Girls. And boys.

As much as I was confused by season 2, I have fallen right back in love with Girls over the course of season 3. I resented the neat, picture-perfect way in which season 2 ended, especially with Adam running halfway across town to be Hannah’s Knight in Shining Armour. But season 3 brought back the crazy, the imperfection and the humour in it all. If you watched and loved the first two seasons, this one takes everything up a couple of notches. (And they still get their music right.)

Right form the start I have loved the level of detail, the nuances in each individual character. Even the secondary, but recurrent figures like Laird, the junkie who lives downstairs and Caroline, Adam’s crazy sister have such prominent facets to their personalities. It is especially interesting to see how the distinct edges of each character, down to their eccentricities, their habits and entire beings is not without a place in the overall story line, into which each of them fit perfectly. If Hannah dresses oddly, it is for a reason. If Laird has a perpetually leaky nose, it is for a reason. If Caroline has unkempt eyebrows, that too is not without reason.

Hannah is pretty much a big fuck-you to every single gender norm foisted upon any feminine character on TV ever. There’s little that’s really feminine or typically girly, about her, as one would normally expect from the protagonist of a show called Girls. She’s deliberately imperfect, dresses awkwardly, is self-centred, is not coy and sweet. There’s little Hannah really cares about, apart from herself. And yet carries it all off with a confidence that’s rare to find on TV.

Marnie on the other hand is physically everything Hannah is not. She’s near-perfect with her delicate features, always well-turned-out sense of style, perfect make up and hair. She’s positively sexy, and even I thought so when the show started out. She is as close to perfect as it gets as far as girls are meant to be. But man, I have not loathed a television character as much as I loathe her. Is there anyone out there who likes her? I know a couple of guys who do, but I’m not going to bother asking why.

This season had me really feeling a mix of negativity and pity towards Hannah and Marnie. Shoshanna is the ditz, but I love how headstrong she is. Jessa is made to look like the wayward, free-spirit, and somehow is always the one to drop these simple truths that have completely missed the other girls. Despite the dark and troubling undertones of their respective stories, Shoshanna and Jessa are uplifting and make me laugh out loud.

Seemingly socially dysfunctional, Adam is probably more centred than any of the Girls. He’s in your face, and almost always in a way that’s not pleasant, and I can’t help but stay and listen and like him a little. Ray is brutally honest, and I love that despite his insecurities he doesn’t lose that quality.

I am a big fan of writing that has a purpose and specific intention, because I believe that when things are done to design, and done with intention, they communicate that emotion, that thought perfectly. It’s probably why many mainstream Hindi films annoy me, or not all books by newbie writers stick with me, or trashy pop isn’t memorable. This is not to devalue the place of mainstream cinema, easy reading or pop music, but it definitely says a lot that every episode of Girls I watch, gets archived into my hard disk (much like I did with SATC when I went on a download-and-watch-the-whole-season binge 5 years ago) and every episode of Grey’s Anatomy that I continue to subject myself to is deleted the instant the episode ends. Sometimes even before it really ends.

My grandfather would say this about music — that it didn’t matter what language it was in, if the music was played/sung/performed with genuine emotion or purpose, there is no way it doesn’t communicate it or touch a chord in the audience. He believed it to be true of all forms of art.

This season I found the growing antsy vibe between Hannah and Marnie irritating, sometimes even insufferable. I almost feel like the show needed to grow out of just being a Hannah-Marnie Magnet. To be honest, as the show progresses it’s the boys that are growing on me. Ironic, I thought, that in a show titled Girls, it’s the boys I am rooting for. The finale made me realise that this too perhaps, is by design.

 

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6 Replies to “Girls. And boys.”

  1. I find Marnie and Hannah to be equally shallow and self centered .. I feel like Hannah is unapologetically so and Marnie is still lost in a mire pretending like she cares about others. Glad your post didn’t spoil anything :P I haven’t watched since I left. I found that episode at the hamptons just deeply annoying .. Put me off girls for a bit

    1. Youre absolutely right. They are both essentially self obsessed. The Hamptons episode really brought that to the fore. I enjoyed the whole season this time around. The finale was lovely. You should catch up and watch it. And then tell me what you think.

  2. I like Marnie. Ahem.

    All of them are self-centered. I’ve begun to think it’s a NY thing. I felt the same way when watching SATC and Seinfeld. I have to get over my distaste at that to enjoy the show. With Girls, I feel like there’s awareness of that self-centredness and that elevates the show a bit.

    My favourite character at the moment though is Ray, followed by Shoshana, who was my perennial favourite but sadly she’s going the self-centered way as well. Maybe in NY, coming into your own = being self-centred. I feel with Marnie, her being a but lost takes the edge of her self-centredness in the same way that it did for Hannah in the previous seasons. And I think marnie and Ray have some chemistry that noone else seems to see, hmph, including them.

    Adam is all perfection this seasons but I can’t get the image of how abusive he was at the start of the show and to Natalie out of my head. In that sense, he’s a bit like a soap character who’s inexplicably validated because the show wanted to take that turn.

    1. Okay youre literally the first person I know who likes Marnie. This is interesting to note.

      Yep i like Ray too but I like Adam a little more. And Shoshanna was always my favourite. Did you watch the finale?

      1. Nope, not yet, I just finished episode 8 of season 3. So don’t tell me more. I’ve been avoiding all recaps till I watch further.

        Marnie got on my nerves in earlier seasons, but I like her more this season (while accepting that she’s flawed). Although it pains me to admit it, I guess she’s the one on the show I’m most like (though with a bit of all the other three thrown in to hopefully make me less unsufferable).

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