As I remember season one of Girls, I (along with some others) started the show out with a feeling of pretty strong dislike. Mostly, it just made me uncomfortable. There were funny one-liners, yes, and the writing was better than a lot of other stuff on TV — it's HBO, after all — but was this a show and were these characters with whom I really wanted to share even brief amounts of my too-short Sunday? It turned out, though, that it got better. By mid-season (the party at which Shoshanna accidentally smokes crack in Bushwick, especially), I was hooked. And even the finale, which some people hated, I thought was kind of great. I did want to know what happened to these flawed, often unlikable characters. I cared!
Fast-forward to season two and all of our hopes, dreams, and expectations for those characters and their lives and also the growth of a show. The season premiere felt a lot like the end of season one: Different, but the same, with a slowly continuing arc of some sort, even as we see new relationships simply swapped out all too easily for old ones. (People as replaceable, I think, is a key theme in the lives of a lot of young twentysomethings living in big cities, especially New York, so this makes sense for Dunham to point out). But also, this show is a comedy. It's an HBO series, and it's not a documentary. As much as it should touch on real things relevant to twentysomethings much like the characters depicted within, those characters are not real. And Lena Dunham and company are far too skilled to simply deliver something that lands right on the nose, as nuanced as an after-school special. Right?