Monday, January 28, 2013

GIRLS "Bad Friend" S2E3 (review)

By Caitlyn Thompson
My word of the review: Potential.  This episode of Girls followed a long awaited sexual encounter with Marnie (Allison Williams) and Booth (Jorma Taccone), and monitored the cocaine-induced shenanigans of Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Elijah (Andrew Rannells). Shoshannah (Zosia Mamet) and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) were given two minutes onscreen so can’t say much about their personal progress. The additional of a ex-junkie in the building? Saw the ending coming a mile away.

HBO Girls S2E3 "Bad Friend" Lena Dunham

I really thought there was potential for Marnie and Booth to be sexy, but instead, Dunham decided to take it in a goofy direction. Their scenes felt awkward and the ultimate sex display was weird. Why couldn’t Marnie have had a normal hot scene? Last year she was slow and frustrated with Charlie (Christopher Abbott) and this year she’s desperate. The character seems to be becoming impulsive and slightly dumber than last year and so kind of irritating. I liked that Marnie was rather motherly last season. She, along with most other characters, are being stripped down to the most imperfect and awkward forms of themselves for the sake of laughs and at the expense of real character growth.

I thought there was major potential when she confronted Marnie about having sex with Elijah, but was let down a little. I saw a glimpse of one of my favorite scenes from last season (S1E4: Hannah’s Diary) when Hannah reveals to Adam (Adam Driver) how she wants more. Even though her drawn-on eyebrows looked insane, I felt her emotion there. Her hurt was palpable and sympathetic.

HBO Girls S2E3 "Bad Friend" Lena Dunham

In this episode’s confrontation, Hannah's coke high could have faded, she could have had a broken tone in her voice and trembling lip that was so emotional and touching last season, but instead she yells hysterically at a pitiful Marnie while Elijah sways in the background. And the setting--why is this happening at Booth's place? Where did he disappear to?

The show closes with a semi-scary soon-to-be sexual encounter between Hannah and Laird (Jon Glaser), her coke-dealer/stalker/guardian angel of the episode.

HBO Girls S2E3 "Bad Friend" Lena Dunham

We know Hannah is distraught about Elijah and Marnie but why can’t she cope with a great solo dance party like last year? I’m not saying the show needs to be kosher but give us some realistic endings. Things are feeling too cheeky and silly for the sake of being silly.

The serious scenes don’t always have to be coated with outrageous humor. I think things need to come down a few more notches but I don’t think all hope is lost. Not yet. It wasn’t great. It wasn’t bad. And I think we’re getting closer.

Last season, Girls showed tremendous potential for growth and a realistic but hilarious view of a very relatable lifestyle for many fresh-out-of-school twenty-somethings. I don’t think that realistic, albeit sometimes ugly, nature of that demographic should be clouded with ridiculous caricatured actions and dialogue. If things just tone down more and Dunham lets her characters be real again, I think there is still hope for a great second season.

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