Love it or hate it, people are talking about Girls. One of the most original and arguably one of the most brilliantly written, shows on television, Lena Dunham and company have caught our attention. Watching the first few episodes of Season 1 was, dare I say, skin crawlingly uncomfortable. As the season progressed, however, the raw artfulness of Lena Dunham’s world began to shine through, overpowering the awkward factor and making me a true believer in the genius of Girls.
The second Season was strikingly different. While Season 1 had a serious comedy lean, Season 2 was an emotional roller coaster, with episodes running the gamut from frustrating to hysterical, from shocking to truly tragic. Every character seemed to go through their own personal mental breakdown this season, which for some, was difficult to watch. Rather than taking things apart by episode, I’m taking a look at some of the high and low points for the main cast of characters over the course of the show’s second season.
Highs: Agonizingly funny, awkwardly endearing Hannah still exists in Season 2, albeit under several layers of crazy. At the start of the season we find her having casual sex with Sandy, an African American Republican. She’s taking care of Adam, who’s got a broken leg, but she’s doing well at maintaining distance between them. Elijah, Hannah’s gay ex boyfriend, is her new roommate and together they are fabulous. Hannah is making progress as a writer, she’s got freelance work! To celebrate, (or to prove how together she is) Hannah hosts a grown up dinner party. Better still, Hannah has finally landed a book deal! Well… an e-book deal, really, but still, she’s moving forward.
Lows: Hannah also sinks to the depths of despair in Season 2. While she tried to give the impression of starting out strong, we watch her slowly fall to pieces over the course of the season. For her first freelance article, Hannah buys coke from her ex-junkie neighbor, which she then does with Elijah. The two go out clubbing and proceed to paint the town. While they’re dancing the night away, Hannah finds out that Elijah had sex with Marnie. Shocked and hurt, she confronts them both (while wearing a mesh tank top) at Booth Jonathan’s house. Hannah kicks Elijah out of their apartment and calls Marnie out as a bad friend. To end the night, she goes home and sleeps with Laird as research for her article.
We next find out that Hannah has developed a thing for throwing away trash in someone else’s trashcans. When she goes to confess to the owner of the trashcans, they end up having a whirlwind affair, but that too, ends badly. Hannah falls apart, confessing that she just wants to be happy. This particular episode was beautifully executed and incredibly emotionally draining to watch. Looking back at the season, it’s clear that this is the beginning of Hannah’s downward spiral.
After getting her e-book deal, Hannah finds that she has extreme writers block and the stress begins to take it’s toll on her. Her friendship with Marnie is falling apart and she realizes she has no one left to confide in. She accompanies Jessa to visit her family and ends up having graveyard sex with Jessa’s younger (turtleneck and shorts wearing) step brother.
During a visit from her own parents, we see that Hannah is trying hard to hide her anxiety. As a consequence she begins repeating behaviors eight times each, and we find that she has suffered from OCD in the past. Forced into therapy and onto medication, she still can’t find a foothold when deadlines and pressure from her editor come down hard on her. In an extremely strange cry for help, Hannah sticks a Q-tip too far into her ear and winds up in the hospital (with no pants on). On her way home she meets Adam who is outside of a bar. Adam is surprised to see Hannah, and shows some concern over the fact she’s clearly not together. He calls her “kid” and tells her to go home and put some pants on. Hannah tries to put on a brave face, but is visibly shaken by the encounter.
The finale opens with a paranoid Hannah googling things such as, “How does your body know not to stop breathing?” With only a day left to write her book and threats of a lawsuit for breach of contract, Hannah decides to eat a tub of Cool Whip and read a magazine. Marnie stops in to check on her, but Hannah hides behind her bed. After Marnie leaves, Hannah tries to cut her hair, but can’t reach the back, so Laird comes to the rescue, giving her a somewhat terrifying short new do. Before he leaves, Hannah manages to accuse him of trying to take advantage of her, even though he clearly was not. Laird then tells Hannah that he ‘he had feelings for her until he realized how rotten her insides were.’
Retreating to her bed, Hannah “accidentally” Facetimes Adam, who is at first, confused. “Is this f***ing FaceSpace or whatever?” He asks, however it doesn’t take him long to realize something is not right. Hannah admits she’s scared, falling apart, to which Adam responds by running across town and breaking down the door to her apartment. “You’re here,” she squeaks. “Well, I was always here,” he responds, scooping her up into his arms like a crazy, shirtless Prince Charming. And so we leave them, kissing sweetly, poised to embark on new, dysfunctional adventures together.
Things I Think About Hannah: I’m very, very happy to see Hannah and Adam reunited in the finale. Yes they are dysfunctional, no it most likely won’t be a smooth ride, but I think they work. I can see them understanding each other’s weaknesses and helping each other to heal. I think that Hannah will write, but I think that she needs to be in a better place in order to do so. It’s glaringly obvious that she’s not a deadline kind of girl, she needs to find a way to write without quite so much pressure, in order for her to succeed. In a perfect world, Hannah would write for HBO Watch and we could be friends. As unlikable as she can be at times, I really, truly like Hannah.
Highs: Adam’s highs are few, but important, nonetheless. His rescue of Hannah in the final moments of the finale is perhaps his only shining moment. He seems to be on the right track when we see him attending an AA meeting. At said meeting, he shares his feelings and even agrees to bring cookies to the next gathering. In fact, he seems so together, that one of the women gives him her daughter’s phone number. He calls and, surprisingly, the girl agrees to meet with him. They meet for dinner and again, it goes shockingly well. Her name is Natalia, she’s pretty, and she actually seems to like him.
Lows: We find Adam starting the season with a broken leg, being looked after by Hannah and peeing into a bowl. When he’s finally recovered, Hannah’s rejection hits him hard and he begins some serious stalking. He sends her videos of himself playing guitar and singing breakup songs with lyrics like, “Standing outside, not making a sound, creeping around, you destroyed my heart… thanks.” Hannah calls 911 on him when he sneaks into her apartment to “surprise” her. Not that he meant any harm, but he was wearing a mask… Later Adam steals a dog, then talks Ray into helping him return Dog to his owner on Staten Island. Once there, he and Ray get into an argument about Hannah and Shoshanna, causing Adam to take off and leave Ray alone on the Island with Dog. Natalia invites him out to a party where Adam proceeds to get quite drunk (what AA meetings?). After a chance meeting with Hannah, he takes Natalia to his apartment and pushes her into rough sex, which upsets her and shakes him.
Things I Think About Adam: I think it’s clear to the audience that the Adam and Natalia are incompatible both in, and out of the bedroom. He belongs with Hannah, as even if their relationship isn’t the prime example of healthy and normal, it somehow just works. I think they are where they need to be to grow and I’m rooting for them to succeed. I don’t think Adam is a bad person, I actually think he’s got a big heart, but I do think he needs to find help, so as to learn to not hurt other people.
Highs: An out of work Marnie finds a new position fairly quickly, and it’s a pretty girl job. She goes to work as a hostess in a club, where she wears a sexy uniform and makes decent tips. When she’s lost and searching for something worthwhile in her life, Ray asks her what her dream would be and she says she wants to sing. Ray encourages her to follow her dream, as she’s actually got a voice. You may call it a low, but I think Marnie’s rendition of Kanye West’s “Stronger” was actually a high point for her. She and Charlie reconcile (have sex) and things seem to be getting better for Marnie. During the season finale, she pours her heart and soul out to Charlie over brunch, “I want you, I know I’m a mess but I want you. I want to see you every morning and I want to make you a snack every night. And eventually I want to have your little brown babies and I want to watch you die.” Charlie then gives a little speech of his own, telling Marnie that’s all he’s ever wanted to hear, and that he’s always loved her.
Lows: Marnie loses her job, has a terrible interview in which she finds that she has no place in the art world, and is forced to rethink exactly what it is that she wants out of life. Emotionally unstable, she finds herself having sex with Elijah, Hannah’s gay roommate. When Hannah finds this out, she calls Marnie a bad friend and their relationship crumbles. Marnie, although not really invited, attends Hannah’s grown up dinner party, where Audrey, Charlie’s new girlfriend, tells her off in no uncertain terms. Charlie, in the meantime, has designed an app that’s made him wildly successful. Lonely, Marnie reaches out to artist, Booth Jonathan, who has sex with her, lets her host a party for him, but ultimately doesn’t fall in love with her. All this adds up to what is the worst year of her life.
Things I Think About Marnie: Standing up in front of all of Charlie’s new friends at a party and covering Kanye took a lot of courage and I think she was the stronger for having done so. I think it’s nice that Marnie and Charlie are back together and happy for the moment. I’m not confident that it will last, but I wouldn’t be sorry if it did.
Highs: Jessa’s dinner with her new in-laws, which ultimately leads to her breakup with the über creepy Thomas John, was a season high for many. She was so utterly offensive that it was just pure pleasure to watch her offend, time and time again. Finding that her super short marriage to Thomas John has come to an end, Jessa flees to Hannah’s apartment, where she then joins Hannah in the bathtub. Jessa standing in the doorway listening to Hannah as she’s quietly singing Oasis’ “Wonderwall” was strangely moving, perhaps my number one high point of the season. Joining Hannah in the bathtub, she proceeds to blow a snot rocket and have one of the most intimate moments of the season. And this, my friends, is what makes Girls amazing.
Lows: Accompanied by Hannah, Jessa travels to visit her estranged father, in hopes of mending their troubled relationship. Sadly, she is once again disappointed by her dad’s lack of responsibility and reluctance to play the role of parent. This brought us to perhaps the lowest of the lows this season… the disappearance of Jessa. Leaving Hannah behind, Jessa goes missing from her father’s house on the day they were meant to return to the city. A fan favorite, to be sure, Jessa’s absence from the last three episodes of Season 2 was a big letdown. In actuality, Jemima Kirke left Season 2 three episodes early to give birth to her second child, a baby boy named Memphis. We can look forward to Jessa’s return to the series in Season 3.
Things I Think About Jessa: I absolutely love Jessa, I think she’s an incredibly bright, original character. I’m sorry to say that I don’t think her relationship with her dad is going to change all that much. I think she is not at all together, and yet she’s a girl who handles falling apart rather well. Running away, while not always practical, can be therapeutic. I think that as a character, Jessa is the most unpredictable and the most likely to find her happiness in the coming season.
Highs: Shoshanna is, perhaps, the most ‘together’ of the group this season. However, that’s not exactly a big achievement, considering the lows that some of the others are reaching. She has goals, she has standards, and now that she’s no longer a virgin, she’s ready to start moving on and moving up. The best one liners of the show still seem to belong to Shosh this season, but I won’t list them all here, as I think that we could probably do a whole post on the best lines of season 2. Her ultimate this season may have been to Marnie when discussing her relationship with Booth Jonathan, ‘you’re like Bella Swan from Twilight, and I’m like her weird friend who doesn’t understand how fabulous your life is because my boyfriend won’t spend $4 on tacos.’
Lows: Cheating on Ray with a random doorman, then telling Ray that they’d just held hands was, perhaps, Shoshanna’s lowest moment. If Shosh couldn’t be honest with Ray, then she should have ended their relationship sooner. Leading on a guy who she knew was in love with her was pretty low. Comparing her love for him to the love she might feel for a sad monkey was just wrong. Come on Shoshanna, if you love someone to the end of the world and back, surely you could think of a less hurtful analogy? I can’t say I agree with her breakup with Ray, right when he was making some big steps to better himself. If his negativity and lack of ambition are the big issues for her, then why not give him another chance when he’s clearly trying to make those changes.
Things I Think About Shosh: It really seems like the new Shoshanna just wants to play the field. She’s a young girl in the process of finding herself. I think that Ray and Shosh may not be meant to be. Although he loves her, and she kind of loves him, I think they’ve got very little in common and are heading in opposite directions. I’d love to find out that I’m wrong about that, though.
Highs: This season we got to see a softer side of Ray. Episode 4, “It’s a Shame About Ray,” revealed that Ray was actually living with Shoshanna, a fact that Shosh herself, had not actually realized. This, however, brings about a particularly sweet moment where Ray tells Shosh that he loves her. We also got to see Ray and Adam spend some quality time, as Ray attempts to help Adam return a stolen dog to it’s Staten Island home. This was such good TV that I’m convinced that Ray and Adam should have their own spinoff show.
Lows: Ray’s lack of drive has been a recurring problem over both Season 1 and Season 2. This season it causes him an awful lot of angst, as he knows in his heart that Shoshanna ultimately sees herself with a more ambitious partner. From not understanding why he doesn’t want his own coffee shop, to trying to convince him to go to listen to Donald Trump speak, Shosh is showing him that she wishes that he could be “more.” We see Ray coming to terms with this an incredibly moving moment with Dog. “I’m nothing…” he says, breaking down. For the first time in his life, being “something” matters. In the finale, Shoshanna breaks up with Ray and he storms out of the apartment, taking only his life size Andy Kaufman cut-out.
Things I think About Ray: Ray is my favorite male character on the show, and for me he can almost do no wrong. His hatred of pretty much everything is a low for some, but his clever snarkiness adds another layer of richness to an already meaty ensemble. I think he deserves better than what he’s got now, which is not much. I’m of the opinion that he’s better off without a cheating girlfriend who doesn’t think he’s good enough. I’m hoping to see Ray pick himself up and put all his energy into being successful in his new venture, then I’d like to see him find a girl who can see that he’s funny and somewhat brilliant, and who can appreciate him for who he actually is.
So, That’s a Wrap
The season’s tagline was “Almost kind of getting it together…” I’m not sure that anyone actually came close to getting it together, but I enjoyed the season, all the same. There are fans who were disappointed in the fact that the second season lacked some of the humor that we saw in Season 1. While I felt that it was not quite as strong as Season 1, I thoroughly enjoyed this season, if you can count dissolving into tears at the end of every episode “enjoying,” that is. I could have done with a few more laughs and fewer tears, however, I’m still a believer and I’m eagerly awaiting the return of Girls.
MJ Snow is a Canine and avian behavior specialist by day; a role player, blogger and writer by night. A long time George RR Martin fangirl and Game of Thrones Addict, MJ spends way too much time in Westeros. MJ is the founder of The Snow Keep, a short story and fan-ficiton blog and The Brothers Clegane, a Sandor & Gregor Clegane tribute blog, she also co-curates several other Game of Thrones themed blogs.