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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Review: Girls, "Together"

Season 2, Episode 10
Grade: B
Verdict: I feel conflicted. There was a lot of good in this episode, and I can't begrudge the show for occasionally giving us some happy, rom-commy moments, given how dark it can get. But two out of the three ladies featured in this episode found themselves back to where they started last season. And on top of that, they needed a relationship with a man to keep themselves from falling apart.

This episode of Girls really put what I like about this show into clear perspective for me. And no, I'm not referring to Adam Driver running around the city shirtless, glistening with sweat. (But can I just say, on a related side note, I'm suddenly finding Adam really attractive?)

What I've liked most about this show all along is that it doesn't rely on the dramatic plot gimmicks that I think a lot of shows trying to highlight the difficulty of your 20s do. Life can be really hard, at any age, and it's not always because we're addicted to drugs, getting raped, confronting the parents who abandoned us, getting in plane wrecks, etc. These things do happen, and no one's saying they aren't awful. But I'm tired of seeing TV shows portray the most traumatic things that will ever happen in a person's life, stacked up episode after episode, like this is the only type of pain that counts. Sometimes people are fighting quieter battles that are harder to see.

Aside from scenes that show Hannah's OCD, which has worsened to the point of threatening her book deal, "Together" is almost entirely about romantic relationships. First at bat: Marnie and Charlie. Marnie and Charlie hooked up last week, but Charlie's hesitant to jump back into a relationship with Marnie. But she persists, giving one of the cuter monologues I've seen on this show ("I want to see you every morning and make you a snack every night.."), and Charlie relents.

Shoshanna, unfortunately, is no longer interested in making it work with Ray. The episode opens with various sex scenes, and Shoshanna and Ray's literally made me feel... uncomfortable? Icky, even? Shoshanna cites lack of ambition on Ray's part as the problem, but when Ray takes some steps forward at work, she decides to break up with him anyway.  He's too dark and morbid and unhappy for her. What she's not saying outright is also that she's young and inexperienced and she just wants to try something else. And honestly, good call, Shoshanna. Ray is sweet and heartbreaking, but Shoshanna is young and deserves more happiness than he can give her. Her breakup lines are also probably unintentionally the cruelest I've ever seen: "Sometimes I love you the way that I feel sorry for a monkey. They need so much help and they're in an ugly cage."

I've had doubts early on about Shoshannah's cartoony nature, but she's become one of my favorite parts of the show lately, largely thanks to Zosia Mamet's impeccable performances. My absolute favorite character as of late, though, has been Adam. He spent most of this episode acting like a dumb, brutish animal who doesn't know his own strength. He tries to control himself, he tries to behave like a proper human, but he has angry, heated outbursts, because that's just not him. And then at the end of the episode, Hannah calls him, twitching and clearly over the pyschological edge, and he immediately starts running to her.

I'm going to refrain from making the stallion comparison outright (or... maybe I just did), but Adam is the only person on this show that could go running through the streets and break down doors to reunite with his love and get away with it. Because it's completely in keeping with how crazy and spontaneous and Adam-y he is.

The end of this week's Girls is a play on the damsel-in-distress motif, except Adam isn't saving Hannah from a terrorist or a dragon or any external force, but rather trying to save her from herself. I get that. I'll even go so far to say that I like it. But for a show about girls, this episode was really just about men saving women who are falling apart. I'm trying not to immediately go the angry feminist route, but it does annoy me. Marnie's been flailing around all season, and I genuinely felt so happy when she got Charlie back. And I felt the same way when Hannah and Adam reunited, too. But... how is this any different? Shoshanna, Hannah and Marnie are all pretty much where they started on episode 1 of season 1. Except Hannah and Marnie appreciate their men more. And are a lot less sure of pretty much everything else in their lives.

OK and compared to everything else I said above, this is minor, but it annoyed me: Can you really use Facetime on the streets with just 4G? Don't you need wifi for that? Just saying..

Favorite quote:
(Adam trying to answer his iPhone)
"Open. Operate. SHIRI. OPERATE!... Is this facespace or whatever?"

Favorite moment: Hannah's call to Jessa and the voicemail she left. It was some of the most convincing acting I've seen from Lena Dunham all season. Also, honorable mention, Hannah googling all of those diseases and symptoms. That one really hit home :)

Least favorite moment: When Adam tells Hannah "I was always here." Just a little too cheeseball for me.
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