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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Review: Girls, "It's Back"

Season 2, Episode 8
Grade: A
Verdict: As soon as this episode finished, I felt like - "Woah. A lot happened there." There are a lot of great things about this show, but its pacing has always felt a little strange. Sometimes the plot moves forward inch by inch, but on occasion we're treated to an episode like this one, which packs a lot of mileage into 30 minutes.

Girls catches a lot of flack for focusing on characters that are self-involved and arguably unlikable, and I think this episode is probably quite rewarding for viewers in that camp. Marnie and Hannah ended their respective romantic relationships last season, and although their exes flailed for a while, in "It's Back" we get to see Charlie and Adam find a bit of post-break up happiness.

Apparently the moral of this week's episode of Girls is don't EVER dump someone, because if you do, their lives will flourish and yours will fall apart. While things are going well for the men of Girls, Marnie struggles when she learns that Charlie has come into some financial success by creating a popular new app. Hannah's ex Adam goes on a date with the girl of his dreams, while Hannah is plagued by the return of some serious OCD, triggered by the stress of her break up and recent ebook deal.

My favorite part of this episode was Adam's story. I found him really abrasive and obnoxious when the show first started, but he slowly started to grow on me. He's honest and straightforward and uncomplicated in a way that is really refreshing, but even when he was allegedly happy, he never really seemed happy. In this episode Adam agrees to a random fix-up with the daughter of an AA cohort, and she turns out to be the woman of his dreams. I couldn't help but smile for most of his blind date scene. You literally FEEL his relief when the date is going well and he's starting to feel something resembling happiness again.

If Adam's story was the bit of sunlight in this episode, Hannah's is certainly the darkest. The episode opens with her counting everything in 8s - she opens the door 8 times, lays out 8 potato chips to snack on, etc. At first I wondered if it was a weird "I'm going to live life as an OCD person and then write about the experience" angle, and thank god it wasn't. When she meets up her parents, they notice the counting right away and force her to see a doctor.

It was interesting watching Hannah deal with an actual problem instead of a Hannah-problem. What's maybe more interesting is that Hannah's constantly seeking out drama and new experiences to write about -I remember somewhere in season 1 she admired a peer whose boyfriend had killed himself because of the dark and depressing material it gave her - and here we find out that she really does have a problem, and a quite serious one. When she described the routine of moving the toothbrushes around until 3 a.m., it has a ton of impact. Why the hell is this not something she'd write about? She's almost more likable for having the problem, but less likable for constantly trying to manufacture one instead of acknowledging hers. For all of her attempts to be real, it makes her character more artificial.

Some really interesting developments happen with Shoshanna in this episode as well, but I'm almost hesitant to describe the plot thread for fear of spoiling it. I'll just say that what happens makes sense, but it's not something I ever saw coming.

Overall, very strong episode with a lot of action but good balance. Looking forward to next week. (I also wonder when we get Jessa back?)

Favorite moment: Adam's date scene (yay Adam!)
Least favorite moment: Marnie's self-pity party. Enough already?
Favorite quote:
Ray: Marnie, if you want to sing, if you really want to sing, then you have to sing. And you have to do it now. You're never going to look this good again. The clay is drying. OK? You can't dress like a magician's assistant for much longer. Now is the time. If you want to sing, then you should sing now. RIGHT NOW.
Marnie: (sings) My heart is...
Ray: Not at this moment right now. I meant in general.
Marnie: Well be more fucking specific!
Ray: I thought it was obvious.

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