Girls, Looking and Togetherness make for a great HBO Sunday night and this is our weekly breakdown for the season’s 2nd week.
Girls finally gets to Iowa and has one of my top 5 episodes in the show’s run. The episode is a showcase for Dunham, with most of the major players inventively popping in for a moment or two, and she gives what might be her best comedic performance on the show. The episode is thrown firmly on Dunham’s shoulders for the majority of the runtime and she has never shown such a knack for physical humor both in front and behind the camera. The timing and editing were perfectly in sync with Dunham’s deadpan deliveries as she got a chance to heighten almost every beat with some sort of visual punchline. Whether it’s riding a bike, hiding from bats, or dominating a dance floor, we’ve never seen Dunham in this form. She was so good that she could hold her own against pretty much any comedy movie star out there right now.
The episode wonderfully captures the campus life of a midwestern college as well as all of the anxiety of moving out on your own into a strange new place. Her phone call to her parents rang entirely true, the weird suicidal thoughts, but not seriously, conversation is something I felt back in school and Dunham is able to find the humor in that and a lot of other “touchy” subjects throughout the episode. The party scene in particular was a blast and was able to perfectly have fun with the college party stereotypical scene you find in most media set at college, but throw in some great Girls-centric bits as well. God bless Eli and his gaydar for closeted freshmen who will make sure every party includes a gay encounter in the bathroom as long as he is around. Also, Hannah’s reaction to that girl crying over her boyfriend was priceless, she even stole the bathroom.
I wonder how long the show is going to sustain Hannah in Iowa? I’m sure the show will continue to jump back to New York now that we have set the groundwork for Iowa, and I am ecstatic to see Eli let loose in corn country, but do we think Hannah will be in Iowa all season. If her antics are as fun as they were this week while she is there, I don’t think we will find many who complain.
Looking heads back to the city and begins to lay some groundwork for the season amid a classic Patrick freakout. That freakout is over a weird thing on Patrick’s stomach, is it bed bugs, is it HIV? He doesn’t know, but we quickly realize that it is all more or less a window for his insecurity about what he has going with his affair with his boss. The HIV test comes back negative, but not before a hilarious TMI sequence between Patrick and the nurse, and it leads Patrick to really stick himself out there with Kevin. And the great thing is, for Patrick’s sake, was that he did it all by himself; not that he didn’t try to get someone to make the decision for him. Patrick needs to take more responsibility for his decisions and actions and I think he mostly does here, Richie dropping off a drunk Agustin tried to throw that all off though. Also, great to see Owen back in the office, his fascination with bed bugs and his plastic suit was both hilarious and a great little thread to launch Patrick’s narcosis over the scratchy stomach.
Speaking of Agustin, what a mess this guy is and his night on the town didn’t help any of it. Not only does he not find his new bear friend at the club but he runs into an old art world buddy that apparently see Frank all the time. I miss Frank, and Agustin put him through hell, but I don’t know if anyone deserves to left passed out in the street in the middle of their late night snack. Agustin is a lost mess at the moment, I don’t know where he goes from here, but I can’t imagine Richie bringing him home isn’t going to lead somewhere between Patrick and his old flame. Or maybe Richie and Agustin will hate fuck, I don’t know.
Dom gets the least amount of screen time this week but he is clearly in the best place of the three guys. Yeah, he is a bit curious/jealous of Lynn’s ex who passed away, and he isn’t ready for the open relationship talk the way Lynn is, but he rolls with the punches and seem pretty square on his feet. I’m not too sure about that chicken stand and the price tag that comes with it, but Lynn seems pretty flush and I’m sure if Dom can get over Lynn’s past the chicken stand can’t go down without a little help.
Looking continues to strengthen as it goes on, and while the show still seems to be laying some tracks in week two they are very entertaining tracks to chill on and enjoy.
Togetherness takes some big steps forward character-wise in week two as we get to know a lot more about everyone now that the premise of the show is firmly established.
The show opens with everyone living their lives a little bit. Mark Duplass’ Brett is wandering the woods recording sounds for his sound engineering work and we quickly discover work isn’t going quite as well as he would like. The work day was quite the kick in the nuts and the last thing he needs is a slap to them, but more on that later.
Melanie Lynskey and Amanda Peet are fantastic in that breakfast scene, they feel like real sisters far more than they did in the pilot and I hope we get a lot more scenes between these two as they and the writing was great together. From here, the episode diverges between two distinct paths Peet’s Tina and Steve Zissis’ Alex spend the day trying to get Tina’s new business off that ground after some naked motivation while Lynskey’s Michelle tries to add some spice to her sex life.
The episode mostly involved women telling men what to do, all for the betterment of everyone involved, but Tina and Alex have a lot more success. We get to dig into why Alex is in such a rut and I found it admirable watching Tina trying to take him under her wing. Is it a selfish desire to make sure he is getting the most out of him, or does she just not have the patience for lazy bastards. Either way, who knew a pizza could be such a strong life lesson and it is nice to see that Tina has a go-getter side with some real conviction and isn’t just a crazy loose cannon they play her as in the pilot. Alex still has a lot of work though, we will see where these two go this season.
Meanwhile, back at home, Michelle wants to play out her Fifty Shades fantasy and the results are as awkward and hilarious as you would hope. Lynskey is incredible in the scene, wavering between dominatrix, frustrated lover and loving wife, it really is going to be a joy to check in with her every week because she is the best. Duplass bares it all and is so out of step and confused that we can’t help but laugh at the failing sexual adventure. Michelle smacking him in the balls is the icing on the cake, who saw that coming?, but I can’t help but be comforted by that knowing look on the couch that the two are happy to have tried something different and are going to be ready to try again, hopefully more successful this time around.