There’s never been anything like Game of Thrones’ battle of Winterfell

You’ve maybe seen the video before. Continue reading

Will killing Daenerys be Game of Thrones’ last and biggest break from convention?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a thing I don’t want to think about: the life expectancy of Daenerys Targaryen. Continue reading

“Girls”: Domo arigato, Shoshanna Shapiro


Shoshanna Shapiro’s greatest fear will always be of sticking with someone who keeps her from growing into the fully-formed woman she was placed on this earth to be. It’s why she broke up with Ray. It’s why she moved to Japan for a job.

It’s not a debilitating fear. Rather, it pushes Shosh to live more often, sometimes to the point of diminishing her safe sexual history, sure, but nonetheless to go and do. Because of this fear, she is happy, which we quickly realize as Girls jumps across the Pacific Ocean for at least half of its third episode of the fifth season, “Japan.”

Her life in Tokyo is simpler and less dramatic than the one she left in New York, so she’s seeing the world clearer and it shows in her body language. Remember, she worried that her friends were making her a bad, more cynical person, a concern she voiced in season three’s “Beach House.” In Japan, she’s making her own choices to create her own bubble, one that satisfies her professional and personal (and romantic) needs. As she tells her friend in the bath house (?) scene, she has almost completely disassociated herself from New York City. Japan is her home now.

Problem is, she’s getting laid off.

Shosh has every right to feel a little betrayed by Abigail (Aidy Bryant), her boss in America. “I moved to Japan!” Shosh exclaims via Skype. Not only is she scared about what will happen to her if she goes back to the life she gave up in New York, but she’s upset because being fired suggests to her that she has done something wrong.

But unlike when she tried to go back to Ray, she now refuses to be dragged around by a safety net that could be represented by America or her “boyfriend,” Scott. She’s more independent than ever before and, good or bad, she’s going to see where life in Japan takes her because, for once, she feels really good about herself.

Also this episode:

  • Directed by Jesse Peretz and written by Jenni Konner, “Japan” is an amazing episode because it’s so saturated in Japanese culture, from Shosh’s apartment to the erotic sex parlor and the episode’s music. Good for Girls not to fake it, instead jumping right into Tokyo and filming. It looks really good. I kind of feel like everyone needs to move to Japan and, as Hannah says about Iowa last season, “start the revolution.”
  • By the way, the Girls title slide in Japanese writing is yet another one to add to the growing list of “Best Girls title slides.”
  • Two amazing things happen in a matter of minute with Hannah. First, this quote: “Until this happened, I was basically Kate Upton to myself.” Second, Hannah’s nude photo shoot with Ray and Elijah, and this subsequent Elijah direction: “Like you know a cake is coming later!”
  • I really don’t like Hannah and Fran’s relationship very much, so far. But it’s interesting that Fran keeps naked pictures of his exes on his phone, thoughtful that Hannah considers them “trophies” and overbearing that she ultimately hacks and deletes them from his phone.

“Girls”: A gay emergency


Stay tuned this weekend for my first take on Jessa and Adam’s “friendship.” Briefly below, let’s recap “Good Man” by evaluating the strained relationships of the Horvath family.

The suggestion, based on Elijah’s reaction (“It got gayer?”) to Hannah’s emergency call, is that Hannah has been babysitting her parents, a mediator between Tad and Loreen, since Girls went away for the summer and “Good Man” is the first episode, in season five, we’re seeing it because it’s the moment it breaks Hannah down.

From what we can tell, Hannah has put on a really brave face throughout; at least, she’s accepted her dad’s homosexuality much more than season four’s “Daddy Issues.”

But this is sensory overload this week. First, she’s asked to rescue her dad in the city and confront a man named Keith who, for all we know, is his first sexual partner. Then, her mom asks her to tell Tad that she wants a divorce — this coming from the same mom who robbed Tad of telling Hannah he’s gay, although there was clearly a secret he wanted to tell her when he visited Iowa early in season four.

It gets messy in “Good Man,” so much so that Elijah takes one look at Hannah and Tad through a restaurant window and runs from the situation (“Oh… No.”). To her credit, Hannah handles it well. She holds onto that divorce bombshell, in fact I don’t think she wants to tell her dad ever. One, that’s a conversation Loreen ought to have with him. Two, maybe if she swallows it, it won’t be real. Three, why kick him while he’s down?

Ultimately, it comes up at an opportune moment. Tad’s in no position to tell Hannah what she does and doesn’t know about relationships. When he thinks he can go home and all be normal, it’s time for her to tell him what she knows. This is a difficult moment for Hannah because her family is breaking up right before her eyes.

She needs a Jessa moment circa season two’s “Video Games.”

“I’m the child!”

Then, there’s this:

  • Although I got a kick out of the name (Helvetica) for the new cafe across the street from Ray’s — you don’t name a business after a font — this isn’t a storyline I was particularly interested in. It’s noteworthy, though, in that it’s the first guest appearance for Lena Dunham’s sister, Grace.
  • It looks like Corey Stoll (House of Cards) is going to be a recurring guest star this season. Elijah sparks the rumblings of a relationship with him. He plays Dill Harcourt, a public figure who sends Elijah a drink at a bar.
  • Two absences this week: Marnie and Shoshanna. The upcoming episode, “Japan,” will travel to the country Shosh now calls home.