Film & TV

GIRLS ON GIRLS: Season Two, Episode One: We Don’t Really Care About Labels

Film & TV

GIRLS ON GIRLS: Season Two, Episode One: We Don’t Really Care About Labels

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Hey girls, it’s Girls. I know! I missed you too. Can you believe it’s been—hold on, July, August, September, October, November, December—like, seven months? I mean, if I were pregnant right now, I’d be HUGE.  No, I’m kidding. Nobody’s pregnant. Right? Anyway, tell me about your life. Tell me everything! Was your summer the best? What did you do for the apocalypse? Let’s talk about you, ’cause for real, I am so sick of talking about me. Like, done. Like, that 3.7 million dollar book deal, and all these festival appearances, and then every time I tweet it’s like I owe mankind an apology? I thought about quitting, but there was this whole #ResolutionsGIRLSbreak hashtag, and I thought, no, irony is last season. Or maybe it was post-irony. Or, like, post-sincerity, pre-irony? Or do we care, even? Like, last night I was at the Golden Globes, which, by the way, I LOVED your tweet, and I think Jodie Foster kind of gave me a look, but I can’t tell whether it was a mom look or like a lesbian look or maybe a lesbian mom look, and I had this weird thought, like, what if nobody even listens to my speech because they’re all thinking about how I can’t walk in heels. Totally weird, right? I KNOW. You haven’t changed either. I mean it.

Welcome to the second season of Girls, the HBO show that launched a thousand .gifs. Spoiler: Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, and Shoshanna are as precious, clumsy, self-absorbed, and only half-wittingly hilarious as ever. On the other hand, they’re as into perogies, Solange, and hating their moms as we are. Dare we relate to them? Each week, four key-demo white girls—Dana Drori, Fiona Duncan, Sarah Nicole Prickett, and this week, Olivia Fleming—get as real as possible about the new Greatest Show of Our Time.

But first, to recap. At the end of season one, Marnie and Hannah’s egos were so inflated they could no longer live under the same roof; Adam literally got hit by a truck; Shosh shed her hymen with Ray; and Jessa used (surprise!) marriage to cut the line to adulthood.

As season two begins, Hannah is caught between Sandy, her new boyfriend, and Adam, laid up with a broken leg; Marnie, still single and crashing at Shoshanna’s, loses her gallery-girl job; Shosh is amaze, works on getting over Ray; and Jessa is on honeymoon somewhere where fourteen year-old white girls get their hair braided. Oh wait…

So, that’s what’s happening. And when something happens on Girls, we play a thinking game: Would it happen? Would it not happen? Or, worst, did that happen to us?

FROM THE TOP:

Hannah and her gay ex-boyfriend, Elijah, are “best roomies ever.” He might be wearing her pajama pants.
WOULD HAPPEN: It’s kind of like a Shit Girls Say outtake, but sure, yes. Their fake-morning-sleepy voices are really cute. —SNP

Although it is the year 2013, Shoshanna has a “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster in her bedroom. It is the only thing in her room that isn’t pink.
WOULD HAPPEN: Shoshanna!!!! —EVERYBODY

Marnie gets fired downsized. “I run a fucking art gallery,” says her boss, in response to Marnie’s eyebrows. “I can’t afford two employees.”
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Marnie works at “a gallery in Chelsea,” but the space used on Girls is Lehmann Maupin on Chrystie, which makes this a few kinds of awkward. Does anyone know how much money Lehmann Maupin makes? No, because contemporary art is in a huge, hollow, rainbowy insane bubble, and if we tried to count that high we would faint. These bitches eat their greens off Tracey Emins. Plus, if that-sized space were in Chelsea, it would be even more expensive, and the gallery itself, too legit to rely on interns. This seems a small point, but it’s not, because Girls has a notion of sad liberal starving artsiness that may be true for many of us, but not… anybody on Girls.  —SNP
WOULD HAPPEN: True, a few people in the contemporary art world make crazy, stupid money, but it’s an unregulated, super-competitive industry; no one pays anyone they don’t have to. In New York, in the gallery system, just like in fashion and popular publishing, there would dozens of girls who have already had their dads U-O-Me email in their CVs who are willing to do Marnie’s job for free. Plus, I bet Marnie’s just the worst to work with. —FAD

Sandy (like the hurricane? They filmed in June, so guess it’s a sad coincidence) subtly calls out Hannah on her sex-tourism: “So, it’s irresponsible for you to date me?”
WOULD HAPPEN: Of course the Girls writers thought they could pay back the backlash by opening the season with white-privileged Hannah fucking… a black guy! (Note: Jenni Konner, executive producer and co-writer, told Grantland’s Hollywood Prospectus Podcast that Donald Glover was cast before any of the criticism. Yeah, right.) At least they made Sandy more grounded and astute than Hannah, and his response gets credibility points for its soft, justifiable skepticism. —DZD

Adam’s upper body is still fit, despite his full leg cast/immobility.
WOULD HAPPEN: He’s totally the type to have a chin-up bar between his kitchen doorway. Also, just generally, kudos to all the male bods showcased in this episode.
—FAD

Adam delivers the key tweetable: “When you love someone, you don’t have to be nice all the time.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Even while bedridden, Adam Driver has this hyperkinetic, propulsive way of acting that makes any line he’s given sound like a perfect ad lib. So, yeah, it’s believable. —SNP
One word: Hangry. —OKF
DID HAPPEN: …But I think I said it. [Insert clenched-tension-teeth-with-crazy-eyes emoji here. Oh, and the broken heart. Finger peace sign. Tuna sushi roll.] —FAD

Marnie goes for a lunch with her mom, played by Rita Wilson. Mom says Marnie looks 30 years old.
WOULD HAPPEN: Now we know where Marnie gets her self-important, image-centric complex. She didn’t have a hope in hell of turning into anything other than an uptight, Ann Taylor-wearing, riesling-drinking snob. —OKF
Also, is the comment about Marnie’s bobbleheaded look a way of writing Allison Williams’s (blatant) weight loss and its inevitable media blahblahblah into the show? —FAD
DID HAPPEN: Moms who try to dictate their daughters’ images/bodies/etcetera RUIN LIVES. —DZD

Marnie’s mom is fucking a cater waiter, because “sometimes you just need a pair of rough hands on your body.” Horrified Marnie says even she wouldn’t do that, and she’s “the same age” as a cater waiter.
WOULD HAPPEN: If I were married to Brian Williams? Yes, absolutely I’d fuck the hot cater waiter. Also, I don’t care, I love Marnie’s mom so much I almost want to forgive her for not having an abortion. —SNP

Hannah and Elijah want to have a “fondue party,” maybe.
DID HAPPEN: My mom, who is the opposite of Marnie’s mom in every way, bought me a fondue set two Christmasses ago. I waited a month for fondue parties to make their kitschy comfort-food comeback, then forgot. —SNP

Hannah, who is still calling herself a writer, thinks “French salon” means “fancy hairdressing place.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Hannah is oblivious to the literary world. In season one, every essay of hers is written off as either “whiny” (Marnie), “trivial” (Ray), or self-indulgent (also Ray). She might have mentioned the New York Times once in season one, but otherwise she’s reading US Weekly at Grumpy’s and writing only about herself. (P.S. Then she reduces Gertrude Stein to a lesbian? Fuck off.) —DZD
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Hannah—like Lena—went to Oberlin, right? It’s crazy that anyone who studied writing somewhere private/culty doesn’t know what is meant by “salon.” This one of Dunham’s one-step set-ups for a joke, and those only work if the joke is good. —SNP

Shoshanna is the first to arrive at what may or may not be a French salon with fondue, talking a mile a minute, as usual. “I may be deflowered,” she says of her failed relationship with Ray, “but I’m not devalued.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Of course, Shoshanna is the first one to show up to the party. And with a gift-wrapped bottle of wine. —FAD
Girl gets all her feminisms from glossy magazines, but makes them work. —DZD

Marnie has thought about it, and she would be totally cool with not having sex for eight months. She says this to Charlie, who has grown an aggressive beard and is still dating Abby, or Audrey, or whatever.
DID HAPPEN: What single girl hasn’t used that excuse for why they haven’t fucked anyone since the ex-boyfriend they dumped, ostensibly, for better prospects? —OKF
WOULD ONLY HAPPEN: To Marnie, who is made of Evian ice. —SNP

Audrey’s, um, outfit.
WOULD HAPPEN: I mean, she is dating Terry Richardson IRL… —DZD
Audrey looks like she was styled by Rachel Zoe circa 2006. Believe it but where do you even buy clothes like that New York? [Someone informs me: Nastygal.com.]—FAD

George, who is Elijah’s boyfriend/sugar daddy, gets wasted and screams into the karaoke mic. It’s shit like “you’re all fucking boring” and “too cool for one song” and “when I was your age I was snorting coke off twinks,” plus “what are you looking at, fake lumberjack boy?”
WOULD (SHOULD) HAPPEN: At first I was thrown off by the daddishness of the so-2009 “lumberjack” line, but then I loved the subtext, which is/should be that this old queer who spent his youth in fear of AIDS is confronted with the deradicalized hipness of Greenpoint. It’s not really about the drugs, man. —SNP

Solange!!!
WOULD HAPPEN: Obviously. Kudos to the music supervisors for using “Losing You” when the episode was shot, i.e. before the single was released. —DZD
DID HAPPEN: Dana, didn’t we play this ten times in two hours on New Year’s Eve? —SNP

Ray finds Shoshanna, who is not speaking to him, in the bedroom, looking for something shiny. They fight because he never calls, and she sends all-emoji texts. She smacks him down: “I am tired of being insulted even when the insult comes before a compliment.” GIRLLLL. Oops, then they kiss.
WOULD HAPPEN: The bedroom where all the coats are is always where party drama goes down. —SNP
Shoshanna is tougher than she looks! Sure, her motivation is sort of premasticated girl-power shlock but it, combined with her lack of a filter, allows her to stand up for herself. —DZD
Except she kisses him anyway, right on his icky, condescending, hate-reading, mouth-breathing mouth. I guess she would? But gross. —SNP
Commiserative, sure. But his grand kiss-me-quick gesture proves maybe he really does have the remains of some tender humanity wedged deep within his hipster douchebag (but maybe bleeding?) heart. —OKF

“And that I made you feel like you’re whole body was a clit!” Adam reminds Hannah.
WOULD AND DID AND WILL HAPPEN: Girls say the darndest things. —FAD

In a last stand with Adam, Hannah describes herself as “selfless” and gets away with it.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Despite kicking George out of the party on Elijah’s behalf, Hannah is not “selfless” or even “selflesser,” and nobody on this show has forgotten last season that fast. She does nothing without whining about it, and even this is probably just story material, or an exercise in feel-good martyrdom. —DZD
DID HAPPEN: I told my former, 13-years-older boyfriend I couldn’t be that selfish, even though I was being that selfish, because I was sacrificing the “most attractive years of my life” to stay home and feel “prematurely married” with him,  and… he didn’t break up with me? —SNP

Hannah: “I feel like I never want to see you again. It’s not your choice, it’s my choice!”
WOULD HAPPEN: Girls are allowed to feel what they feel, and when someone says otherwise, why not feel it stronger? I once had a boyfriend whose mantra was “unique suffering confers unique entitlement.” He was as self-obsessed as Hannah. —DZD

Meanwhile, Elijah is having sex with Marnie.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Not only is Elijah the gayest gay in Greenpoint, he HATES Marnie. Maybe he was trying to humiliate her… for “two pumps?” Bonus points, though, for his American Apparel boxer-briefs, because he so would wear those. —DZD
WOULD HAPPEN: Am I the only person in the whole world who still believes in bisexual boys? —FAD

Marnie hides her tits during sex like a flat girl in a junior high gym locker room.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Marnie, even Charlotte showed us the goods. The coverup is awkward and orchestrated and makes me see contracts and cameras when all I want is some suspension of disbelief! And to see some tits! But: Karaoke, Sarah McLachlan, so right. —FAD

Marnie shows up in Charlie’s bedroom after the “two pumps” failure that was Elijah, because she just needs to “be next to someone right now.”
DID HAPPEN: Because it’s too easy to run to the one person who you know still loves you, and use them as a cocoon for your own self-pity and loneliness. The safety net of validation it brings is addictive. —OKF
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: No dude as secretly, slipperily misogynistic as Charlie breaks up with a girl as hot as Marnie… and leaves her with his keys. —SNP

Hannah, by the end of the episode, is back to her clingy self, showing up at Sandy’s late with a lame excuse: “Can I borrow the Fountainhead?”
WOULD HAPPEN: We knew you couldn’t change that fast, Hannah. But at least there’s a bit of humility to her self awareness. —DZD
And a super-ominous pun! —SNP