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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review: Girls, "Video Games"

Season 2, Episode 7
Grade: B
Verdict: For me, this show is always at its best when it's focused on one primary story, rather than weaving together the various petty conflicts of 4-5 characters. Though there were some extraneous, silly diversions to give Hannah an excuse to be in the episode, the main thread of this episode was well-written and solid.

It may be that one of the most remarkable shifts we undergo in our 20s is the way we relate to our parents. We spend the first few decades of our lives listening to them, obeying them, disobeying them, but (generally) looking at them as figures of authority. As we age and ween ourselves off of their financial support, the scale levels out a little more - they will always be our parents, but they also get to be real, flawed people.

I wouldn't exactly call it an undercurrent, and this episode's message isn't subtle. But it is interesting. Jessa and Hannah take a weekend away to visit Jessa's often-absent father in the country. Jessa, still quite sore after the collapse of her marriage, hopes to bond with her father, but ultimately gets fed up when his irresponsible ways surface.

The kicker is, of course, Jessa embodies all of those same traits that she resents her father for having. At this point the episode is old hat. But a pivotal moment comes about mid-way through the episode, when Jessa confronts her father for his deadbeat behavior. After yelling at him for always disappearing and never being around, her father points out that he can't rely on Jessa, either. To which she replies: "You shouldn't have to. I'm the child. I'M THE CHILD."

Jessa's father is treating her like an adult who is equally responsible for being unreliable or flighty, and she struggles with the comparison. She doesn't want to be measured against that same yardstick: She's the child.    I've certainly had moments where I've felt this way. That regardless of how old I get, my parents still carry the burden of being more responsible than I do.

But this feeling does start to erode as you progress through your 20s and start to treat your parents as people - we get jobs, support people, buy houses, and go through the same things they have. It's a strange transition, and I appreciate them going a step beyond the absentee-father story to capture this stage of life.

The downside to this episode is basically, well, everything else. Which doesn't actually take up much time, but is fairly distracting. The young lad Hannah sleeps with reminds me of Mose, Dwight's strange farmer cousin from The Office. The whole storyline between them felt like a space filler because they needed something to show Hannah doing and a way to kill another 5-6 minutes of the show. I would have liked to see more done with her plot line. The only worthwhile Hannah moment comes at the end of the episode, when she calls her parents to tell them how much she appreciates them for being normal. Hannah's parents clearly do not yet think of her as an adult, assume it's a con to get more money, and end the call. But good news - looks like they'll be in next week's episode! (I LOVE them).

Best moment:  Tie between Jessa's scene on the swingset and Aimee Mann's music showing up at the end
Worst moment: Pretty much anything involving the weird young farm guy
Favorite quote: "My urine feels SO daggery." - Hannah

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