‘On All Fours’ – Girls – Season 2, Episode 9

In a nutshell:
– Marnie takes cringe to a whole new level
– Shosh tells Ray about her encounter with the doorman (kind of)
– Hannah accidentally shoves a cotton wool bud in her ear and ends up in hospital
– Adam’s weird side resurfaces
– Jessa is still MIA

The details:

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It’s official: Marnie has lost the plot. But it kind of makes for compulsive viewing..and I can’t imagine it’s just me. Really, nothing more needs to be said on the matter except that she did an impromptu performance of Kanye West’s Stronger this episode at a huge party celebrating Charlie’s company’s success. Grabbing the mic and randomly belting out a song at any such occasion is pretty awkward but…Kanye West? Really, Marnie? Continue reading

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Beyonce – ‘Bow Down/I Been On’

Yesterday Beyonce released new material via her website. It was all very mysterious and it’s unclear whether this material will even appear on her as yet unreleased and unnamed album. Ever the overachiever, Bey brings us two songs for the price of one. This new material could be a teaser for the new album or it could just be because she had some downtime between releasing her documentary; performing at the Superbowl and the Presidential Inauguration; not to mention launching a tour that drove thousands of dedicated Bey fans to wait in a non existent virtual waiting room to get their hands on some tickets (yes I’m speaking from personal experience).

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After the release of the lacklustre Nuclear from Destiny’s Child, I’ve been slightly unsure  what to expect from Beyonce’s new material. But I have to say, I did not expect this. Continue reading

‘It’s Back’ – Girls, Season 2, Episode 7

In a nutshell:

– The pressure of Hannah’s e-book deadline causes her OCD to resurface
– Shosh gets up to no good with a doorman
– Marnie’s jealous because Charlie has got his life together, while hers is a mess
– Jessa is nowhere to be seen

The details:

The title, ‘It’s Back’, refers to Hannah’s OCD. But, after a few ‘experimental’ type episodes, it also felt like Girls was back doing what it does best. Instead of focusing on one or two characters, like the past few episodes have, it explored all the interweaving character plot lines (minus Jessa but I’m happy to have a bit of time off from Jessa-land after last week’s episode).

The episode opens with Hannah exhibiting very OCD-like behaviour – counting everything in sums of eight, it’s pretty clear from the start that all is not well in Hannah world.

We learn that Hannah suffered from OCD at a younger age, and took medication to deal with it. She’s in denial for most of the episode about the return of her OCD, but her parents insist on taking her to a therapist. The episode ends with her being prescribed drugs to cope with her OCD. This adds another aspect to Hannah’s character, and the tagline ‘almost kind of getting it together’ really rings true. Hannah has been coping with her OCD, but the stress of her deadline has caused it to resurface. It’s interesting to note that Girls presents a realistic portrayal of OCD, as an all-consuming mental illness – as opposed to the almost ‘cutesy’ portrayal seen in shows like Glee with the character Emma, who just comes across as a real neat freak.

marnie-shosh-ray-parkMeanwhile, Shosh worries that she’s turned into one of those people who fall off the radar when they get a boyfriend. She’s insistent that she’s going to her friend’s party, even though Ray refuses to go to a college party – as a 33 year old man, he thinks it would be creepy – he’s got a point.

So Shosh goes it alone, but finds herself feeling a bit lost at the party and leaves early. On her way out the doorman strikes up conversation and they are soon kissing in a cupboard. Maybe Shoshanna is starting to think that she and Ray are too different, although what she and this random door man have in common, I have no idea. It may have been a random slip up, but we shall see.

Elsewhere, Marnie seriously got on my nerves this week. Charlie has always been a bit of a wet blanket, but it seems he’s got his life together since removing Marnie from it. In fact, their break up inspired him to create an app that prevents you from calling people, like an ex girlfriend/boyfriend.

Marnie’s reaction to Charlie’s success says a lot about her character. She says: ‘Charlie is living the dream. I thought he was gonna be broken for at least six years, I like, mentally budgeted six years of brokenness – but he’s not broken at all. And it just proves to me, it doesn’t matter how right you do things because you know who’ll end up living their dreams – are like sad messes like Charlie. And the people who end up flailing behind are people like me –  who have their shit together!’

I mean really. Surely at this point it’s time to look in the mirror Marnie – you fell for a dreadful man named Booth and imagined that you were in a relationship. I’m not saying I don’t feel sorry for her a little bit, but she’s pretty arrogant, with a sense of entitlement that she deserves to succeed more than others – and she certainly does not have her ‘shit together.’

On the plus side, this leads to a hilarious scene with Ray and Marnie – see my highlights for more on this.

In other news, Adam grew a lot on me this episode. I used to be quite an Adam fan at the start of season one, but this promptly declined as he got more and more insane.

This week, he’s at an AA meeting, where a fellow member tells him he should go on a date with her daughter. Before you know it, Adam’s leaving the most awkward voicemail, only to be disrupted by her picking up the phone, leading on to an even more awkward phone conversation. They go on a date and even though Adam can be a little crazy, he’s pretty endearing in this episode – although no doubt he will do something insanely stalkerish next week, but for now, I’m giving Adam a second chance.


My highlights:

Shoshanna: I just can’t stop thinking about Jessa, what is she wearing, is it linen?

AA woman: How tall are you 6’2?
Adam: 6’3
AA woman: That’s a very respectable height
Adam: I’m enjoying it, yeah

Marnie throws sweet across the room
Ray: I’m gonna have you retrieve that when you’re less upset

Ray: What do you really wanna do?
Marnie: I wanna sing
Ray: What’s the second thing you wanna do?
Marnie: That’s my dream
Ray: To sing?
Marnie: Yes
Ray: Okay, that’s not the road I thought you were gonna take here…

International Women’s Day 2013

As today is International Women’s Day, here’s my pick of some of the most inspiring women from popular culture today.

Beyonce

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I worked with a guy who once told me (via email and sitting right next to me) that he ‘hated Beyonce and didn’t give a crap about Adele.’ To me this only affirmed their status as amazing women – needless to say I ignored his email.

Say what you will about Beyonce (except don’t, because I don’t want to hear a bad word against her), she’s been criticised recently for posing in GQ, but being a good female role model doesn’t mean you have to dress in a potato sack.

There’s a reason why she’s dubbed Queen Bey – with songs like ‘Independent Women’, ‘Best Thing I Never Had’ and ‘Run the World (Girls)’ – she’s an empowering role model. Plus she’s pretty much the biggest female artist in the world right now and she can actually sing – really bloody well I might add. And before you bring up the whole presidential inauguration lip synching incident – she put that to bed with this:

She’s also an amazing dancer, and she’s proof you don’t have to be stick thin to be super hot.

Adele

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Just to elaborate briefly on my male co-worker who shall not be named but who insulted Beyonce and Adele – he also said Adele was for people who don’t like music. As someone who is obsessed with music, and likes Adele, I can confirm this is in fact incorrect. Glad we’ve cleared that up. Aged only 24, she’s already released two albums, one of which, 21, has broken multiple records. These include being the first artist to sell more than 3 million albums in a year in the UK, as well as having two top-five hits in both the UK Official Singles Chart and the Official Albums Chart simultaneously – something that hasn’t been achieved since The Beatles did it in 1964. More recently, she won an academy award for the Bond theme song Skyfall. All in all, I’d say she’s a pretty impressive role model.

Caitlin Moran

Caitlin Moran writer, journalist

I recently finished reading How to be a Woman (extensive post on this to follow) and have since become a bit obsessed with Caitlin Moran – not in a creepy stalker way, more that I idolise her – she’s basically had my dream career. The book aims to counter all negative stereotypes associated with what it means to be a feminist. Not only is Moran insightful but she does so while being relatable and hilarious.

Lena Dunham

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You probably wouldn’t want to model yourself on her character in Girls, Hannah. But in real life she’s pretty inspiring. Dubbed by many as the voice of her generation – she writes, directs, and stars in Girls, and has signed a book deal – all by the age of 26. Plus she’s making strides to normalise real women in Girls, through appearing naked in most episodes like it’s no biggie.

Jessica Ennis

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It’s fair to describe Ennis as the poster girl for the London 2012 games, and she did everyone proud winning a Gold Medal in the Heptathlon. Although some of us might be hard pushed to do a Heptathon (slash most of us), she’s certainly an inspiration to do more of whatever exercise you enjoy.

Ellie Simmonds

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One of the most high profile women from the 2012 Paralympic Games, winning two Gold Medals and setting a World Record in the 400m freestyle. This year she was awarded an OBE – and she’s only 18 – that’s just insanely impressive.

Helen Mirren

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Here’s hoping we can all be as cool as Helen Mirren at age 67. Not only is she an incredible actress, but she’s a Dame for gods sake. Plus she seems like she’s still up for anything – recently on The Graham Norton Show she had a cheeky kiss with Paul Rudd, just because well…she can. And she also died her hair pink, and pulls it off – basically she’s just pretty damn cool. If you need any more convincing on why Helen Mirren is a great female role model, see here.

So, who runs the world?

‘Video Games’ – Girls, Season 2, Episode 7

In a nutshell:
–       Hannah and Jessa take a trip to visit Jessa’s Dad
–       We consequently learn why Jessa is such a pain – her dad is equally dreadful
–       Hannah sleeps with yet another randomer

The Details:
For the third week, Girls tries something a bit different – first with the Hannah/Joshua episode (which I was distinctly ‘meh’ to), then last week’s episode which devoted a lot of time to the boys of the show, for a change (which I thought worked well). In theory, I rate Lena Dunham for not getting complacent with Girls after the success of the first season, and trying out new ideas. Having said that, I’m not sure they always work. I preferred this episode to the pretty much pointless 30 minutes I wasted watching ‘One Man’s Trash’ but that isn’t saying much.

It’s a Hannah and Jessa centric episode, and seeing as I find Jessa unbearable, this probably didn’t set me up with having much of a chance of giving it a rave review. Anyway, Hannah kindly offers to accompany Jessa to visit her Dad and his wife Petula, in Manito, near Poughkeepsie, N.Y. While waiting for the train, Hannah is desperate for the toilet due to her latest ailment – a UTI. For someone who spends a large amount of her life naked, she is pretty concerned about exposing herself in on the traintracks while she goes for a quick wee.

They arrive in Manito and are, eventually, met by Jessa’s dad. Pretty much instantly, we can see why Jessa is the way she is – her dad is as equally pretentious/annoying/ridiculous as she is – if not more so.

For the first time, Jessa discusses her failed marriage. She tells her dad: ‘He didn’t wanna work on it…It was like he didn’t even remember that we took vows.’ To which he replies, ‘Well maybe on some level you wanted it, because you know we’re not like other people.’ Quite a pretentious and ridiculous thing to say, if you ask me. Clearly she gets her ideas about being a kooky, free-spirited kind of gal from her dad.

Meanwhile, Hannah is off laying the groundwork for another awkward sexual encounter. She meets Petula’s son, Frank, who she compliments on the way he’s folded down his turtleneck – saucy stuff.

Later on, Hannah and Jessa go out with Frank and his friend Tyler. Jessa had wanted to spend time with her dad, but he has other plans. Jessa is being her usual ‘free spirited and kooky’ self, so covers Tyler’s eyes (who is driving), nearly getting them all killed in the process – she sure knows how to have a good time. Hannah is outraged by this reckless behaviour and gets out of the car. Frank follows her and before you know it they have sex for eight seconds in a graveyard – needless to say, it’s as awkward as it sounds.

Later on, Jessa and her dad have a deep and meaningful chat on the garden swings. We see the vulnerable side of Jessa and I even felt sorry for her. She breaks down and questions why he’s been such a terrible father to her. For all her claims about being different, Jessa – just like everyone else – needs someone to rely on and to support her.
Her dad promises to make it up to her with a family dinner of bangers and mash. However, he bails on this, and Jessa isn’t really surprised.

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Just when I was feeling sorry for Jessa, she abandons Hannah with nothing but a note that says ‘See you around my love. X.’ I know she’s had a tough time of it, but Hannah did come all the way to this dreadful house with her to be supportive. Plus Jessa probably only left like that to reaffirm her status as ‘free spirited and kooky.’ For a brief moment I wondered if that might be the end of Jessa forever…but I doubt it.

The episode ends with Hannah calling her parents. After the terrible display of parenting from Jessa’s dad, she wants to tell her parents how much she appreciates them supporting her as a child and an adult. At the same time as sharing this lovely moment with her parents, she is again urinating by the train tracks.

However, it turns out it’s not such a lovely moment as her parents are suspicious of her over the top display of affection. This scene did make me laugh, but I also despaired on Hannah’s behalf – she’s trying to reach out to her parents AND she’s in agony from her UTI – and her mum is fuming at her for no apparent reason.

All in all, not a bad episode, but not a great one. I’d like to see Girls returning to episodes where all the characters get some air time – especially my fave girl Shosh. Failing that, if we have to keep having solo character-centric episodes, can we please have a Shosh-centric one?!

My highlights:
Hannah on Jessa and her dad doing cockney accents:
‘What accents are you doing? Just cos I don’t like not getting jokes.’

Hannah and Jessa discussing Hannah’s encounter with Frank in the woods:
H: ‘But didn’t you have sex with Tyler?’
J: ‘Not at all.’
H: ‘Wait, but like, I thought that’s what we were doing.’
J: ‘No, we weren’t.’
H: ‘Okay, I wish you would have told me that.’
J: ‘Really, Hannah? You really had no idea that this was not supposed to be a sexcapade?’
H: ‘I thought this was fully a sexcapade, I thought you brought me on a sexcapade! That was fully just me trying to have continuity with you.’