ridiculousness of her texts full of emojis (“A panda next to a gun next to a wrapped gift? It makes no sense!”), when he’s around her, he remembers…”your charm, your innocence, your strength, this beautiful fresh vibrant sincerity.” That final shot of the duo making out in Hannah’s bedroom while Ray repeatedly spilled beer on the floor was priceless. Oh em eff gee: Here’s hoping these two can make it, no?

MARNIE | Talk about a rough week. Laid off, or rather downsized, with breezy indifference by her boss, Marnie then had to endure the worst mother-daughter lunch in TV history. “All you girls think that you look really good, but you just look like floats in the Macy’s parade: These big heads on these tiny bodies,” huffed her self-absorbed mommie dearest (played by Rita Wilson), who later offered this horrifying gem: “Really, sometimes all you need is a pair of rough hands on your body!” I did crack up at Marnie’s retort — “I wouldn’t even sleep with a cater water and they’re my age.” — but even better was watching this young woman try to navigate the next chapter of her life without an income or a man to bolster her ego. I loved how you could feel Marnie’s sympathy toward (too-)nice-guy ex-boyfriend Charlie while watching his new girlfriend treat him with the same exasperation she once did (“you were always a really nice date,” she smiled), and yet at the same time understand how his repetition of the same old patterns meant she couldn’t consider getting back together. Somehow this led to a karaoke duet of “Building a Mystery” with Elijah, and then a fumbled attempt at sex with the guy who still gets aroused whenever Lisa Rinna or Allison Janney is on TV. “How am I supposed to get hard if you’re rolling your eyes?” Elijah finally asked, driving Marnie back to Charlie’s bed for a platonic night of rest. Marnie is a fascinating case study: Smart and self-aware enough to call out the people around her for their bad behavior, and yet at the same time a little too reliant on the approval of men to keep her self-esteem afloat. Maybe a single, messy Marnie is the bridge to a self-actualized future Marnie?

JESSA | All we saw of the recently married gal was Jessa and her hubby obnoxiously/gleefully cutting to the front of the airport taxicab line. Honestly, they’re kind of the worst, no? Also, that relationship kind of has to implode sooner rather than later, right?

Anyhow, with that I turn things over to you. What did you think of the Girls‘ Season 2 premiere? Were you stoked to see the show snag Best TV Show (Musical or Comedy) and Best Lead Actress in a TV Show (Musical or Comedy) for Dunham? And were you surprised it premiered against the Globes telecast? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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28 Comments
  1. Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

    If the point of this show is to highlight the fact that this generation of young people are a bunch of deluded narcissists then bravo. Otherwise, meh.

  2. Liz says:

    I’ll just say this: Carrie had to end up with Mr Big!

  3. josh says:

    worst show ever.

  4. TheMediaFan says:

    One of the best shows on TV despite the unlikable characters. The writing is very realistic.

  5. Anthony says:

    Isn’t this always the case? A show becomes a hit and those who don’t watch or care for it proceed to call it overrated and stupid. The next wave is those who “were there from the beginning” getting territorial and bitching about how the show isn’t the show they fell in love with.

  6. Betsy says:

    marnie is a lesbian.

  7. Emily says:

    I don’t see any comedy in this show it’s a drama to me. I applaud it for giving a real representation of today’s generation, however Chuck is very correct. We are a bunch of whiny narcissists.

  8. soundscene says:

    “Girls” isn’t a comedy. I wish people would stop categorizing it as such.

    • Jon says:

      AV Club has a great article about how many of the half-hour shows on cable you can’t really call comedies. They’re only categorized as such because of the length of their show. So they just refer to the genres as, “half-hours” and “hour-longs.”

    • Name(less) says:

      It just won an award for comedy. Chill.

  9. Effie says:

    This show is for fans of Sex And The City who wanted the show to be even less funny and the characters to be more vapid and pointless. Also, you need to take a long, hard look at yourself if you “relate” to this show or any of its characters.

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      Oh wow, so you can’t just say politely say you don’t like the show, you have to go and insult the fans by implying they need to re-evaluate their lives because they get the characters? Wow, do I ever feel burned right now. I’m sure someone who takes the time to trash people on an internet TV site really has their life put together. I wish I could be as awesome as you are, Effie, going around hating critically-acclaimed TV shows and telling total strangers there’s something wrong with them because they like those shows. It must be a very fulfilled life you live. I’m sure you are in no way just as screwed up as the rest of us in this world. Everyone has their own messed-up issues, we’re all trying to work through our own sh*t, and that includes you. My issues in life are very similar to Hannah’s, and your issues seem to be that you are stuck-up and enjoy feeling like you are better than other people. Why don’t you go take a long, hard look at yourself and ask yourself why you want to treat others that way. Because you’re not special, and you’re not better than other people just because you imagine you’ve got your life together.

  10. gailer says:

    MTV’s UNDEREMPLOYED is a much better show and should be on HBO with all this hype. Unfortunately, I think it was canceled.

  11. Ben says:

    Golden Globes night always seems to fall on a big premiere night for cable shows.

  12. kat says:

    Seriously, Adam is self absorbed? I don’t think there is another character on television more self absorbed than hannah. I like some of the characters and I feel like I watch it like a trainwreck or to see what others see. Maybe some day I will eventually get it? I think I like Adam and Jessa the best for calling out all the other characters on being such a-holes. But no, no one is worse than Hannah. Donald Glover is perfect for her, except there will be few places they can fit both enormous egos, as actors and characters.

  13. Lena Dunham's BFF says:

    overrated crap.

  14. cj says:

    I actually enjoyed it. It’s like a gritty sexy and the city. And the characters are honest unlike sex and the city where you had butt ugly women written to be hot. Only problem with the show last night was the awkward way they shot and edited Allison Williams sex scene to avoid accidently showing any nudity. She signed up for this show knowing about this stuff and I hate that it has come to the point where they had to cowtail around her fear of appearing nude. they are just breasts jeez. either show them or don’t but down degrade the quality of the scene by having them poorly cut from you starting to put on you blouse to a wide shot where you blouse is somehow magically up. It destroys the realism and took me out of the scene.

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      I had the exact same complaint about that scene. It was really obvious at that moment that I was watching something staged and even if Marnie wasn’t rolling her eyes, I was. Normally the action in this show feels really organic, that particular part where she was trying to hide her boobs was really awkward and forced. Maybe she didn’t want daddy Brian to see her boobs, but if that was the case, they should have found another way to shoot it.

    • Jon says:

      I actually think it makes sense for a girl like Marnie, who hasn’t reallllly learned to let herself go yet, to — even when she’s having a random hookup — be hyper aware of whether or not she’s letting the guy see her breasts. Seemed to me like they were being true to the character.

      But I also wouldn’t be surprised if this is the writers dealing with the forced hand Allison Williams is dealing them, re: nudity.

  15. Britta Unfiltered says:

    I loved the episode. And we got to see Donald Glover, and Hannah is apparently hitting that. Way to go, Hannah! I thought the whole episode was really funny with some great one-liners. (I also really liked “a keen mathematical mind and fairly fast-growing hair.”) Shosanna annoyed me in the beginning of the series, but she has really grown on me. I think she’s what I aspire to be now. I’m perplexed by people who don’t think this show is a comedy. I laugh my ass off at the antics and dialogue of the characters in every single episode. Lena Dunham has a great handle on absurdist humor. And I really wish people would stop posting snarky things about her. Their insults don’t even sound intelligent, they just sound mean. If you’re going to trash a show, at least find a clever and witty way to say it.

  16. Sg. Grant says:

    I tuned in to see Donald Glover, then I felt really sorry for him have to touch Lena Dunham’s nasty naked body.

  17. jay says:

    I loved Adam being back to being the worst.
    Shoshana should steal Donald Glover from hannah.

  18. Notafanbut says:

    Eek! THIS show won awards? I watched the back-to-back repeats last week, and I have to say I felt like I was watching an inmate in a loony bin hallucinating with her three imaginary friends. It’s Hannah’s little world, but it’s not a likable one…it’s depressing and kind of makes the creator look like the asshole she claims to be. It think it’s an award magnet only because it is on HBO. Otherwise it would have been cancelled!

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