So there I was, super-excited about the return of HBO's Girls, a show I totally fawned over a few months ago. The boyfriend and I had just settled in, glasses of red wine in hand, and began watching the first episode of Season 2.
To say we were disappointed is an understatement. This show went from smart and sassy to a caricature of itself. We got the feeling Lena Dunham (the show's creator/writer/star/director/producer/caterer/key grip, etc...) read too much of her own press, got too immersed in her own fabulousness, and lost the magic that made the first season of Girls so unique and engaging.
Now the dialogue feels uneven, the jokes forced, the personalities obviously played up. In other words, not believable. It's difficult to connect with characters you just can't take seriously anymore.
It pains me to feel this way since I love seeing one of the sisters succeed, especially in comedy. But Lena, you've lost your way, and now, on the show at least, you've gone from quirky and sweetly dysfunctional to simply annoying. Even the ugliness of your outfits seems too contrived, like you're trying too hard to be "that girl who walks to the beat of her own drum". I get the feeling you're now trying to walk to the beat of the highest bidder.
On the other hand, and perhaps this series can serve as inspiration to Lena, Californication, whose sixth season recently started airing, still manages to surprise us with its sublime writing, lovable losers and increasing depravity.
David Duchovny shines in this series as troubled writer Hank Moody, as does the rest of the ensemble cast in this cocky show (pun intended). When we can watch Hank Moody descend to such depths that he ends up drinking his own urine and think: "Yep, that's Hank." we know we've got a winner on our hands.
In six seasons, Californication has been completely unabashed about its mainly soft porn content. However, the show works because the debauchery is couched in brilliant writing and characters you can't help but love despite all their faults and urine ingestion.
My boyfriend refuses to watch the remainder of Season 2 of Girls, so discouraged was he by the first two episodes, so I'll have to sneak them in on the down low, just out of sheer curiosity and hope that it gets better. Please don't be a one-season wonder, Lena. I'm rooting for you.