Archive for the ‘News’ Category

GIRLS: SEASON 2, EPISODE 9

Monday, March 11th, 2013
Recapping this Girls episode on all fours. Jk, totally on my couch on zero fours. The penultimate episode of Girls was twisted and quick -- just the way a penultimate episode should be. Everything is building up to next week's finale and this week's "On All Fours" keeps us on our toes. It comes at us from behind. It's scary and we don't know if we like it. I pictured Lena Dunham whispering Adam's lines in my ear, "I want to hit the walls with you." I want to make light of this episode. I want to laugh at Hannah in the hospital with no pants and a q-tip in her ear. I want to make fun of Marnie singing, "You could be my white Kate Moss tonight." I want to write a million similes for Shoshanna's hair. From Ray's peace sign bathrobe to Hannah's butt cheek splinter, "On All Fours" was full of trademark Girls goofy moments. The problem is, none of those goofy moments felt very goofy. They weren't light or funny. Almost every beat of "On All Fours" was tinted with anxiety and unease. Even the colors were uncomfortable. Hannah's scenes were monochromatically beige and over two-thirds of the episode takes place at night. When Adam starts drinking, his scenes are cast with a Twin Peaks style red and black. The cinematography feels cramped and intrusive full of close-ups and over the shoulder shots. We rarely see characters in conversation together. We see one, then we see the other. There's room to breathe during Charlie's party. The camera pans around Marnie singing and we see the faces of Forbid's employees. When they have sex in his office, she says, "Are people going to see us?" and he replies, "Who gives a fuck." We see them together, lit by the computer glow. Those computers helped him grow a pair of balls and now he's going to fuck in front of them. That scene was incredibly hot. It's a strange thing to unpack because Charlie doesn't reveal a lot. His behavior isn't illuminated by any facial expressions. He used to be a sad puppy dog but now he's a bearded robot. On the rooftop, during Hannah's dinner party, he tried to kiss her and it didn't go down too well. Marnie had Booth and she had all the power. When Charlie became successful, Marnie showed up at his office to scout out the situation. He wasn't overly welcoming and in this episode, he no-showed for a lunch date. It seemed safe to assume that he was over this gold digging chick. She sings a cover of Kanye West's "Stronger" and he's thoroughly embarrassed. It was during a concerned, yet condescending reprimand over her performance "treat" that he goes in for another smooch. This time, it works. The power play between Charlie and Marnie makes the scene hot and uncomfortable at the same time. The theme of power throughout "On All Fours" contributes to its uneasy vibe. Hannah can't control herself which translates into not taking care of herself. She runs into Adam and he offers dominantly caring words. He's shaken by the control this dynamic has on him and he begins to drink for the first time since he was a teenager. The alcohol controls him, he attempts to control Natalia and that doesn't go according to plan -- if there even was a plan. The dynamic between Hannah and Adam reminded me of the movie Secretary, wherein a boss helps his secretary stop self-harming by spanking her over his desk. Maggie Gyllenhaal crawling across the floor echoes Shiri Appleby's crawl, albeit with less Purell cravings. Is it a coincidence that Charlie and Marnie have sex on his desk? In a lesser expression of the same idea, Ray begins the episode sick and unknowingly cuckolded by a doorman. Ray also makes a comment about Charlie's party offerings as the "people's food." More power exchanges that cast a strange shadow across scenes that should be funny. The sex scene between Marnie and Charlie also reminded me of this article Mandy Stadt wrote for xoJane. I'm not a regular reader, but I read that post in October and have been thinking about this part ever since: "I fell into tears, and then he pulled me closer and I kissed him. He had gotten what he wanted. He had broken me. Beware the man who gets a hard-on when you cry." Get spanked, get choked, get slapped -- you do your thing, whatever that might be, but beware people who want to break you. When Marnie broke up with Charlie, she broke him. Now he's trying to break her, although I'm not convinced he succeeded in this episode. He told her she was manic and had to get her shit together but she didn't budge. She said, "Sometimes being really good, all the time, feels really bad." I hope she's strong enough to withstand Charlie completely dismissing her and dating that blonde graphic designer with a spiky headband, because that's what I predict is going to happen. What do you think? I want to know so badly. Read last week's recap here. --Jess Bloom

GIRLS: SEASON 2, EPISODE 3

Monday, January 28th, 2013
Snort a line and switch your shirt with a stranger, it's Girls recap time   It's great when Girls gets goofy. When Hannah goes nips out in a yellow mesh tank top, hopped up on drugs and tells Marnie that "maybe I don't care about being polite because it's a Wednesday night, baby, and I'm alive," punctuated with a chest pound. When Elijah shares his aspiration to raise show dogs. When Marnie describes a creepy doll as dirty talk. When Jessa tells some irrelevant story about "one of Tom Petty's heartbreakers." When Shoshanna says, "Ray."   It's Apatow's slapstick sensibilities colliding with Dunham's dry wit in a magical way. Although the characters of Girls take themselves incredibly seriously, no one else does.     Going beyond the realm of Girls, this episode makes fun of New York's 20-something freelance writers who exploit their hot mess lives for pageviews. This isn't about New York anymore. This is about New York as it exists on the Internet. This is about unique visitors all over the world who picked up the not-so-subtle nod to Jane Pratt, xoJane.com and Cat Marnell when Hannah interviews at JazzHate.com. It's online subculture as pop culture. It places Girls in a very specific time period: the era of pageviews.     At her editor's request, Hannah decides to do a whole bunch of coke and write about it because she feels iffy about a threesome with strangers off Craigslist. A quick stop at Jessa and Shoshanna's bootleg stoop vintage store, a pop-in at sketchy ex-junkie Laird's pomegranate juice palace and Hannah starts railing lines with Elijah before dinnertime.   Sidebar: what could Laird possibly do for a living? That pomegranate juice is expensive. Is "cocaine guardian angel" a paying gig?     Hannah's coke adventure  power clash outfit, inspired by a girl Elijah went to middle school with who "fucked both her uncle and her step-dad," would be a stellar Halloween costume. The way Hannah wears clothes with reckless abandon is truly amazing.   Even more amazing is Lena Dunham's ability to throw herself into Hannah's character. She's not afraid of Hannah's ugly side whether that means looking like a hot mess in the soap aisle of Metro Drugs or acting like a self-absorbed asshole when Elijah confesses to his "couple of pumps" with Marnie.   It's always been a selling point of Girls that Dunham explores the negative personality traits of her characters. Is it possible that the audience's appreciation for Dunham blinds us from outrightly hating Hannah?     At this point, is Hannah likeable at all? Every action in this episode is steeped with selfish intentions, reactions and explosions. The conversation between Hannah and Elijah in the drugstore is uncomfortable because Elijah is right. It's his sexuality and his relationship with Marnie, but it's as if we're suppose to suffer from the same brand of tunnel vision that makes Hannah so upset.   During that scene, it occurred to me that I'm able to stand Hannah because I like Lena so much. Her real life presence on social media outlets, at award shows, in press interviews, saves Hannah from being completely vile. It's meta characterization.     Let's shift over to Marnie because we've been patiently waiting for an end bracket to Booth's "because I'm a man, and I know how to do things," line. Turns out, the artist's bedroom game consists of locking Marnie in a video chamber of babies crying and animals eating each other then reverse starfishing her while she stares at a sad-faced doll.   Congratulations, episode co-writers Dunham and Sarah Heyward, that scene is amazing. It's a rite of passage to have terrible sex with that-guy-in-that-band or that-guy-who-owns-that-place or that-guy-who-plays-for-that-team or that-artist-who-sells-bloody-dollhouses-for-thousands-of-dollars. Sexual tension does not equal good sex, nor does celebrity. It's an important lesson for us all.     That being said, we don't know for sure that this was terrible sex for Marnie. At the end of the episode, she still seems under Booth's spell. Booth & Marnie Forever? Probably not but I find Booth so hilarious that I'd like a few more scenes.     Speaking of a few more scenes, what's with Shoshanna and Jessa? They have both been heavily neglected in season 2 and it continues in this episode. Girls has turned into Hannah and I'm not about it.     Thoughts? Feelings? Coke rant? Lemme know.   Oh and here's the mix AndrewAndrew made for Girls:       Read last week's recap of Girls here.     -Jess Bloom

Round Up

Friday, May 20th, 2011
The world can now relax their face muscles. The Botox Mom who supposedly gave her 8-year-old daughter "cosmetic" injections is lying, or is she. [Jezebel] Jane Pratt's new website, xoJane  launched this week with stories about sleeping with Terry Richardson and why the Babysitters Club changes lives. Check it out and let us know what you think. [xoJane] Speaking of sex, IUD's are on the rise. [Parlour] Fashion is about to get interested in the stock market a whole lot more. Prada is officially going public. [The Cut] Trash has never looked better. [The Hairpin] We wish someone would pay us $134,500 for our love letters. [Refinery 29] Our Editor-in-Chief Hana May plucks some colorful chambray pieces for summer. [Elle]