Because I review a whole tv series rather than individual episodes, there is a chance of spoilers, so if you haven’t watched the whole series yet, stop reading now!
It tells you a lot about Girls that the characters I liked the most and interest me the most in the whole show is actually the men. They are much funnier, well-rounded, developed and likeable than any of the women. The last point, the likability, is the one thing that sticks out the most about the show and it’s characters. The girls, the four main protagonists that drive the show, are all obnoxious, irritating and infuriating.
They make me side with the men that they are complaining about and reacting too in every instance. In the first season, I found Charlie to be whiny, Ray as more of a side-lined support character and Adam was just plain crazy. Whether it was her intention or not, series creator Lena Dunham has done a fantastic job of fleshing out and developing these three characters so that they actually become the more appealing and interesting part of the show.
It may be that it was her intention from the beginning to turn you against the four main girls. This show was always advertised as a “Real-Life Sex and the City,” and the first season went some way to being much more graphic and honest with its portrayal of real-life and relationships. It was interesting and it was only at the end of the season, as we’d got to know the four main characters, that we began to realise how weird and obnoxious they could be.
I was hoping that this season would see their redemption but it doesn’t, if nothing else, it actually makes them worst. Allison Williams’ Marnie becomes more unhinged and manipulative, Jemima Kirke’s Jessa dials up the crazy one step too far and the saving grace of the four girls, Zosia Mamet’s Shoshanna, has her own breakdown, sullying her good character too. The worst offender of all is Lena Dunham’s central character, Hannah. She was always self-centered and obnoxious but it gets even worst and it begins to turn me off the show.
I don’t want my characters to be perfect or to be good and noble all the time but they must have some appealing, redeeming feature for me to stay invested. Towards the end of the season, I was rooting for the boys that had been wronged by the girls because I wanted to see the four character’s comeuppance. I wanted to see them fail. This isn’t the type of invested I was expecting but it’s where the characters sent me.
It’s a shame because towards the end of the season there are some fantastic developments in the character’s stories, particularly in Hannah’s. When she develops OCD and begins to have a breakdown of her own, Lena Dunham writes and portray’s this brilliantly. The whole final episode feels like a small breakthrough for Hannah and I began to see some light at the end of the tunnel, some sympathy for what her character was going through. It wasn’t enough to undo all the negativity that I felt towards her character up to this point.
I may be stating the obvious though. Maybe the plan was always to have the men come out on top, looking like the more grounded, well-rounded and better people. Maybe the third season will be the comeback of the girls. I know its possible to create a character with huge negative flaws and traits but with an interesting, appealing side because that describes Adam, played by Adam Driver. He comes into his own this season and can be vulnerable, scary, intense but the most exciting and interesting character in the whole series.
In fact, the episodes featuring Adam as the center, or at least a key part, are the best written with the best stories. The whole season, regardless of only being ten episodes long, varies in quality from show to show. The more personal, more intricate episodes which delve more into the characters rather than events are actually some of the worst episodes, because I don’t care enough about the characters they are delving in to. The best episode by far was when Adam and Ray finally bond, taking a dog back to it’s owner. It’s telling that this is an episode, or at least a small part of the episode, that doesn’t feature the girls.
Overall, season 2 of Girls’ best element is the men. They are best written and most likable characters. It seems that in making the girls more realistic, it also meant that you had to make them obnoxious, annoying and with very little appealing features at all. The show can be fantastically well written and the stories are very good but until we see some sort of redemption for the girls and their actions, I’m beginning to care very little about what happens to them.
Best Episode – Boys: This is much more of a Ray and Adam episode and has some great dialogue and writing between the two. A key example of why these characters are better than the girls themselves.
Best performance – Adam Driver as Adam
Should there be another season? – Yes, but only because I want to see how things develop for the men, rather than the girls.
Season Rating – 3
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)