Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Frank Review of "Girls" Season One (2012)

The Short Version? Dirty, neurotic, impoverished sex in the city.
What Is It? Comedy-Drama
Who Is In It? Um... the daughters of David Mamet and Brian Williams?
Should I See It? Maybe

Girls is a hip new dramedy on HBO about twentysomething (mostly) college grads half-assed toiling away in New York. There was a marathon recently, so I decided to catch up with the series to date and offer relatively "real time" commentary on each episode.

  1. Pilot: So, I guess this is one of those comedy of awkwardness/inappropriateness grandchildren of Woody Allen. I don't like any of the characters, and I have trouble telling the actresses Lena Dunham and Zosia Mamet apart. I like the adults better, like Chris Eigeman's cameo as an "employer" and Peter Scolari & Becky Ann Baker as the lead character's parents.

  2. Vagina Panic: I liked this one a bit better. Partly because the lack of quality grown-up actors meant the younger ones weren't outshone, and partly because the girls and boys are so monumentally fucked-up that their train wreck lives became more interesting. Most of the characters are gaining dimension, but Shoshanna (the Sex and the City acolyte) is bugging the hell out of me. Sakina Jaffrey is great as a quietly exasperated gynecologist. This show has pretty great musical cues that are appropriate to given circumstances.

  3. All Adventurous Women Do: No wait, Marnie (the uptight whitebread bitch) is bugging the hell out of me. Also, this episode felt fabricated, like it was trying to be more like a "real" show. Been a while since I've seen James LeGros in anything, and it's awesome how he's like an actual actor now who looks like a person and shit.

  4. Hannah's Diary: Man, this show is really great at digging up awesome old character actors like Richard Masur. TV shows used to be all about familiar faces hitting the predictably right notes, and I miss that. I'm also finding that I like the girls a lot better when they're separated from one another and out in the wild. As a group-- estrogen isn't really analogous to testosterone-- it's like they's measuring each other's clits to see who's got the longest one, right?

  5. Hard Being Easy: I liked this one. It was an emotional pay-off episode for several storylines, and had a tender humanity to counterbalance the awfulness the characters had displayed thus far.

  6. The Return: This is a stealthy series. The episode is like a mini indie chick flick, but they hide it under all the schadenfreude. I never expected to see Peter Scolari nude in this life, but I'll admit that he's holding up well.

  7. Welcome to Bushwick a.k.a. The Crackcident: This episode so requires context. Shit is going down left and right that's meaningful if you watch the show, but would seem so random otherwise. I speak from experience, because I watched part of this episode as I was taping the marathon, and was all "the fuck," but in sequence I'm all "it's cool." By this point, I still hate the shit out of Marnie the Robocunt, but I fairly well like everyone else as the messes that they are. Jeff took kind of a bad turn, but then again, fuck him for chasing skirt when he seems to have a good scene at home.

  8. Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too: This one started out okay, but felt flabby in the middle, and the whole thing had too obvious of a structure. I like arcs that pay off over multiple episodes, so it feels artificial in this type of vehicle for everything to be set up and resolved in a single episode.

  9. Leave Me Alone: Started out well with Hannah being horrible to someone who deserved it, and Jessa working out some things. Then about halfway through, Hannah started sabotaging herself and seemingly the episode. The upside is that it hopefully means less Marnie next season. Shoshanna needs more screen time, and Marnie way less.

  10. She Did: What the fuck was that? The whole episode was just a big bag of arbitrary that gets dropped in the sand at the end. Maybe the producers assumed the series would fail and decided to give it a sort of artistic closure just in case, but man, that was bad.
Final analysis? Kind of like the first season or so of Seinfeld. The basic characters are there, and they're alright, but they still need time and work to get properly fleshed out. The biggest hits come out of continuity, so following the series is an all-or-nothing proposition. Not only can't I see it as appointment television, but I'm not sure I'm ready to commit to a season two marathon next year, either. It's a bubble show with regard to my viewing interest and recommendation. I'm ultimately happy with the return on my five-ish hour investment, but I'll wait for the notices before giving any more of a green light to this series.

1 comment:

TV Theme Song said...

Thanks for the review.


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