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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"She Did" it Girls

HBO's Girls has gotten a lot of attention this season, some positive, some not so much. As the freshman run draws to a close with "She Did," it's hard to see where the attacks come from. Jealousy? Insecurity? Lack of a frame of reference? Yes, the characters may not be completely likeable, but what a bold, fresh, realistic perspective! Girls may very well be the voice of a generation, and I don't make that claim lightly.

Maybe there are those that dislike the series because they are trying to compare it to other television. This is folly, as the writing and direction of Girls is not like anything else. Trying to pigeon-hole it, or compare it to non-exist peers shows a lack of understanding of what the show is going for. It isn't trying to be another series. It is, like the characters, true to itself, even if no one else understands.

At the center of the series is Hannah (Lena Dunham). She still expects her dreams of being a professional writer to come true. She just doesn't put that much effort into making them happen, whines quite a bit, and is pretty selfish. Yet, as the type of person that everyone knows, narcissistic but not malicious, she is an identifiable character, and one not represented very well on television. Until now.

In "She Did," Hannah gets the chance to complete one of her goals: have a serious relationship. Adam (Adam Driver) is willing to fully commit to her, even wanting to move in. Hannah just doesn't take him seriously, and ends up insulting him, which may spell the end of their time together. Is it because she is scared, as she claims in a raw confrontation in the street? Or does she not know what she wants? Maybe Adam is the type of guy she thinks she should desire or deserves, but isn't sure that she is ready to be with him. Is she trying to live her life as if from a script?

This is kind of the conundrum of everyone in Girls. Marnie (Allison Williams) has a great guy in Charlie (Christopher Abbott), whom she doesn't appreciate until he's gone. Then she could get him back, but she still resists, ending up making out with someone unexpected (Saturday Night Live's Bobby Moynihan). One would like to think that she appreciates her hookup's personality, but really, she's probably just drunk and desperate. We'll see if it lasts past a single evening.

The oddest plot in the finale is when Jessa (Jemima Kirke) throws a surprise wedding for herself and the creepy guy (Chris O'Dowd) who wanted to have a threesome with Jessa and Marnie. Jessa didn't even like him then, but her bizarre vows are actually sweet. Perhaps they do make a good pairing, as out of nowhere as the union seems to come from. Of course, with Jessa, no traditional courtship would ever be in the cards, which might make this one more acceptable.

Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) would like to loose her virginity, and weirdly does so with Ray (Alex Karpovsky). It almost seems like this happens because these are the two major characters with the least development, and the only ones who aren't paired up before now. And yet, there is something really nice between them. Both deserve more screen time, and maybe as a couple, they will get it.

Shoshanna's frustrated statement, "Everyone's a dumb whore," rings kind of true on the surface. But the girls are more than that. Someone who is over the age of thirty might have a hard time understanding what is going on in Girls. Yet, those of us who were in college in the previous decade see an authenticity that is surprising for television. Every flaw and stupid action of young gals that are not yet mature enough to qualify as women are laid out, without shame. It's a brave series with interesting writing. And no matter what these girls do, there is an allure about them that keeps people tuning in week after week.

Nope, not everyone gets them. That's the way they like it. One day they will be normal, contributing members of society. But for now, they are still just Girls.

Girls will return for a second season on HBO.

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