Girls Premiere Review: Troll So Hard

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Lena Dunham just trolled us all so hard.

After two seasons of “oh, we stay away from the Internet noise,” it appears that Dunham & co. have in fact listened to the Internet noise, learning that we all think her characters are terrible people and we more or less hate them. So, in the first two episodes that comprised last night’s season three premiere, she just made them more terrible, rude and insufferable. We’re not sure if that’s a good thing.


The first episode of the night, “Females Only,” is basically 30 minutes of “Horrible, Unstable Young Women And The People Who Deal With Them” (hmm let me send that working title to David O. Russell). On a practical level, the episode has little plot besides laying out where the characters landed since the bizarre “fairytale” ending of season two: Hannah and Adam are strangely settled together, Marnie is living with her mother, Rita Wilson, Shoshannah’s still a college student at NYU raging and falling asleep in the library and Jessa’s being a bitch in rehab. On a deeper level, the episode feels like it’s screaming: “You thought these characters weren’t nice before? Well look at them now.”

We also find out that in some way or another, all the girls think that they fixed whatever was wrong with their lives. These are in fact lies that they are either telling themselves or telling those around them so they can stop worrying. Hannah believes she’s found a healthy and stable relationship with Adam (a lie). Marnie tells Rita Wilson that she’s found a job and an apartment and has fixed her life (a lie). Shoshannah tells the girls that she’s found a healthy balance of partying, promiscuity and academics (a lie). Jessa tells the rehab counselor that she’s fine and is in fact only in rehab because her grandmother is paying for it (well, the grandmother paying part might be true but the suggestion that Jessa doesn’t need help is most certainly a lie). It will be cringe-inducing to see how these lies inevitably come undone.


The second episode, “Truth or Dare,” Hannah, Adam and Shoshannah take a road trip to pick Jessa up from rehab (Hannah notably never asks Marnie to join and even lies to her at first about where they are. Cough, that relationship isn’t entirely mended, cough.) Traveling outside of the city has become a staple of sorts for Girls, and just like “The Return” and “Video Games,” these characters remain more or less the same despite the change in setting, compared to other shows that use scenery changes to demonstrate a character development (see The Sopranos’ “Live Free or Die”).

But in Girls, it’s more of the same, to the point that the characters almost feel like parodies of themselves. Hannah’s bored with the trip to pick Jessa up from rehab because it’s not supplying her with material for her memoir. Shoshanna’s musing, “What utensil would you be?” to Adam (also kudos to Adam for keeping it together when you could tell he kind of wanted to strangle poor Shosh. Say what you want about Adam, but out of all the characters he’s one of the only ones capable of keeping his mouth shut to keep everyone happy).

So yeah, more of the same. More of the meanness, to a point that it has become almost more uncomfortable to watch. And as much as Dunham addressed how we felt about the characters, there was still little response to the diversity questions about the show. I guess the best way to sum it up is in the line Jessa's counselor (whose name they don't say in the show, but is listed on IMDB as Jasper) says, "“People have to come to things in their own time. You have to learn when honesty is righteous, and when honesty is a party trick.”

So is season three honest or a party trick?

Some Thoughts:

  • Did you notice how happy Ray looked during Natalia’s rant in the coffee shop, with his little Ray smirk? Kind of get the feeling that he too secretly knows Adam and Hannah are completely dysfunctional and wishes he could say those things (remember how well it went when Ray brought up what he really thought about Hannah in “Boys?”). Ray saying, “It’s on the house,” was an atom bomb of a hint revealing his underlying satisfaction at what just unfolded.
  • On the note of Natalia’s rant, Natalia needs to take that and write an anonymous blog post for XOJane. She’d get a quick $100 bucks, spark Internet discussion of men’s unrealistic expectations during sex because of readily-available porn, not to mention that she’d gain an easy 247 Twitter followers.
  • Shout out to Danielle Brooks appearing in these two episodes, but we wish her role was written with some more depth. Her work in Orange Is The New Black is so rich and multifaceted, she could have handled much more.
  • Hannah on the surface looks like the most put together of the girls, which clearly means only disaster can come.
  • Shoshannah wearing so much black. Revealing where she’s at emotionally? Maybe. We think it’s more likely that this is what Shoshannah thinks a put-together work-hard-party-hard New Yorker should wear.
  • Pigtails Marnie? Are you sure you're ok?
  • Lucky for you, non-HBO subscribers and people with downtime at work, HBO will be airing the two premiere episodes on its YouTube channel, which started at 10 a.m.

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