It's here! HBO's "Girls" is back, and with it our weekly Gchats about the show. Season 1 left us with so many questions: Are Hannah and Adam finished? Will Hannah be naked more, less or equally often in season 2? Are Shosh and Ray, like, dating now? Could Jessa and Thomas John's crazy last-minute marriage actually work? Where does Marnie go from here (here being eating cake with her hands and going home with a wedding comedian). And will Booth Jonathan ever reenter the picture?
Naturally, season 2, episode 1 didn't begin to answer all of those questions for us, but it certainly gave us a lot to discuss. Bear with us, and by all means chime in with your comments. Here we go...
Lori Fradkin: Hello! So glad the show is finally back.
Emma Gray: Me too! It has been far too long since we've gotten to hang out with Hannah Horvath & Co.
Margaret Wheeler Johnson: The show has a lot to live up to this season.
Lori Leibovich: And I'll just say: The first episode disappointed me.
Lori F.: It wasn't my favorite, but I think it's because there was so much exposition.
Margaret: This was a problem with the pilot, too.
Emma: Exactly. First episodes of 30-minute shows usually aren't my favorite. But I did appreciate the opening scene, which mirrored the opening of last season. Instead of Marnie in bed with Hannah, it was Elijah.
Lori L.: I loved that they were spooning.
Margaret: I loved all of Hannah's clearly from-Anthropologie bedding. Should we go in chronological order, starting with the new BF? Oh, wait, I forgot Marnie getting canned. Clearly I was devastated.
Emma: That was just sad.
Lori L.: Very. Of all the people on the show to get booted from her job...
Lori F.: The way it went down was unrealistic to me.
Emma: Totally unrealistic.
Margaret: It felt very SATC -- walking in the West Village, "By the way, you're fired. Let's go shopping."
Emma: I feel like they really want to kick Marnie down and make her rebuild herself this season.
Lori L.: I agree, Emma. We are going to see Marnie's reinvention.
Margaret: It's either misguided or brilliant. Possibly misguided because Marnie is hard to feel sorry for. Then again, so was Hannah. And as Dunham has said, the point here is partly to get you to love the characters even if you don't always like them, the way you do real human beings -- to support them even when they're unlikeable.
Emma: I think Marnie will be more sympathetic as she gets kicked down a notch.
Margaret: I find her annoying in general.
Lori F.: I found it tough to feel sorry for her this episode, despite the tough stuff she's dealing with. The only thing I did feel bad about was Hannah not really getting back to her.
Lori L.: I found Hannah so unlikeable this episode -- way more than Marnie.
Margaret: How come?
Lori L.: You know, the usual narcissism, which seemed to be even worse, especially with the Marnie stuff.
Margaret: Can we talk about the new boyfriend now?
Emma: The black Republican new boyfriend?
The Black Republican New Boyfriend
Emma: AKA Donald Glover, who is adorable.
Margaret: He is adorable, but I'm not sure this was the best way to deal with the criticism "Girls" has received for not having a more diverse cast. It seemed so, so obvious. "See, we do have black people!"
Lori F.: I'm not sure what the best way would be, though. I feel like she can't win on this one.
Emma: It's possible that he was cast for that reason, but I also think she's just friends with him and liked him for the show. Honestly, he's charming so I don't really care either way.
Margaret: I agree that it's hard for her to win this.
Lori L.: Impossible.
Emma: By addressing the criticism, she inevitably opens herself up to more criticism for tokenization... But I do hope to see more diversity in general this season.
Margaret: I read a piece in the New Republic this week that said it's not unreasonable to think that four girls from Oberlin would have all white friends and that the world of the show is narrow because the characters' world is narrow. Thoughts?
Lori L.: I agree with that. I think that there's an argument for the fact that this is accurate, like it or not.
Margaret: Anyway, thoughts on the character?
Emma: I think she's so intentionally trying to make sure he is the "anti-Adam" by telling him not to say love and going on and on about how she used to like any guy who liked her. She's trying to be different, but I'm not sure she's different at all.
Lori L.: Right, a little over the top.
Margaret: He does wear shirts. That's different.
Lori L.: True. Can we talk about Adam? And how she's still doing stuff for him?
Margaret: Out of guilt, which she explicitly says to the new boyfriend.
Lori F.: I have to say, I found Adam far less sympathetic in this episode than I did at the end of last season.
Emma: The whole situation is twisted and pathetic. Adam was SO pathetic this episode and therefore SO unappealing.
Margaret: I was surprised that he's not hearing that she's not into it anymore or sensing it.
Lori L.: But I found H's behavior TOWARD him so unappealing too. More so than his.
Emma: At this point, their entire relationship just needs to end.
Lori F.: I want to talk about this line: "When you love someone, you don't have to be nice all the time."
Lori L.: That makes sense to me.
Margaret: Not for me, entirely. You inevitably won't be nice to them all the time, but I'm not sure you're off the hook entirely. You're supposed to try to be nice some of the time.
Emma: I agree with Margaret. His sentiment is correct, but it doesn't give you license to be a jerk.
Lori L.: I took it more generally -- that the expectation is that you will be nice but it doesn't always work that way. We get angriest at the people we love the most.
Lori F.: But it feels like he was saying if you love someone, you have a pass not to be nice, which is different.
Margaret: I don't think this was the circumstance to be general. She was telling him he wasn't being nice, that he was hurting her feelings. That said, I think the dialogue is well written. It shows that neither of them has changed all that much. She comes across as needy, and he comes across as saying the wrong thing, but also being wise and right.
Lori F.: See, I'm not sure if he was wise. He does make clear that he still loves her, though, even if he has a weird way of showing it.
Emma: He definitely loves her, but he's also clearly holding on to something that doesn't exist anymore.
Margaret: I don't know why he doesn't detect how over him she is.
Lori L.: I can't believe he doesn't detect it at all.
Emma: He just doesn't want to.
Lori F.: Maybe I'm just not seeing it, but it seems like he's not nice to her AT ALL. There's none of the sweetness mixed in anymore.
Emma: He's clearly pretty depressed. He's not being nice to himself or Hannah.
Lori L.: He does have a broken leg. Not fun.
Emma: Right, he's stuck at home, and Hannah is his caretaker. He's understandably not in a great place.
Lori F.: Yes, but a little appreciation maybe?
Emma: Ideally, he should be appreciative. But the fact that he wasn't seemed in line with his character.
Margaret: I'm glad he hasn't really changed. I wouldn't believe it if he had.
Lori L.: Can we discuss Shosh and Andrew Rannells because I love them both so much?
Margaret: Yes, go.
Emma: Elijah first?
That's One Way To End A Party
Lori L.: So I just want to say that Elijah is my favorite character. "Maybe I wanna be Wendi Murdoch. Maybe that's my new thing."
Margaret: LOVE. And as Shosh notes, he has done wonders for the apartment.
Emma: He really is a great roommate.
Lori F.: How did Hannah not understand his French salon idea? I mean, Hannah, you went to a liberal arts school and you're a writer. Also, I liked when Elijah told Marnie not to harmonize.
Emma: I also loved when he said, "I didn't even know there WAS a G train."
Lori F.: What did you think of the sex scene with Marnie and Elijah? I found it really hard to watch.
Emma: Yeah, it was highly uncomfortable, at least at first.
Margaret: Say more.
Lori F.: Well, first of all, Elijah's still Marnie's best friend's ex-boyfriend, even if she's mad at Hannah and even if he's gay.
Emma: Agreed. It's obviously going to be a bigger issue down the road.
Lori F.: Also, you know they're not really into each other -- it's just that they're both having terrible nights, so it's more out of a need to feel wanted.
Emma: It was so clearly both of them acting out these fantasy roles, and then when Elijah lost his boner, the reality of what they were doing -- and how kind of ridiculous it was -- dawned on them.
Lori L.: Nice summation, Emma. I thought there was some genuine chemistry there for a second, that they were turned on by the experimentation.
Emma: I agree. But ultimately that chemistry and excitement was pretty ephemeral.
Lori L.: Yes.
Emma: I thought it was really perfect when Marnie said, "You know, you really don't have to try to be anything that you're not," and Elijah responded with, "Neither do you."
Lori F.: She's really trying to be a less prim Marnie, and it's not her.
Lori L.: "I could never be a gay man. I hate blow jobs and anal sex. I assume I hate anal sex."
Margaret: That was amazing. So, Shosh?
Lori L.: First, the little hat thing she wore to the party. What do you call those? With the netting?
Margaret: A fascinator?
Emma: I really wish I could pull one of those off. I was supremely jealous of her outfit.
Lori F.: That hat was so SATC. Very SJP-inspired.
Lori F.: Zosia Mamet is so talented. I know that's obvious, but when I was watching her talk to Elijah and Hannah, I was just like, "Wow, she is good."
Margaret: Yes! Her facial expressions there were especially amazing. Very subtle shifts. I also loved when she was "djing" in the corner with the stove and a Solo cup.
Emma: I definitely understand why all of these girls now want to be her best friend and equate her with Shosh in real life. She's very convincing.
Margaret: I can't believe she could be anyone else. On the "Today" show the other day, she was thoroughly Shosh.
Emma: But in "Mad Men" she's basically unrecognizable. She's a chameleon.
Margaret: Okay, so I can imagine it.
Emma: Shosh is still such a voice of truth. I love when she starts talking about her hymen being "missing" and how she "may be deflowered but not devalued."
Lori F.: "I am woman, hear me roar."
Margaret: I liked how her lines could have been from one of the self-help books she reads.
Emma: Yes! They really were perfectly in line with who she is ... or at least who she sees herself as.
Margaret: And they seemed oddly sincere and to have some meaning coming from her.
Emma: Definitely. And I thought her interactions with Ray were awesome.
Lori L.: I'm sorry, guys, I have to take off. Make sure to discuss Marnie sleeping over at Charlie's.
Margaret: Don't worry.
Lori F.: OK, so in terms of Ray, did he just blow her off completely? Have they not run into each other at all?
Lori F.: But she's been texting him emojis??
Emma: We just know that he stopped answering her text messages and didn't continue to date her.
Margaret: I believe she would send countless emojis.
Lori F.: Oh, I believe it too, but is he just ignoring that?
Margaret: That is hard to believe. He was so, so into her.
Emma: In my mind, he freaked out and started blowing her off.
Margaret: That's possible. I feel like we shouldn't have to infer so much, though.
Emma: They didn't really explain it, but that didn't bother me. It seems totally plausible that somehow things would have gotten awkward. I just loved that she stood up for herself in this scene. She takes way less shit than the other girls do.
Lori F.: Her standing up for herself was especially self-help-y.
Margaret: Emma's right, though. She's much better about standing her ground than the others. Hannah, for instance, puts off telling Adam how she feels, then when she's finally honest, it's mean and repellant.
Lori F.: I'm not saying Shosh's self-defense is bad, just how she talks.
Emma: But it didn't sound false to me.
Lori F.: "I only want to date people who want to date me because that is called self-respect."
Margaret: Right out of that book about The Ladies from season 1. Also, Ray delivered one of my favorite pickup/make-up lines ever: "That was a bitchin' cheese plate you brought."
Emma: Hahaha. The two of them together always make me happy. Also, I totally believed she would have unfriended him on Facebook
Lori F.: OK, can we cut to the chase? I love that kiss! It was so dramatic, and I bet Shosh was so excited.
Emma: The kiss was amazing! As was his speech about her. The beer spilling out during the kiss was a nice touch, too.
Lori F.: Right, 'cause Ray does not give a shit about messing up Hannah's bedroom.
Margaret: The moment was great overall in terms of pose, passion, etc., but about the actual kiss, I have my doubts. It didn't look that great to me. Very lip-pressed-on-lip.
Emma: Perhaps... I just feel like he's so enamored with her. And I love it!
Margaret: It is pretty adorable.
Emma: Should we get back to Marnie?
The Cougar's Daughter
Lori F.: Marnie ... We talked about her firing, but let's discuss her lunch with her mom.
Margaret: It seemed to me that the show was trying to explain Allison Williams' obvious weight loss.
Lori F.: Interesting. I didn't notice that... I was focused on her mom trying to be her best friend.
Emma: Oh, I didn't read that as an intentional explanation.
Margaret: Yael Kohen at The Cut did. I assume Allison Williams didn't lose the weight just for this scene.
Emma: I more noticed her snark about Hannah's weight. "I'm not gonna do like what Hannah does and order six pizzas to make me feel better."
Lori F.: I didn't notice the weight loss. She's very thin, but I didn't realize it was a dramatic change from last season.
Margaret: Maybe dramatic is too strong, but I noticed it. Now I feel bad about bringing it up. Her weight is her business, but in both senses of the word, unfortunately. On the one hand, I wish every actress would refuse to lose weight as they become more famous as a kind of activism. On the other hand, I know it's ridiculous to ask that of any human whose job requires being looked at all the time. Can your weight be private if your image is public? I think it's near impossible. OK, I'm done. On to Marnie's mom. Welcome to "Girls," Rita Wilson!
Emma: I LOVED Rita Wilson. She was perfect.
Lori F.: I thought two things were interesting about this scene: 1) Marnie's mom trying to be friends and even calling her daughter prudish. 2) Marnie telling her mom that she talks to her friends "way worse than this."
Lori F.: Marnie doesn't need a best friend to talk about sex with right now -- even if Hannah is MIA. She needs a mom to make her feel better.
Emma: I think that most women want their moms to be their moms ... not their BFFs.
Margaret: I disagree, Emma. I see this with so many people, mothers and daughters agreeing that they're best friends. It's so strange to me. I can't say whether it's healthy or not -- who knows? -- but it's not a dynamic I have with my mother or want with my child.
Emma: I guess that's true. From what I've seen, mother-daughter best friend relationships can backfire. But I'm not saying that it's impossible to have that and have a really healthy relationship with your mom.
Margaret: When it happens, I think the mother often wants it that way so she can feel young.
Emma: And in Marnie's case that's definitely what's happening. Marnie is trying to grow up, to be an "adult" and control everything, and her mom is doing the opposite -- letting loose after a failed marriage, etc.
Lori: And she's not taking Marnie's problems seriously.
Emma: Not at all. Also, both her mom and her boss seem to want to sweep the fact that she was fired -- which is pretty devastating -- under the rug.
Margaret: She's not really focused on Marnie's problems at all.
Lori: Do you think it's a "like mother, like daughter" thing"? They are very different, but each is unable to see things from someone else's perspective.
Margaret: Well, almost everyone on the show has that problem.
Lori F.: To go back to when Marnie said she talks to her friends that way, it is just occurring to me that it's a little like Adam saying when you love someone you can be mean. I think there's a difference between being comfortable with someone and disregarding their feelings and basic civility.
Emma: Agreed. But also it rang true.
Margaret: Also, Marnie's mom questions their friendship just like Marnie questions her friendship with Hannah. Lots of "where are we" conversations happening here. I hope we see more of Rita Wilson. I want to know more about Marnie's relationship with her mom.
Emma: Me too
Margaret: It would explain a lot about Marnie's character, I think. She seems like someone who grew up determined to be like or not like one or both of her parents.
"Are We Okay?"
Lori F.: In terms of her conversation with Hannah, I really felt bad for Marnie. I have plenty of issues with her, but Hannah was at her most self-involved.
Margaret: It didn't help when Elijah revealed that Hannah doesn't listen to him either, just talks about Adam all the time, or when Hannah denied that, then admitted it the way she denies telling Adam that he makes her feel like her whole body is a clit, then admits it.
Lori F.: Here's the thing: I understand that Hannah might be caught up in her own stuff and is legitimately busy, but when a friend specifically says she needs your help and you make excuses... Hannah's "I'm right here, Marnie" was just a slap in the face because she's obviously not around.
Emma: I agree, but I also think that Marnie has been used to Hannah being constantly accessible to her for years, and this is a change. Suddenly Marnie has so much time because she doesn't have a job or a boyfriend. Hannah has both of those things. That's really tough regardless of whether both people are super self-involved.
Lori: Hannah is being a little all or nothing -- which is, now that I think about it, kind of an Adam thing to do.
Margaret: So this is sort of a continuation of a conversation Hannah and Marnie had last season. Something about Hannah finally being the one who has what Marnie's always had, and Marnie not being able to deal with that.
Emma: Right. Hannah is obviously selfish, but Marnie is still figuring out how to be the person who's on her own.
Lori F.: But in this case, I don't think Marnie's actually asking for that much. Hannah has completely blown her off.
Margaret: Hannah's gone about it the wrong way, but I think she needed time away from Marnie.
Lori F.: Did anyone notice the end of that scene when Hannah said she hates grown-ups before she goes to deal with George? I think that says a lot about what Lena Dunham is trying to say about women in their 20s. It's that in-between phase where you don't totally feel like an adult.
Emma: I didn't catch that!
Margaret: I noticed. It's a nice contrast to how domestic Hannah has become. Remember when she said entertaining is what keeps you young?
Lori F.: I think she's just playing along in her banter with Elijah on that. They have a whole shtick.
Margaret: But that comment showed such a dramatic shift from the idea that domesticity is a marker of adulthood. Now it's something you dabble in when you're young and have so few other commitments.
Emma: I think it's interesting that the three older adults we saw in this episode (Marnie's mom, George and the boss) all acted super "young" at times.
Margaret: Everyone in this episode wants to be young, except Hannah's new boyfriend, possibly, and Marnie.
Emma: Yeah Hannah's boyfriend just wants to love her and read "The Fountainhead."
Margaret: Do we think he actually sits around and reads Ayn Rand? I couldn't figure out a lot about him, except that we're supposed to like him more than Hannah this episode.
Lori F.: Yeah, but I can't imagine Lena will leave him as flawless.
Margaret: She does really like Donald Glover...
Emma: Ha, very true.
Lori F.: So let's discuss Marnie's interaction with Charlie.
Emma: And his "tiny Navajo" girlfriend. That loitering-by-the-bathroom moment was so uncomfortable.
Margaret: Marnie was clearly pleased.
Emma: Speaking of people who haven't changed ... I don't think Charlie knows how to give his girlfriends space.
Margaret: You're right, he doesn't. That's his m.o., I remember now -- the smothering.
Lori F.: Marnie drove me crazy in that scene after Audrey left. So fake.
Emma: What drove you so crazy about it?
Lori F.: I know she was trying to be casual, but it was so off-putting. She said something like, "That looked bad." Uh, yes, Marnie...
Margaret: And then there was the bit about being able to go eight months without sex when she's clearly desperate...
Emma: I thought that was kind of funny.
Margaret: In fact, there's no better way to express that you can't go another minute without sex. (No better way to express it verbally, at least.)
Lori F.: That was really her most insufferable scene, I thought.
Emma: I found Charlie WAY more annoying -- his weird rambling on about how he does so much with Audrey and how they talk to each other.
Margaret: The smothering was more palatable when he was with Marnie. I think she was better to him than Audrey is, even though she wasn't good to him.
Emma: Audrey is pretty annoying. Too much mid-forehead headband.
Lori F.: I don't like her either, but Marnie shouldn't have gone to his place at night.
Margaret: And he shouldn't have let her stay.
Lori F.: Right.
Emma: That was a shady move, but I also understood it.
Margaret: Sure. She has no one else, and he knows he's in the wrong relationship, so of course they're turning back to one another.
Lori F.: I get how they justified it to themselves.
Emma: And for Marnie it wasn't just about reaching for someone else. She was turning to someone comfortable who she knew herself with.
Margaret: And at the same time, Hannah was turning up someplace she'd sworn she wouldn't..
"I'm Not Just Gonna Show Up And Knock On Your Door In The Middle Of The Night."
Margaret: OMG, I sounded like a "Sex and the City" segue there. Apologies.
Lori F.: Hahaha. Your segue was accurate, but Hannah wasn't crossing lines with that. It felt appropriate even if she said she wouldn't do it.
Emma: I agree. It felt pretty natural, and he was pleased to see her. He IS very different from Adam.
Lori F.: OK, so this seems like an appropriate time to bring this up: Do you think Lena intentionally showed her body so much in this episode? Was it a f*ck-you to critics?
Margaret: She showed her body a lot last season, and she said this week that it's not brave to be naked on camera if you're not nervous about that.
Lori: That's true. It just stood out to me that she did it 3 different times in the same episode.
Margaret: I guess she could be fine about being naked and still have it be a f*ck-you.
Lori F.: It was such a contrast to Allison Williams' sex scene too
Emma: I was thinking about that. Allison Williams didn't even show a bit of nipple.
Lori F.: Though Marnie would cover up more -- she had sex with Charlie with her shirt on, remember? Or bra or something.
Margaret: I think what we're seeing here -- or rather, aren't -- is just evidence of a strict no-nudity clause in Allison Williams' contract.
Emma: I feel like the nudity was Lena's way of saying "this isn't going away this season." In her "Today" show interview, she basically said that if people disliked what she did in the first season, they'd dislike this one even more.
Margaret: And I think she's accomplishing her goal. She's making us see her, as she vowed at this year's New Yorker festival -- so much that we're not shocked by her body. I agree with Frank Bruni. I, too, feel like I could draw Lena's body, I've seen it so many times.
Lori F.: "Get used to it. I'm going to live until 105 and I'm going to show my thighs every day."
Emma: I LOVE her.
Aren't We All
Lori F.: Well, as I said, this wasn't my favorite episode, but I'm still excited that the show is back, and I'm eager to see what happens. Also: Charlie and Ray singing "House of the Rising Sun" is the best thing ever.
Margaret: But they didn't know the words! They would totally know the words.
Emma: Well, they were a little drunk. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt.
Emma: I'm just a really big fan of Ray.
Margaret: Aren't we all.
Read HuffPost Women's "Girls" Season 1 Gchats:
Episode 10: Surprise!
Episode 9: You Are The Wound
Episode 8: Pissed And Sad
Episode 7: The Best Party Ever
Episode 6: You Can Always Go Home Again
Episode 5: "Are You F-ing Kidding Me?"
Episode 3: Are We Hearing Ourselves?
Episode 2: Self-Sabotage Hurts The Way It's Supposed To
Episode 1: Unimpressed -- When We Were Cheering
RELATED ON HUFFPOST WOMEN:
QUIZ: Are These Quotes About "Sex and the City" Or "Girls"?
"Their unheroic heroes, sophisticated social assumptions and high level of cynicism are essential to their wit and success."
Caryn James, New York Times, 1999
"[The] show takes as its subject women who are quite demographically specific -- cosseted white New Yorkers from educated backgrounds -- then mines their lives for the universal."
Emily Nussbaum, New York Magazine, 2012
"Speaking to the very realistic approach the show takes to women's sexual relationships with men (i.e. emotionless, friends-with-benefits-esque arrangements with not-very-worthy guys) ..."
Kara Warner, MTV's "Hollywood Crush" Blog, 2012
"Under their cynical facades, these women are endless optimists about ideal relationships, even as they settle for fleeting, imperfect ones. That hopefulness may be the series' secret weapon."
Caryn James, New York Times, 1999
"It's unlike anything else on TV"
Leah Beckmann, Gawker, 2012
"People across America are getting a weekly glimpse at dysfunctional New Yorkers engaging in humanity's most brutal mating rituals."
John Tierney, New York Times, 1999
"It's a grotesque picture of New York, but it's funny because there's a certain emotional truth to it. Some critics -- New York men, for instance -- would argue that the local men aren't all such losers. But the dating pool often looks that way to women."
John Tierney, New York Times, 1999
"[The] new show ... is a realistic, ballsy, awkward, humiliating, intimate, honest take on what it is to be ... living in New York City dealing with STDs, abortion, financial woes, orgasms, body issues..."
Leah Beckmann, Gawker, 2012
"It is about women who are both sympathetic and kind of awful"
Jason Bailey, Flavorwire, 2012
"More social satire than sitcom, it looks openly at relationships steeped in ambivalence, fear, and the games people play."
Matthew Gilbert, The Boston Globe, 1998
"What's especially wonderful about the show is how it depicts women sticking together and supporting each other -- something you rarely see onscreen nowadays. It's like, in Hollyworld, women never have girlfriends, never confide in other women, never trust other women."
The Toronto Star, 1998, "The Best Chickcom Since Ally McBeal"
"The sexual revolution has mostly been a boon for upper-middle-class women like them, who have been able to use its freedoms to delay marriage and to find mates they can stay with for the duration, while enjoying active sex lives in the meantime."
Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 2012
Follow Margaret Wheeler Johnson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mwjohnso