Lena Dunham is my hero. Sure, sometimes her Twitter feed surpasses the appropriate level of self-indulgence, and I almost always hate what she’s wearing, but these are not important things in the long run of pop idolatry. I love Lena Dunham because she is nothing but her totally fucked-up, super creative, and unabashedly un-adult self all the time, and her show totally embodies her entire weird personality. This woman will write herself wildly embarrassing (and probably based on real life) roles and scenes, subsequently kick ass acting them out and successful direct her fellow actors. It’s inspiring. She’s a creative genius. Don’t argue with me. Last night, I got a sneak peek at Season 3 of “Girls.” I’ll do my best not to spoil it.
The third season is sure to ruffle the familiar feathers: the only black people to be seen are drug addicts, Hannah is still in a relationship with Adam, the sometime-misogynist, and the characters’ blatant disregard for almost anything but themselves hasn’t changed or matured. But what the haters don’t get is, this is the reality for the life of these characters. And these characters do exist in real life.
At Boston’s Revere hotel Monday night, and nine other venues across the country, HBO hosted a screening party for the first two episodes of “Girls,” six days before the television premiere. I noticed immediately, with a grimace, that this show about upper-middle class white, Millennial women trying to find their footing in an extended adolescence is for … well, upper-middle class white, Millennial women trying to find their footing in an extended adolescence, which was basically the entire guest list. And that’s FINE. Because, hey, every demographic deserves a TV show that caters to them by holding up a slightly exaggerated mirror image of their best and worst selves. Dunham’s hit series does this very, very well. “Girls” is totally realistic, sometimes embarrassingly so, and hell – I love it.
This season, we catch up with the ladies a few months after the the last season ended. Hannah + Adam and Marnie + Charlie got back together, Shoshana broke up with Ray after making out with a hot doorman, and Jessa peaced out to the void from whence she came.
Now, things are kind of looking up. This season has a much more optimistic feeling than last year’s tumble down an over-medicated rabbit hole.
Hannah seems much healthier than last season’s obsessive-compulsive character who performed self-harm. Instead, we’re seeing a Hannah who feels safe and (mostly) recovered. She’s back on the e-book-writing wagon and Adam seems to be taking good care of her. Yay for Hannah and her stupid hipster hair clips.
Marnie, however, wakes up in Rainbow Brite sheets on her mom’s (Rita Wilson is back!) couch, miserable and alone. Charlie has left her (Christopher Abbott abruptly departed the show last spring), and she is beside herself with grief, which is, like, so Marnie. Allison Williams is simply the most beautiful, tear-stained snot-ridden person on TV right now. Marnie is the quintessential confused semi-adult. It’s clear that she’s not really capable of taking care of herself, but she’s determined to try, which is admirable for a character who has fallen so far from where she started. Marnie just has no idea where to go with her life now, having lost everything she had post-college graduation (cool job, hot boyfriend, nice apartment), when she was an arrogant know-it-all.
Shoshanna has landed somewhere in the middle, meaning she’s exactly where she’s supposed to be. A senior at NYU, now deflowered and making it past her first big love, Shosh is hung over in the library, having random sex in bunk beds, and basically performing random acts of senioritis. Zosia Mamet is fabulous, easily the best actress present, and I’m digging this version of Shoshanna, who is beginning to find herself but doesn’t quite know who she is or what she’s supposed to be. Also, she has left the matchy-matchy sweatsuits behind with her virginity.
[BIG SPOILER ALERT]
And Jessa, well … she has landed in rehab. And thus begins the season’s main arch: the redemption of Jessa, the biggest asshole of them all.
She’s my favorite character, because I admire her ability to party hard, with a “life is for the living” attitude that isn’t guilt-ridden by the things she’s supposed to want (like a job). But like all people who live a listless existence, this becomes quickly exhausting. And while endearing and cool when a person is in their early 20s, Jessa’s lifestyle becomes increasingly sad the older she gets and the more people she screws over. So here’s the big question: Will Jessa realize what a manipulative dick she is? And will she finally begin to appreciate that Hannah is the only person who has ever cared about her? Jessa’s tired. She’s divorced, she’s essentially orphaned, she’s used up and abused, and she needs to let some love in.
This is a show that, at its core, is about the levels of fucked up these over-privileged women are. Jessa and Hannah are in a deeper, darker place than the two other friends, who face superficial and predictable problems. They had vastly different upbringings, but the two manage to have so much in common, mostly that they hate themselves. It’s a painful thing, but their struggle to support and love each other, while making an absolute disaster of their own lives is the emotional backbone of the show. Hannah and Jessa need each other to be stable, and while Jessa has a difficult time expressing it, her call to Hannah to retrieve her from the facility she’s been kicked out of is a wail for help. These girls need all the help they can get as they face real life, and Jessa finds herself far from where she started, laden with Louis Vuitton suitcases.
But this is the blind leading the blind, and excellent writing by Dunham, so just as in the last two seasons, it’s more goofy than sad and set to Maroon 5’s worst song ever. (Actually, the “Girls” soundtrack is wonderful. Check out this Spotify playlist I follow.)
[EXTRA CREDIT SPOILERS]
We also see a pretty epic cameo by Shiri Appleby, Adam’s ex from last season, whom he abused and (we find out) never called again. She goes off on him at Ray’s coffee shop with a monologue I would have performed in my freshman year Intro to Theater class, and I can’t wait to see Twitter on Sunday when that airs.
The first two episodes leave a lot of questions unanswered that may or may not be addressed later in the season, like, “How long does it actually take to get to Woodstock from New York City?” “How do you pronounce Ryan Phillippe’s last name correctly?” “Which Don Henley song do you most want a road trip to resemble?” “Does Jessa actually mean the things she says?”
I’m looking forward to the return of Elijah (Hannah’s gay and douchey ex-boyfriend), what seems like a lot more meaningless sex from Shoshanna, and the suggestion that Adam and Hannah actually continue to have a functional and happy relationship.
I’ll be blogging here every week, dissecting each new episode. Leave a comment or send your rage tweets to @lexikon1.