Season 2, Episode 1 - It's About Time
Posted by Adele Howlett
17, January, 2013
And in no time at all Girls is back for season two; a second helping of Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna, and the whys and wherefores of their lives in NYC. Picking up after an unspecified time, but what appears to be a few weeks, the cliff hangers of season one are largely unresolved. Perhaps Lena Dunham didn’t know she was going to get commissioned for this series, and thus her artistic licence kicks in to take them anywhere she likes.
Hannah splits her time between preparing for her house-warming party with new roomie Elijah, nursing an injured Adam and new beau, Sandy. Shoshanna and Ray struggle with the aftermath of their sexual liaison, and Jessa’s still in the honeymoon phase. This time it’s Marnie who loses her job and struggles to come to terms with what that means and what to do next.
In homage to the opening of season one, season two opens with Hannah in bed entangled with another body – this time Elijah, not Marnie. He’s in and she’s out – and in more than one way when Marnie’s boss delivers the blow that her art gallery job is no longer available. Again with a nod to season one when Hannah lost her job, but this feels forced and unrealistic. Marnie is historically not a likeable character, making it questionable as to whether you even care; you kind of want her to suffer. But carrying a lot of baggage from friendships and relationship, this could be the catalyst to reboot Marnie as someone else. The former vibes of Marnie’s conservativeness possibly coming from a prim and proper upbringing are thwarted when we meet Marnie’s mum (guest starring Rita Wilson) who is less than sympathetic about her job situation and wants Marnie to be more of a girlfriend she can hang out with and talk about guys and sex with, than a dutiful daughter.
Widely criticised for not being culturally diverse enough despite being set in the melting pot of NYC, Hannah’s seemingly streetwise new beau, Sandy (Donald Glover), seems to be featuring to tick a box, but it will be interesting to see how his laid back style sits with highly strung Hannah. After using the L-word in a general conversation Hannah slaps him down instantly – she doesn’t want to be associated with that word and doesn’t like its implications. She later booty-calls him when she’s had enough of Elijah’s party and is feeling frisky. In trying so hard to shake off Adam and the train wreck that was their relationship, Hannah is almost becoming him – assuming the ‘I call the shots but want no strings’ role with Sandy. Sandy remarks it’s a little late to be inviting herself over when she turns up unannounced and asking to borrow a book, a ruse to visit him. She undresses and lies on the bed in wait. When is Hannah not half dressed or naked these days?! Not done in a gratuitous way however, but no doubt more of an f-you to critics who berated her nudity in season one.
After the cherry popping it seems socially awkward Ray and sassy Shoshanna haven’t made a go of things. Much like with the viewer, Shoshanna is extremely entertaining and endearing in small doses, however one can imagine how tiresome her quips and anecdotes would become after a while. Seemingly Ray ditched her at the first proverbial speed bump. They avoided each other at the party, but Ray can’t fail to be impressed by the cheese plate she brought to the party, and he starts to find her charming once again, prompting a reunion snog. Prior to that Shoshanna was hard on Ray and spurts out lines that sound like they have come from of the self help books she often reads. The strength of Shoshanna compared to the other girls is that she says what she thinks, generally out of childlike innocence, and is all heart and no head most of the time, but at least she stands up for herself and doesn’t hide behind fear and denial.
Out of some sort of twisted loyalty Hannah is playing nursemaid, bed pan and all, to an injured Adam. A role she clearly hates, but feels obligated to fulfil. Hannah pops in to check on him en route to see Sandy after leaving the party. Adam’s leg is in a cast, which figures, as the last time we saw him he was in the back of an ambulance after getting clipped by a truck during an argument with Hannah. Their exchange is tense; Hannah doesn’t want to be there and Adam knows it. She treats him like shit and he takes it. He tells her he still loves her and that’s why he’ll take the shit, saying you don’t always have to be nice to someone just because you love them. Adam, as warped yet as wise as ever.
At the party Marnie takes pleasure in seeing that (hotter than ever!) Charlie and pocket-rocket Audrey aren’t getting on well, especially when she storms out of the party. Audrey seems to have had a personality transplant since her brief appearances in season one, but maybe this is Charlie’s effect on women, which would explain a lot about moody Marnie. Clearly he can’t keep the ladies happy, like Marnie said previously his love becomes suffocating and the fact that he waits outside the bathroom for Audrey at the party and passes it off as an act to protect her, proves this. What to do when you’ve had an eight-month sexual dry spell; get it on with your ex-best friends gay ex-boyfriend... Marnie and Elijah take advantage of a chance encounter, both eager to prove they are not who people think they are. Except they are, and don’t go through with it. And for only the second time ever in their history, Marnie visits Charlie’s apartment for some post ‘almost-fucked-a-gay-man’ sympathy and cuddles, and climbs into bed with him.
Told without the usual finesse this was a rather lacklustre opening to the season, but this can be forgiven in the hope that this sets the foundations of what is to come. Very little explaining, if at all, has been done to bridge the gap between the seasons and although it doesn’t need vast amounts of information to piece the stories together, it’s a shame as it kind of voids the tension, hope and drama that the enigmatic ending to season one left us with. Here’s hoping for more.
Shoshanna alone at the party busy avoiding Ray. When she sings karaoke no one even lifts their eyes to watch. To amuse herself he makes a little DJ set in the kitchen and plays turntables with the hob and cups. Classic Shoshanna. Despite being an in-your-face character, Shoshanna’s childlike nature contrasted with the subtleness of Zosia Mamet’s characterisation make you unable to take eyes off her, and she steals every scene she’s in. Telling Elijah about her and Ray: “I may be deflowered, but not devalued.”
Marnie and Elijah’s sex scene went from awkward to hot and swiftly back to awkward. The palpable feeling that it was wrong was overridden by their need to feel wanted, even if it was short lived. Both turned on by the thought of experimenting rather than each other, and more history than chemistry that sparked the union. Marnie: “I could never be a gay man. I hate blow jobs and anal sex. I assume I hate anal sex.”
Our only glimpse of Jessa and Thomas-John is when they get in a taxi on their way home from honeymoon. Jessa in fits of giggles in the back of a taxi when she realises she can’t tell the driver where they are going, because she doesn’t know where they (or rather Thomas-John) live! He silences her giggles with a kiss. I give it three episodes.
Sky Atlantic, Monday, 10pm
Series 7, Episode 14 - The Name of the Doctor
Season 3, Episode 7 - The Bear and the Maiden Fair
Series 7, Episode 13 - Nightmare In Silver
Season 3, Episode 6 - The Climb
Series 7, Episode 12 - The Crimson Horror