New York Times

„Girls“ (HBO) – Season 2

girls 2x09 colour montage.

I just finished Season 2 of Lena Dunham’s „Girls“ (HBO).

I liked Season 1. I’m even happier about Season 2.

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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)

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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“.

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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.

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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.)

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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).

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Links / much more „Girls“ texts, worth your time:

must-reads:

sets and costumes:

actors and behind-the-scenes:

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debate / criticism / discourse / angry chatter:

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bad sex? or rape? (Adam / Natalia)

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end-of-the-season wrap-up stuff (heavy spoilers!)

I also love THIS photo of Lena directing:

http://instagram.com/p/Omif4gi1Bm/

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more?

Justin Canha, Keiko Tobe and „Raising an Autistic Child“ [Manga, recommended]

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This Sunday, the New York Times profiled Justin Canha (Link), a young, autistic artist from Montclair, New Jersey who, at 22, is trying hard to find a good work environment and make his first close personal friends.

Link to the New York Times article (Link).

The piece was written by Amy Harmon (Link) and featured on BoingBoing (Link), one of my favourite blogs, and it reminded me of one of the nicest graphic novel surprises of 2011 – Keiko Tobe’s educational manga about autism and child-rearing, „With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child“ (Link, Wikipedia).

At BoingBoing, I wrote a small recommendation, and I’ll cross-post it here:

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„engaging NYT article: great tone, and some much-needed context.

I especially enjoyed seeing Justin’s trippy / irreverent animation video: http://video1.nytimes.com/vide…

[in fact, it reminded me a lot of artist Anthony Ausgang, Link]

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I’m commenting to give a book recommendation, though: Keike Tobé’s „With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child“ is an 8-volume self-help/’josei‘ manga (that is: target audience are women, post-puberty, Link) that shows a nervous and insecure mom dealing with the autism of Hikaru, her first-born son.

„With the Light“ is slow and a little didactic, and you might need to read two Volumes to get in the right mood / rhythm. But as a resource, I found it incredibly helpful. And as a story, it may start a little wooden… but it grows on you, and gets more and more complex. You learn TONS of stuff about the Japanese school and social security system, and over time, there emerges a big goal for Hikaru’s future life, post-high school: to become a „cheerful, working adult“.

Will he make it? I’m not sure: I’m only in Volume 6 of 8 (Link, released this week), and tragically, the creator of the Manga died in 2009, before she was able to finish her work.

Still: I cannot recommend this enough. Have a look: The US translation is solid, and there are lots of annotations plus some additional essays / resources in the back of each volume.

Goodreads Link to reviews and ratings for Volume 1:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/…

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