Here come the Girls

Sex, sisterhood and Shoshana

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Enter the murky world of the female twenty-something mind with the return of HBO comedy Girls – ‘the real Sex in the City’. The double episode opener conjured high school drama-style antics with the titles ‘Females Only’ and ‘Truth Or Dare’. What ensued was a very real opening sex scene, a road trip to rehab, an awkward dinner party, and an even more awkward encounter with an ex.

Last season was unexpectedly gloomy following its initial season one LOL-fest. Thankfully, season 3 seems to have reestablished its upbeat and off-center plotlines. Post OCD-related breakdown (resulting in a DIY haircut and a Q-tip embedded eardrum) Hannah has turned her life around. With Adam lovingly making sure she takes her medication every day and an ‘incredibly exciting professional endeavour’ underway, she is so chipper she remains unperturbed by the a torrent of abuse she and Adam receive from his season two-ex Natalia and her feisty blonde friend in episode one: ‘Enjoy your urine-soaked lives!’ being at the milder end of the onslaught. As for Adam himself, he emerges less psychotic but remains disarmingly honest: ‘I don’t hate your friends, I’m just not interested in anything they have to say.’

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Marnie is still a mess, but is slowly reclaiming her dignity with a job (albeit in Ray’s Café, a far cry from her dream career) and her own apartment (described as a ‘shit hole’ by her well-meaning mother). She continues to pine for her on-again-off-again ex Charlie who unceremoniously dumped her just as they were about to make homemade pizzas. Actor Christopher Abbott has quit the show, so either the emotional outbursts will continue or a new love interest will soon appear on the scene.

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Jessa, who is now hauled up in rehab, has made two exciting new friends in older rehab confidente (a terminally drug addicted, chain-smoking Richard E Grant) and Laura (Orange Is The New Black fans will know her as Taystee). Girls tends to teeter on wildly inappropriate, eye-squeezingly uncomfortable viewing and the scene in which Jessa ‘makes it up’ to Laura for outing her as a lesbian is particularly jaw-dropping. Her sociopathic response even more so: ‘It was basically charity.’

When it all gets a tad too unsettling, Shoshanna Shapiro appears with some side-splitting comic relief. Like a female Brick from Anchorman, Shosh’s peculiar questions, squeeked in her high-pitched voice (‘Bed is now?’ or ‘What’s your favourite utensil?’), alongside her hilariously pink-tinted take on life (revealing she’s ‘alternating nights of freedom with nights of academic focus’ and describing Hannah’s haircut as looking ‘like a little boy on a fancy cookie box’) is the perfect remedy to harder scenes. Free from her virginity and her boyfriend, Shoshanna is uncensored. Expect to guffaw.

Girls is certainly a very amusing and frills-free take on coming of age in NYC. Dunham and her collaborator Jennifer Konner (who penned the second episode) write some of the best dialogue on television, but some of the satire remains slightly uncomfortable viewing. There is a disturbing level of self-involvement which, while comical to watch, is a little ominous: Hannah’s resentment that their road trip to retrieve Jessa from rehab isn’t quite the stimulating literary journey she’d imagined, and her response to Adam’s disinterest in her friends, ‘I’m not interested in anything they have to say, that’s not the point of friendship.’ But with equal doses of recoiling and chuckling, we look forward to seeing how season three will pan out. Plus, with double the amount of episodes this time around, we’ll have plenty of material to help us decide.

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