Following the urban adventures of a group of 20-something women, the series focuses on Hannah Horvath (Dunham) and her complicated web of NYC friends, ex-friends, boyfriends, and ex-boyfriends. This season, Hannah forges ahead with her dream of being a bestselling author and begins seeing someone new, but her enthusiasm is tempered by the responsibility she feels for her now-ex Adam (Adam Driver), convalescing after his S1-finale accident. Let down by work and still lonely after calling things off with Charlie, Marnie (Allison Williams) needs her best friend and former roommate more than ever, but lingering awkwardness – and some surprising turns – only drive a wedge further between them. Meanwhile, still-married Jessa (Jemima Kirke) returns from her honeymoon, supplying Hannah with surprising new ideas. Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) takes charge of her new identity as a sexually active woman – and copes with the emotions that come along with it – as Ray (Alex Karpovsky) has an out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude toward their relationship. The girls may have their ups and downs, but the show’s raw poignancy and fresh humor remain constant. And Season 2 of Girls is as addictive as ever.
The second season of Girls
is funnier, sadder, and even more infuriatingly compelling than the first. Lena Dunham's chronicle of young women floundering in New York City picks up with aspiring writer Hannah (Dunham) in a new relationship with an African-American Republican (Donald Glover, Community
) but still taking care of her ex Adam (Adam Driver), who broke his leg at the end of the previous season. Marnie (Allison Williams) loses her job at an art gallery and realizes her options are few; Jessa (Jemima Kirke) returns from her honeymoon but her marriage soon begins to implode; and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) almost accidentally finds herself in a relationship with Ray (Alex Karpovsky), whose cynical attitude doesn't mesh well with her pathological cheerfulness.
Over 10 episodes, the season shifts from social comedy to darker moods as all of the characters grapple with compulsive or self-destructive tendencies. But even from the beginning there's at least one moment where the banter and haplessness gives way to a sudden sadness or loss, often from unexpected circumstances. Season two is also less continuous, with greater leaps of time between episodes and abrupt changes of fortune. In one of the best episodes, Hannah falls into a sudden romance with an older doctor (Patrick Wilson, Little Children); the slow disintegration of their clashing illusions is fascinating and heartbreaking. Don't come to Girls expecting the likable characters or tidy stories of conventional sitcoms. These are warts-and-all depictions of young adulthood, messy and naive, arrogant and foolhardy, full of expectations dashed and lessons painfully learned… but chances are good you'll recognize some of these chaotic emotions from your own life. --Bret Fetzer