So, I think I might have mentioned this a few times already, but I fucking love HBO's Girls. This show, which I recently picked to be my favorite show of 2012, has spoken to me in ways in which no other television show has done so far. It literally changed my life.
To celebrate the premiere of the second season of Girls, probably one of my personal most exciting events of 2013, I have decided to compile a list of my top 10 favorite things about the show, one from each episode. And when I say that, what I actually mean is that I needed an excuse to watch the first season for the fourth time.
It was worth it.
Without further ado, please join me in recounting all the wonderful moments Girls gave us in its first season!
1×01 – Being a spoiled brat
My favorite part of the pilot has to be Hannah's interaction with her parents. Let me tell you, that opening scene? Made me HATE her. I didn't care that it was intentional on Lena Dunham's part, I just couldn't stand her. But if I'm being honest, she was just saying out loud what I and many girls like me are feeling – Life's a bitch and I don't wanna have to deal with it on my own. It is a pretty high form of privilege, I know – Middle class white girls being coddled by their parents literally all their lives, and then just thrown out into the world, expected to know exactly what they want and how to get it, or expected to give up the life they've been dreaming of in order to make a living. It's not trivial. In retrospect, I ended up loving those scenes in the pilot because other than being absolutely hilarious and so well written, they showed that Dunham had the guts to create a character that was clearly meant to be ridiculed, but at the same time, identified with. And she managed to make that work.
1×02 – Gross sexual encounters
If you're looking to find hot sex on Girls, you are in for a great letdown. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say the sex scenes on Girls are literally some of the nastiest, least sexy scenes I have ever seen. But the truly sad part for me is not that they are gross, but that they are real. While most sex scenes on screen these days are glamorized and polished to the extreme, even if the viewers are meant to perceive them as "wrong" (which is a whole other problematic issue but that's for a different post), Girls takes quite a rare approach and actually shows us what it's often really like – performing sexual acts grudgingly, worrying about STDs, trying to please your partner while not being quite sure if that's what you want for yourself. Like the pilot, I loved those gross little bits because they showed something that is not often talked about. Like it really is. And seeing this kind of thing from the side and realizing how many times you yourself have been in a similar situation, makes it that much easier to understand what you want to change in your own relationships.
1×03 – The gay ex-boyfriend
While some Girls episodes touch on more general issues that I appreciate and enjoy, others just have specific scenes or lines that instantly turn into favorites. Such is the scene in the third episode, where Hannah discovers that her ex Elijah is, in fact, gay. I'm pretty sure that this is not something that has happened to every girl, but as someone who to this day believes that one of her exes is gay, I found this scene absolutely hilarious. In this situation, the only thing worse than learning you were the straw that broke the camel's back is being subtly told you look like a dude.
1×04 – Skylar Astin is not into virgins
This is the first appearance of the wonderful Shoshana on this list. Shosh was a favorite from the start, which is rather an achievement since the first couple of episodes I pretty much hated everyone. In this episode, Shoshana, who previously revealed that she was still a virgin at the ripe age of 22, encounters an old friend from camp (Skylar Astin, Pitch Perfect) and they hit it off. The viewers root for Shosh as she not-so-slowly and surely approaches that coveted non-virgin territory when, alas….the guy turns down his role as deflower-er, stating that virgins are not his thing because "they get attached, and they bleed. You get attached when you bleed". Ouch. Thus, despite her claims that she's "totally not an attached-bleeder" Shoshana remains as she was. Though this scene made me feel all sorts of uncomfortable, I loved that it established Shoshana as a dominant, likable character. Its main success, for me, lies in transforming her from a minor character into someone who the audience genuinely looks forward to seeing again.
1×05 – Letting go
While I immensely enjoyed almost all aspects of the first season, I have to admit Marnie's storyline was especially meaningful for me. I longed for her relationship with Charlie to end, not because he was bad, but because he was bad for her. In retrospect, I realized that their break-up was even more important and inspiring than I initially thought, because throughout the season Marnie was established as a character who finds romantic relationships as such an integral part of life. In fact, early in the season she announces that she's been put on this planet to be a mother. This is why I found it so courageous of her to go through with the breakup. It offered the possibility of not settling and of not being afraid of the aftermath, the possibility of being brave in letting go of someone who could potentially give you everything (you thought) you wanted. The message I hope some took from this storyline is that however convenient things are, you shouldn't just settle.
1×06 – We are all delusional
This, hands down, was my least favorite episode of the season. It wasn't worse than the rest per se, it wasn't poorly made. In fact, I think it was exactly as it was planned to be, specifically in order to demonstrate that possible blandness of life "back home", away from the city. The feeling of being isolated, in a sense. After some dwelling on it, I think that was also what I most enjoyed about the episode, because by having Hannah go on that date with the pharmacist, and having her attend that delusional benefit, the writers succeeded not only in accentuating Hannah's disdain with that world, but also in hinting the subtle realization that she may still be very much a part of it. When Hannah talks about Heather's plans to become a dancer in LA, which according to Hannah would only make her sad, weird and lonely all the time, it's not Heather she is talking about, but her own fear that her dreams may all lead her to nothing but a dead end. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
1×07 – Crack, not even once?
The "party episode", as it is widely referred to, has got to be the favorite episode among the show's more enthusiastic audience. There's simply something for everyone. I personally quite enjoyed Adam's lesbian friend Tako (Who can hear it when someone pronounced her name with a c), Jessa's revelation that her boss is, in fact, a gross douchebag, and the reappearance of Elijah the gay ex. But the storyline that tops all those is without a doubt none other than of Shoshana accidentally smoking crack. I mean there is really nothing else I can say. from her drug-induced determination to be at the front of her kickboxing class, through running around pantless across Brooklyn, to beating up her Crack Spirit-guide and then offering him a non-erotic crotch-massage, Zosia Mamet proves yet again that Shosh is one of the best things about Girls.
1×08 – Flirt and flirt and flirt and flirt and kiss and kiss and kiss
Up until this episode, my feelings for Jessa mostly consisted of being annoyed by her tryhard attitude and rolling my eyes every time she attempted to be edgy and cool. In this episode, however, I finally got a chance to see a side of Jessa that I actually liked. This time she was honest and a genuinely good friend. This time she had the right, snarky attitude I was hoping for. Chris O'Dowd (The IT Crowd, Bridesmaids), likewise, was right on point with his delivery of the part of creepy, mashup-loving older guy, Thomas John. The whole exchange between Jessa, Marnie and him was exactly the right amount of awkward and embarrassing to turn it into one of the most enjoyable and hilarious scenes on the show so far.
1×09 – Everyone should have a hot professor
Seriously, girls. If you've never had a crush on one of your professors in college, you're missing out. You know the one. That professor who's not necessarily conventionally hot and not necessarily in your age range (though I hear these days girls like them older, but ew), but he's just so intelligent and articulate and attentive, you just can't help but wait for those weekly two hours which you get to spend in his vicinity. This episode introduces Lena Dunham's version of that professor, played by Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), who steps right into those shoes without even blinking. The encounter between Hannah and Powell Goldman was probably one of the moments in which I most identified with Hannah throughout the season, and I genuinely mean it when I say that meeting his character again would be one of things I would most like to see on the show in the future.
1×10 – Same same, but different
The final episode of the season was, in my opinion, one of the strongest. What's interesting for me was that looking back on this episode, all the characters were in fact very much out of character. Hannah realizes that things with Adam are going too fast for her liking, Marnie lets loose and, Jessa makes a lifelong commitment to none other than Thomas John. And yet, it all made sense, corresponding with how Lena recently described these characters, as full of contradictions. But it was credible and things actually fell into place. My favorite was yet again Shoshana, letting go of her usual uptight and aiming-to-please attitude and finally cracking, with an assortment of refreshing and memorable one-liners such as "everyone's a dumb whore" (accurate) and "just stay out of my emotional way" (seriously should be used more often in everyday life). In this episode, we also witness her finally giving away her v-card.
Honorable mention – Slim leg
I simply cannot finish this post without mentioning one of my favorite (albeit short) scenes of the season. Though I couldn't possibly pass on choosing as Hannah/Goldman as my favorite moment of episode 9, the following scene between Ray and Hannah on her first day of work is definitely a close second. Not only is this scene one of the most hilarious, in my opinion, it also marks the transition of Ray's character from a pig and an all-around creep to someone that I now actually really enjoy.
And now, all there is to do is wait impatiently for the premiere of season 2. Don't forget to get your fix either on January 13th, or if you're patient enough (which I am definitely not), on January 16th, on YES OH HD at 22:30. Enjoy!
I would also like to take this chance to apologize for the blog's current crappy appearance. This being my first post in English, I have to admit I completely forgot about the formatting issues the transition might cause. Hope to have that fixed next weekend, so stay tuned!