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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Review: Girls, "It's a Shame About Ray"

Season 2, Episode 4
Grade: A

Verdict: Hannah steps out of the spotlight this week, allowing the supporting cast to really shine in a well-written, brilliantly-acted episode. Ray and Shoshanna stand out with a tender relationship milestone that somehow elicits pity, grief and joy; while Jessa becomes the daughter-in-law from hell in a hilarious dinner where she meets Thomas John's parents for the first time.

The timing of this week's episode of Girls had me incredibly confused. Apparently it came out early, twice - it was released a week early for HBO Go users and then aired on HBO on Saturday night (due to some allegedly popular sporting event  taking place on Sunday). So, I apologize if this review is coming to you on the later side.

But hey - the episode was great! Last week we saw a lot of Hannah. Like, maybe too much. This week she took a backseat in a way that I think the show really needed. And finally! Shoshanna steps up and delivers maybe the most touching scene I've seen on this show so far.

"It's a Shame About Ray" is, on the surface, an episode about awkward dinners. Hannah throws a dinner party to celebrate an article being published, and awkwardness abounds in several forms:

1. Marnie shows up, as does her ex, Charlie, and his new girlfriend, Audrey. Audrey and Marnie do not play nice.
2. Hannah asks Ray where he's living these days, and it dawns on Shoshanna that Ray is homeless and has been living with her since their relationship started. Oops?
3. Hannah is still mad at Marnie for basically no good reason.

Meanwhile, Jessa meets the well-to-do parents of her new husband, Thomas John, for dinner at an upscale restaurant. She fails basically every question they shoot. Like, hey, where did you go to school? Oh, I dropped out of college. After 7 months. To go to rehab. For heroin addiction. After the disaster dinner, Thomas John beings to see Jessa through his parents eyes, and the fall out we all knew was coming finally arrives.

So on the surface this is about awkward dinners. Beneath that surface, I think this episode is about what happens when we come clean with each other about who we actually are.

I mentioned earlier than Shoshanna delivered the most touching scene I've seen so far. This really took me by surprise. Ray has been a pretty lightweight character so far, and Shoshanna's been fairly cartoony. When confronted with the issue of Ray's homelessness, however, their dialogue is completely real and heartbreaking. They are both pathetic and confused and beautiful, and for once we aren't hating the characters but instead actively rooting for them. That was really nice.

I think the groundwork for this season has been laid out carefully and some of the setup work in earlier episodes really paid off this week. Looking forward to the next one.

Best quote: "You know why I like hookers? They don't say 'Oh, I like your apartment' and then mumble under their breath that it looks like the set of gay entourage." - Thomas John to Jessa

Best moment: Shoshanna & Ray hashing out their living situation on the subway platform 

Worst moment: Marnie whining about her aimlessness. I'm just starting to tire of Marnie drama. 

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1 comment:

  1. I agree, I thought Shoshanna's scenes were amazing. It was weird because I kind of wrote her off as being a meh actress, until this ep.


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