TVLine's Performer of the Week: Zosia Mamet

girls-zosia-mamet-two-plane-ridesA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars


THE SHOW | Girls

THE EPISODE | “Two Plane Rides”

THE AIRDATE | March 23, 2014

THE PERFORMANCE | The role of Girls‘ Shoshanna Shapiro is not an easy one to play. She’s an exaggerated sketch of a modern twentysomething whose combination of blinding ambition, scathing honesty and exacting artifice makes her frequently hilarious and yet all too often unknowable.

In the show’s Season 3 finale, however, Mamet let us see between the spaces in Shoshanna’s carefully constructed house of cards, to witness this young woman crumbling under the realization that her best efforts to control and micromanage every facet of her existence had resulted in an epic failure.

Shoshanna opened the episode breezily going to pick up her cap and gown (in traditional violet, of course) only to be told that her order had been flagged, that she had to go see her advisor. “I need some more information,” Shosh sputtered. “That doesn’t make any sense.” But as Shosh, in her goofy polka-dot leggings, sprinted to the exit, Mamet infused her with a horror that told us something in the NYU senior’s plan had gone horribly awry.

Later, back in her dorm room, we saw Shosh in an atypical rage, hurling books and clothes and furniture around the room with the fury of a woman scorned by a single demanding professor. “Apparently, I’m missing three credits because my f***ing c*** of a Glaciology professor decided to fail the s*** out of me!” she seethed, in hilariously crude fashion.

But it was Shosh’s scene with bumbling ex-boyfriend Ray — whom she’d just learned had been sleeping with her frenemy Marnie — where Mamet revealed new layers of her character. “We’re gonna have a chat,” she hissed, upon seeing Ray in the lobby of a Broadway theater for the opening of a mutual friend’s play. “At intermission, you’re gonna buy me some M&Ms, and we’re gonna have a f***ing chat.”

By the end of Act One, though, Shosh’s righteous indignation had abandoned her, and all that was left on her face was desperation. “I want you back,” she blurted to her stunned ex, but his befuddlement, rather than excitement, wasn’t the response she’d been seeking. Tears welling up in her eyes, panic setting in that she’d ended her college career with both academic and personal failure, she launched into a rapid fire sales pitch for getting back together. “You make me a more stable human, and you make me wanna be the best version of myself. And I just wanna be your girlfriend again and I wanna pretend that I was never not your girlfriend before. I love you,” Shosh said, before adding another pitiful, whispered “I love you” that felt like the final bit of her confidence abandoning her. “Please,” she begged one final time. “Please.”

Stripped of her hard-charging, alpha act, we saw a vulnerable, broken Shoshanna before us — and the prospect of Mamet opening up new and intriguing facets of her character when the buzzy HBO dramedy returns for its fourth season.

JustifiedAlicia WittHONORABLE MENTION | God help us, we’re feeling something for one of the new Crowes. Though Alicia Witt only had a couple of scenes on Justified this week, they afforded a peek beneath her character’s heretofore tough-as-alligator hide exterior. As Wendy, freshly beaten by her own kin Daryl, lured Raylan away from the Marshals office, Witt made clear the wavering sense of family loyalty. But it was a final, near-wordless scene where the actress truly wowed us, reacting to her TV son’s “confession” to shooting Art. As Kendal explained, “I just didn’t wanna die and leave my mom all alone,” Witt displayed a mother’s utter devastation — that her boy, so young, would be take such action or, worse, be compelled to engage in a cover-up.

RELATED | FX Sets Justified End Date; Season 6 Will Be Show’s Last

Zooey Deschanel New GirlHONORABLE MENTION | As Jess’ post-True American morning went steadily downhill on Tuesday’s New Girl, Zooey Deschanel‘s performance soared. What began as a hungover disagreement with boyfriend Nick turned into the most conscious of uncouplings: A tearful, sober (in every sense of that word) Jess and Nick realized that the only thing they actually had in common was their love for each other – and the actress nailed the heartsick moment when Jess realized that that love just wasn’t enough. Girl, you done good.

Which performances rocked your TV set this week? Sound off below and let us know!

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!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Sarah says:

    Zosia is probably the best part of Girls. Well deserved!

  2. David says:

    The dude who plays Max Braverman should have had an honorable mention at least. That scene in the car. My golly.

    • jimbo says:

      Agreed! Max Burkholder was phenomenal, and Peter Krause and Monica Potter were as well. That whole scene was just heartbreaking.

      • webly3 says:

        I think that was actually a week ago. But Max Burkholder should have definitely got an Honorable Mention. That scene was heartbreaking.

    • Luna says:

      Agreed. That scene made me cry. Parenthood always makes me cry. Monica Potter should be always here tbh.

    • Parenthood has had more moving scenes than I can count in its few years of existence, but the scene in the van was, for me, the most profoundly moving of the series.

  3. Morgan says:

    Eden Sher (Sue Heck) in The Middle really gave everything this week. The scene when she asks her brothers to take her photo before prom was heartbraking. I really hope The Middle gets some recognition cause it has been really consistent over the years.

  4. Jenny says:

    I don’t get why Zooeys performance merits a mention, she’s not the best actress and let’s face it she doesn’t “act” a lot. She’s prob like Jess in real life.

  5. guy says:

    TBH, I think Lena had the best performance in the finale (I usually would pick Jemima); the scene where she was telling Adam they’ll figure it out is most memorable for me from that episode, and she nailed the comedic beats and the go-on-a-breakup.

  6. AGB says:

    I really like Girls but honestly aside from Hannah none of the girls are that interesting. I like Shoshanna but her arc this year was non-existant. At least she’s not another Marnie, who should seriously leave the show.

    That said I think this season was better overall than S2, specially compared to S2’s finale which was very underwhelming. Really looking forward to S4.

  7. Frank says:

    Zosia’s performance this week was great. I’m looking forward to see what we get from the cast of The Good Wife and Dallas this week. WIth Will’s death and a major confrontation between Sue Ellen and John Ross, Linda Gray looks to be on fire!

    • Lauren says:

      ITA — I’m pretty sure TVline has already seen the next Good Wife and knows what’s up. Archie was good in that scene or two but just wait tip we get a shoe episode of reactions. omg.

  8. Jon says:

    No Archie Panjaby? She was amazing in the Good Wife this week- the total devastation on her face as she found [SPOILER]’s body was so powerful I can’t stop thinking about it.

  9. Carlos Alvarez says:

    Totally agree about Eden Sher from The Middle. That scene was so heartbreaking and the end of the episode was so good. Her acting was really good. she deserves some recognition

  10. Martin says:

    Eden sher – I cried. Also, half the cast of the good wife.

  11. Lou says:

    Sandra Oh?

  12. Shaun says:

    Steve Yeun

  13. Doug H says:

    Alicia Witt has as usual been terrific this past week… I always enjoy her various roles.. They eye opener for me was years ago on the Sopranos where in my mind was converted from whacky teenager of Sybil to adult roles. I even enjoyed her brief episodes on Criminal Intent.

  14. Steven says:

    Zooey was amazing as always!!!

    • Lulu says:

      I agreed, she does funny so brilliantly and this week, she was spot on with the sad moment. She was subtle and realistic as well. I love the break up scene it was not overly exaggerated but heart felt.

  15. Daisy says:

    Next week has to be The Good Wife, if we can believe all the critics, that has Emmy material written all over it. And I thought the last epsiode was that …

    • xx says:

      I think the last ep was Emmy material too, but I’m guessing it should be the writers/directors for Dramatics, Your Honor and half the cast for The Last Call.

  16. Amie says:

    I was kind of hoping for somedbody from Psych. Anybody! It was their finale, after all. James Roday and Dule Hill were just as good as they always were, juggling the over-the-top humor and the more real emotions so well. Psych is a goofy show, so I suppose that’s why it never got a look. But its performers were pretty darn good when all was said and done.

  17. FL says:

    Agree that Zooey Deschanel was great, but Jake Johnson was amazing too

  18. nikki says:

    I remember critics calling “The King’s Speech” Oscar-bait. “The Good Wife’s” dumb stunt is Emmy-bait. Not at all impressed with the direction of the show or its characters. The critics should not even pay attention to the Will-is-dead-he-was-my-soulmate episode.

  19. Shroom says:

    The muffin-fest on Performer of the Week continues….what’s a guy gotta do to make it?

  20. zaynesays says:

    I thought Joan Cusack was brilliant in Shameless last week. Normally, Emmy Rossum or William H Macy stand out but I thought Joan really shined by making the episode funny and dramatic at the same time.

  21. Olive says:

    Vera Farminga gets snubbed every week.

  22. Kasey says:

    I don’t have anywhere else to post this, seeing as there isn’t a lot of Shameless coverage on TVLine, but I just felt the need to say that Noel Fisher should strongly be considered for this title at the end of the week. Mickey has come such a long way throughout the years, and it felt so rewarding to see him finally be honest and true to himself in this week’s episode. I’d also throw Cameron Monaghan an honorable mention, because the two of them together break my heart every week. The Good Wife is great and all, but it’s time for the absolutely amazing Shameless to get its due!

  23. prahaexpat says:

    Jeff Perry, Cyrus Beene on Scandal, could win this award on a weekly basis. His range of emotions from threatening the First Lady, shock at the Vice President murdering her husband, to the absolute depth of grief upon losing his husband – his acting is pure genius.

    Perhaps you could have a sidebar where you have a running list of the winners each week to refresh everyone’s memory as well. It could be helpful.

  24. Frank says:

    Just watched Dallas TNT … Linda Gray deserves an Emmy for her performance! I hope Emmy watchers are watching this absolutely incredible raw performance.