This season of Girls has been many things. Dark. Controversial. Contained. Uncomfortable to watch, and for me, completely compelling. These ten episodes have taken place in what seems to be a pretty short time span, and the season began only a few weeks following where we’d left off in season one.
I think this slow pace works for the series. If this season had begun a full year after the last, we’d expect to see a lot of personal growth and change from the characters, and we wouldn’t have witnessed any of it. To me, Girls is like a study of a few people who are going through the most difficult times in their lives so far.
The quote that spoke to me the most in the season finale was when Marnie said “This has been the worst year of my life.” When you’re in your early 20s, it’s not difficult to go through the worst year of your life. Unless you’ve previously experienced the death of a loved one, trauma, or some other major event, you are likely going to struggle a lot more in the first few years after you leave college than you ever had to before. As Hannah said, no one picks up broken glass for you anymore. And you’ll probably cut yourself picking it up.
I hate to make these Girls blogs overly personal, because I have no desire to share super personal details on the Internet and I don’t want to give the impression that I can personally relate to every detail of this show. That’s by no means true. But in the years following my college graduation in 2008, there were some tough times. There were jobs that I hated and lost, jobs that I loved and lost, bad economies, unemployment, broken relationships and friendships that drifted apart. There were times when it felt like every aspect of my life was kind of a mess. This is why, when Marnie was acting horribly and being loud and awful in the brunch restaurant, I understood. Because no one is the best version of themselves when they are having the worst year of their lives – even if you know that in another twenty years, you will have had other worst years.
Marnie and Charlie got back together, which felt very realistic for those people at those ages. Charlie still loves her, and Marnie thinks she loves him too. Will it work out? Maybe, maybe not. They had lots of problems when they were together before, but they’ve both changed a lot since then. Charlie’s more self-assured, Marnie less so. The relationship could have a very different dynamic this time.
Shoshanna broke up with Ray, because she had to. Because he’s 33 and bitter, and she is 21, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Their relationship could be sweet, but it couldn’t last. Shoshanna has so much more living to do, like making out with blond adult males even though that’s a thing she thought she’d NEVER do.
And Hannah. Hannah knows how much she has pushed away all the people in her life, and she knows how alone she is. I felt like she seemed aware of how much of that was her responsibility, but she is also drowning in her OCD and mental illness. It’s fascinating and heartbreaking to watch. She hid from Marnie, but left an angry voicemail for Jessa. Her friendship with Marnie had become too strained for her to ask Marnie for help when she stopped by, but she blamed Jessa for abandoning her. It reminded me of the first episode of the series, when Marnie told Jessa “You don’t know what it is to be a best friend.” Marnie and Hannah, it seems, have a friendship that will survive periods of tension. But Jessa will always be Jessa.
(“You’re probably wearing a crop top and got your vagina pierced” was maybe the best line of all time.)
I still don’t know what to make of Hannah and Adam. Viewers who interpreted the scene from last week as rape were probably surprised and disgusted to see that Adam was still with Natalie. Personally, I hadn’t interpreted the scene as sexual assault – yes, it was aggressive, degrading and horrible. I re-watched the scene, and I still don’t think it was assault. I don’t think that the character felt she was being assaulted – I saw it as a consensual sexual encounter that she hadn’t been comfortable with, and insisted would not happen again. It’s not how I would have reacted or handled such a situation. It’s a touchy issue though, and could be discussed much more in depth on a different kind of blog. The fact that it’s so complex and generated so much interesting discussion is a great example of why I think this show is so good.
It was interesting to see how much pent-up anger and aggression Adam had inside of him when he was not being sexually aggressive. Natalie kept him in check this time, correcting him when he called her a “dirty little whore” during sex. I wish we’d had more time to explore that relationship, so we could better understand why Natalie was willing to put in the work to try and help Adam become the kind of lover she wanted. Adam obviously has some serious issues, and that’s why I don’t know how to feel about him and Hannah. It was sweet that he came running to her aid when he realized that her OCD had returned, but is he even capable of helping her?
Hannah called Adam, he ran shirtless through Brooklyn and bashed in a door to come to her aid, and then picked her up and kissed her. But what happens after that? Does he take her to a hospital? Has she been taking her medication? Should these two people be together, or are they toxic to one another? I think it’s brilliant that the show has left us with all these questions – as a TV blogger, I kind of live for this sort of thing – but oh man, do I wish there were more episodes. This show has developed into something that alienates a lot of viewers, but it has developed into something much more daring and intelligent than I ever expected. Personally, I thought season two was more interesting than season one.
This show always creates a lot of conversation, so please head to the comments and tell me what you think!
Tags: Girls, HBO