Girls is losing its appeal

Episode Is Another
Big Disappointment

Hannah's confession reminds us why she's easy to root against.

Coffee shop drama gives Hannah a memorable two-day experience.

Catharsis comes in many forms. Oedipus gouged out his eyes. Romeo committed suicide. Hannah Horvath woke up in a Brooklyn brownstone all alone.

Girls began with a bang this season, but has, during the past three episodes, shriveled into a meandering series that is losing its appeal. Girls is turning into a show that can't stay out of its own way. And Sunday’s episode, “One Man’s Trash,” epitomizes the downward spiral Lena Dunham’s pet project is heading toward.

Only two of the show’s main characters appear: Hannah and Ray. Together, they work at Cafe Grumpy, the coffee shop Ray manages. An attractive yet irate customer walks in and demands to speak to a manager. Someone’s been putting the shop’s trash in the man’s cans. Yes, he’s attractive. And yes he’s irate.

Ray freaks out on an irate customer.

Ray comes off like a petulant schmuck during his argument with the customer, who seems to have mesmerized Hannah. She quits her job, then chases after Mr. Attractive and Irate (Patrick Wilson) who happens to be a 42-year-old doctor in the midst of marriage woes. Hannah’s guilt gets the best of her as she confesses she’s been dumping the coffee shop trash in his cans.

What happens next is so overdramatic, so far-fetched, so desperate, so cliched… that it’s safe to say Girls has hit the point of no return.

Take a look for yourself:

  • Hannah and Dr. Josh have sex that both admit was “weird.”
  • Dr. Josh cooks a mean steak even though dirty hipsters interrupt with loud music.
  • Dr. Josh calls out sick to spend an entire day with Hannah.
  • Hannah stares like 13-year-old front row at a Justin Bieber concert while gazing at Dr. Josh reading the morning paper.
  • Hannah and Dr. Josh play naked ping-pong and bang on the table in between sets.
  • Hannah takes a shower and faints.
  • Dr. Josh tells the story of being pleasured by a boy when he was 9.
  • Hannah pours out her heart in a cathartic confession, which ultimately reveals how alone and unhappy she truly is.

The last part is supposed to be the defining moment of Girls’ second season — and perhaps the series. Hannah finally lets down her guard for a little self-examination. In the process, she admits to herself that she craves happiness and normalcy. (Because, you know, playing naked ping-pong with a doctor nearly double your age and in the middle of a divorce is totally normal!).

This should be a moment when we start rooting for Hannah again because let's face it — her actions so far in Season 2 have been as repugnant as the outfit she wears for most of Sunday's episode.

Instead of being on Hannah's side, her rant to Dr. Josh comes across as sophomoric and self-absorbed. She finds misery in the fact she wants to be like others since her entire goal in life is to rack up a series of experiences that includes someone ejaculating on a chest bruise.

To Hannah, the most depressing aspect about her catharsis is how it reveals she’s no different from anyone else out there. They all want love, a shoulder to cry on, a super-soft bathrobe to wear, happiness, and of course, naked ping-pong.

Hannah is lost. Very lost.

“One Man’s Trash” is a harbinger that Girls’ charm is running out. The past three episodes have produced few laughworthy moments. Story lines have gone stale. The best characters go weeks without any screen time (who ever would have thought we'd be missing Adam?!). And we’ve sure as hell seen enough of Lena Dunham’s chest for one lifetime.

Either way, just like Hannah comes to the sobering conclusion that she’s no different from anyone else, Girls is beginning to look like just an ordinary show.

More on Girls

Girls mixes dating and politics
goes YOLO

Is reality a concept too hard to find on Girls?

Photo credit: HBO


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Comments on "Girls is losing its appeal"

PEP February 19, 2013 | 8:29 AM

Matt's disdain for Girls is locked into his political ideology -- see his review from a few episodes ago re: Hannah's dislike of her boyfriend's Republican ideologies. I think Lena Dunham struck a nerve with Mr. Smith and he hasn't been able to move on.

M. Smith February 11, 2013 | 12:57 PM

What's wrong with being honest that I've seen more of Lena Dunham than I ever want? Bringing Megan Fox or anyone else into the argument is moot because even if they possess more impressive bodies, it would still be gratuitous. HBO in general shows too much nakedness (see Game of Thrones). Me being a man has absolutely no bearing on my ability to recap a show that centers on females. The whole reason I started watching the show stemmed from a recommendation from a male friend. I know more males that watch Girls than females. NYC847: I see your point about the whole "YOLO" philosophy the show's puts forth. I wrote about it two weeks back. I really enjoyed the first season. I was raving about it to friends and family. I'm super disappointed in Season 2 because it showed potential to transcend the bulk of the garbage that's on TV these days. But, it continues to revert back into stereotypes and cliches. I don't buy for a second this is how people in NYC are living their daily lives. The story lines are too fantastical. I've been told I'm too linear with stories, but in this show's case, it really had something going in Season 1. It's losing momentum because it's reverting to bad habits. As always, I appreciate the thoughts -- even when there's discord!

nyc847 February 11, 2013 | 9:40 AM

Um... Tina, just because the show centers on a group of women doesn't mean a guy is not permitted to recap it. I guess Two and a Half Men recaps should only be written by someone with testicles then, hm? And Breaking Bad recaps should only be written by people who have dabbled in the meth business? That being said, I'm going to have to disagree with the above argument that Girls is getting stale. The dialogue on this show is spot-on. Like Seinfeld, it really is not meant to be a show about something. It's a show about nothing. It's not so much about plot line and character development as it is about one-liners and awkward situations. It's a slice of life. Just sit back and enjoy. :)

Kelly February 11, 2013 | 9:27 AM

I'm pretty sure if Megan Fox or Scarlett Johansson were showing their boobs on TV every weekend, WOMEN would be saying 'IT'S ENOUGH!' I mean... I don't need a constant reminder of what I WISH I could look like. So I disagree Tina. And although this writer may be a man (it shouldn't matter), I agree with his perspective... last night's episode wasn't very good.

Tina February 11, 2013 | 8:49 AM

"And we’ve sure as hell seen enough of Lena Dunham’s chest for one lifetime."--you would never say that about Megan Fox or Scarlet Johansson. Get over it. Also why is a MAN recapping a show called GIRLS?

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