Girls lives in a universe without a Central Perk or MacLaren’s Pub, and that makes it damn near impossible to fit everyone’s lives into each 30 minutes. But part of what I like about the show is that there isn’t a rally point and Lena Dunham never tried too hard to establish one because she doesn’t need to use that device. Her subjects live in the same city, but carry on separate lives from one another.
Every once in a while there comes an episode that’s a stroke of genius, creating a harmonious balance between their lives and finding a way to be inclusive without overdoing it. See “Tad & Loreen & Avi & Shanaz,” which is the best episode of this season and makes my list of best Girls episodes ever. Dunham and Jenni Konner tag-teamed this one. It feels like the show is as good as it has ever been and it shouldn’t go without applauding how the writing team is balancing an incredible cast of guest stars during each episode.
The list of visitors now strongly includes Maude Apatow, who was merely a fresh and familiar face last week but didn’t hold back one bit in the episode I’ll from now refer to as “TLAS” because the full thing is one hell of a mouth full. Maude plays Cleo, a student who’s really mature for her age and who Hannah has latched onto since she started subbing. Dunham and Apatow (one of Judd’s daughters) are naturally comfortable together on screen, just watch that semi-nerdy street dance scene that ends with a great Hannah line, “Please! We’re children!”
The two of them create one of the most memorable scenes in a while, getting frenulum piercings in a tattoo parlor. It’s mostly an impressive triumph for Maude, who’s dealing with actually getting the horrific piercing, but Dunham’s also great. Hannah’s holding back vomit and climactically backs out after watching it first. At first sight, you’re watching something very painful, but it’s hard not to rewind and watch it again because you also know you’re watching something great.
Besides a scene at school with Fran (Jake Lacy, another great guest star), “TLAS” isn’t as Hannah-centric as we’re used to. But that’s OK! It’s a really strong week for Shoshanna, Marnie, and, of course, Hannah’s parents. For Marnie, it all boils down to her last appearance when she gets engaged to Desi. Those two have a manic, sand paper-to-bare ass relationship, but if it works…
Tad is coming out to Loreen this week, which first brings back references of “Cubbies” when Tad visited Hannah in Iowa and now it kind of seemed like he had something to say at the end of his visit but didn’t really know how. His admission is far out of left field, a most-surprising addition to the show, but it’s fantastic the way Loreen (Becky Ann Baker) handles it. It basically slaps her silly. Who wasn’t laughing when she was graphically pressing Tad in their house, asking him about having man-to-man oral sex. Moreover, it was a perfect addition to her script for Dunham and Konner to slide in Loreen laughing about Avi being in love with her at the end. In this moment, it’s evident she’s accepted Tad more as a friend, no longer lover.
Also, Shoshanna was especially pleasing. She’s put in a scene where she’s plucking her pubic hair outside of her underwear, and later put in a challenging spot on a date with Scott (Jason Ritter). The interaction about words “we don’t say” vs. acceptable ones. “Lame sauce” is OK, thank god. She plays her role well when she leaves her comfort zone by trying to discuss the future of Scott’s penis and how it will respond when her hand is around it. But while that’s all fine and good, the biggest takeaway is the similarities between Shosh and Scott’s ex. The realization that the ex did the same thing to him that Shosh is trying to do is damning for her.
On a side note, what’s up with the anonymous ex-girlfriends trying to wreck Scott and Fran’s lives? Scott’s ex-girlfriend posted a ton of stuff about him on Tumblr, which is a blog I’ve seen created before. Fran’s ex emptied his bank account.
With two episodes left, this is the time in Girls when all of the stories start to heat up. “TALS” was evidence of that and it was so well done. Bravo, Lena and Jenni.
My favorite thing: I actually like Riesling, so there’s that … The chalkboard title slide for Girls was a really nice touch … I’ve really enjoyed Jessa’s action this season and I may or may not be writing a post about how she’s winning the year.