TV Review: Girls: season three

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Photograph: Mark Schafer

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read this review unless you have seen episodes one and two of Girls: series three

When Girls, Lena Dunham’s smart comedy about disillusionment and relationships in New York, first aired two years ago it felt like a breath of fresh air, blending bleak observation comedy with hopeful poignancy and boasting myriad of great roles for women. Its rise hasn’t been without controversy, some critics were confused by the frequent nudity and many were put-off by a world seemingly full of entitled, privileged characters. But that’s always been part of the charm: these characters are utter shambles at life, completely failing to pursue their dreams or manage their relationships, and yet they’re so honestly written that their underlying insecurity is clear to see.

Not much seems to have changed in the year since we last saw them. Marnie is ostracised in suburbia with her over-bearing mother, licking her wounds after a brutal brake up with Charlie – partly enforced by the sudden departure of Christopher Abbot. Shoshanna is trying to continue the sexual awakening she experienced in the last series while preparing to graduate from college. And Jessa is back in rehab and causing all kinds of trouble, outing a fellow patient as a lesbian and entering into an unhealthy relationship with an ageing addict, and pseudo life councillor, played by Richard E. Grant. At least Hannah seems to be getting it together by progressing with her book deal and entering into what looks like a happy, loving relationship with Adam. Surely that can’t last?

From these first two episodes it look like series three is going to be much lighter in tone, especially in comparison to the rather dark place series two eventually ended up, with Jessa taking most of the funny lines: “They [drugs] are like a place holder for pussy.”

However, one area where Girls always seems to struggle is in the development of a meaningful plot. All too often episodes feel inconsequential, in no way developing the characters or their relationships. The first episode broke this trend with a loose theme about connection, summed up by Adam’s surprisingly moving speech about what it really means to know someone, but then the second episode reverted to type as a pointless journey across state to pick-up Jessa from rehab. Perhaps this is the point, the characters are currently flailing through life without direction and so the plot mirrors life. The problem with this is that without meaning to the story it can become difficult to care about what is going on. That said, the character are so well-written and the comedy so spot on that, more often than not, Girls is raucous good fun.

Click here to watch the trailer for Girls: series three

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