TV Junkie: GIRLS (Season 3, Episode 1) “Females Only”

Season 3 of GIRLS for its core fans and harshest critics has a lot of hope making its bee line towards the show’s representation of life under 30 in the big city. There’s the hope for more diversity of course, but also the honest continuation of the three objectives defined by its predecessor Sex and The City: one is always looking for a job, apartment, or boyfriend.

And really, GIRLS is the news SATC. Just trying to watch an episode in front of a male specimen could start an unnecessary argument of clashing ideas of what constitutes good television and personal interests, and if you are drafting a laundry list of its attributes that are potentially wrong, there are also a lot of things that are quite good about it as well.

In previewing season 2 in anticipation of the season 3 opener, I found a number of scenes to be almost flavorless, and in this case that’s actually a compliment. Real life sometimes, as entertaining as our conversations can be and how a day can go from bad to good, there are times when it can be pretty unremarkable until that next moment of clarity hits you, leading to a vortex of drama, realization, and review. There were a lot of scenes like this for much of season 2, and as some characters experienced a fall from grace and others a bit of a rise, nothing was achieved without embarrassment and sudden growing pains along the way.

In the trailer for season 3, Shosanna played by Zosia Mamet said to her three friends: “Isn’t it amazing you guys haven’t achieved anything in three years?” While in the background there is a rebuff full of twee from another character, the statement is wince-inducing, and you begin to wonder if the writers of GIRLS are just surveying any post-grad they can find or personally know of any to contribute to the show’s [in a nutshell] bites of reality. I mean, who could even think of saying out loud something as brutal as that, but with the eccentricities of the quarter-life crisis examined from Tumblr, to TIME, to New York Magazine, the secrets are out on how hard it is out here for an entire generation for reasons that remain either unexplained, unfair, or otherwise ludicrous as to how since recorded history no group has had it difficult in becoming stand alone adults. And once and for all, let it be known that no one is more tired of the bullshit of not knowing and living underpaid and under-appreciated than the individuals themselves. They may be caterpillars now, we all know what happens to such pushed away creatures.

I was instantly into the adventures of the four girls the first episode in. While Shoshanna was limited in appearance, there was a great focus on Hannah and Adam trying to make it work (and for once they’re actually calm with each other). Marnie moves back home with her mother in New Jersey and is desperate to finish her own damn puzzle on her own accord, and wild child Jessa is in rehab. There are three scenes in particular that were fantastic and are vying for the best. Shiri Appleby (Roswell alum) made a splash as Natalia, as with her friend egging her on at the cafe Hannah works at, lashes out at former paramour Adam about loving and leaving her, and her rant is filled with sexual exploits that will send any girl that overhears it back into the memory vault of her own experiences. Instead of cringing, you’ll laugh with a kind of layered understanding.

Marnie’s character wasn’t given much depth as she was mourning the loss of Charlie, and hopefully we will see more of her finding her way in later episodes as a person, and without Charlie clouding her brain, even if he was a good guy. Jessa is reluctantly trying to get better spiritually and substance-free, and that is where we are finally introduced to what’s been heralded as the series first legit black character played by Danielle Brooks of Orange Is the New Black. Her scenes are great and include a shocker from Jessa herself.

Adam Driver, who plays Adam, is a highlight especially in the first episode. His comedic timing is subtly astute, and Adam’s presence has grown from being downright gross to almost likable. While he may be the show’s resident Pig Pen, he obtains the most veracity. Truthfully, as the male voice of the show and one with an actual backbone, he may be the only reason that recalcitrant boyfriend might stick around to watch for a few minutes longer.

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