Season 2 Episode Guide

Episode 1: "It's About Time"

In its triumphant return to Sunday night prime time, GIRLS begins Season 2 with the same shot as Season 1: a pan up starting from a set of feet, to reveal Hannah playing little spoon in a morning cuddle session. This time though, Marnie is not her cuddle buddy. She has been replaced by Elijah, Hannah's old boy friend and now new roomie. Even though Elijah's boner is reserved for somebody else, things appear to be going a lot better for Hannah than they were when we last saw her. She's all about her new roommate (going so far as to set preliminary plans for a whole array of theme nights including Fondue Night, Crafts Night, Japanese Snacks Night, and French Salon Night), has 3 jobs, and is getting served a steady dose of Jungle Fever. On that last point, I must say if this is Dunham's response to constant debate about the show's lack of diversity, she doesn't exactly put the "b" in subtle. But not everybody is satisfied with their life arcs. Shosh is spinning in circles, burning incense and trying to work out the kinks in her "ruin Ray's life" mantra while Marnie is getting laid off from her job.

Then there's Adam, who's definitely worse for the wear. In a full leg cast from getting run over by that pesky car, Adam is bed ridden and reduced to pissing in a bucket. Even though they are no longer dating, Hannah is there to help out, (clearly burdened with guilt) but there to help nonetheless. There's still some form of love between the two but a cloud of smoldering anger and resentment is present. For now, as Adam puts it, Hannah is just his "main hang" and not much more. Sandy (Hannah's new love interest played by funny man Donald Glover) would prefer that Hannah informs Adam of their newly blossoming relationship but Hannah decides to withhold this bit of info from Adam, seemingly unable to cut the cord quite yet.

I started to dissect Marnie's lunch with her Chelsea Handler wannabe mother, but honestly, it's just a whole dramatic mother-daughter snippy conversation that I can't even begin to relate to. So I'll pass.

Plenty of action at Hannah and Elijah's party though. We've got karaoke performances from half the cast at one point or another, Elijah's boyfriend George gets white girl wasted and gets bounced from the soiree, and there are a couple of rendezvous (rendezvouses? rendezvii?) between exes. Shoshanna tries to play cold to Ray with a flippant "Oh, Hello...GOOD. BYE." but she can't fight him off for long. Ray catches up with Shosh alone in a bedroom, charms the audience with some topical Emoji humor, confesses he still has feelings for her, and then swoops her into his arms for an instant classic kiss. While we don't know exactly what happened between the two, it seems to be a moot point now. Marnie and Charlie's catch up isn't quite as romantic. While Charlie waits outside the bathroom for Audrey like a lap dog, in his typical subservient fashion, he tries shooting the shit with Marnie. Audrey may be a bigger bitch to Charlie than Marnie ever was, but that doesn't prevent Charlie from trying to wax poetic on how amazing their relationship is. Audrey storms out after she can't score any weed and even as Marnie tries to lick his wounds (and possibly more), Charlie assures Marnie things are great between them. The kid just can't help but put the pussy on a pedestal.

After Hannah disposes of Elijah's boyfriend (who's a dead ringer as Buffalo Bill's doppelganger, by the way) she slips out of the house to drop off a bag of supplies and meds for Adam. When Adam tries to get her to stay and hang out, plying her with balloon faces and director's cut scenes from Baggar Vance, he doesn't get the response he was looking for so he pulls out the big guns. "You're the best thing in my life. I don't know how to behave without you. I'd die if you go away." Even at that, Hannah is somewhat nonplussed. Adam doesn't buy her ambivalence but Hannah firmly reminds him that their relationship, whatever it may be at this point, is not on his terms. It's on hers.

Back at the apartment, the party has been abandoned and only Marnie and Elijah remain, as they belt out karaoke jams on the couch. You might not be able to tell from this scene, but Allison Williams actually has some serious musical chops. Elijah confides in Marnie, telling her about his sometimes confusing sexual orientation, and how he still finds himself attracted to women at times. More insecure and desperate than we've ever seen her (no job, no boyfriend, no Hannah) Marnie clearly has nothing to lose when Elijah makes his move on her.

As the clothes start to come off, we brace for what will be known as the best 15 seconds in television history. Every time Allison Williams gets naked, an angel gets its wings...and a raging boner. However, the show's writers and director are sadistic animals and all we get is a little bit of sideboob. Even Elijah is turned off by this cruel twist, immediately losing wood. Marnie tries to console him, reminding him that he doesn't need to pretend to be something he isn't, but Elijah shoots the same observation right back at her. Broken and truly lonely, Marnie shows up at Charlie's place to spend the night in the company of somebody she trusts. It looks like she IS the wound, after all.

Oh right, and then there's Jessa who gets tossed in there as an afterthought for good measure. Judging by the cornrows and puka shell necklaces, Jessa and new hubby Thomas-John have just returned from their honey moon and they are still head over heals for each other. So that's nice. As Episode 1 closes, we know that we're in for a lot of what we expected this season: angsty life drama, tons of awkward sex, and Hannah will be naked. A lot. If you bet any money otherwise, looks like you lost your office pool.

Episode 2: "I Get Ideas"

It may have been 3 pumps, possibly only 2 1/2, but George is done with Elijah. Infidelity and bi-curiosity are two unattractive traits in a gay relationship...I would think. Hannah is none the wiser though and has no idea that Elijah and Marnie banged on her living room couch. This is for the better since Hannah can't help but take everything personally and would somehow find a way to relate their activities to her own shortcomings. And if her own shortcomings are starting to drag her down, Hannah is at least making strides to address them. Albeit through self-help Youtube clips on cutting your own hair and dancersize, but, you know, baby steps.

In a reversal of fortune, Marnie is now the unemployable one. Even in her best Ann Taylor suit, she is unable to impress at her interview. Her interviewer (played by Lena Dunham's real life mother and real life artist, Laurie Simmons) can only feign interest in Marnie's qualifications and is much more focused on verbally lashing her intern for not dunking her teabag in the desired manner. If the intern really needs instruction on tea bagging, I'm sure there are plenty of guys who would be willing to help out. To add insult to injury, Marnie returns home to the sight of Shosh and Ray deeply immersed in lovey-dovey pillow talk. Most of their discussion revolves around the merits of bathing a baby pig together but they do offer one constructive tidbit when they plant the seed in Marnie's head that she might be better off getting a "pretty person's job". For the love of God, please let that job be at Champagne Facials.

Thomas-John wants to look pretty also so he dons his fanciest fedora and poses shirtless on a stool for Jessa. This guy infuriates me. I want nothing more than for there to be 3 more of him in this scene so I can flip that stool over, get a little creative so that all four of them could sit on the stool at the same time. Between the matching tiger tattoo, his affinity for "Dana's" shorteralls, and his fucking "meetings" it's a mystery as to how Jessa can stomach the sight of him. He does give surprise gifts though, which bitches love, and in this case it's quite literally an entire box of bitches. Not to be overshadowed by all the celebrities, Jessa names her new puppies Garbage, Fucker, and Channukah.

Emboldened by Jessa, Hannah confronts Sandy and asks why he hasn't read her story yet. At first he tries taking the easy route, saying he hasn't read it, but under more pressure he eventually folds and admits to not only reading it, but also not liking it. Admittedly, the quality of writing is strong, but like everything else we've known Hannah to write, "nothing happens in it". Hannah takes this slight and tries to draw a parallel to their difference of opinion when it comes to politics. Sandy was able to brush of the condescending political comments from Elijah earlier in the morning but at this point he's done laying down for the flaming liberals. There's only so much he can be baited before going militant-black-ballistic. Sandy calls their relationship for exactly what it is (Hannah's desire to dip her toes into something a little more exotic and exciting... a.k.a. "black") which Hannah denies vehemently. But she doesn't exactly do herself any favors when she starts quoting Work It and then claiming she didn't even realize Sandy was black. All in all, her relationship with Sandy is a pretty good allegory for the show's entire relationship with racial minorities: a half-assed and short lived attempt at diversity for the purpose of breaking up painful monotony.

When Marnie settles on a hostess job (much to my chagrin, I thought Champagne Facials was a promising career for her) it doesn't seem like the worst choice. $400 a day, good hours, and lots of social time is most people's idea of a decent job. Hannah on the other hand can't help but take a dig, reminding Marnie that her $40 job is more noble because she's made the "choice" to not cash in on her sexuality. "Choice" would be one way to put it. Another way to put it would be that nobody in their right mind would hire an overly tattooed, overly weighted, and overly condescending person to greet prospective diners. On the bright side, Marnie does get to dress like a slutty Von Trapp child. Fun side note on that video: I actually sent that out to my old company's list serve of several hundred very confused employees before picking up and walking out. Fact.

Hannah may feel sorry for Marnie, but she certainly doesn't feel sorry for Adam. Not after all his unsolicited acoustic love songs. Not after his late night texts. Certainly not after !SURPRISE! he lets himself into her apartment and jumps out from behind the doorway to scare her while she's in bed. Hannah is a bit freaked out, understandably so, and dials 911 before reconsidering and hanging up. Damage already done though. Adam pours his heart out, both applauding her resolve to try and end things while also admitting that "as a man living his man life", he's not ready to give up quite yet. But to no avail. Hannah pleads for him to just leave her alone and there's so much hurt and desperation in her voice that for the first time Adam realizes he's fighting a losing battle.

With his tail squarely between his legs, Adam slinks off, but wait, Hannah calls him back. There's a pregnant pause as the two stand in the door way and maybe, just maybe, Hannah is about to take him back. We'll never know. That's when the cops show up. Rather unfortunately for Adam, an unpaid public urination summons means he can't plead ignorance to this whole fiasco. He's gotta take a night time field trip to the slammer. Ain't that just like the po-po? Always there when you don't want 'em, and never there when you need 'em? Story of my life. Hannah gets off easy, allowed to stay at her apartment even though all the stalking started with her, a pair of knee socks, and a Jason mask. From the top of the staircase she can do nothing but watch as Adam is dragged away and weakly mumble what should really be her life mantra at this point: "I'm so sorry".

Episode 3: "Bad Friend"

What a weekend for Booth Jonathan, huh? Co-starring in the best SNL digital short since Dick in a Box on Saturday night, then following it up on Sunday by giving Marnie an inverted snow angel. But I’m getting ahead of myself I think.

So, Hannah scores a gig as a freelance writer for the online magazine Jazzhate, which is good news. The less good news is that they’re only concerned with faux edgy topics like {GASP} drug use! Now Hannah needs to score a whole bunch of coke so she can write all about this incredibly novel experience that's never been written about before. Hannah is resolute to make the magic happen, even if it’s outside her comfort zone, so down the rabbit hole she goes. Only catch is Jessa, the group’s resident ne’er-do-well, can’t cop any drugs for her. As a last resort, Hannah drops in on her junkie recovering neighbor, Laird. Like most coke addicts (sorry, I’m on a Lonely Island digital short kick right now) the guy has some boundary issues as evidenced by his accurate description of Hannah’s daily schedule and magazine subscriptions. But he does have a cool pet turtle and lots of pomegranate juice, so he’s some what getting his shit together. Despite his new found sobriety, he agrees to get the blow for Hannah.

But with all this yayo…what to do?!?! Leave it to Elijah, coke-night planner extraordinaire. Obviously dancing. Obviously. Punching a former Disney star? Check. “Power-clashing” outfit inspired by a middle school incest victim? Of course. By 4pm, the two are already jacked up to the point that they’re writing down their incoherent ramblings on the apartment walls in sharpie. It’s gonna be a long fucking night.

While Marnie is hostessing in her little Von Trapp suspenders, she runs into the aforementioned Booth Jonathan. He doesn’t even remember her name, but that certainly doesn't stop him from pulling her out of the restaurant by her wrist so they can have sex. Back at his apartment, Boothe shows off his art (ie. a bloody doll house and a lockable stand up closet that flickers disturbing animal images and blares Duncan Shiek. In all honesty, the modern art isn't the strangest thing about Booth. You know what is? The fact that he still uses AOL mail. Now that's some weird hipster shit. When Marnie is finally let out from the sensory box she's completely overwhelmed but emerges with one realization however misguided: “you’re so fucking talented”. The sensitive artist persona is a tough hand to play if you want to get laid but gotta hand it to him. kid's got game.

At this point in the night, Hannah and Elijah appear to be on a lot more than just coke. In a state of seemingly unrealistic drug induced euphoria, Hannah changes shirts with some pony tailed bike messenger type on the dance floor. Sporting a see through mesh tank top, Hannah marches off to the bathroom with Elijah to do more blow off a toilet seat cover. If that's the only available surface that's one thing. But they're really going to do gummies off the seat also? Gross. Catalyzed by the coke's truth serum effect, Elijah confesses to banging Marnie. Hannah takes this news pretty much exactly as we'd sweating bullets, dousing her entire head in sink water and screaming “I hate you!”.

Even though Elijah reminds Hannah that his dalliance with Marnie is none of her concern, Hannah is still pretty butthurt about the whole thing. Ever competitive with Marnie, Hannah decides to kiss Elijah in the drug store aisle. Maybe she can get 4 pumps out of him and prove to Marnie once and for all that she's superior in at least one way. She might even be able to capitalize on this plan but right then, out of the corner of her eye, she spots a lurking Laird in the next aisle. Laird is overcome with guilt for introducing the innocent Hannah to a world of drugs and bad decisions and admits that he's been following her just like the mom in Really Loud and Close. World's most mediocre movie of all time, don't see it. Still struggling with addiction, Laird reveals that he bought himself some smack, which I'm pretty sure is part of Step 2, before giving it up to Elijah so he can stay on his road to recovery. Since he has nothing else going on that night, other than shopping for socks before going home to hang out with his turtle, Laird tags along as Hannah and Elijah decide to do a surprise drop-in on Marnie, who is currently wiping cum out of her box at Booth's house.

When they arrive at the Booth Jonathan fortress unannounced, Hannah cuts to the chase immediately. "I know about you and Elijah" she tells Marnie. Marnie is stung, and if you recall, she wanted to tell Hannah all along but Elijah swore her to secrecy, not the other way around. Hannah, never shying away from being over dramatic and extremely egocentric, is at this point preparing us for an out of control maniacal coke rant. But that isn't what happens exactly. Instead, we get one of her more salient epiphanies; an accurate realization of the friendship dynamic between her and Marnie. Fashion advice and lunch dates do not make a good friend. The only thing that matters is not doing the things that will intentionally hurt somebody else. And that's where Marnie has failed Hannah. Everything else is meaningless, petty bullshit and Hannah can see that clearly now. See? Drugs are good. They help you think.

Marnie goes to puke and Hannah takes the momentary break in the action to remind Elijah that he's going to have to move out because he ruined her: (1) article (2) night (3) relationship with Marnie (4) relationship with coke, which could have been her favorite drug. In the world’s worst carnie game of all time, the consolation prize is that Laird takes you home. Most disturbingly to anybody who has to watch, Hannah and Laird go at it in the hallway because Hannah clearly gives zero fucks about anything anymore. And now she has AIDS. Probably.

Episode 4: "It's a Shame About Ray"

The only question that really matters is ‘which dinner was more painful to watch?’ Normally, an awkward dinner with the in-laws is as bad as it gets (like I’d fucking know). That might not be the case here, though. Between butt plugs, a battle of the exes, and a boyfriend turned squatter, Hannah’s dinner party could be the runaway favorite as the more painful of the two. More on all of this in a minute.

For the second time, it seems like Elijah will be exiting Hannah’s life. But not his stuff. Hannah lays claim to every one of Elijah’s earthly possessions and since (a) George paid for it all anyway and (b) Elijah can’t afford to pay his final month of rent, he doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on. In a last ditch effort to hold on to some his belongings, Elijah tries to recoup some of his sunk costs in the form of Burrito add-ons (Guacamole, spinach, et al.) but when Hannah reminds him that he held on to their shared buttplug, the two call it even.

Since we spend the rest of the episode hopping back and forth between the uncomfortable dinners, I’m just going to take the liberty of listing out the most discomfiting highlights from each one, in bullet form.

Jessa's Dinner with the in laws:
- good first impression is squandered with a late arrival
- Jessa admits to hating the very restaurant TJ's parents selected
- it's revealed that Jessa has no job...and no real desire to pursue one
- it's revealed that Jessa's unemployment status may or may not have something to do with being a college dropout
- it's revealed that Jessa's lack of a degree may or may not have something to do with being a recovering heroin addict
-TJ's mom ain't no punk, she hollas she wants prenup, she wants prenup, YEAH
- God likely does not exist

Hannah's Dinner Party:
- Charlie, Audrey, and Marnie all realize they are co-invitees and will have to sit at a table together
- Audrey is blossoming mustard entrepreneur...Marnie has had zero success with condiments
- Shosh arrives late. Shosh lost her earring in a cab. Shosh lies to everybody. Shosh had sex.
- We never get to find out where Audrey shops for all of her headbands
- Shosh is graphically educated on the proper use of a buttplug
- the word "butthole" is repeated ad nauseam
- Audrey accuses Marnie of trying to get all up back in Charlie's butthole
- Audrey accuses Marnie of being a semi-suicidal, Stepford Psycho, stalker
- Marnie storms out. Charlie follows her out. Audrey storms out.
- Charlie tries to rekindle things with Marnie but gets shut down because now she's dating an Ewok
- Shosh realizes her boyfriend is homeless and squatting in her apartment

It’s pretty clear that Hannah’s dinner dominates on the uncomfortable-meter but that doesn’t mean Jessa is out of the woods yet. No, her evening is long from over. To nobody’s dismay and to nobody’s surprise, the Jessa and Thomas John arrangement appears to be at its end. Jessa’s free spirit nature is way more than Thomas John bargained for and TJ’s bland mediocrity is clearly a poor match for Jessa as well. All that said, I still think that the writers took a serious short cut here. As flaky as Jessa is, and as inevitable as the divorce was, up until this point there have been precisely ZERO misgivings regarding this arrangement. I mean shit, up until thirty minutes before the dinner, Jessa was whipping out her titties to get some late afternoon loving. In Episode 2, Jessa is lecturing Hannah on the depth of her love with Thomas John... so what's happened exactly? An uncomfortable dinner makes her realize that Thomas John is an uptight corporate goober? I don't buy it. Not to mention, the whole point of a trophy wife is that you're willingly giving up your money (or receiving money) as compensation for spending time with somebody you're not attracted to. That's the whole fucking point. How do you get blindsided by all of that two months into the marriage? To make up for this shoddy plot resolution, they try to distract us with a boob other than Hannah's, but I remain laser focused on the fact that this is lazy writing. All told, Jessa's negotiation skills are about on par with Dr. Evil so she walks away with a paltry $11,500. Weak. 

In another relationship that makes little sense to me, Shoshanna and Ray have a heart-to-heart on the status of their arrangement. Ray is apparently broke, homeless, and thirty fucking three years old. Why he spends all his time with 25 year olds is a mystery to me, but I guess beggars can't be choosers. Shosh doesn't care though because she loves him and he loves her "so fucking much" also. But how? Normally I try not to delve too deeply into the show's plot points but I don't get this one either. Let alone how I think it's impossible for anybody to stomach the verbal onslaught that Shosh spews on a minute by minute basis, but somebody as cynical and dry witted as Ray would never (in real life) tolerate somebody so vapid. It doesn't come together or get explained what attributes Ray is attracted to in her. Oh...right.

To close out the episode, we obviously have to see Hannah's tits because a full 25 minutes has elapsed without that happening. In a quid pro quo of 'I'll show you mine if you show me yours', we do get to see Jessa's chest again so I guess it sort of cancels out the prior image. But not really. Finally fed up with her own antics and lack of life direction, Jessa breaks down. What takes place after that is something I can't say I'm very familiar with. At the end of my really shitty days, when I climb into the bathtub with my room mates, I'm met with moral support, solid advice, and a vigorous, deep scalp shampoo-ing. That's how guys do. Apparently girls are much more simple. They throw snot rockets back and forth at each other. That's enough. Nothing says "I'm here for you" like a well timed mucus fling. If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times. Girls are waaaaaay grosser than boys.

Bonus Coverage: Lena Dunham on Howard Stern this week. 

Episode 5: "One Man's Trash"

It's been tough sledding for GIRLS on the ratings front the last two weeks. First going head to head with the Super Bowl and now the Grammys. No matter. Lena Dunham got to watch boyfriend Jack Antonoff (guitarist for the band Fun.) perform live on stage and then take home some hardware too. Fun. fact: before dating Dunham, Antonoff was with Scarlett Johansson. I shit you not. Talk about a nosedive down the pecking order. Another Fun. fact: the band decided to go with a period instead of an exclamation point in their name because, as lead singer Nate Ruess puts it "we're so boring that paint watches US dry." Only one of those facts is made up, try to guess which one. But that's neither here nor there. Never afraid to bare all, Dunham seemed determined to upstage the Grammys in more ways than two.

This episode really seemed to rub people the wrong way. I've received more texts and phone calls from friends regarding this episode than all the other ones combined. While the near unanimous assertion is that this was the worst episode in the history of the series, I do not agree. I do however think that it reeked desperately of self-seriousness and it tried way too hard to win some sort of recognition as the most profound 30 minutes in television history. It wasn't. It was far from it. Sometimes when you reach too much for the accolades, you fall flat. And that's what this felt like.

When Patrick Wilson (who is now sure to be a household name) enters Grumpy's with a rather benign request, he is met with Ray's hostility. Maybe Shosh isn't helping him relieve his tension as much as he'd like. Maybe Hannah's fleshy thighs put him in a horrid mood. Maybe Ray just loves having his trash in other people's cans. Whatever the reason for Ray's emotional outburst, Hannah is so appalled that she quits on the spot (or at least "quits" for the day) and head's straight to the customer's house to apologize. 

Racked with guilt, Hannah comes clean and admits that she is in fact the Trash Bandit. Joshua is amused by her earnestness and recognizes that, while inconvenient, the whole episode was a rather victimless crime. Despite the fact that he's a hard 10 and you should never stoop more than 2 points, Joshua accepts Hannah's advances. Hannah has now spanned the entire spectrum from brownstone owning doctors to semi-recovering heroin addicts, further illustrating the point that any girl can sleep with any guy, just so long as she wants to.

Here is where the episode starts to get slightly interesting. Their late afternoon romp turns into a full blown 2 day love affair. Hannah and Joshua play hookie from work and enjoy 36 hours of naked ping pong, sex, more naked ping pong, reading the paper, steaks, and other run-of-the-mill weekday activities. In a new twist, Hannah seems truly happy, and more importantly, comfortable. Comfort and stability are always elusive for the 20-something crowd and Hannah is now experiencing it all for the first time. But the comfort and whimsical dreams of a different life are fleeting.

As Hannah wakes up from her steam shower induced coma, she begins to sob uncontrollably. An epiphany hits her when she least expects it. All the things that she's mocked, that she's written about, that she's snarkily judged, these are the things she actually covets. Hannah is smart and sensitive but she is also lonely and poor. All college graduates want more for themselves and more poignantly they expect more of themselves. For some it's working for a noble cause instead of a boring 9-5, for others it's insane wealth that gives them the freedom to pursue their interests, but what Hannah realizes is that she has none of it. No fridge stock piled with food. No lemonade in crystal glasses. No installation of a solarium to look forward to. No job that makes a difference for anybody. Certainly no automated electronic steam shower. She might be a clever writer who wants to disavow the creature comforts through clever prose. But she's not special, she isn't unique, and she's certainly done nothing to earn those things. The realization hits her like a ton of proverbial bricks.

Hannah's blissful nonchalance is quickly (and correctly) re calibrated in Joshua's eyes into flakey-ness. Hannah emotionally unravels right in front of Joshua and although he does his best job to calm her and ease her anxiety, it's clear that this pseudo relationship is already dead to rights. As a pity present, Joshua allows her to stay one more night but when she wakes in the morning, Hannah realizes she's alone in the house. After taking out the trash and making the bed, Hannah leaves the brownstone and walks down the street alone as she's ever been. All she has is a ringing reminder rattling around in her skull of what could have been, a fleeting taste of what she really wants, and the painful realization that she is nowhere near ready for it.

Episode 6: "Boys" 

After last week's debacle, Hannah and the gang return for a much more typical (and clothed) episode. What's even better, is that once she gets over her wave of panicked nausea, Hannah can start working on an e-book. Her mentor may have only given her 1 month to complete the project, and he may or may not actually know what a pistachio is, but I just don't see how there's any way this can turn out badly.

On the other side of town, Booth Jonathan and Marnie are lying in bed when it's revealed that Booth's assistant, Sujin, tasted some of his rose water ice cream. Clearly, this is a fire-able offense and Sujin is relieved of her duties, permanently. Shorthanded and now in a bind, Booth asks Marnie if she wants to host a party for him that evening. Marnie, ever the social climbing wannabe debutante, interprets the request as hosting with Booth and not for him. So, while she thinks that things are starting to happen on "a fancy, nice level" for her finally, she's nothing but hired help.

Shosh wants nothing more than to give Ray's life a bit of a kick start, but this is a tall task. Ignoring Shoshanna's prodding to try out a business seminar, Ray has his ambitions fixated on a much more important goal: retrieving his lost copy of Little Women. Unfortunately, the book is somewhere in Adam's lair, and it now falls on Ray to retrieve it. Adam greets Ray with a tornado of fury, as anything connected to Hannah is enough to send him into a blind emotional rage at this point. Adam's outburst is nothing compared to his newly acquired watch dog, though. When Ray finds out that Adam actually stole his new junkyard pet, he dresses him down something fierce. Dog is an asshole. Dog is not treated that well by others. Dog is a victim. Dog deserves a shot at redemption. Dog is an extension of Adam.

With the show's two best characters finally put together for a significant amount of screen time, Ray and Adam sojourn to Staten Island on an Odyssey to return Dog. As the dynamic duo trudge through the muck and grime of the worst outer borough, they reflect on past relationships. Perhaps because they are both honest men, or more likely because they are kind of "weird looking", their views on women and most other things are remarkably similar. Well, similar on matters other than Hannah. When Ray drops some knowledge about Hannah being difficult, selfish, unattractive, and a somewhat terrible person, something in Adam snaps. In spite of his best efforts to rid himself of any emotional tie to Hannah, Adam's love for her is still deeply engrained. Overwhelmed by his own emotional display, Adam ditches Ray with Dog and goes home. Left to his own devices, Ray can't even convince the dog's rightful owner to take it back. Ray's a loser; this is something he has come to accept about himself at this point. His relationship with Shoshanna is one of convenience, laziness, and immaturity. He has no real ambition and no clear way to break out of his funk. He's just a fucking loser, a faggot who wears faggot pants, a kike lookalike, dog fucking loser from yogurt town. Not my words, but they'll do just fine.

While Ray cries all alone in self pity, Marnie is surrounded by all of her new "friends" at Booth's party. Hannah can only last through a half conversation involving periods, Dairy Queen, e-books, and other art shows before she pulls an Irish good-bye. As the night winds down, Booth attempts to pay Marnie for her work that evening and it is only at this point that she realizes she was not actual hosting the party...but working it. Marnie inevitably breaks down when she realizes her misunderstanding of the situation, but if she's looking for sympathy from Booth, she's barking up the wrong tree. You see, Booth had a different understanding from Marnie as well. He was under the impression that Marnie actually liked him for who he is...rather than the idea that he represents as an artist and a socialite and a minor celebrity. Once Booth throws a couple of wine bottles for dramatic effect, Marnie takes this as her cue to go home, leaving Booth with his own mess to clean up.

By the end of the night, Hannah is in bed and stuck on page one of her yet-to-be e-book. In need of some comforting consoling, she calls Marnie who is just as happy to be comforted after her night. But instead of an open conversation, the two hide behind facades of faux happiness. Hannah lies about her progress on her book and Marnie lies about her night also, pretending to be watching fire flies in Booth's garden, rather than huddled up next to a subway grate. The phone call stalls awkwardly as the breadth of their distance becomes obvious and they hang up, disappointed. If they can't be honest with each other, recognizing how much worse off they are when separated, there is little else to discuss.

Expectations. That's what this is all about, isn't it? Expectations and happiness.... What we expect from our professional success (Hannah); what we expect from our relationships (Marnie/Booth); what we expect from the people we care about (Shosh); most importantly, what we come to expect of ourselves (Ray). It's a reflective episode, more so than many others and it's not like Girls is ever light on the introspection. Charlie Brown might say other wise, but in my book, happiness is pretty easy to quantify. It's the relationship between what we expect to have, and what we actually do.

Episode 7: "Video Games

Wanna know why, contrary to the opinion of most others, I didn't refer to Episode 5: One Man's Trash as the worst episode in the history of the series? Because I needed to save room for a potentially worse episode. This was that episode. In even simpler terms, this did not make for good televesion. Sunday night premium cable series that only run 12 episodes in a season do not get the luxury of having multiple filler episodes in a single season. That's for shitty network TV. GIRLS has now had 2 of these in the last 3 weeks. Believe me, there were more entertaining things I could have been watching on Sunday. Let's get into the episode, but know that I'm not done railing yet.

After a season and half of flighty behavior, Jessa's character is now being explained. Even before her dad appears, it's clear that he's the genesis of Jessa's flaky and unpredictable ways. Naming one of your kids Lemon, filling your station wagon with computers from the mid 80s, and living with a woman who's of the belief that we're all living inside a giant video game (because scientists are liars) is definitely enough to royally fuck up your daughter. Things might turn out ok though. Hannah is undergone a major metamorphasis: from "wound" to "cushion". They might make it through this weekend yet.

There isn't really all that much to do in the upper reaches of those sleepy Hudson River towns, other than look at vintage Penthouse (under rated activity) and eat the family pets, is there? So it stands to reason that once dinner is through, it's time for a little joy ride. Frank and his "friend" Tyler take Hannah and Jessa on tour of the country, complete with hairpin turns, whip-its, and stunt driving. Hannah gets to be the normal one for once and begs out of the car before there's a serious accident. But that's about where Hannah's level thinking ends. Before long, she's allowing Frank to jizz in her leg fat crease, smack in the middle of a grave yard.

This episode isn't about Hannah though, it's about Jessa. We learn that Jessa has already blown off her past 6 visits with her dad and that she's fully aware she and her family aren't "like other people". But are these explanations or excuses? Jessa expresses her disappointment in her father's inability to stay put, be reasonable, and act as an example of good behavior for her. All fair criticisms. However, if Jessa is able to recognize and correctly evaluate these things as character flaws, how does she have no ability to make changes in her own life. There's a clear cognitive dissonance here. It's incongruous to demand that her father suddenly become more responsible when she demands to be permitted her own free spirit ways. Is your life style a curse or a choice, Jessa? It can't be both. There's one other problem with this scene, as well. While it's a nice moment and does a good deal to explain Jessa's character, wouldn't it have been more impactful if, oh I dunno, she was actually in this season? What possible emotions can we be expected to feel for somebody who has been pushed aside as fringe character? Not to mention that Jessa's grand solution, when confronted with the ghosts of her past and abandonment issues and irresponsibility is away. Brilliant. Not interesting.

GIRLS needs to make two major adjustments and they need to be made quickly if the show has any desire to recapture its appeal from Season 1.

1) Stop grossing out the viewing public, simply for the sake of grossing out the viewing public. I can watch 2 Girls, 1 Cup on the internet if I ever have that burning desire. (No link, you'll have to use Google). Listen, I get why Hannah went naked in the first season. Not all women have model bodies and it was a healthy expression of realistic female sexuality and all that shit. I get it. After that, Hannah's nudity came in waves. It was a real legit middle finger to all the critics who demanded that she put her clothes back on. I get that, too. That's fine. But now that people are seemingly ok with it, and even commending her for her bravery, who do I need to watch her bent over naked, pissing blood with a UTI? Seriously...what is being added to the show? What is being accomplished? I know it's not funny or amusing to guys. If it's some inside joke just for the girls, doesn't that go against what made the show interesting to begin with? Wasn't this supposed to be a show that all 20-somethings could relate to? Isn't that why I started blogging about it in the first place?

2) Get back to reality. The charm of Season 1 was that it was truly believable most of the time. Awkward relationships, getting dosed at a party, struggling to pay rent...these are the things that 20-somethings can relate to. We finally had a show that presented urban yuppie life for what it was (more or less). Most 24 year olds don't eat at places like this on a weekly basis or live in apartments that look like this. GIRLS started out honest. It was representative. It felt believable. Holing up with 40 year old divorce doctors and traveling to the sticks to bang 19 year old homosexuals in cemeteries does not feel representative. Or believable. Or entertaining.

In fact, it's about as honest as losing your virginity to Rihanna.

Episode 8: "It's Back"

Criticism for the last few episodes appears to have made Hannah a bit jumpy. OCD-level jumpy. Now, I’ll admit…at first I thought this was a cheap plot point just to make every bit of unimportant minutiae seem high stakes and dramatic. Then I rationalized the erratic behavior as being caused by having to sit through a Judy Collins concert, which would be enough to make me suffer a similar fate. However, after the episode ended, I learned that Lena Dunham actually suffered from OCD and my stance softened a bit. It didn’t soften out of pity or out of guilt, it did however soften because one of my main criticisms of the show this season has been that I feel it’s steered away from relatable situations for 20-somethings. The fact that the show’s writer is addressing a very real and very personal life situation directly addresses that criticism of mine, so I’ll tip my hat and move along.

But there’s another reason why this episode was stronger than the past ones. It’s because the Boys are back in the mix. Charley, Adam, and Ray all have significant relevance in this episode and it’s because of that, that the episode is smoother, more interesting, better paced, and obviously funnier. Take that Beyonce. The episode's title proves to be rather apropos. I'm gonna say that "It's Back" refers to the general rhythm of the show that we all enjoyed from Season 1. 

Ray has to confront the fact that his antisocial and cynical ways are not going to end up being a great match for blabber-mouth Shosh. While I would agree that being a 33 year old hanging out with college kids is about as creepy as it gets, in this situation it probably would have been prudent to suck it up so he could keep tabs on his woman. Wanna know what happens when you don’t keep tabs on your woman? A dude from another HBO show is gonna jack her from you, that’s what. I will say though, props to Shosh because I did not think she had the stones to cheat….let alone with a doorman…played by an actor who only got 2 seasons on his previous show before getting cancelled.

But Ray isn’t the only one who should be keeping an eye on the person he cares about. While Hannah is busy at the shrink trying to get her nervous OCD ticks under control, Adam is scoring dates at AA. Adam’s been clean and sober for a while but he’s feeling stressed out and unburdens himself at a meeting, much to the delight of another attendee. In fact, the woman is so impressed by his honesty and poise that she sets Adam up with her daughter. The mom might be a kook, but the apple fell immensely far from the tree. She’s hot, grounded, and Adam appears to have a new sex toy to play with. 

While Hannah and Ray allow their loved ones to play the field, Marnie is doing quite the opposite. Upon hearing that Ray has started his own company, built it out to what appears to be 20 employees, and secured what looks like a multi-million dollar loft space, (all in a manner of a couple months), she shows up unannounced at his office. Dating an artist is cool and all, but dating a millionaire is way cooler. Unfortunately for Marnie, the entire genesis of Charley’s new found wealth is behind his new app: FORBID which prevents you from calling somebody you hate…and it was inspired by her. Ouch. Marnie should see some royalties on this though, no?

When Marnie arrives home she has a mini-freakout which Ray finds amusing. While she bemoans the fact that sane, have-it-together people like her are forced to struggle through life, sad sacks like Charlie get to be rich and lavished with the gifts of luxury and fame. Or something like that. Ray, always the purveyor of sage wisdom, advises Marnie to stop all the petty bullshit and finally pursue what she wants. Enough of the hostessing and gallivanting. Marnie confides that her true passion is to be a singer and then belts out some lovely sounding tune that I was too lazy to Google.

What we have at the end of the this episode is something that we haven’t had possibly all season: many different possible paths for all the show's characters. This is a good thing and will actually have me looking forward to next episode for the first time all year. Will Shoshanna’s indescrietion bring an end to her relationship with Ray? Will Marnie become a professional singer? Will she sing naked? Will Adam start dating Natalia seriously? Or will she only make him realize how much he misses Hannah? Will Charlie ride his wealth to party it up with models in Ibiza? Or will he come crawling back to Marnie? If Charley comes back to her, will Marnie get naked? Will Jessa reappear? Is she going to be a peripheral character the rest of this season? Will Hannah conveniently conquer her recent bout of OCD to make room for a new plot point? Will her OCD continue to plague her for the rest of the season to become a ½ season arc? Will you continue reading this blog? Will Marnie get naked?

Yes. No. No. Maybe. Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes. Yes also. Yes. No. Probably not. Sadly...I doubt it.

Episode 9: "On All Fours"

In the penultimate episode of Season 2, it appears Adam has finally been domesticated. Between the Sandra Bullock rom-coms, the happy-go-lucky smiles, and the freedom from Hannah, Adam has found some inner peace. Even if he isn't allowed to cum inside Natalia, even if she doesn't like being on top, and even if she is the good two shoes girlfriend from Swimfan, these things don't matter that much because Adam is no longer feral. And as we know, nothing bad can ever happen when you try to lock up a wild animal.

Hannah on the other hand, hasn't exactly found quite the same level of serenity. Her OCD ticks have become volcanic in their volatility, her editor hates the work she's submitted for her ebook, and she's being asked to seriously consider naming her work "Life on My Back". As if this all isn't enough to put her meltdown into full fledged overdrive, she's got a chunk of wood sticking an inch out of her ass and a Q-Tip (sorry, I just couldn't resist) jammed straight into her brain stem. At this point, we've gotten used to seeing Hannah in varying states of discomfort, but this is an entirely different scenario. The extreme anguish and absolute, painful misery painted across her face at the hospital is a new low for our star character. This is what we call rock bottom.

At Charley's "Congrats-to-Me-and-My-20,000-Average-Monthly-Users-Party", Ray is decidedly unimpressed by the fare...and Shosh is unimpressed by Ray's lack of enthusiasm. The end to this immature relationship is frighteningly close. Even putting aside the fact that Shosh is a cheat, her opinion of Ray has changed as well. He's no longer the mysterious and intriguing intellect. He's just kind of a dick. While that may be desirable for about half the female dating population, it certainly isn't her style. Even when she finally confesses to Ray about her romp with the doorman, his blind love and acceptance of this fact, provides what seems to be the final nail in the coffin. I can't really blame her. Ray is dead weight and all washed up, and she still has the majority of her 20's to look forward to. She can't be held back from new prospects. She's even patrolling for some new ass at the party and lands on a goober who would seemingly love to spend late nights with her at trendy restaurants with all the other New York City douche bags who Instagram their appetizers.

If this was where the party started to wind down, the night could still be considered salvageable. However, Marnie has other plans. Following her (brand new) life long dream of becoming a singer, she uses Charley's work party as her audition tape. Charley's work associates are less than entertained by her sonata remix of Stronger which I find rather surprising. I've been to a handful of dull pizza parties in varying offices and I've yet to see anybody do an impromptu karaoke. If I had, I would think people would have the decency to be amused by it, rather than just exchange blank death stares, but, fucking hipsters. Before you write off Marnie too quickly though, it looks like the girl is dumb like a fox. Her stunt gets Charley back, and if you think that was just some fortuitous consequence of her public embarrassment, then you clearly don't know Marnie well enough. That shit was manipulation at it's finest.

At another party, an engagement party to be precise, Natalia brings Adam around to meet her friends and socialize. It's definitely not Adam's scene (because people and full sets of clothes are present) so once his only option becomes small talk schmoozing, he decides to go get some air. If he had only walked outside 30 seconds later, everything could have been different. But on this particular night, at that particular moment, fate intervenes and Hannah strolls by. At her lowest moment, seeing Adam is enough to make everything a-ok again. She lights up when she sees him and squints out tears of nostalgia when he calls her "kid". That's all she gets from him though. Adam is over her, happily in a relationship, and has no interest in catching up with her. He leaves her alone outside, and returns to the party, clearly unflappable. Adam is rattled BIG TIME. So much so that he falls directly off the wagon for the first time in years. As Adam continues to get sawced, the night becomes a blur of dancing, drinking, crawling on the floor, rim jobs, rough sex, and his take on a Jackson Pollack painting. I will say, the last time I actually saw semen pictured in TV or (non pornographic) film was many years ago. So that was refreshing.

Heading into the season finale, every character has regressed to their Season 1 roots. Charley and Marnie are likely to end up back together. Jessa is nowhere to be found. Shosh and Ray will end up single, each incapable of companionship in their own way. Adam is as big a degenerate as ever. The only wild card here is Hannah. She's built to march to the beat of her own drum but her path seems even harder to predict now. Before she was flighty and misguided but now she's troubled. What's worse, is that her friends, the eponymous GIRLS, don't even seem to notice.

Episode 10: "Together"

We've all been there. An isolated irregular heart beat or a weird discolored skin patch sets off a frantic Web MD downward spiral. But then we get bored and go back to watching whatever is on TV. Hannah can't turn it off though, and she can now add "paranoid hypochondriac" to her list of ailments that are slowly unraveling her. When David calls and demands the rest of her pages by the end of the day, it dawns on Hannah for the first time that she's in breach of contract. So, she calls her dad for advice (read: money) to get her out of her latest jam, but doesn't exactly get the response she was looking for. Up to this point, we always kinda-sorta feel bad for the way Hannah's parents have treated her. She's kept at arms length, they completely cut her off financially, and they hang up the phone when she calls them from upstate New York. But now we get it. They've seen this movie one too many times and have finally decided they're over it. 

Marnie on the other hand, is living life to the fullest. She just gets to kick back, get her box munched and enjoy weekend brunch with her new and improved boyfriend. In the last year, it stands to reason that Charlie was just slaying girls left and right, all of whom were smitten by the fact that he was designing screens for a TBD iPhone app. Because that's how girls do. No matter, Marnie gets to reap the benefits with an upgraded Charlie v. 2.0. Charlie isn't only more sexually mature, he's also wisened up a bit, and puts Marnie on notice that she shouldn't expect to waltz right back in to where they left off. Doing this, Charlie is at last able to get the response out of Marnie that he'd been looking for during the entirety of their relationship: an apology and the acknowledgement that she actually loves him...and his money. We'll see how long this cash-grubbing ho sticks around once he gets sued for IP theft

If Ray wants to keep Shoshanna, he needs to stop dicking around, and fast. His lack of ambition has become a "real issue". So, he heads to work on his day off to tell his boss he's going back to school. Or at least he tries to quit. Instead of returning home to Shoshanna with a degree in Latin studies and a Big Brown Bag filled with pastry shaped clutches, Ray comes back with a promotion. As Brooklyn Heights' newest coffee shop manager, surely Ray has done enough to impress Shoshanna. But not so much. Turns out the problem isn't really Ray's overall ambition, but more his entire life outlook, shitty personality, lack of self awareness, black soul, et. al. He even hates colors, pillows, and ribbons, so I mean, like, really...come on.

As if Hannah's plunge couldn't get any worse, her behavior becomes even more dramatic and insane. Hiding under her bed from Marnie is exceedingly normal compared to the rest of her afternoon. Within a few hours, she's cutting off her own hair and then soliciting help from her drug attic neighbor Laird to complete the look: a retro-chic bowl cut/mullet. When this doesn't prove to be enough drama for her personal taste, Hannah faux faints and begs Laird not to rape last time. More amused than offended by her ludicrous and delusional accusation, Laird calls her the single most self involved and presumptuous person he's ever met, before he walks out and leaves her to deal with her own shitty problems. Getting dressed down by a drug attic loner should be enough of a wake up call for most, but that's clearly not gonna get it done for Hannah. Not yet, at least.

The only person that can help her, the only one that can shake her from her current nightmare state, is the only person who can match her unique brand of weirdness. It's not gonna be her parents who no longer want the responsibility. It's not gonna be Marnie, from who Hannah is too embarrassed to seek help. Who the fuck knows where Jesse is, so she's out. Even Laird doesn't have a desire to sexually assault her. It can only be Adam. His spot is as soft for Hannah as ever, and he's most likely tired of having to go through Occupational Sex Therapy with his new girlfriend anyway. Missionary just ain't his style. Adam immediately identifies something is seriously wrong with Hannah, even before seeing her OCD twitches, so he springs into immediate action. Running through the streets of Brooklyn only half dressed, dodging in and out of traffic, miraculously using FaceTime even without access to a WiFi network, Adam arrives at Hannah's apartment and kicks in the door. Sweeping her into her arms and holding her like the princess he believes she is he tells her "I was always here" as the season comes to a close and we can firmly believe that everything will be OK.

A lot of people I spoke to did not like this season very much. Many of those same people did however like this episode and thought it brought the season to an acceptable close. One friend asked me yesterday "So what'd you think about last night's episode?". I'll paste my response below, verbatim, rather than try to articulate some synopsis with a grander and more elaborate point to make.

Unfortunately, while it was a "feel good" episode it kinds of just became the same thing as every other show. The whole momentum and cult following they picked up from the first season, of being a true representation of relationships and the lives of 20 somethings kind of fell apart this year. It all culminated in that final episode. Rather than continue on the path set in that first season, the show devolved into a typical ending from any Rom Com, thusly, being a show that is not worth blogging about anymore.       
It's been real. 
Mad Men in just a couple weeks. Guess who's pumped?      

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