Girls – “Bad Friend” (Season 2, Episode 3)

Girls S2 E3

Essays about drug-taking are rarely compelling: they read as a kitchen list of “crazy” events that the author has experienced, undoubtedly profound when experienced but lacking resonance on paper.

Hannah sets out with the express goal of trying to write such an essay, having a cocaine-fuelled night on the town with Elijah. This episode narrows its focus significantly, only occasionally jumping from these two to monitor Marnie’s hookup with “the” Booth Jonathan, a smarmy artist (or is it ‘artiste?’).

My feelings are mixed; I felt in many ways the episode lost the careful balance of mocking its characters while sympathising with them I spoke about last week. Here it often felt mean-spirited, as though the show was revelling in the bad decisions of these characters.

This was largely redeemed by some superb moments. Marnie’s imprisonment in the obelisk of televisions was like nothing I’d seen before, and while it seems like the show wants us to think Jonathan is a hack, I felt it was an inspired, misshapen creation. Similarly, the nightclub scene to “I Love It” perfectly encapsulated the jagged incoherency of being lost in dancing, with time flowing differently. With scenes like this, I can forgive some mean-spiritedness.

2 thoughts on “Girls – “Bad Friend” (Season 2, Episode 3)

  1. I love how this show has tonal swings that rival the worst of my mood swings. It goes from snarky to serious, zany and silly comedy to some really dark comedy, and usually all in one episode; sometimes even one scene. This was definitely the case in this episode and I loved the schizophrenic nature of it, it seems so much more like real life than the classic TV format of just choosing one tone and keeping it all the time.

    Oh and one other thing, I now wonder after seeing this episode if Kreayshawn’s “Bumpin Bumpin” is about cocaine. Always figured it was more just about dancing, but after it played during Elijah and Hannahs argument in the bathroom at the club, and with this episode featuring Hannah doing cocaine and that drug sometimes being done as ‘bumps’ it got me thinking…no matter the case what a catchy tune

    • Sorry for the late approval/reply – for some reason WordPress decided this was spam! If you are a spambot then spambots have come an awful long way! 🙂

      I think the dramatic tonal shifts in the show are what makes it work so well, and feel like “real life” even if it’s not always totally realistic. Real life is rarely solidly dramatic for 60 minutes at a time, or funny for half an hour at a time and so on. And characters might seem really insightful one moment then hopelessly naive the next! It definitely keeps the show much more interesting than most television, even if it might not be as ‘eventful’ as many other shows.

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