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So Glad the "Girls" Are Back

Five twentysomethings discuss Season 2 of Lena Dunham's hit series, "erotic capital," and awkward parties.

| Sun Jan. 13, 2013 11:49 AM PST

Maggie: Well, one thing Girls does well is parties. I just like that everyone isn't always going to some awesome party where everything is awesome.

Sarah: Yes, thank you, awkward parties!

Zaineb: I think they did that way better with the Bushwick party than this new one though.

Maggie: Yeah the Bushwick party episode was maybe the best Girls ever. So the one thing we haven't touched on I don't think, is the MEN.

Hannah: I was about to say! Speaking of privilege, there are many kinds. And there is some intense male-privilege stuff happening this season, too. Men controlling women in ways that made me cringe. (Mostly because it often wasn't clear to me how the women felt about what was going down.)

Maddie: The women in Season 2 are often being trapped by men: in apartments, art shows, during sex, in fancy houses, by in-laws. The overall feeling I got was that guys were there to use and manipulate women. If I were a dude, I might be pissed at how I was depicted (maybe that's why Swin's so hifey).

Zaineb: I think they took major steps backward with Adam, Hannah's Season 1 boyfriend.

Maddie: Adam makes me think about how we are always trying to see the lighter side of people's weirdness, but sometimes they are just plain disturbing, something's a little loose with him.

Maggie: Agree, and I like it.

Zaineb: I believe Lena Dunham got some flack for how she wrote him at the beginning of last season, then she made him more nuanced, and now it feels like he's lost that.

Maddie: He's very unique—I can't think of many other TV characters like him really.

Hannah: What do you all think of Booth, the artist Marnie has a crush on?

Maddie: He reminded me of a lot of overconfident assholes, I know.

Maggie: Agree! I feel the same way about Adam, though I'm undecided over whether Adam is ultimately an asshole or not.

Zaineb: When Marnie asks Booth, "Who do you think I am?" it really seems like she is searching for someone to tell her, and maybe she wants it to be him in that moment.

Maddie: What do you think this show is really trying to say about friendship? Because, sometimes I think it depicts female friendship as shallow, superficial, and ephemeral.

Maggie: Oh, I don't think so. I think it just depicts twentysomething women as self-interested, self-absorbed, and no good at driving their own lives. I don't think they mean to hurt each other, but everyone is too busy thinking about themselves sometimes.

Hannah: I agree that the show depicts that twentysomething, busy-trying-to-get-my-shit-together selfishness. But it also shows the women being self-aware of that egotism, and recognizing it as a bad thing. And the ways that Marnie and Hannah call each other out on that egotism feels raw and real.

Zaineb: And it's true to life that those kinds of conversations are not friendship-destroying, I think.

Maggie: I don't think that everyone is totally self-interested at the expense of their friendships, to be clear. I just think that self-interest can be a real driver for characters on the show—and most people in our 20s, who feel this pressure to evolve both personally and professionally before we settle down and have families to worry about.

Zaineb: Agreed. It's a time in a lot of people's lives when they tell themselves it is okay to be selfish.

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