‘Girls’:  Oddly, The Guys Are Becoming More Interesting

Some of Hanna's crew have devolved into a mishmash of poorly executed clichés.

'Girls' Season 3 Cast Promo

The girls on GIRLS are being upstaged.

As HBO’s blue collar answer to SEX AND THE CITY enters its third season this weekend, once again, its supporting cast of vulgar, crude and sexually deviant men has forced the show’s marquee stars to take a back seat.

Hannah (Lena Dunham) and her friends have quickly devolved into one-note caricatures — and in one case — even disappeared entirely.

Sure, Hannah is still the “heart” of the show.  She remains selfish, self-centered, and not a great friend — and Dunham plays the part perfectly.  But the rest of her crew have devolved into a mishmash of poorly executed clichés.

So why tune in?  To see the guys, of course.

ADAM (Adam Driver):  He’s practically a monster, a sexual deviant and someone who clearly would benefit from some time in mental institution.  He doesn’t fit into normal society, and he barely fits into abnormal society. He’s dark, creepy, sometimes terrifying. We’ve seen him do terrible, terrible things – the brief period he spent with Natalia last season turned into borderline-rape very, very fast – and yet, it’s hard to look away.  His relationship with Hannah is the half naked equivalent of a multi-car pile-up —  something the audience can’t turn away from (or, unfortunately, unsee).

RAY (Alex Karpovsky): The oldest of the supporting characters, he brings a sense of melancholy to the screen.  He’s unsatisfied, unfulfilled, and uses sarcasm as a defense mechanism.  He’s also easily the funniest character on the show, as his job working at the coffee shop gives him equal opportunity to make judgments and hurl insults at every character who walks in.

“We are trying to approach [the guys] the same way we approach the female characters,” producer Judd Apatow tells TheTVPage.com.

“What is the journey of a man trying to figure out what his profession is, what kind of person he wants to get married to?  What is important to him?  And so as the show has expanded and those characters have become larger, you get more of a sense of their issues.  And we go very deeply into those characters lives this season.”

It’s easy to go on about how great Adam and Ray are, but it’s a bit harder to decode Hannah’s supporting female friends.

Here’s a refresher as we head into season three:

Marnie (Alison Williams): Hannah’s best friend, she’s been hung up on her ex-boyfriend Charlie for more than a full season now. She also wants to be a singer, an out-of-left-field reveal at the end of last season that left quite a few people scratching their heads.

Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet): A bit of a ditz. She dated Ray for a while, and she loves SEX AND THE CITY.  She’s pretty funny when off on the sidelines, but isn’t all that compelling when given her own story – after all, when I was considering significant aspects of Shoshanna’s character, one of them was literally “she loves SEX AND THE CITY.”

Jessa (Jemima Kirke): Impulsive, unpredictable, a little reckless. Jessa’s been through it all, and she’s a character that has the potential to be the most interesting one on the show. But her stories rarely take place with any of the other main cast, and she just disappeared halfway through last season, making the lack of great female characters all the more obvious.

GIRLS is an almost entirely female-centric show, and that’s something that is still pretty rare on television, even today. Shouldn’t its focus be on making its female characters every bit as interesting as its male ones, if not more?

We’ve seen the first two episodes of GIRLS’ new season, and if they’re any indication, it’s possible that Dunham has begun to put more focus on trying to give her characters more interesting arcs. Adam and Ray are still there (as they should be), but all three of Hannah’s cohorts get their own time to shine – Jessa, in particular, has some pretty standout sequences in episode one.

GIRLS has the potential to be the definitive female-driven show of its generation; it just needs to try a little bit harder.

GIRLS returns for season three on Sunday, January 12th on HBO.

Will you be watching?  Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Michael Smith

Michael Smith

Michael Smith is a student living in New York who loves television. Coincidentally, he also loves to write about television -- so this works out great for him. He can’t wait to talk your ear off about the latest low-rated cult hit that he couldn’t bear to see cancelled.
Michael Smith

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