I just finished Season 2 of Lena Dunham’s “Girls” (HBO).
I liked Season 1. I’m even happier about Season 2.
Best episode? “Bad Friend” (2×03)
Worst episode? “Video Games” (2×07)
Best scene? Marnie’s passive-aggressive, angry, scary Kanye West cover in 2×09:
Worst scene? The final scene of the finale, “Together” (2×10)
Overall, Season 2 was faster, less structured and tried out lots of different approaches and storytelling experiments. Many worked. Some did not (at all), and I understand friends who say that these 10 episodes of 2013 were a mess.
I did watch episodes 2×05 to 2×09 over two days – and got very, very sad. Nobody died, and there was no HUGE melodrama. But most plots points, scenes and twists were so sombre, bitter and intense… it was the most affecting TV experience for me since “Six Feet Under”.
What worked? (Spoilers!) Marnie, Elijah and Hannah – three truly horrible, fascinating protagonists. The brownstone / Patrick Wilson episode. Charlie’s character arc. Shoshanna and Ray’s dynamics. All of Adam’s late-season storylines. Bit characters (most parent, bosses, neighbours, galerists etc.). The music. The bathtub / snot rocket scene. All of the acting (even though I understand if people make fun of Allison Williams).
Also: I liked most sets / colours / the overall late-summer atmosphere. Much improved atmosphere compared to the grey, dusty look of Season 1.
What did not work? The OCD (yet. Maybe this will gain complexity in Season 3). The Jessa episode, “Video Games”, and her CW-like, kitschy daddy issues. Donald Glover (mere window dressing / lip-service). Many underwhelming scenes with Hannah’s parents.
I wish there could have been more… Shoshanna. Ray. Charlie-without-Marnie. Booth Jonathan, Thomas-John (Jessa’s husband). Scenes of the characters actually working / making money. (Natalia is an underdeveloped character, too.)
If you haven’t started watching: Here is the trailer for Season 1.
DVDs, in German: Out in late April 2013, for a hefty EUR 33,99 (Link, Amazon).
Links / much more “Girls” texts, worth your time:
- Hitfix, Alan Sepinwall: Reviews for ALL the episodes (good!)
- The New Yorker, Rebecca Mead, 2010: great profile of Lena Dunham
- The Onion: Next Episode of Girls to feature Lena Dunham shitting herself…
- I also like the Girls, reviewed by Guys reviews on Slate.com (David Haglund, Chris Wade)
sets and costumes:
- If the Lampshade Fits: Shoshanna’s Apartment (furniture porn!)
- New York Times: From Loser to Hunk? The clothes help. (Charlie’s Fashion Evolution)
- Toronto Standard, Max Mosher: Why did TV fall out of love with fashion?
- New York Times: The Clothes make the ‘Girls’ (Costume Design)
- Time.com: Jenn Rogien names her 9 favorite outfits from Season 2 (Costume Design)
actors and behind-the-scenes:
- New York Times: Profile of Zosia Mamet
- Bullet: (rather likeable / straightforward) Profile of Christopher Abbott
- Esquire (angry / kind of petty) Profile of Lena Dunham
- Salon.com: Interview with Michael Penn (composer)
debate / criticism / discourse / angry chatter:
- Crushable: 5 Things Lena Dunham […] needs to stop saying in interviews
- Los Angeles Times: Nudity and graphic sex? Lena Dunham can do better
- Buzzfeed: Patrick Wilson’s wife puts the controversy to rest
- Slate.com: Lena Dunham “responds” to her critics
bad sex? or rape? (Adam / Natalia)
- The New Yorker: That sex scene on last night’s “Girls”
- Slate.com: Was that a rape scene in “Girls”?
- and: Slate.com: Why don’t the characters practice safe sex?
end-of-the-season wrap-up stuff (heavy spoilers!)
- Wine and Pop, Josh Oakley: Season Two as a Whole (sums up MY feelings)
- Salon.com, Willa Paskin: Why “Girls” got so dark (excellent text!)
- Vulture.com, Margaret Lyons: All of the Couples should break up
- Jezebel.com, Jenna Sauers: In Defense of Marnie (fun essay!)
- Jezebel.com, Jennifer Wright: In Defense of Shoshanna (excellent essay!)
I also love THIS photo of Lena directing: