Monday, January 21, 2013

"Girls" - "I Get Ideas": On notice

     Hannah (Lena Dunham) gets life advice from Jessa (Jemima
     Kirke) on "Girls". Also, puppies.
     Photo Credit: HBO

For a show that is about so much pain and failure, "Girls" has thus far not been a particularly dark series. Hannah and friends makes mistakes and things usually don't go their way, but it's been handled somewhat lightheartedly because at the end of the day, we can brush off their heartbreaks and their career falters as often self-inflicted "white people problems" as necessary. And even when Adam is a jerk or a creep or all of the above to Hannah, he has his moments of redemption - where the continuity can be reset easily enough so that the revelation of his alcoholism can close an episode as Hannah and Adam happily jogging can open the next (do I have that order right?)

Sunday (January 20) night's episode "I Get Ideas" immediately felt different from episodes that have come before it. Our very first glimpse in the episode isn't of a girl - it's Elijah, breaking up with his boyfriend in the wake of his disastrous encounter with Marnie, the two men trading nasty accusations back and forth. From the outset, the music didn't feel particularly "Girls"-y - it wasn't the kind of music that said "prepare to feel even more uncomfortable than usual," but it just wasn't the norm. In general, it felt like one of the first, but certainly not the last, particularly dark instalments of the show - and for the most part, I thought it was just excellent.

That being said, my favourite scene of the episode didn't seem particularly dark or out of the ordinary at all, which was Sandy's constructive criticism for Hannah and their ensuing breakup. It was a classic "Girls" moment of the dial slowly being turned up on total and sudden insanity until characters might as well be foaming at the mouth because that would probably be less embarrassing than the words that were coming out of them. Particular highlights of dialogue included Hannah telling Sandy she knows all the things she does well, she needs to hear about the bad stuff, her asking Sandy if he still wanted to have sex (great reading by Lena Dunham), and picturing Hannah and Sandy watching multiple episodes of "Say Yes to the Dress".

Meanwhile, the amount of bleak seems to vary for the rest of Williamsburg. Despite being the hottest girl in the world, Marnie apparently doesn't have the right look to sit in the front of a building and be the face of a business. She and Hannah are still awkwardly tiptoeing around their problems. But for Shoshannah, life is blissful ignorance at the moment with Ray, and Jessa and Thomas John are still a bizarre force of nature that I can't explain (I love that they're sitting on that goldmine and just doling a little bit out at a time - for some reason, I hope there's some crazy revelation in the season finale about them that we can go back through the season and find hints about or something).

But if you want total bleak? Look no further than Adam Sackler. I enjoyed learning more about him as the first season progressed, and I actually kind of liked him in the first season finale. Unfortunately, the reset button seems to have been pressed in a major way where any more redemption we'd see out of him this season couldn't have more weight (or be any different, really) than what we've already seen. He's treating Hannah's heart like monkey meat and being a creep as usual, but now he's breaking into her house at night and scaring her, and then refusing to leave while laughing like a psychopath. I personally don't blame Hannah for calling the po-po - Adam has become even more toxic for her than we ever thought he could.

About half way through the episode, Oracle Jessa tells Hannah that her life will never get any better than it is right now. Not that we need to be all that worried about her predicting skills, but for Hannah's sake, let's all hope Jessa couldn't be more wrong.