At the end of last season of Girls it was questionable as to whether the show was even a comedy anymore, but after the first two episodes, it's clear that the show has firmly branded itself as funny.
Though the end of last season ended almost on a fairytale-esque note—with Adam coming to rescue Hannah, and Marnie and Charlie getting back together—the final set of episodes took the show to very dark places, with Hannah in the midst of a breakdown. But from the first two episodes of this season, which aired last night, the show clearly doesn't want to go to those places, even when we're supposed to be recalling the earlier, more depressing incidents. Adam's confrontation with ex Natalia, for instance, is made hilarious by the presence of comedian Amy Schumer spitting fiery insults at him.
In addition to allowing its characters to be unlikeable, Lena Dunham and co. have also made the characters, especially the four titular girls, positively outlandish. Case in point: Shoshanna. Shoshanna has become essentially a caricature, popping in all the time with ridiculous, if funny, non sequiturs. She is to Girls what Karen was to Will and Grace: comic relief with a funny voice. Take, for instance, Shosh's monologue in the night's second episode, about her friend's addiction to blueberry Red Bull, her quizzing Adam about his favorite utensil, and her declaration that she'll "never be bored as long as there's Halloween." While all hilarious, this rapid-fire verbal nonsense makes Shosh seem less and less like a real person and more like a Jewish American Princess cartoon. That's not to say that Shosh wasn't over the top before—she was the girl that wore the hair donut—but there was a naiveté to her that made her random outbursts more understandable. Now, Shosh, no longer a virgin, has had a real relationship with a 30-something and is sowing her wild oats. It's no longer cute, it's just crazy. Shosh, however, is still funny, so the show doesn't quite have a "Shoshanna problem" yet, but we're keeping a look out for one.
And then there's Jessa. After seemingly having disappeared last season, we learn she's been in rehab. But Jessa is almost equally as absurd as Shoshanna is, and her fellow rehab-mates—perhaps save for the character played by Orange Is the New Black's Danielle Brooks—are painted as freaks. Jessa, we've heard time and time again, clearly has problems, but the show isn't as willing to engage with them as it was when Hannah was spiraling downward. Jessa is being an obnoxious troll to everyone in her support group, but they're made out to seem silly—the guy crying over the fact that there's a froyo shop in his neighborhood—that you tend to side with the also-nuts Jessa.
As the season goes on, the show will touch on heavier stuff. Death, for instance, comes up in a big way. But in the six episodes available to critics, it's apparent that Girls, still chock-full of cringe-worthy moments, also wants you to laugh.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.