Sunday, February 21, 2016

Girls recap: Season 5, Episode 1, "Wedding Day"

The season-five premiere of Girls is a microcosm of the series as a whole. It mercilessly flays its four female leads and the men who love them, autopsying their narcissism, unearned self-pity, blindered entitlement, and youthful arrogance with a precision so clinical it can be hard to watch when it isn't slyly funny. But if they're easy to condemn, the characters are hard to dismiss, as their just as honestly depicted insecurities, intermittent acts of kindness, and deeply felt, if inchoate, love for each other lead to moments of hard-earned grace and connection.

In what may be a screw-you to critics who lambaste the series because they dislike or disapprove of Hannah (Lena Dunham) and her posse for a litany of frequently, though by no means always, misogynistic reasons (too fat, too whiny, too white), Dunham has her characters call out some of each other's least attractive traits while making it clear they love each other anyway. After Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) burbles about how Japan, where she's been working for the past few months, has “seeped into my soul,” influencing “my choice of pens, everything,” Jessa (Jemima Kirke) drily observes: “Shoshanna, since she got back from Japan, is somehow even more of a cartoon.” In a casually damning description of Marnie's (Allison Williams) world-class cluelessness, Hannah tells her surely-too-nice-to-last boyfriend, Fran (Jake Lacy), “You'd be surprised what she can miss.” And Ray (Alex Karpovsky) describes Hannah as “painfully narcissistic, shockingly tone-deaf, and just generally one of the most insufferable people you'll ever meet”—and as someone he loves, “like a younger sister to me.”

Read the rest in Slant Magazine

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