DAVID BIANCULLI

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Things Went Sideways and Then Up, Again, For ‘Girls’ Fans
February 21, 2017  | By Eric Gould  | 1 comment
 

[Editor’s Note:  Plot details of last week’s episode of Girls are revealed and discussed below.]

Lena Dunham made news again this week and it wasn’t due to her frequent position as whipping post for the now-sacked Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, who was lashing away as recently as last Friday during his appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher.

Last Sunday’s episode of Dunham’s Girls, “Hostage Situation,” gave fans a surprise knuckleball when it was revealed that folk-singer Desi Harperin (Ebon Moss-Bachrach, below) had a very good reason for four seasons of often skewing between his trademark uber-narcissism and just as quickly, man-tears fit for a six-year-old.

Turns out Desi has a pretty bad OxyContin habit.

Instantly, all of Desi’s oddball mannerisms, his unreliability and his impulsive proposal of marriage to Marnie (Allison Williams with Moss-Bachrach, top) in season three all fell into place.  Of course the guy made no sense. Of course he was erratic. He was high the whole time.

Dunham’s power as a writer is mature beyond her years and “Hostage Situation” once again displayed that while the show’s conceit of the unsullied self-absorption of the characters is never far away, it is not a one-trick comedy act. Desi’s reveal was another dramatic twist consistent with Hannah’s (Dunham) father coming out of the closet and the “lost” episodes – Hannah’s lost sex weekend with Patrick Wilson in “One Man’s Trash” (Season 2, Episode 5) and Marnie’s similar all-nighter encounter with former boyfriend and heroin addict Charlie in “The Panic in Central Park” (Season 5, Episode 6).

If we might be a bit too rapt at the three-season windup for this turn, Moss-Bachrach, this week told Vulture that Desi’s plight wasn’t scripted from the start. It most likely was a creation for this final season of the series. But it made sense in terms of the character’s long arc and instability and its comedic reveal ­– Marnie’s opening of Desi’s briefcase, empty except for a Mason jar (of all hiding places) with a handful of Oxy in it.

The Mason jar, Desi’s simultaneous defiant yet relieved confession, and the ensuing slapstick struggle of Marnie and Hannah locking Desi out of the vacation house where they were staying were an unusual blend of ways into a subject that is, of course, no joke.

That ability to deliver the darkest depths along with some of the better jokes on television today has always been Dunham’s strong suit.

One gets the feeling she might be warming up for her best punches yet to come for the series finale.

Just a hunch.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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1 Comments
 
 
Angela
I avoided Girls for the longest time but I finally succumbed to a TV critic's convincing praise and watched the first episode on Amazon Prime. I proceeded to plow through each subsequent episode until I had watched all 4 seasons. And I didn't think twice when I clicked on "buy" so I could watch season 5.
Feb 24, 2017   |  Reply
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is available on Amazon for $20.

Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. A high point is the author’s interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer and many others...Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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