Girls Recap: Arrested Developments

girls season 2Is it a good idea to call 911 when your ex-boyfriend “surprises” you by sneaking into your apartment? Do twentysomething friends just not get freaked out walking in on each other’s intimate moments? And should there be a license to own puppies?

These were some of the critical questions raised by the second episode of Season 2 of Girls. (And oh em gee, obvs the answers are “yes,” “apparently,” and “indeed”!)

Let’s review the goings-on in “I Get Ideas” for each of the four Girls (and their one guy pal/roommate/ex-bf) in question.

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MARNIE | I admit it,: I’m fascinated by Marnie’s “pretty girl” problems, and the struggle she’s having with being qualified for/interested in a kind of art-world job that might not even exist. Or, if it does exist, would require her to deal with a boss whose requests include things like “Can you grab Juice No. 5 from the fridge?” and who’d probably shout at her if her tea wasn’t made to vague-yet-exacting specifications. And thus, we found Marnie following Shoshanna’s advice to get a job that takes advantage of her looks — no, not as a model; she’s not that kind of pretty, everyone quickly/vehemently agreed — but rather as a hostess at the Wedgebrook Club (with its older-gent clientele). So what if she has to dress like “a slutty Von Trapp child” (Elijah’s description of her outfit)? She’ll make $400 a day and probably have “fresh toenails all the time.” Hannah, of course, responded to the news with her typical brand of kneejerk judgment — “a hostess?” — and yet, really, how exactly is Hannah’s $40/day at Grumpy’s cleaner or more noble than Marnie’s gig? Hannah’s vow “not to cash in on my sexuality” would only be admirable if she was really striving to put her education and intelligence to good use in the world. She can’t handle honest critique about her essays, hasn’t read a newspaper in heaven knows how long, and still resents her parents for not footing her bills. At least Marnie can pay own her rent, right? That said, I hope we get to see Marnie try to navigate her new workspace — and the men who might be willing to provide a quick but not necessarily easy fix to her current aimlessness. And let’s hope, in those instances, her sensitivity and intellect will trump any feelings of insecurity and desperation, yes?

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JESSA | I’m not sure I believe Jessa is truly uncomplicated, and thereby blissfully living in the moment of being married to a (wealthy) relative stranger who allows her to spend her days painting and caring for puppies. Is it possible she’s just treading water, using pretty pastels to paint herself into his world while she figures out who she really is and what she really wants to do with her life? (It ain’t nannying.) I mean, Thomas-John’s casual remark to Hannah — “I’m impressed by what you do with what you’ve got” — was pretty appalling, any way you slice it. Does Jessa love that guy? I wonder, also, if his “gift” of a trio of puppies in a basket — aka Garbage, F****r and Hanukkah — will come to represent the kind of responsibility and anchoring that Jessa’s entire life seems to be a rebellion against. In other words, she and Thomas-John and their matching tiger tattoos can’t go on blissfully for the whole season, can they?

SHOSHANNA | Huzzah for crazy-happy Shosh and crazy-smitten Ray in bed, discussing the time she earned badges in both archery and waterskiing at camp. But isn’t it time the fourth-wheel in the Girls universe got a more fleshed-out story arc? Let’s see the optimistic, self-actualization junkie at school or work or perhaps as a volunteer among her fellow/rival go-getters? I’m so delighted by Zosia Mamet’s every moment on screen that it makes me yearn for more Shosh-centric episodes.

HANNAH | Yes, Hannah is a tremendous mess, but I fully cosign her initial instinct to dial 911 when Adam used his key to let himself into her apartment, scare her to death wearing a sequined mask, and demand milk from her fridge. Especially after sending her a mix-videotape of songs with lyrics like, “Standing outside/ Not making a sound/ Creeping around/ You destroyed my heart/ Thanks.” I mean, yes, Adam is a comic nightmare, but he is a nightmare nonetheless. (“It’s scary with all the tools behind him,” noted Elijah, in the best line of the night.) Even scarier to have the guy in your bedroom saying things like, “As a man living my man life, my desire for you cannot be suppressed,” then threatening to come back the next day. By the time Hannah shoved Adam into the door, shouting “Go away” again and again and again, she’d finally dispensed with the veil of irony, the toxic yearning to be truly wanted by someone/anyone, and the naughty inkling that their cat-and-mouse game might not be the best way to fill the holes/ennui in her life.

And yet as much as Hannah taking a stance showed some true character development, her response to the police showing up after her 911 hangup — “I can’t believe you guys come everytime somebody calls! I mean, that seems really alarmist. And crazy.” — made me want to throw my shoe at the screen (though, really, I was too busy howling with laughter). You can tell there’s part of Hannah who wants to hang on to Adam — the same part of her that when she has sex wants to pretend she doesn’t exist, which is a rarity — and yet her more evolved self has issues, too. She can’t cope with Sandy, the Republican black dude who makes her feel sexy and admires her freshly brushed teeth. The problem isn’t him being a Republican, though, it’s that Hannah is too lazy/self-absorbed to really research and defend her own positions. In other words, it’s easier for her to hold a bedpan for a murdery-sexy stalker than it is for her to deal with a guy who doesn’t just tell her her essays are brilliant. Which is frustrating, because she has some great points, like when she snapped, “Even though you spend all this time with me and my gay roommate, you don’t have any feeling that he should be allowed to have, like, a beautiful wedding like all the ones we saw eaelier on Say Yes to the Dress.” But then she devolves into quoting Missy Elliot’s “Work It,” then pretending she doesn’t know who Missy Elliot is, because she’d rather retreat from Sandy altogether than explore whether she’s informed enough to coexist with their differences. Which, again, doesn’t mean I didn’t crack up throughout the entire confrontation, or her query about whether Sandy might still want to have sex.

ELIJAH | Yes, it looks like Elijah and George are through. The former only gave it “two-and-a-half pumps, then I lost my boner” with Marnie, but the latter doesn’t want to date someone who’s bisexual, which apparently is just the cop-out used by “certain 25-year-old boys say when their mothers are from Boulder Springs.”

Anyhow, with that I turn things over to you. What did you think of this week’s Girls? Which story arcs and characters are you enjoying most? And am I the only one who would’ve gotten a wee bit skittish walking in on Shosh and Ray in bed, or even shirtless Thomas-John getting painted by Jessa? Sound off below!

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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  1. Elsa says:

    Great episode, once again.

    I want to see more Shosh and Ray ! Love them together, they’re perfectly weird.

    I also loved how Hannah proved how self-absorbed she is by dumping Sandy right after he told her he did not like her essay. He was way too normal for her anyway haha.

  2. chloe says:

    I keep trying to watch this show…still not getting into these twits. Shoshanna is the only one that I find entertaining at all. Ugh, if I had known anyone like these girls a few years ago…in college or right after…I would’ve wanted to smack them.

    • Lauren says:

      Ugh, same. I don’t get it. I watched the premiere because of Donald Glover. I flicked through last season but I just have never understood the appeal of a show less.
      I do love Andrew Rannell’s character though, his bar scene with Hannah was my favourite thing last season. I think this will be a show I will just read what happens in recaps instead of having to grit my teeth and watch the actual thing.

    • Bob says:

      The answer is, if you’re over 21, you aren’t the target audience.

  3. Ivy says:

    I love the dynamic between Shoshanna and Marnie. Hope to see more scenes with just the two in the future. Hannah and Marnie’s friendship bores me, TBH.

  4. camilla says:

    Can’t we just have like, a whole season of shoshanna’s life and few quick lines from all the other ones? Because now we have otherwise and I’m unhappy with how little Shoshanna’s given attention to.

  5. laura says:

    This show is like 65% Hannah, 20% Marnie, 10% Jessa, and 5% Shoshanna, which sucks because Shosh is the best of all of them. Hannah is the only one who gets fully-developed plot lines. The show would be so much better if the time were more evenly distributed or if episodes were dedicated to someone other than Hannah.

  6. Heathers says:

    This show sucks. I watched the first half of season 1 and that was it for me! I don’t find any humor in it at all, except for the two co-workers and the touchy-feely guy. But even they made me feel skeevy. I don’t understand how this show won at the Golden Globes. And the chick that plays Hannah- that tatoo made her look oh-so-classy at the Globes with that off the shoulder gown.

  7. Danny says:

    Hannah has got to be the most unlikable character i’ve seen so far. I know she’s supposed to be a mess, but holy *****

  8. Charlotte says:

    I absolutely loathe Jessa. I cannot wait for the episode when her ‘I’m such a free spirit with no regrets’ attitude gives way to her falling flat on her face, without any REAL coping skills to help pull her through, leaving her desperately clinging to her friends for some shred of hope. Marnie’s struggle is frustrating yet realistic; Shoshanna is the best character on the show; and Hannah? Well, it’s kind of fun to see the hot mess character take center stage instead of the backseat.

    • Dave says:

      Charlotte, I think it’s great that you can admit there are characters you don’t like but still appreciate the show. Too many people post that they hate the show, but they’re clearly still watching! Makes no sense. I agree- Jessa needs a huge dose of reality.

  9. Heathers says:

    I am Not still watching. I just wonder what in the hell is everyone’s fascination with this crap show?

  10. Britta Unfiltered says:

    Michael, I love your Girls reviews! They are so deep! You really get into the heart of Lena Dunham’s writing and what she’s trying to say. I very much enjoyed this episode. It had a lot of lines that made me howl with laughter. Adam’s “Cinqo de Mayo!!!” Sandy’s “You’re so sweet. You’re so sweet.” And everything that came out of Hannah’s mouth. But the line about 911 being overly alarmist was the funniest. Lena Dunham is such an amazing talent. I’m actually starting to get amused by all the people who hate her to the point of being obsessed with her. I think that just goes to prove how talented she is, because she really managed to touch a nerve in people. If the show were boring and she had nothing worthwhile to say, people would just ignore the show and pretend she didn’t exist. And people can’t even come up with snarky, funny things to say about Girls. It’s just vile hatred towards it and the show’s fans, and gross insults towards Lena Dunham’s looks. I believe that kind of inspired hatred towards a writer is a huge compliment. She really did hit a nerve with many people.
    There’s a line in that episode that I’m going to be thinking about for a long time. One of the lines mentioned in this review, actually. “When we have sex, there’s no part of me that wants to pretend I don’t exist. Which is a rarity.” Oh gosh. Way to get to the center of things, Lena. I want to say something about that line, but that’s the kind of line that has to be processed for awhile. It means a lot, and there is something that goes very deep beneath the surface of it. I think that line might actually be the theme of this series.

  11. T says:

    What kind of moron dumps Donald Glover???? That said, I adore this show. Adored it a bit more with Sandy. I think she should’ve given him more than a 2 episode chance and not just because I love D. Glover. Because I think she should’ve given somebody besides Adam a real shot. Sandy not agreeing with her is no worse than some of the stuff Adam has done.

  12. Curtis says:

    I’m trying to enjoy it. I really am. My girlfriend and her friends love it (their ages begin with the number 3) so I usually join them in viewing it. I was just reading Rolling Stone who calls it “brutally hilarious.” Everything feels so forced to me. It’s not that the situations aren’t realistic, it’s the characters don’t make it feel realistic. I know this might sound bad, but Hannah is almost gross. Ladies, you have to have one good physical characteristic to land a good looking guy like her recent black lover. Her face is below average, bad teeth, awful chest (gut>boobs=fail) for being out of shape, her butt is average, but overall her body isn’t good, at all. She isn’t really that cool, she isn’t really that funny. She is broke. Imagine if her character was a guy, would anyone buy he is scoring cute smart black girls? I think the success of Season 1 will doom Season 2. Lena is taking everything she heard and doubling down. You like Shosh, let’s make her extra dingy! And the scene when ole girl was covering her boobs?!?! I said out loud, what is she doing?! It just looked dumb. I’m not a troll, just giving an opinion. Thanks and enjoy the rest of the season.

  13. Nora says:

    To those who continually bring up how unattractive Lena is, I wonder what planet it is that you are living on. Because on the planet where I live, she looks like most women that I work with, pass in the street and have friendships with.
    The double standard is astonishing when I think about comedians like Kevin James, Mark Addy and Jim Belushi, all who starred in a sitcom with a hot wife. (And none of their characters were wealthy, the common reason given for why a schmoe gets the beautiful woman) I could go on and give a more exhaustive list starting with Jackie Gleason, but I will refrain. While Lena is not the t.v. epitome of female beauty, she is not the elephant man. Thank you for listening.

  14. Sophie says:

    This is a great article! I never leave comments after articles, but this was fantastic. Hit the nail on the head.