If you’ve watched both seasons of Lena Dunham’s Girls on HBO [And if you haven’t–turn away or face spoilers], the second season might have left you, like me, feeling a little scrambled. I’m confused by how exceeding sympathetic I feel toward the male characters and can’t help but wonder when– no, seriously– are these girls going to get it together?!? The main trio of guys, despite being often ghoulish (Adam), gutless (Charlie), and grumpy (Ray), somehow seemed to shine this season as Girls and its girls got darker. There were little signs of the clever and quirky chicks we once knew, and instead the ladies became wholly unlikeable and nearly one-dimensional. The quartet of miserable shrews was nothing but selfish (Marnie), self-centered (Shoshanna), narcissistic (Jessa), and self-absorbed (Hannah). Is this another complicated construct of crafty screenwriter Dunham? Or has she really let her characters succumb to the tiresome damsel in distress trope?
Season one’s simpering sad-sac Charlie seems to have it made, running a successful start-up and feathering a fat nest egg. But he also too easily welcomed manipulative Marnie back into his life, and she insists (unprovoked!) that it hasn’t got a thing to do with his Benjamins. Poor pessimist Ray pushed to advance in the cutthroat coffee shop world to please her, but still got his heart treated like monkey meat by childlike Shoshanna. At least he’s blissfully unaware of her extracurricular activities. Still devoted to the Alcoholics Anonymous, Adam tried his hand at dating to get over haughty Hannah, but came running, literally, when she “accidentally” Facetimed him in a desperate plea for attention. Divorcee Jessa is M.I.A. as the season comes to a close, but it’s easy to venture a guess that she’s likely doing something deplorable to a dude who doesn’t deserve it, because that’s what Girls did in season two. The sinking ship of each female’s life has a some poor sap hopelessly in tow.
There’s been a lot of speculation over whether or not the season, and its closing chapters in particular, were a sweeping satire of rom-coms and lady-centric entertainment wherein the heroic but flawed guy steps in and saves the poor frantic female from herself. I prefer to give Dunham the credit she deserves and hope that this season wasn’t the throwaway its been panned as, but is a steppingstone to serious breakthroughs and growth in season three. Her anti-heroines have a lot of challenges to overcome and we all know that no one can solve our problems for us. Right? Right?!? —Casandra Armour