Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Super Short Review: Girls, Season Two (still on-going)

Yeah, my "Super Shorts" have been expanding, but here's a foolproof way to scale them back: review something I haven't finished yet, like the second season of Girls. Honestly, I'm not even caught up with the episodes that have been released. And, double honestly, whenever we watch the opening--the HBO logo and the static start--I sing the Game of Thrones theme song. So I might not be the best person or in the best position to review this show. But here goes.

When it started, Girls inspired a lot of talk on the internet--was it diverse enough (racially, politically, economically), honest enough, honest enough, particular/generic enough, etc. I think those are all valid avenues to explore; and I agree that Girls failed in some ways--the ways that most entertainment fail (race, class, gender). But it still was mostly funny and carefully walked the line between kind identification with its characters and acid-eyed observation of their faults. So Hannah's approach towards her gay ex-boyfriend might've been cringe-inducing but it was understandable: we could judge her missteps and feel bad for her position at the same time.

This second season seems to have started differently. The bad decisions are still there--Hannah doing cocaine for a freelance story, Marnie getting involved with an emotionally-twisted artist, etc.--but the viewer's position feels less secure on that fence between judgment and understanding. That is, the narrative seems to be more gleeful, more on the side of the people making the bad decisions. Maybe that's just because we're halfway in to the season. Maybe the show will come to radically challenge what we think are good decisions for 20-year-olds. But right now it seems more like a celebration of being privileged. These are people who, institutionally, can survive bad decisions.


  1. This might sound lame, but I think that is exactly why I haven't been too active in trying to watch the show. I just can't bring myself to care. I hear that it is well written and funny. I have gotten some good feedback from friends whom I respect. Whenever I pass the DVD set on the library shelves, I just sort of shrug and say, "meh."

  2. Season One got a lot of comparison with the show Louie, in that they were both about the failings of their main characters, who seem like versions of the show's creators. I think people made a little too much of those connections (Louie is Louie! Hannah is Lena!); and personally, I'm more interested in the struggles of a 40-year-old divorced father of two than in the struggles of four privileged white women, especially since that 40-yr-old knows how privileged he is.

    But that said, if you enjoyed Louie (or Curb Your Enthusiasm or even, yes, Sex in the City), you might enjoy the first season.

    Though this does raise another question: is my distaste for the second season just because I'm getting older and farther away from the lifestyle of 20-year-olds? Would I still enjoy My So-Called Life?

  3. You know, I thought Sex and the City was fun the first time around. Then I tried to watch the re-runs with all the outrageous parts censored (On TBS or TNT, I think?) all I was left with was, "Man, I really don't like any of these people. Why did I ever care about the love life of a shallow woman who spends $400 on shoes?"

    Maybe I was just in a different stage in my life? I think there may be something in "getting older". I haven't tried to re-watch My So Called Life, but I every time I've watched The Breakfast Club since High School... let's just say my feelings on that film have changed drastically. (No, l don't side with the principal. He's a douche.)

    Oddly enough I've watched the entire DVD set of Daria several times. That definitely still holds up for me. I wonder why.