TV Recap: Girls, ‘Iowa’ (Season 4 Premiere)

Girls-Season-4-Poster

“Iowa” Plot Summary:

After a congratulatory dinner with her parents (Becky Ann Baker, Peter Scolari), Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver) pack up the last of her boxes and discuss “the plan” for their soon-to-be long-distance relationship. Marnie (Allison Williams) and Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) perform as part of a jazz brunch for a distracted crowd at a downtown restaurant. Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) signs for her diploma with her parents (Ana Gasteyer, Anthony Edwards), who make a bigger deal out of the event than she thinks necessary. Jessa (Jemima Kirke) is confronted by Beedie’s (Louise Lasser) daughter, Rickie (Natasha Lyonne), and later seems nonplussed by Hannah’s impending departure.” –Credit HBO

The “girls” may love the city, but this week it’s all about “Iowa.”

Girls is back for its fourth season, following the misadventures of self-absorbed Hannah (Lena Dunham), and her friends, as they try to navigate life as young twenty-something’s just trying to make it in the world. However, life isn’t easy for these girls as they deal with heartbreak, drugs, sex, and adulthood on a daily basis.

Photo Credit: Craig Blankenhorn
Photo Credit: Craig Blankenhorn

When we last saw Hannah, she was just accepted in the University of Iowa and was deciding if she should go and follow her dreams or stay in New York with her friends and boyfriend Adam (Adam Driver). Once the season opens, with an episode appropriately titled “Iowa,” we find out Hannah will be attending the University of Iowa, showing that maturity may have finally grasped her. However, this is Hannah we are talking about and this is Girls.

While the show seemed to have lost it’s way since it’s fabulous season one run, this episode promises a fresh start by going back to what made it so great to begin with.

With a clever opening that was reminiscent of the Season One opener, fabulous acting by the whole lead cast, and realistic writing that seemed to bring the show back to it’s roots — it finally appears that the girls may finally be home.

To start, that opener was just perfect. It was an obvious nod to the beginning of the show, showing what appeared to be a more mature Hannah. It was refreshing to see Girls go back to it’s roots and almost tell the viewers back at home, “Hey we know we haven’t been the best for a while, but we are finally back.” The scene between between Hannah and her parents (Becky Ann Baker and Peter Scolari) was hilarious from both a performance and dialogue standpoint. This scene further cemented the fact that Lena Dunham is both a superb actress and writer who knows how to make every situation in the show seem extremely real.

Photo Credit: Craig Blankenhorn
Photo Credit: Craig Blankenhorn

This type of realistic writing, and fabulous acting is what really make Girls so relatable and funny to begin with. In the last two seasons, the show seemed to lose its way and become too dark with too many hookups, rehab plotlines, drug abuse, etc.… but with this opener, it appears all of that is a thing of the past.

“Iowa” is an episode that feels like as if Dunham was putting an end to many of the storylines that just weren’t working. This is most obvious in the return of Jessa (the fabulous Jemima Kirke) to the group. This time around, she’s left her extremely depressing storyline behind. Hopefully, without all the darkness surrounding Jessa this season, the show may be able to find its light tone again in such a dark world.

In regards to performance, Dunham delivered another amazing performance while and Adam Driver proves that he deserves to win an Emmy for his role. Their on-screen chemistry is undeniable. The whole cast was on their A-game last night and it was really entertaining to watch, in particular Allison Williams. Her performance in this episode showed a bit more of her acting chops than previously seen in the series. The scene when she is singing with Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) and begins to cry when she notices no one is paying attention to her, was one of her best moments in the series to date.

All in all, “Iowa” was a great step up from previous episodes — showing extreme promise for future episodes. It really feels as if the show has found its way back from the depressing wasteland it seemed to find itself in for the past couple of years. It was an entertaining episode to watch. “Iowa” was filled with extremely impressive performances, writing that finally got it back to its glory days, and a sense of maturity that has been missing from the show since Season One. Hopefully Dunham and company can keep this progress up, because after being lost for so long, the girls finally seem to be coming home.

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Laura Dengrove is the one of youngest members of the Pop-Break staff and is a critic for television/movies of all types on Pop-Break. She’s in her first year at college where she will be studying to obtain her bachelors degree at Rutgers University for Journalism/Public Relations. She was the editor for the Arts and Entertainment section of her school newspaper, runs her own blog (Pop Culture Darling), and interns for Design New Jersey. She also has an in-depth knowledge about all things True Blood and an avid Eric and Sookie shipper.
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Hello! My name is Laura Dengrove. I am currently a Junior at Rutgers University, double majoring in Journalism/Media Studies and Cinema Studies. I am a film critic and interviewer by choice, professional Linda Belcher impersonator by birth.