Review: Girls (Season 3, episodes 1 and 2)

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Lena Dunham’s fantastic show Girls, continues to capture what it is to be a hapless twenty-something, and returns to our screens on Sky Atlantic on Mondays at 10pm, starting with a double bill showing episodes 1 and 2.

When we left Hannah and the other girls, their lives, minus Jessa’s disappearance, seemed relatively resolved after a season of heartbreak and misery. Hannah, after the q-tip in ear incident and ‘boy on fancy cookie-box’ hair-do, was rescued by Adam running to her aid whilst face-timing her in the fairy-tale finale, but it is good to see they are all just as self-obsessed, delusional and hilarious as ever.

Hannah and Adam are now in a loving relationship, yet even before the title credits run, they face an awkward and hilarious stand-off with Adam’s ex-girlfriend Natalia who he abandoned. It is the quietest we’ve ever seen Hannah as she awkwardly stands behind Adam. He is attacked by Natalia and her friend for being a ‘donkey’ whose degrading sexual techniques suggest he doesn’t even love his own mother. The scene is simultaneously painful and wonderful, instantly reminding us why we love the foul-mouthed honesty of the Girls experience so much.

Marnie, left by Charlie on the day they were supposed to make grilled pizzas together, is now wallowing in self-pity and living at home with her less than sympathetic mother. She has a breakdown at Hannah and Adam’s first joint taco and ice-cream dinner party in which Adam reluctantly provides a moving speech about life and love which captures everything you’ve ever wanted to hear about forgetting an ex.

Shoshanna has done a complete 180 and is balancing work and sex to become a well-rounded woman for after she graduates, somehow managing to turn sex into a productive extra-curricular activity. Shoshanna is easily the most underrated character of the show, with her quirky and bewildering questions such as ‘What’s your favourite utensil?’. Despite her odd tendencies, she is the most perceptive of all the characters, pointing out the only people who say college was the best time of their lives are the ‘people don’t make any money’ providing a refreshing, if naive, astuteness in comparison to Hannah’s self-delusional antics.

Jessa meanwhile, has become a slight caricature of a previously well-developed character. Stranded in rehab and causing havoc, outing closet lesbians and befriending a worldly Richard. E Grant, she demands Hannah to come rescue her after being kicked out for ‘fraternizing’ with the other patients.

The second episode features Adam, Hannah, and Shoshanna going on a road trip to pick Jessa up from rehab, with the girls patting themselves on the back for being such good friends. Hannah is ultimately disappointed that the road trip is just not a metaphor for her book and that the backseat isn’t giving her enough room to express herself. This pretentious self-obsession is why we love Hannah so much – she borders the line between loath-able and lovable with perfection, as she voices all those whiny inner-thoughts we all have but with a grandeur most of us try to hide.

A lot of the criticism surrounding Girls including issues of white privilege, nudity and race seem a little unfair, as critics tend to pick apart the show and expect it to be a universal representative for the younger generation, but much like Hannah, Lena can’t be expected to get everything perfect. A 20-something who writes and directs her own show based on her personal experiences shouldn’t necessarily have to be the flawless poster child for all liberal and feminist values, and the show does perfectly well at exploring what it sets out to do.

9/10 – The episodes were extremely funny, with its great subtle one-liners and self-awareness making the show one of the most innovative, relatable and refreshing shows on television right now. The girls aren’t just ‘kooky’ or ‘quirky,’ but complex and complicated characters in their own right, and it’s exciting to think what mishaps and mayhem is coming next for our favourite girls.

Girls airs on Sky Atlantic at 10pm.

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