Girls

Girls Season 3

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Girls

The third season of Lena Dunham‘s Girls was put to bed this past Sunday night, and we’re already speculating about what the next run has in store for those eponymous girls (and, more importantly, their awesome boys). The series’ love for ending things on a cliffhanger only heightens anticipation — there’s nothing like some good old-fashioned “will she? won’t she?” to keep people on board — and the third season didn’t back down from putting some possible big changes into motion. What will the fourth season look like? Who will be there? How much of it will we get? Will we get to meet Caroline’s spawn? Is is still going to be in Brooklyn? Loud yelling about Adam Driver! Everyone, get ahold of yourselves. We might not know the answers to all of those questions, but we sure do know a lot. Take a look.

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Girls Two Plane Rides

Do you remember how last season’s Girls run ended? The running? The romance? The OCD reveal? It was a heady time in our lives, back when there was still some hope for Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver), Marnie (Allison Williams) hadn’t lost another boyfriend, Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) was trying to spread his wings, and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) had gone MIA. Think of it now! No Caroline! No GQ! No rehab! The good old days! “Two Plane Rides” effectively ends the series’s third season — and probably a whole mess of relationships, too — with the revelation of something just as unexpected as Hannah’s OCD: she applied to the country’s best grad school. And she got in. Elsewhere, Adam bombs his Broadway debut (by his approximation), Marnie goes after another bad boy, Shosh sees her partying come to its logical end, and Jessa tries to kill an old lady. No, really. The series closed out with a truly excellent finale — one packed with fun details like Elijah’s formal shorts, Shoshanna’s sad hair and wholly expected college flunk out, Adam’s “bad” performance, Marnie’s inability to stay away from “emotional property,” Jessa having to face some real consequences, and Hannah proving herself to be some kind of intellectual titan.

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Hannah Horvath Girls

The third season of HBO’s Girls ended on an eerily familiar note – with nearly every co-star’s latest plot trajectory coming to a foreseeable and well-crafted head, while leading lady Hannah (Lena Dunham) found her life thrown into a suddenly new direction by the revelation of some massive information that had not been previously disclosed to the show’s audience – the kind that feels a bit like a cheap trick. The second season utilized this narrative device to drive Hannah into some negative territory, using the season’s final three episodes to unveil a previously obscured secret: that Hannah had suffered from OCD since high school. Although some hints as to Hannah’s condition had been previously evident – a stray comment from Marnie, a weird tic from Hannah – the news came as an unearned shock, and while it initially provided some new plot points for the show to play with, its ultimate payoff seems weak even a dozen episodes on. The third season finale, “Two Plane Rides,” went the same route, though its seemingly out-of-nowhere plot twist seems like a mostly positive move for Hannah. Hannah’s “career” as a writer has always been central to her identity, even as she’s suffered some big setbacks (oops, your editor is dead), sabotaged herself at a job that involves both money and writing (it’s too bad that advertorials couldn’t satisfy her), and struggled to find time to develop her craft (remember her short-lived plan to write after work?). Which is what makes the […]

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Hannah Horvath

Hannah Horvath, the ostensibly central character of Lena Dunham’s HBO series Girls, has never been a model of social grace, and her inability to behave not only well, but even somewhat appropriately in most situations and relationships has drawn serious criticism from fans and foes of the show alike. Dunham, who seems to be both very charming and very smart in person, has obviously quite purposely saddled herself with a character that continually touts the scope of her maturation without actually maturing. At all. Ever. As the series approaches its third season finale – next week’s episode, intriguingly titled “Two Plane Rides,” will close out the series until 2015 – now seems to be the perfect time for Hannah to actually grow, change, and move forward. But she’s not doing any of those things (in fact, she’s getting markedly worse), and her behavior in last week’s episode highlights how far Hannah is from not just social grace, but basic social abilities. Let’s put it this way – Hannah has pulled some serious crap over three seasons, and as eye-popping as her behavior may have been to people capable of successful relationships and reactions in “I Saw You,” it’s just one in a long string of terrible moves by one Ms. Hannah Horvath.

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Girls I Saw You

In most cases, when one half of a seemingly happy couple moves out while still claiming to be dedicated to the relationship, it’s not a good sign – but “most cases” don’t appear to apply to the romance of Girls’ Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver). The duo have been through more ups and downs than your local Six Flags rollercoaster, and although our own Rob Hunter and myself have spent most of the show’s third season prepping for their inevitable demise, it sure is taking longer than we expected. Not that Hannah is helping – amid cries from Adam for her to “relax!” and assuring her that his moving in with Ray (Alex Karpovsky, finally back) is just to get his head right for his Broadway debut, she’s still being overemotional and untrusting. Hey, girl, we get it, but that doesn’t account for the rest of her behavior in this week’s episode, “I Saw You,” which soon spirals out to see Hannah setting fire to every aspect of her life. Elsewhere, Marnie (Allison Williams) and Beardy McSingsalot (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) hit their first open mic night, Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) does something with her hair and her face that’s great, and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) gets a job. No, really. Patti LuPone also returns to drop some knowledge, and Elijah (Andrew Rannells) reacts spectacularly. Also, Ray and Adam hang out together in a bathroom.

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Girls Role Play

This week’s installment of “Kate Erbland and Rob Hunter talk  about Girls and mostly agree, except when they really, really don’t” comes to you on a slight delay, as our own Rob Hunter is busy navigating the wilds of the SXSW Film Festival (where, yes, Girls star and creator Lena Dunham got her start and also contributed a keynote speech to this year’s fest, so it kind of works out perfectly). That’s not to say that we were not pumped to talk about “Role-Play,” because we were, but sometimes other movies and breakfast tacos get in the way. With two episodes left in the HBO series’ third season, it seems that some of our predictions are on their way to coming true — Hannah (Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver) are bound for some troubles, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) is forced to grapple with her problems, and Marnie (Allison Williams) just can’t shake her attempts at a music career — with some new twists along the way. In “Role-Play,” Hannah tries to spice up the couple’s sex life with some, well, role play, which ends in a most unexpected way — with Adam moving out (temporarily?) to focus on his Broadway debut. Elsewhere, Shosh (Zosia Mamet) stages an intervention for Jessa, and Marnie continues to croon jams at a guy who apparently has a girlfriend named “Clementine.”

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Fort Tilden 2

Is it possible to make an independent film about young women in Brooklyn without comparison to Girls? It doesn’t appear so, and I’m not going to pretend I’m not guilty of doing so myself with the angle of this post. But I can’t respond to the unfortunate laziness to which we use Lena Dunham’s show as a reference point without as much. Now it’s not always just Girls; the acclaimed Frances Ha — itself initially likened to Girls — has joined the show as an easy measure and descriptor for any subsequent work focused on 20-something females in a certain part of New York City. It happened during Sundance with Obvious Child, and now ahead of its SXSW premiere, it’s already happening to Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers‘s Fort Tilden. Both films deserve better simply for the fact that they’re their own entities. Not that it’s uncommon to use old movies as reference to sell new ones, especially for festival crowds. In fact, Bliss and Rogers are specifically citing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion as being similar predecessors to Fort Tilden. Having only seen some clips and their Kickstarter campaign teaser, it reminds me of Quick Change in the way it’s about people just trying to get across Brooklyn and Queens to a destination that shouldn’t be too hard to reach. And as a huge fan of that movie and really any kind of New York City Odyssey film (After Hours is another good one), […]

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Girls Flo Episode

Fans of Oscar nominee June Squibb had a hell of a double feature last night, as the Nebraska star hit up the Academy Awards and co-starred on this season’s tenth episode of Lena Dunham‘s Girls, appearing as Hannah’s (Dunham) reportedly-near-death grandmother, Flo. Although some of the best episodes of the HBO series’ third season have benefitted from throwing the show’s entire cast together in one place, “Flo” mixed things up to its own stirring effect — removing Hannah from New York City and forcing her upstate to mingle with her mother (Becky Ann Baker), her crazy cousin (Sarah Steele), and her bickering aunts (Deirdre Lovejoy and Amy Morton). Sure, Adam (Adam Driver) made a quick visit, but this episode was all about the interpersonal relationships of the women in Hannah’s family, and man, are they messed up. With just one more episode to go, Rob Hunter and I turn our critical charms to this season’s latest episode of Girls.

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Girls Incidentals

Did you think that Lena Dunham‘s Girls was going to split up its various leading ladies and gents after yet another episode that tossed them together for maximum fun, drama, and dancing? Well, yeah, we did, too — fortunately enough, though, this week’s “Incidentals” rehashes some of the magic of “Beach House,” moving most of the main characters of the series into a limited space for a limited amount of time. This time around, the group takes up residence at the swanky Gramercy Park Hotel, where Hannah (Dunham) has been tasked with spending just one night in the hotel in order to write a listicle or something for her GQ gig. It’s nice timing, too, because Adam (Adam Driver) has just locked his first big Broadway role, and they have something to celebrate! That doesn’t quite explain why Hannah took it upon herself to invite the entire crew, including Shosh, Elijah, Marnie, and Jessa, but we’ll just go with it, because these bonkers weirdos are great together. Also in the mix? Jessa’s old rehab pal Jasper and Adam’s new co-star Desi. It’s like one big shaken cocktail of volatile personalities, and your own Rob Hunter and myself are here to sip deep.

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Jennifer Westfeldt Girls

Lena Dunham’s popular television series Girls has already advanced the careers of its four central stars – Dunham, Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet, and Jemima Kirke – but the HBO production has also dedicated plenty of screen time to a bevy of other talented ladies, even those not necessarily known for their acting work. Dunham’s series has long appeared to be compelled to cast the coolest female talents for a variety of guest roles that often quite handily subvert their public and professional personas. Kathryn Hahn had an arc back in the show’s first season as the mother of Jessa’s young babysitting charges who attempts to juggle her career and her family, Rosanna Arquette stopped by for an episode, comedienne Jenny Slate showed up for one, and even Dunham’s artist mom (and Tiny Furniture co-star) Laurie Simmons has played a named character in an ep. Elsewhere, Dunham’s childhood pal Audrey Gelman (who supposedly inspired the overachieving character of Marnie) is a political wonk by trade, but even she has shown up in three episodes of the series (remember her? she played Charlie’s just terrible new girlfriend in the first season?). 

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Girls Beach House

As our Girls girls continue to grow (marginally, at best) up, they are also quite markedly growing apart. This season has scarcely seen all four ladies in one room at the same time, and has instead been forced to rely on commonplace television tricks and tropes and prods to get every major character in one place, including staging a birthday party for Hannah earlier in the season and, in the seventh episode, shipping Hannah, Marnie, Shosh, and Jessa off to a somewhat secluded beach house. The point of the trip, at least according to Marnie (who organized the outing) is “to heal.” The other girls might not agree. Despite going out of her way to make a nice weekend for the ladies, Marnie (Allison Williams) gets kicked in the teeth at nearly every turn – her bedroom assignments initially ignored, her rigid schedule mocked, her dinner party dismissed – thanks to Hannah (Lena Dunham) and her obvious disdain for structure, the inorganic but still exciting injection of a newly-returned Elijah (Andrew Rannells), Elijah’s pack of wild friends (including new boyfriend “Pal,” played by Danny Strong, who wrote the film The Butler for chrissakes), Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and an apparent nudity clause, and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) and her deeply simmering resentments. Let’s go to the beach house! And eat and dance and sing and reveal how very, very much we hate each other. It’s Girls. It’s “Beach House.” It’s a glorious mess. And it’s Rob Hunter and myself, pulling every bit apart for mastication, just like Marnie’s literally cooked goose […]

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Girls Free Snacks

After last week’s disappointing and choppy entry into the world of Girls lore, the venerable(ish?) HBO series returned with some bite – well, some snack-sized bites, at the very least. In “Free Snacks,” Hannah (Lena Dunham) finally lands a writing gig that allows her to quit her latte-slinging at Ray’s, though she’s soon taken down a peg or two, and all the free Sun Chips in the world can’t ease that pain. Installed at GQ, Hannah initially has some illusions about both the coolness and the value of her work at the magazine, until she is systemically alleviated of them – from Ray’s unpacking of what her job really is (let’s face it – the girl is penning an advertorial section about dudes for Nieman Marcus) to the revelation that all her cool new coworkers were once burgeoning writers just like her. Blame the snack room! Blame the cushy environment! Blame the cubicles! But don’t blame Hannah, because maybe she really is in over her head this time – or, at the very least, maybe she’s finally realizing some hard truths about grown up life. Elsewhere, Marnie (Allison Williams) and Ray (Alex Karpovsky) embark on a tempestuous friendship that, yes, involves sex (and also dumplings!); Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) finally admits that she’s put out by Ray’s new success (but is that jealousy or desire?); and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) uses her new job at a baby clothing store to bully full grown women. Oh, and Adam (Adam Driver) poked an acting […]

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Girls Only Child 1

After starting off the third season of Girls with such a solid bang, it was perhaps inevitable that Lena Dunham‘s series would have to stall out at some point, and the fifth episode of the season (“Only Child”) is that stall out. While things start off extremely promisingly – with Hannah (Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver) attending the funeral of her recently departed weirdo editor, David Pressler-Goings (John Cameron Mitchell) – things go downhill extremely quickly. Bugged out both by the appearance of a Mrs. Pressler-Goings (the divine Jennifer Westfeldt) and the news that all of her editor’s books are now “dead,” Hannah reacts, well, like Hannah – by pressing the widow for publishing contacts. Despite the interest of a new publisher, things aren’t exactly coming up Hannah, and when she kicks Caroline (Gaby Hoffmann) out of the apartment, it looks like a fight with Adam is on the horizon. Elsewhere, Marnie (Allison Williams) adopts a kitten, asks Ray (Alex Karpovsky) to detail her faults, and rewards him with some table-set loving. Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) continue to swirl around on the far reaches of the Girls galaxy, though Jessa’s newly hatched idea to work in a kiddie store just might thrust her back into the fray. As ever, your faithful Girls servants – myself and Rob Hunter – are here to pull this thing to pieces, cute kittens not included.

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Girls1

After last week’s game-changing new episode of Lena Dunham‘s Girls, it seemed as if things were finally moving into a fun new direction for the girls, the boys, and all those tangled interpersonal relationships that hold them together. And then came death. Just, like, a lot of death. Hannah’s nutso editor, David Pressler-Goings (John Cameron Mitchell) showed up dead (as Hannah shared, Gawker even posted about his Hudson River-bound death under the amazing and horrifying title “Goings Goings Gone”), and Hannah reacted in typical Hannah fashion – she made it about her. Specifically, she turned it into a series of long-winded worries about what will happen to her still-gestating e-book. Elsewhere, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) mused on the death of her close friend Season to very surprising results, Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) literally just stood around folding bandanas, Marnie (Allison Williams) continued to feel the fallout from her YouTube fame, and Caroline (Gaby Hoffmann) danced on some graves. No, really. Death is all around! And so is regression! As ever, your own Rob Hunter and I are here to discuss, deconstruct, and just plain yammer about the latest episode of Girls.

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episode-23-1024

If you’ve become disenfranchised with Lena Dunham’s Girls over the course of the HBO series’ past two seasons, this week’s episode (the third of the third season, intriguingly titled “She Said OK”) just might be the one to get you reinvested in the show. On a surface level, the episode employs some classic television tricks and twists – it introduces a lightning rod new character (Gaby Hoffmann, kicking off a long arc as Adam’s sister Caroline) and it throws the rest of its cast together in a party situation – but the episode also cannily addresses some of its continued criticism in a few nifty (and often just kind of meta) ways and explores new territory for old characters. It’s Hannah’s (Dunham) twenty-fifth birthday, and she’s celebrating with a party at a local Brooklyn bar, as thrown by Marnie (Allison Williams, who goes for the MVP title in this episode and just barely loses it to Hoffmann) and the Horvath parents (Becky Ann Baker and Peter Scolari, returning as guest stars). As excited as Hannah is for the celebration, the day has already been a strange one, thanks to the arrival of Adam’s (Adam Driver) sister Caroline, who embodies all of the worst bits of the Girls girls in one staggeringly scary package. Adam’s compassion for Caroline only goes so far, and he’s warned Hannah that she’s “mean-hearted” and will only ruin things for everyone. Elsewhere, Ray (Alex Karpovsky) encounters his ex Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) at the party and has […]

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Lena Dunham Girls

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Girls Females Only

Lena Dunham’s perennially popular and continuously controversial HBO series Girls is back, thanks to last night’s two-episode double-whammy, an entire hour of lady-centric television that reintroduces us to the lives, loves, and horrible horrible oh my god terrible mistakes of our eponymous girls-not-yet-women. And they’re not the only ones back for more! Yes, our own Rob Hunter and I have returned to discuss, dissect, and dismantle each episode of Girls as the season winds on – so let’s see get down to it while we’re still young. The third season of the series picks up an indeterminable number of days? weeks? probably not months? since we last left off with Hannah (Lena Dunham), Marnie (Allison Williams), Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet), Jessa (Jemima Kirke), Adam (Adam Driver), and Ray (Alex Karpovsky), and while plenty has shifted in their lives, it doesn’t seem as if that much has actually changed. Hannah and Adam are playing house, Marnie is mourning the death of her relationship with the departed Charlie (Christopher Abbott), Shoshanna has dedicated her life to dudes, and Jessa is laughing hysterically at her problems (and rehab itself). Yes, this all sounds pretty damn familiar, but the world of Dunham and her cohorts appears to be on the cusp of something very new and very scary, and if everything appears to be surprisingly status quo, we’ve got a sneaking suspicion that’s going to change quite soon – and quite spectacularly. 

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hannah-en-couple-avec-adam

Tomorrow night, while you’re tuned into the 71st Golden Globes, the HBO series Girls (which is again nominated for a couple of those awards) will be kicking off its third season with an excellent therapy-filled episode featuring the guest-starring talents of Richard E. Grant (wise and weaselly), Bob Balaban (hilariously mumbly), Kim Gordon (magnificently meth-y) and Danielle Brooks of Orange Is the New Black (I almost want to believe she’s the same character here). You’ll want to DVR it. And make sure to subscribe to the whole season while you’re scheduling that recording. If you got rid of HBO or don’t have it, borrow someone’s HBO Go password. Stick with it for another round. Even if you’ve already made up your mind that you’re not going to bother with the show anymore, not after a fairly mediocre and miserable sophomore season, rethink that decision. So far, having gotten the chance to dip halfway in with the first six episodes, I think this is the most entertaining season yet. Maybe not the most consistently interesting, I’ll give its critics that, but still very smart and funny and relevant. And most importantly I think it’s the most likable it’s ever been. Perhaps after the midway point the characters will start being really shitty or pathetic again, which I’m sure is what some of its audience actually wants anyway. For now, I think it’s nice to not hate these people for a while. Because it’s the third season, I’ve appropriately limited myself to only three reasons for […]

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2013review_tvshows

According to the kind of people who are prone to make such pronouncements, the Golden Age of Television ended this year with the series finale of Breaking Bad. But with more quality television on the air today than is humanly possible to watch, I don’t see how that could possibly be true.  The one big observation about the TV landscape this year that I’d like to make is that there finally seems to be a preponderance of shows about women, a much-needed correction to the masculinity-obsessed, anti-hero shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad. I love and admire all of those shows, but I’m glad to see that the new opportunities for original programming that the proliferation of cable and now Netflix and Amazon offers has resulted in more stories about women. Without further ado, my picks for the 13 best shows of 2013:

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