Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 2 premiere of HBO's "Girls," titled "It's About Time.
I am in love with the show Girls, which premiered its second season Sunday night on HBO. I love it so much I have forgotten the name of that other series about sex in some city with overpriced rents and a shoe fetish. Directed, created, produced, and written by the brilliant Lena Dunham, who just won a Golden Globe for best Comedy or Musical TV Series, Girls is one of the funniest, grittiest, and most endearing shows I have ever watched. In short, Lena Dunham is my hero. And that is why it pains me to say this: The season premiere was a big, messy, awkward letdown. Here's why:
Hannah apparently had a lobotomy between seasons one and two. The insecure and vulnerable Hannah, whom we said goodbye to in season one as she sat on a beach eating a piece of cake after watching her boyfriend, Adam, get hit by a truck, has been replaced by a strange, uber-confident Hannah who forbids her new boyfriend (or whatever she's calling him) to say the word "love." Really. He may not utter the word "love" in verb form around her. Apparently, she tried out the big "L" Adam and it didn't work so well, so now she's in total control of her feelings toward all men. Bor-ing.
When she and Adam finally show up in the same scene, we don't know if they're romantically involved or if he just feels like peeing on her again, though not in the same way he did in season one. After some awkward dialogue, we move away from bore and directly into snore. And weird. And confusing.
While Hannah taught me last year that I can be sexy even with craters in my ass, Shoshana taught me, well, she didn't teach me much of anything but she was breathtakingly fresh and funny. This season, it seems, Zosia Mamet is required to perform tribal dances while burning incense, say all of her lines in a monotone voice, and move like the Tin Man in need of a greasing.
In the scene at Hannah's, when Shoshana is lifting up others' stuff off the bed and then slamming them back down again robotically as she looks for her purse, all I could do was sigh and check my Facebook updates out of embarrassment for her. Do we not remember Zosia Mamet's facial expressions from last season, particularly when she was lying in bed with the guy from camp? Those were among the most magnificent moments I have ever seen on a screen. Where are the close-ups of all these women that we saw last season? Why is Lena keeping us at a distance?
Which brings me to the next gal to disappoint, Marnie. I'll admit, while I fell in love with this show last season, I was a little wary of Allison Williams. It looked like she had a shit-eating grin on her face that she just could not erase. It seemed to say, "Can you seriously believe I am on a show on HBO?"
Her facial expressions appear to be a bit more varied this season, but the premiere's anemic script didn't give her much to work with. There was the expected run-in with her ex-boyfriend, Charlie, who is already annoying his second girlfriend as much as he annoyed Marnie. Cool. Then there was a very awkward scene with Rita Wilson, whom I just didn't buy as Marnie's pathetic, superficial mom. And as a mom myself, I just have to ask: Can we do something other than caricature and blame the evil mother for the daughters' struggles? Can't we throw the dad under the bus once in a while, too?
Out of all of this awkwardness, what bothered me the most about Marnie was her incessant Hannah bashing. Note to Lena, my hero: There are other ways to show Marnie's frustration with their friendship besides having her say shit about Hannah to all of their friends. It's getting old, and you're way too talented to keep it going. Let's move on.
And move on Hannah does, as she now lives with Elijah. Actor Andrew Rannells is a great complement to the estrogen-fueled cast. But he too had a hard time finding his groove during the season premiere. The storyline with his boyfriend, George, getting wasted? Lame. What happened with him and Marnie? Lame. I was embarrassed for both of them, particularly when it looked like Allison couldn't decide whether she wanted to show boob or not show boob. She doesn't seem comfortable with nudity at this point, so just let the gal wear a bra already. I'm not sure I want to see Brian Williams' daughter's breasts anyway, to be honest.
Like I said, I love this show. Love, love, love, love, love. But there was no flow to Sunday's episode. It worked too hard to catch us up. I'm glad they added some color to the cast with her new black boyfriend or whatever non-boyfriend title she's giving him permission to use, but she acts like he's nothing more than the person of color who has been invited to the show because of all the flack she got last year for not having diversity in the cast. We know he's black. Now how about showing he's got a personality too? The only thing we know at this point is that he's smitten with Hannah, something she's totally cool with and even expects, I assume because of that lobotomy.
Yes, a tough-love review, given that this was only the first episode of the season and really, we all know that you can't do everything in one episode. But do you remember the pilot? It flowed, it didn't over-explain, and it was absolute perfection. Hopefully, Girls will get its groove back as the season progresses. I want them to. We all want them to, because this groundbreaking show is finally showing us, in a very real and raw way, what it means to be a 20-something in this messed up world. And this messed up world needs that, big time.
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