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"It's hard to tell someone so young that things don't always end up the way you thought they'd be."
Just when you thought the dust had settled, well, as settled as Girls would ever allow the dust to get, last week's episode of the HBO comedy once again got everybody talking. And talking. And talking. To call "One Man's Trash," the second season's Hannah standalone installment, divisive would most certainly be an understatement as it was hit with the usual criticisms that come with the territory - you know, whether a viewer liked or disliked what they saw based on valid critiques of the show - and people simply dismissing the entire (quite daring) episode as outlandish because they didn't buy physical capability of the two leads. I fall into the former category, since I'd say I gave it a fair shake and even though it never won me over, it was never for reasons of appearances. Something was off with "One Man's Trash," not due to anyone's looks but because the episode felt like a writing class exercise more than an organic development for the show. I think the title says it all, Lena Dunham's not referencing the idiom about subjectivity for nothing. She's well aware of spectatorship and expectations. This week though, we check in on the rest of the cast, specifically the "Boys"...
"Don't do that! Okay. Cause you did have to look."
Well. That's not entirely true. "Boys" does spend more time with the male members of the ensemble than usual but to imply that the titular Girls are all that absent would be a stretch. Of all the characters, the episodes belongs as much to Marnie's trouble as anyone else and Hannah', obviously, is already kind of floating around the periphery. And it's become routine for installments that don't focus on our leading lady to devote one solid segment for Dunham's character to anchor, this time once again occurring in the cold open. "Boys" opens with Hannah and guest star John Cameron Mitchell having some celebratory bevies as they discuss her talent, unique voice and the e-book she's about to write. She's thrilled with the opportunity, even though the one month deadline and string of buzzword bullshit coming out of the 'Pumped Magazine' mentor does make it less appealing than it initially sounds. But hey, an e-book! Now Hannah just has to write the damn thing, even if Jessa's not so encouraging words slash open-ended invitation to stay (as well as surfing fat fruit websites) aren't exactly helping her concentrate.
"Think you enjoyed hanging out with me or my work more?"
If only she had an old friend to share the excitement and post-interview puke story with, someone that wouldn't immediately lump it in with her own shit or bubbly blow it out of proportion. Although, I'll take all the Jessa and Shoshanna we can get, with both sporting characters making the absolute most of their limited screen time in the second season. Marnie, however, has been given her fair share of the spotlight and for the most part done quite well in the expanded role. And I don't just mean screen time but perfectly playing the foil to Hannah, her thread this week very much acting as a continuation of the themes of "One Man's Trash" (and most of the season so far) as all of the Girls are put in the situations they thought they wanted. Lives they dreamed they'd have one day or one's they never could have imagined. Jessa's split from Thomas-John, Shoshanna' sweet love with her loser boyfriend, Hannah spending a few nights in loneliness-revealing-happiness and, finally, Marnie falling in love with the lifestyle not the man living it. Booth seemed pretty cool the first time but, how do I say this, he's a major tool. Did anyone for one second believe that the Ewok in capris thought of Marnie as his girlfriend? Blinders.
"You and I are actually not so different. I may intellectualize everything and you, nothing, but at the end of the day we both get to the same meaty ideas. Maybe because we're both honest men?"
The one thread this week that did live up to the title was Ray and Adam's adventures with "Little Women" and a vicious dog named Dog. Well, Michael, but we don't learn that until later. While Shosh does her best to 'subtly' suggest that her older boyfriend learn how to be an entrepreneur, Ray is much more concerned with finding his copy of Louisa May Alcott's seminal novel and, once Hannah arrives for work only 12 minutes late, he accepts his duty as a man and decides to retrieve the book himself. After a contentious few moments, including the introduction of Michael, Ray and Adam start to hit it off and they get out on a mission to return the hateful mutt to his rightful owner. Because, you know, Adam just stole it cause the owner had to gaul to get coffee. The ferry right to Staten was one of my favorite location shoots of the series to date and I could totally see these two becoming buddies or even roommates, even though Adam ends up bailing and leaving Ray alone in tears. Okay, sitting with Michael in tears since that stupid bitch (excuse my language) wouldn't take her own dog back. What kind of person are you? Straighten your baseball cap, miss!
"Love you. Bye."
While not nearly as funny or energetic as the first few episodes of Season 2, "Boys" was definitely a step up from last week's odd 'play-within-the-show' that focused almost exclusively on Dunham's lead. Ray did get a bit of time, and a lot more this week, with Alex Karpovsky turning what was initially a prickly character into one you can support. It was also great to have Adam Driver back and perhaps Hannah's loneliness might bring him even further back into the fold, or, like I said, the same could occur with a new found friendship with Ray. Where was Charlie I wonder? Patching things up with his headband wearing pixie chick? I would be. The most emotional and telling moment came at the end of "Boys" when both former best friends/roommates desperately wanted to call the other and spill all of their feelings like the old days but hold their tongues and choke back tears and the truth.
Girls returns with Episode 7, "Video Games," next Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. Created by Lena Dunham, the series stars Dunham, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, Allison Williams, Adam Driver and Christopher Abbott.