When we last left Girls, Hannah's possibly-maybe boyfriend, Adam, had been hit by a truck after uttering the words, "I'm a beautiful fucking mystery to you." The accident may have been karmic revenge for uttering those words, but it also points to why Girls has become such a cultural tidal wave.
The show has been thoroughly dissected since debuting last spring on HBO, many critics expressing their frustration and irritation with the portrayal of four women in their early 20s living in Brooklyn, calling the show out for being too narcissistic or privileged or white. Lena Dunham, the show's creator and embodiment of Hannah, received much criticism for not having diverse enough friends in the cast, and the show was often dismissed as a vanity project, but it was so criticized specifically because it is a mystery to many people who aren't 24 and broke and sad and trying to make a living and fucking up every once in a while.
It was ripped apart because there hasn't been a show that addresses this demographic is a real or true way. (And, while we were all dissecting the season two premiere of Girls last night, the show won two Golden Globes.)
The New York Times ran a piece yesterday titled "The End of Courtship," which circles the idea that dating is dead and text hookups are the new hookups and being someone's "main hang" -- a phrase used in last night's season premiere -- is now the equivalent of a relationship. As we return to season two, Hannah is now sleeping with Donald Glover's character, Sandy, and they have the type of casual sex that's become as easy as a text. She is no longer with Adam, much to his dismay, but is taking care of him while he recuperates from his accident, more out of guilt than anything.
Hannah is now also living with her gay ex-boyfriend, Elijah, Marnie (Allison Williams) is unemployed, Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) is no longer a virgin, and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) married a man she barely knows, which pivots the season in a different direction.
Rita Wilson has a wonderful cameo as Marnie's mother, who tries to offer her life advice by saying, "Sometimes you need a pair of rough hands on your body." Marnie, now jobless and boyfriend-less, tries to make sense of her loneliness by sleeping with Elijah, who doesn't make things better when he says, "How am I supposed to get hard if you're rolling your eyes?"
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
We've all been there, right, ladies?
And those awkward encounters are one of the show's strengths. Yes, Dunham's character is flawed and narcissistic and doesn't know what she wants, but she's betting that we've all been there. The episode ends with Hannah stopping by Sandy's house, asking to borrow a copy of The Fountainhead as code for sex. The final shot we see is her disrobing from behind.
There was also much critique of how naked Hannah was last season, but showing what a normal, healthy woman's body looks like is another strength: It points out this generation's narcissism, heightened by social media and the culture's obsession with memoir and self, but it also tries to subvert the idea that we have to be perfect, even when we're naked.
Girls won such a devoted fan base -- of men and women -- by taking those moments of uncertainty and doubt and making them real. Hannah tells Adam she's dumping him because she changed her mind. "How does that work?" he asks. Girls is trying to figuring it out too.