Mar 20, 2015

TV Recap: Girls - "Daddy Issues"

Left to right: Alex Karpovsky and Lena Dunham
Welcome back to another round of Girls TV Recap. Following the amazing third season, this series will focus on season four and the perils that Hannah (Lena Dunham) and her friends face as she goes to Iowa. What new experiences will she face? What will everyone else do while they wait for her inevitable return? Come back every Friday for the latest recap including thoughts and predictions for each episode. Will it remain one of the best comedies on TV? You'll have to read to find out.

With one episode left to go, Girls is wrapping up a rather solid thought somewhat meandering fourth season. It isn't that anything happened. In fact, there is a lot of noteworthy changes to the story and its increase in characters. However, there is also a sense that the show is officially meeting is end with every new revelation. It isn't because the stories are stale, but because there's an odd sense that the progression and events are only likely to become more outrageous and strange as time goes on. I don't yet hate Girls, but as evident by this episode, we're moving into a territory where some characters are doing great while others are likely doom to fail.
Hannah goes through a lot of motions. For starters, she get reprimanded by an authority figure at school for calling Cleo (Maude Apatow) a bitch. She is not a kid is a fact that is brought up. However, she uses the news of Tad (Peter Scolari) coming out as gay as the main reason for her turmoil. This doesn't excuse it, especially since Elijah (Andrew Rannels) is encouraging him to look the part and calling him "Daddy." This is a term that upsets Hannah and leads to problems regarding how she perceives her father. Meanwhile, Loreen (Becky Ann Baker) is having trouble coming to terms with it too.
Adam Driver
Ray (Alex Karpovsky) wins the election and is holding a celebratory party with Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) also helping out. Things are going well and soon Marnie (Allison Williams) and Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) show up to share their love. However, things quickly turn to focus on them as they announce at a political event to a room of people who don't care that they are getting married. Hannah is confused about her place in life. Ray simply wants things to get going so that he can look like a hero.
Meanwhile, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) breaks up with Ace (Zachary Quinto) after stopping by Adam's (Adam Driver) apartment and having dinner with him and Mimi-Rose (Gillian Jacobs). This causes conflicts that cause the revelation that Ace and Mimi-Rose still have some unrequited troubles to work out. Adam decides to leave with Jessa since both of their lovers broke up with them. They consider going to the political rally, but Adam is too nervous to see Hannah at that moment.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Left to right: Jemima Kirke, Zachary Quinto and Gillian Jacobs
This may be the actual issue with Girls this season. It is taking its time to revel in the fact that growing up is somewhat of a challenge. Sometimes it involves compromises that aren't pleasing. In the case of Hannah, she hides under being a "famous liberal" in order to cope with her father becoming an openly gay man. There's a sense that it bothers her deep down inside and to see her father in a sexual light only makes matters worse. She doesn't care to think of him as a human with lustful desires. He is in fact a complicated man. Even the fact that her mother has trouble getting over it only adds to the mystique of it all. In fact, it is something that will likely take some time to get used to, even from a story standpoint.
It isn't likely that this is Hannah's downfall, though it seems like yet another distraction. Considering that the season started in Iowa and eventually lead to the same old shenanigans for Hannah, it is baffling to see how this season has progressed. It has only replaced one disaster with another. Instead of annoying a study group in Iowa, she is picking fights with teenagers in New York. It isn't pleasant and still sticks true to the themes of the show. However, they are getting a little sad and to see them play out time after time in such manner is a little bit of an obnoxious feature. 
While the show has always reveled in surprising me on where it is going, I don't know if I am going to care for much longer. In fact, most of the characters have become increasingly insignificant to a large respects. Marnie and Desi's romance may be finally getting somewhere, but it is self-involved in a way that hasn't allowed for anything interesting to develop. It could just add to Hannah's disaffection for them at the end of the episode, but it still doesn't make for particularly exciting TV or story. Even Shoshanna, who has gone from straight and narrow to a potential mess has somewhat lost her edge. She is working for Ray, which is great. However, she is still in some sort of hole that is thankfully not as low as everyone around her.
Then there's Ray. He is the first one who has felt successful in a career transition this season. Where he started complaining about various things and having sex with Marnie, he has evolved into a politician. Who knows what this actually will mean long term, but his is one of the few stories that won't feel redundant come next season. Hannah may be in who knows what job next, but we still will know of her as a failure who continually ignores chances for success whenever they are presented. This is rather unfortunate considering the promise that she continually shows.
However, what makes the episode particularly stark is that Jessa actually has a heroic moment in the episode. While she has been reserved as a nut case by doing the most illogical things in the series' run, she finally does something that helps her and Adam. While they initially broke up as friends episodes ago, she is now noticing that their partners aren't all that worthwhile and still have self-involved issues to work out. Jessa pulls a surprise out of her cap in a series arc that has been almost all self-declination. Even Adam's last moment where he refuses to go in and see Hannah possesses something compelling about the character and makes us wonder if he will ever be able ot look at her again. Adam is a hopeless romantic and may be only so that he can be written off next season to work on a movie career.
Again, I don't hate Girls, but I do wish that it did offer more besides a lot of redundant plotting. Yes, Hannah goes on some wild adventures, but her supporting cast is continually undermined. The only one with any constant relevance is Shoshanna, though that may be just because of her vicarious survival. I wish that more of the characters had interesting things to say. As the series is likely to progress, possibly not much longer, there's concern that maybe the show is losing its edge and that the Girls who started the show are now either women or hopeless cases. In both instances, it's a little hard to get on board with either.

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