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Monday, January 14, 2013

Review: Girls, "It's About Time"

Season 2, Episode 1

Grade: B

Verdict: This episode felt hurried to both fill in new viewers and introduce new struggles - chiefly, the disappointment of getting what you want - but was solid.

Lena Dunham & her crew took home several Golden Globes on Sunday for the first season of her show, Girls, just as the series returned for its second season. The end of season 1 saw several relationships dissolve -  e.g. Hannah and her boyfriend, Marnie and her boyfriend, Hannah and Marnie's relationship as roommates. So to that end, this episode is about how you move forward (or try) from there.

In this episode we see a lot of characters retreating from and/or denying the feelings and attitudes they developed in season 1. Hannah struggled to make her romance with Adam an official relationship throughout the first season, only to spend this episode trying to get out of it. Marnie spent season 1 feeling quite confident about herself as she left her boyfriend Charlie, only to end this episode curled up in his bed, lonely and afraid. All of this happens in a way that feels organic, though, rather than feeling like pure character regression. This is what being in your 20s is about - wanting what you can't have, the anticlimactic feeling of getting it, and telling yourself things will be OK (the surest sign you think things will, in fact, not be OK).

This season's premier felt like it was geared both towards fans who were continuing from season 1 and viewers who were picking it up for the first time, so the first half felt a bit diluted. Once the "catch up" was over, I felt like the pace was more of what I've come to expect from the show.

Girls received some negative attention during its first season for being an all-white ensemble set in a diverse city. I'm not sure if this was a direct response to the criticism or coincidental, but season 2 sees Donald Glover guest starring as Hannah's new love interest. He has minimal involvement in the first episode, but as a huge fan of Community, it was a welcome appearance.

"It's About Time" featured a lot of the Hannah, Marnie, Elijah, and Shoshanna. Jessa was almost entirely absent from the episode, save the last five minutes. Everyone delivered a strong performance, but I can't help but feel that Shoshanna has more potential. She is always awkward and disturbingly blunt, which works well for comedy's sake, but in some cases she goes overboard. She feels like a caricature of people I've known, but nothing like anyone I've really known. I hope the next few episodes will give her a little less crazy and a little more depth.

Overall, I think the show struggled in its mission to catch up new viewers and please old ones, but it was a promising start and wove several yarns that should make for an interesting season.

Best quote:
Ray: When I'm not around you - when you just send me a text full of emojis - it's so easy to dismiss you.
Shoshanna: What is wrong with emojis?
Ray: A panda next to a gun next to a wrapped gift? It makes no sense!

Best moments: Shoshanna attempting karaoke
Worst moments: Shoshanna searching for her purse like an awkward robot
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