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SPOTLIGHT: Sweeping Culture Daily

Two Guys, One Girl, and a Television Show: “Girls,” Season 2, Episode 1

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By Bryan Hood, Craig Hubert, and Chloe WymaLast night was a big one for everyone’s favorite 20-something Lena Dunham. Not only did she win a Golden Globe for her role as Hannah on “Girls,” the series won best comedy and also had the premiere of its second season. Since it’s clear to anyone who reads about pop culture on the Internet that the hubub about the series isn’t going away anytime soon, and because everyone loves to talk about it, we’ve decided to add our own conversation to the mix – a format we’ll continue each week for the rest of the season. Here’s what we had to say, over GChat, about the return of HBO’s “Girls.”

DONALD GLOVER, REPUBLICAN:

Craig: Well, let’s begin with Donald Glover, or as he’s known in the “Girls” universe, Sandy.
Chloe: Why is he reading Ayn Rand?
Craig: I think that was a tease. They plan on revealing him as a Republican.
Bryan: Yeah, which he is, right? That’s the thing? Since reading Rand is code for Libertarian > Tea Party > Republican.
Craig: Right. They didn’t come out and say it directly, but Dunham has talked about it in interviews. He is definitely a Republican.
Chloe: She’s certainly avoiding the tokenism everyone was talking about.
Bryan: To some extent. I mean, if there’s one show that is sometimes a little blunt in hammering home points, it’s “Girls.”
Craig: Do Republicans buy books at Spoonbill and Sugartown?
Bryan: Do you think he’s going to be an actual romantic rival to Adam though? Or is he going to transition into friend mode at some point?
Chloe: I think he’s just a sideshow. She’s gonna end up with Adam. Which doesn’t make the show racist.
Bryan: No. But, I mean, it is sort of complicated. OK, they get called out for not having any minority characters on the show last year and in the third scene, they introduce one, and, of course, it’s someone that she is romantically involved with. They didn’t even ease into that one.
Chloe: Yeah, I feel like that scene, when they’re having sex and he’s saying, “you wanted this, you wanted this,” is a very meta moment where they’re addressing the show’s critics. I don’t know, I thought it was kind of clever.
Craig: My only problem is that their idea of addressing the critics is to make the black character a despicable Republican and take him out of the story within a few episodes. Isn’t that worse?
Bryan: Is he going to be a presence for more than just answering the critics?
Chloe: Well, maybe he’ll be a lovable Republican.

MARNIE’S DOWNWARD SPIRAL:

Bryan: I think this is a great new direction for Marnie. She’s been the least interesting character from the get go for me.
Craig: I felt embarrassed for her the entire episode. The introduction of her mother, following her ex-boyfriend around the party, the sex scene!
Bryan: Oh yeah, it’s so cringe inducing.
Chloe: She seems to be taking Hannah’s place. Marnie is pretty openly falling apart.
Bryan: So Charlie’s relationship has gone from being crazy and fun, and him completely changing, to slipping right back into Marnie mode?
Chloe: Yeah. The Charlie/Marni reunion seems inevitable. Showing up at your ex’s place in the middle of the night just because you need to cuddle with someone. That’s pretty vulnerable.
Craig: I think Charlie will ultimately reject Marnie. He is dominated by her, as well as by Audrey, his new girlfriend.
Chloe: Me too. But not for Audrey. She sucks.
Craig: The girl with the headbands carrying the tallboy, looking for weed. The worst girl at the party.
Chloe: With the shorts jumpsuit making a b-line for the pot.
Bryan: She is the worst.

DJ SHOSHANNA

Craig: My favorite character! The weirdest, the least manipulative. I mean, she was fake DJ-ing with a keg cup to her ear! The best part of the episode.
Chloe: Wearing that ridiculous Kate Middletown fascinator thing on her head.
Bryan: I can watch her and Ray’s awkwardness for an entire episode.
Craig: But what do you think of her just giving in to Ray?
Chloe: There’s something really sweet about it. And it was kind of sexy, weirdly. There’s so little room for romantic moments in the show, everything is so drearily awkward and realistic. So I’m glad he just kind of swept her off her feet. Even though it was kinda rom-com-y.
Craig: They are the most well adjusted, oddly. Lesson learned: Smoke some crack, and maybe you’ll find true love.
Chloe: Cheers to that.
Bryan: They’re also the two most honest characters on the show, right? Don’t they just make sense?
Chloe: They do.
Bryan: Ray+Shoshanna4Lyfe
Chloe: Just like it makes sense that Hannah always gets peed on by Adam, whether she’s helping him with his bedpan or he just wants to take a leak on her in the shower.

THE SEX SCENE

Craig: OK, let’s discuss Elijah – specifically, his sex scene.
Chloe: Yes, we need to talk about that.
Bryan: I love Elijah’s boyfriend, by the way. “You’re all so boring” he yells at all the kids at the party and he’s right! Even if he is just picking low lying fruit.
Chloe: Yeah, that party looked pretty boring.
Bryan: Why do they have a karaoke machine? Do you guys know someone with a karaoke machine?
Chloe: I wish I did.
Bryan: I know people buy them, I have seen them in catalogs, but I thought they were for suburban parents.
Craig: Especially a karaoke machine programmed with Sarah McLachlan songs.
Chloe: They’re ironically re-appropriating the karaoke machine. What did you guys think of Elijah’s debatable bisexuality?
Bryan: That scene was odd, but wonderfully odd. It was good to see someone but Hannah have an incredibly uncomfortable sexual experience.
Chloe: I love that he gets off on Lisa Rinna and Allison Janney.
Craig: He’s a weird character. He and Hannah try to0 hard to be best friend roommates. And, according to his boyfriend, he talks a lot of shit about Hannah.
Chloe: All roommates talk shit about each other.
Craig: I love my roommate! Just in case she ever reads this!
Bryan: My roommate’s an asshole, guys.
Chloe: But I thought it was interesting that they made him bisexual and then kind of took it away within a matter of minutes.
Craig: Right. I’m wondering if they will ever bring it up again. I have a feeling they won’t, at least not in a meaningful way. It seemed more of a way to get Marnie to Charlie’s bed at the end of the episode.
Chloe: I kind of hope they do.
Bryan: They have to. Marnie is just as self-obsessed as Hannah. She won’t tell Hannah, she’ll stupidly tell Jessa in the episode this season where they oddly hang out the whole time bonding. Then Jessa will tell Hannah, in a “isn’t life funny” way, and the fall out will be great and unexpected.
Craig: Do you write “Girls” fanfic on the side?

THE ENIGMA THAT IS ADAM

Bryan: I love that Adam loves “Bagger Vance.”
Chloe: Yeah. WTF. The black guy loves Ayn Rand, the white guy loves “Bagger Vance.” I don’t know what’s going on there.
Bryan: But I like it.
Chloe: I don’t want to harp on it too much, but wasn’t “Bagger Vance” criticized for employing all kinds of racial stereotypes?
Bryan: Yup.
Chloe: What do you think Dunham is doing there? Maybe it’s just a self-conscious nod to the fact that everyone was calling her racist? Well, anyway, “I made you feel like your whole body was a clit” is a great line.
Craig: On that note, we should wrap this up! As Adam would say, that was a great hang.
Chloe: As Shoshana would put it, “Girls” is deflowered but not devalued.

Photo by Jessica Miglio

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