It was the bounty heard ‘round the world last week when Jezebel offered $10,000 for unretouched photos of Lena Dunham in Vogue. Jessica Coen, editor of the Gawker-run women’s site, wrote that they were offering cash for the before pics from Dunham’s cover shoot because the after images are, “all in all, quite nice. She's well-styled and looks fantastic. As if Vogue would have it any other way.”
The posters for the third season of Girls have been plastered all over Los Angeles. In the ad, the four main characters wear fairytale ball gowns with hair in disarray while the tagline plays on an anti-fairytale vibe: "Happily Whatever After."
The first two episodes of the third season of Girls premiere back-to-back on January 12th. After watching all of the past two seasons, I approached season three with a lot of hesitation.
When it first started, Girls was automatically compared to Sex and the City, mainly because it was about four female friends in New York. And really that's where the similarities, for the most part, end. All season, our characters have been messy and aimless, desperate for things that they seemingly cannot attain. And that process has been rife with ugly, rotten situations, and depressing, humiliating sex that has no place in the alternate reality of Sarah Jessica Parker's show. But last night's show—the season finale—veered into rom-com territory.
• Survivors of military sexual assault testified this week in a Senate hearing to advocate for outside review of cases. Among the strongest voices for a chance in policy was that of New York senator Kristen Gillibrand, who told lawyers for the Defense Department, "I appreciate the work you're doing, but it's not enough." [L.A. Times, N.Y. Daily News]
• The Steubenville rape trial continues, with key evidence in the form of damning text messages and, today, testimony from eyewitnesses who took photographs and later erased them. [Huffington Post]
• Meet the new pope, same as the old pope—especially when it comes to LGBT rights. Salon has a roundup of Pope Francis's greatest hits on the subject, and by "hits" we mean "terrible, awful, heartwrenchingly bigoted statements SHUT UP MAN UGGHHH STOP TALKING." [Salon]
I've never known quite what to make of the sex scenes in Girls. While I appreciate the show's desire to examine how flawed and awkward sex can often be, the fact that the characters so often seem unsatisfied with their sex makes it difficult to distinguish an off night from sex taking place without consent. More often than not, the scenes that are hardest to read are the ones involving Adam.
Nowhere was consent in the show more confusing that this week's episode, which made many people pause and say, "Wait. Was that rape?"
This idea of cleansing oneself has permeated this season—and the theme continues in this episode. Our characters here aren't particularly good at cleaning up and starting afresh, but what they are good at is self-sabotage. In this episode, "On All Four," several characters successfully take themselves out at the knees.
Last week, a woman at Adam's Alcohollics Anonymous crowd set him up with her daughter, Natalia. Surprise, surprise, the two actually hit it off. Suddenly, they're going to see romantic comedies starring Sandra Bullock, taking lunch breaks together and even attending friend's engagement parties. Natalia seems good for Adam, mostly because she's completely up-front about what she wants. When the two first have sex, it at first seems awkwardly negotiated. But Natalia tells Adam what she won't do, what doesn't work for her, and is clear about her boundaries. Adam isn't really used to. He says, "I like how clear you are with me." To which Natalia responds, "What other way is there?"
Girls, I love you. But this week's episode just didn't work.
This could be because it's hard to keep momentum after a string of excellent episodes, but this week's uneven episode "It's Back" was built on out-of-nowhere plot points.
The episode opens with Hannah receiving a phone call from ex-boyfriend Adam which she seems nervous about.After stopping at a store to buy chips to cope with the call, she carefully counts out a specific number of chips before counting the number of times she chews them.
Hannah's parents are visiting—her mother is attending a conference where she's excited to meet so many other women who "feel like I do about Ann Patchett." While waiting on Hannah to meet them at their hotel for a Judy Collins performance, they give her a "Hannah cushion of 15-40 minutes." Hannah shows up but looks pretty disheveled.
Over drinks, Hannah's parents can tell what's going on. Her father asks if her head is filling up with too much and she's getting count-y again. Her mother expresses the worry she felt that Hannah's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) would hinder her from having a real life. This was my "what?" moment. Not that it's unrealistic that Hannah could have OCD, but that in the scope of the show, it's never even come up before at all.