jason kundrath knows that hipsters don’t lie, they make good comedy…
Let the haters be silent. Tonight – less than an hour after the credits rolled on the Girls season 2 premiere – Lena Dunham received two Golden Globes: One for Best Actress in a Comedy and the other for Best Comedy. As the brilliant creator, writer and director of Girls, she has enjoyed critical acclaim. but she has also suffered more than her fair share of vitriol at the keyboard of many a pretentious, disgruntled blogger. Feel free to pick the show apart. But you’d be better served enjoying it for what it is: a masterful, modern dramatic comedy.
It works because it has it all. Dunham has created a cast full of rich, complex, and real characters, and we watch – riveted – as their young lives unfold in alternately hysterical, beautiful and painful ways. It has the self-effacing, cringe-inducing honestly of Curb Your Enthusiasm crossed with something resembling a broken down Sex in the City for the recession set where no one is successful and all the sex is awkward. But more than that, these are young adults facing the world, writing their own stories, and discovering their identities. It’s a relatively raw view into that amazing stage in life when almost anything is possible, but we’re never quite fully aware of it.
Season One ended on a reflective note, with Dunham’s Hannah Horvath ending up alone on the beach at Coney Island, silently eating a piece of wedding cake, after breaking her boyfriend’s heart, falling asleep on the train, and having her purse stolen. But as it turns out, this was just the calm before the storm that began with the Season Two premiere. This episode didn’t merely give us an light overview of where the girls of Girls are headed this season. No sir. Rather, this episode was straight up jam-packed with juicy, complex, emotional developments at every turn. Dunham doesn’t waste one second of time here.In fact, we’re seeing her bare breasts within the first few minutes, as we’re introduced to her new lover played by Donald Glover (Community/Childish Gambino). Awkward!
It’s apparently been a momentous few weeks since Hannah’s Coney Island adventure. There’s so much to catch up on: Adam (Adam Driver) is still in the picture, but just barely. Hannah has essentially broken up with him but is reluctantly helping to take care of him in his injured state out of guilt. Her newfound independence and confidence is clashing with his newfound vulnerability and helplessness. Neither Adam nor Hannah, however, are holding back their feelings anymore. Great dialogue ensues.
Back at her apartment, Hannah is enjoying the honeymoon period of her new living situation with her ex-boyfriend Elijah (played by the very talented former Book of Mormon star Andrew Rannells in his first television role). But the cracks in this relationship are already beginning to reveal themselves halfway through the episode. Meanwhile, Marnie (Allison Williams) – who seemed to be coming into her own at the end of last season – is back into crisis mode. She loses her job at the gallery, and her growing feelings of isolation are accentuated when she realizes her ex, Charlie (Christopher Abbott), is actually still kind of a toolbag. After an extraordinarily uncomfortable drunken incident between her and Elijah, however, this earlier realization isn’t enough to keep her from knocking on Charlie’s door in the middle of the night for some comfort.
Along the way, we also learn that Ray has apparently rejected Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) after taking her virginity, leaving the innocent Shosh angry, but determined. In the opening montage, she is cleansing her apartment with incense, kindly asking the universe to reveal her path and “ruin Ray’s life.” But later on, at the party, the feelings between them persist. Whatever happens, you can be sure Zosia Mamet will continue to deliver devastating laughs as Shoshanna, the comedic gem of the cast. Newlyweds Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and Thomas-John (Chris O’Dowd of Bridesmaids) make only a small appearance but seem to be the only characters continuing on the trajectory set at the end of last season. But this is Girls, so it’s guaranteed that we’ll be seeing the wrinkles of that wildly unexpected romance take shape before long.
In conclusion, if you loved the first season, you’re likely already infatuated with season two. Oh, the awkwardness! Oh, the vulnerability! Oh, the possibilities!
Congratulations on your Golden Globes, Ms. Dunham. You earned them.