‘Girls’ season 4 premiere review: Meet Mr. and Ms. Melancholy

Girls poster -HBO’s “Girls” is one of those rare shows that always facilitates discussion. Sometimes, it is a positive discourse about funny moments and amazing connections; other times, it is airing frustrations about a show you know can be brilliant, but has fallen short.

For most of season 3, we fell more into the latter camp as it was largely boring, and save for maybe the Marnie / Ray “relationship” (if you call it that), there are few story threads we found particularly memorable. The show worked too hard to remind us that Hannah is terribly messed-up, and that these characters have build walls between their own worlds and reality.

To a certain extent, some of that was still there given that we had Shoshanna genuinely thinking that she could take on the world, like an older version of Riley Matthews, after graduating college. It doesn’t quite work like that. Who wants to be the bearer of this particular bad news?

Then, the rest of the half-hour’s poignancy came through via the subtle ways where the characters’ individual worlds were actually shock-paddled into reality around them. Moving Hannah away was the best thing Lena Dunham could have done for herself. It forces her to look at the charade that her relationship can be, and that there is something different beyond her hipster lifestyle in New York. Adam Driver is a brilliant actor, but Adam is a messed-up character. How she is fine leaving New York given that he slept through the goodbye is something beyond logic. She needs to get away.

For Marnie, the misbehaving kids at her “jazz brunch” gig showed her that her path to fame in music is only halfway-paved. The rest are potholes that she’ll have to avoid. Otherwise, every one of them will make her cry. She is being woken up to the realization that no one wants hear her scat or rap, and eventually, we imagine that her affair with Desi will be found out. This little picture is about to be smeared with a muddy color palette. Ray still seems to care for her despite her distractions; meanwhile, Ray seems to avoiding the desperation in Shoshanna’s eyes.

As for Jessa, we still don’t quite understand the point. She remains the most amorphous character, and we still don’t know how to feel about her other than she likes living on the edge of the law. Effectively, she’s barely changed at all since the beginning.

For a comedy, why is it that we feel like we’ve spent 30 minutes with Mr. and Ms. Melancholy? Why is the show so sad? It’s foreboding. In a way, it’s truth. These are all emotions that we’ve felt in our lives, knowing that we are taking a risk and changing things up, while also knowing that it may end in catastrophe. There is fear of failure, but also a realization that staying the same is a death sentence. “Girls” was very good tonight in laying out these emotions, and as we said, we have conversation pieces for weeks. Grade: B+.

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