The ‘Girls’ Are Back In Town
The lovably dysfunctional, self-absorbed twenty-somethings of HBO’s Girls have (finally!) returned. Don’t fear, dear watchers — last night’s season premiere promises that there is plenty more awkward sex and misadventures to be had this time around.
The episode begins with a slow pan of a hairy man-leg wrapped around a sleeping Hannah (Lena Dunham). Is this Adam (Adam Driver), her weirdo boyfriend from last season? Is this a new love interest? Turns out it’s neither — it’s Elijah (Andrew Rannells from The New Normal), her gay ex-boyfriend and new roommate. Their living situation seems to be working out well: they’ve taken to spooning, planning themed parties and chanting “Best roommate ever!” in cheery unison.
But wait — Hannah does have a new romantic prospect after all. There she is, naked and straddling an attractive black dude (Donald Glover from NBC’s Community). Maybe this is Lena Dunham responding to criticism that Girls is too whitewashed to be representative of the real New York. Either way, Glover’s Sandy is hot and about a million times more well-adjusted than Adam ever was. He works in a cute bookstore and is super into Hannah (“I love how weird you are,” he tells her). He’s also surprisingly understanding of her newfound, post-break up fear of commitment — for now, at least.
That’s not to say that Hannah has cut Adam out of her life completely. On the contrary, saddled with guilt over the fact that he was hit by a truck at the end of last season — an accident that was kind-of-sort-of-but-mostly-not-really her fault — she’s taken on the role of caretaker and nursemaid, spending much of her time fetching him water and changing his bedpan and snuggling up with him watching movies, all the while trying to work up the courage to tell him that she’s actually seeing someone else. He still loves her; that much is clear. And he doesn’t seem to get that she no longer feels the same.
In the meantime, beautiful Marnie (Alison Williams) has hit a streak of bad luck. She’s been “downsized” (read: fired) from her art gallery job, and her superficial, critical mom (Rita Wilson) seems more interested in being her friend than her mother. Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) is also suffering after losing her virginity to arrogant, awkward Ray (Alex Karpovsky) at the end of Girls’ first season. (I remain convinced that Ray is the funniest character on the show.) Evidently, he started ignoring her texts shortly after they performed the dirty deed, and she resolves to ruin his life while maintaining womanly strength — “I may be deflowered, but I am not devalued!” she declares with typical Shosh verve.
Hannah and Elijah host a housewarming party at their place, with Elijah eager to introduce his rich, older boyfriend, George (Billy Morrissette), to all of his friends. But things turn ugly when George gets trashed and starts drunkenly heckling all of the party guests, accusing them of being young and judgmental and boring. At the same time, Marnie is displeased to discover that her ex-boyfriend Charlie (Christopher Abbott) — now sporting a beard and hipster-ish haircut — has brought his new girlfriend, Audrey (Audrey Gelman), to the party. It’s clear, however, that there’s trouble in paradise: Audrey snaps at Charlie for being too clingy and eventually storms out, annoyed at her inability to find weed. Marnie tries to lend a friendly ear to Charlie, but the poor, lovestruck guy takes this as an opportunity to sing Audrey’s praises. In response, a jealous Marnie downs a glass of wine in one gulp and proceeds to drunkenly croon Sarah McLachlan karaoke with Elijah.
After kicking George out of the party, Hannah leaves to go bring Adam pain medication. But when he refuses to understand that she can’t stay and hang out, she finally snaps: “I don’t want to be with you,” she says directly. “I don’t want to see you again.”
Surprisingly, things fare better between Ray and Shoshanna. Despite her attempts to avoid him, he confronts her in a bedroom. He tells her that she’s easy to dismiss via text — she has a habit of sending bewildering strings of emojis — but as soon as he’s around her, he’s reminded of why he likes her. The two end up passionately making out. (It seems doubtful that this romantic pairing will last long. But they certainly make an odd, awkward, thoroughly loveable couple in the meantime.)
Drunken, sad Marnie and drunken, sad Elijah complain about their love lives to each other, and Elijah confesses that he thinks he might be bisexual. Before they can say “total mistake,” the two start having sex — but it lasts all of thirty seconds before Elijah’s true sexuality rears (or doesn’t rear?) its head.
“You know, you really don’t have to try to be anything that you’re not,” Marnie tells him.
“Neither do you,” he retorts.
Upset, Marnie heads to Charlie’s house and asks if she can stay at his place: “I just need to sleep next to someone tonight.” He agrees.
In the final few minutes of the episode, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) makes her first appearance of the season. She’s just returned — glowing and cornrowed — from her honeymoon with the delightfully repugnant Thomas-John (the wonderful Chris O’Dowd from Bridesmaids), whom she impulsively married at a surprise wedding in the finale of last season. Much to my surprise, she still seems genuinely happy and in love. The newlyweds smooch in the back of a cab on their way to Thomas-John’s apartment, with Jessa gleefully reveling in the fact that she has no idea where she and her new husband now live.
Finally, Hannah makes a midnight visit to the (oddly spacious) apartment of her new beaux under the pretense of borrowing his copy of The Fountainhead. (That is the worst excuse I’ve ever heard in my life. Ayn Rand at midnight? Really?) While he goes to fetch the book, she tears off her clothes and lies waiting for him on the bed. (Sidenote: I counted, and Dunham strips down three times in this episode. I’m all for her lack of body-consciousness and her representation of realistic female bodies, but, damn, Lena, girl, I don’t even see myself naked that much.)
What will happen next? Will Adam turn into a crazy stalker? Will Sexy Sandy and Hannah make it Facebook official? Will Jessa and Thomas-John grow out of the honeymoon phase? Will Marnie and Charlie get back together? Do we even care about any of these characters anymore?! Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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Emma Miller is a writer and radio producer currently based in Durham, NC. Clearly eager to obtain practical, marketable skills, she studied Cultural Anthropology and Documentary Studies at Duke University. In the past, she has written about pop culture and documentaries for NPR.org, WNYC’s ‘Studio 360’ and ‘POV’ on PBS.