News__ GIRLS: SEASON 2, EPISODE 2
Put your thing down, flip it and reverse it.
In last week's recap of Girls, I defended the quick pacing that blew Donald Glover onto the scene like a black male Dorothy--even though we didn't notice until this episode that he's black "because we don't live in a world with divisions like that." Glover was a heavy dose of in media res that started season two with a bang. Lena Dunham doesn't mess around. It felt weird without some plot foreplay but I was ok with that because I thought we'd get some afterglow cuddle. Nope, no metaphoric cuddling in episode two. No Shoshanna to spoon us gently from behind. Ray, what a lucky guy.
This episode, titled "I Get Ideas," was heavily caffeinated. Maybe that's because Girls should be an hour-long show. Even the first season felt crammed into that 28-minute time slot. Now, the characters are richer, the situations more complex and the writers are still navigating that same small space.
The rush of dialogue and all the jumps between characters didn't amount to very much, however. By the end of the episode, it felt like nothing had really happened. After the premiere, we needed to slow down and unpack a few things. "I Get Ideas" was perfectly described by Glover's character: "It was well-written...I just didn't feel like anything happened in it...Ultimately it just felt like waiting in line and all the nonsense that goes through your head when you're trying to kill time."
Maybe the disconnect occurred because unlike the other episodes, this one was written exclusively by executive producer Jenni Konner. I wasn't surprised to see her name in the credits. The voice was different in this episode. That's not to say that Konner is a bad writer. She co-penned the episode "Welcome to Bushwick a.k.a. the Crackcident" with Dunham in season one.
The wound-up energy worked for Shoshanna's crackcident, but it was too on point for "I Get Ideas." The phrase "too on point" got thrown around in my undergraduate writing workshops as a backhanded compliment. It means, you're hitting all the right beats but it's not working because you're hitting all the right beats.
Girls needed more dissonance this episode. A change in tempo, mood, rhythm, something, anything. That's why the Shoshanna and Ray scene stuck out. It was quieter moment that could have shed more light on their relationship. Instead, Marnie whirled in like a tornado and ruined the chance. Who cares about Marnie hostessing? It's barely worth Elijah's "slutty von Trapp child" joke.
This might seem contradictory after complaining about nothing happening in "I Have Ideas," but the writing needed to slow down and give the audience a few moments to breathe. Season two's cinematography is spectacular but we have no time to enjoy it. What about the moment when Marnie leaves an interview after being told that she's not right for the art world?
Marnie is possibly the fastest character and the show skips by her character development in a sitcom-y way. Last time we saw her, she was back in bed with Charlie. What happened with that? Are we satisfied with these short plot-heavy clips that are rarely revisited?
It was nice to see more of Jessa, however. She's an amazing character who believes her own bullshit. Believing her own bullshit is essential to who she is. Her marriage is a basket full of puppies--sounds great but completely impractical. Three puppies at the same time? Are you kidding me? And guys, I love puppies.
There's schadenfreude in waiting for Jessa and Thomas-John to fall apart. It's going to be delicious. At the same time, there's no immediate problem with Thomas-John. The unravelling, I suspect, will be more about her than him.
Adam's an unraveling mess and it's difficult to see where else Dunham can take his character as a writer. Hannah still feeds on his drama, though. She seeks his love throughout season one and then gets scared when he gives it to her in the finale. Now the fear is more tangible. In this episode, Hannah suggests that he's suicidal and homicidal which is both rational and irrational. She's playing into his manic love trap while protecting herself from love-fear by focusing on home invasion-fear. All her fears are legitimate as far as I'm concerned.
I'd like to extend an offer to hearty's conversation about Girls with the following poll: