Oh where to begin with the season premiere of Girls. Now in its second season, the media blitzkrieg for its promotion was in and of itself a bit nauseating. But watching it is an altogether much more vomiticious experience. Let me preface my tirade of angst by saying that I really do want to like Girls. The concept behind it is so promising that perhaps it made the disappointment over its blandness that much more intense. But watching Lena Dunham scamper around a deserted bookstore (Spoonbill and Sugartown, which is never fucking deserted, I might add, but I suppose the crowds of Brooklyn just vanish when Dunham wants them to) with her latest fling (somewhat randomly played by Donald Glover), I immediately wanted to pour hot coffee all over myself to numb the pain of watching Brooklyn’s sanitized portrayal.
Forging ahead to watch the rest of it, I clenched my teeth as Hanna’s new roommate/ex gay boyfriend, Elijah (Andrew Rannells), makes a tired joke about not even knowing the G train existed. And it is this sort of attempt at being original that never seems to ring true. It’s almost as though Dunham occasionally incorporates overheard subway conversations to give the show an edge. And what could be edgier than having a party with an aftermath that includes Elijah and Marnie singing “Building a Mystery” by Sarah MacLachlan?
Sometimes, it’s almost too difficult to decide which character to be most irritated by (though, for the most part, it’s Shoshanna). Each of their “problems” (except maybe Marrnie’s, who recently got fired) are so minuscule that the show comes off as more of a version of Babe Walker’s "White Girl Problems"—but trying to make it serious. And it’s very challenging to take white girl problems seriously. Not to say that emotional trials and financial woes aren’t legitimate struggles, but when Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna and Jessa have them, the whining steez is annoying rather than endearing (you know, the way that it was on Sex and the City, its progenitor). Jessa, the most palatable and interesting character was barely in the episode, only briefly seen in a cab with her new husband (everyone’s favorite Irishman, Chris O’Dowd). Hopefully, her story will be more prevalent in the coming episodes—it may be the only way to keep the show interesting.
The fact that there don’t seem to be any neutral feelings about Dunham (people either adore or abhor—usually over her body exposition) doesn’t make it easy to watch Girls with a completely open mind. But even with the open mind of someone who just dropped acid, it’s impossible to objectively say that Dunham is the person who should be given sole license to portray this borough when there are a number of realer local denizens who could probably do it more accurately. Just don’t ask anyone from Café Grumpy.