Girls – “Video Games” (Season 2, Episode 7)

In the middle of a brilliant season, it’s telling that a melancholy, drifting episode like “Video Games” is easily the weakest episode so far. It’s certainly not a terrible episode, shifting from the usual setting of New York City to the quieter, pastoral regions upstate. There’s a gentle, half-asleep feeling here, and this is reflected in Hannah’s quieter demeanour.

Girls Season 2 Episode 7 - "Video Games"

The purpose of the change in locale is a visit to Jessa’s family, and the plot reveals the shaky scaffolding beneath Jessa’s character. She’s a good character when used sparingly, with her uneasy balance between worldly insight and hopeless naivety, but shining a spotlight on her family doesn’t really help to understand her flightiness, and just makes me wish we were spending time with other characters. Rosanna Arquette and Ben Mendelsohn are both good actors, but I felt like lines like “Love is just a Western construct…” betrayed a trite dismissal of Jessa’s family, which was a shame, as there was real potential there to dig into the why of Jessa.

“Video Games” threatened to gain deeper insight before retreating to easier, simpler fictions – just as Jessa did. And just like her, it carried a drowsy charm but too little substance.

2 thoughts on “Girls – “Video Games” (Season 2, Episode 7)

  1. I don’t personally like where Girls is going…since ‘One Man’s Trash’ the episodes have become slow. They seem to focus on one character at a time and it takes away from the original Girls feel; which was great. It’s a shame, I loved it for the humor and it seems to have lost a lot of that :/

    • I don’t agree with the assessment – I actually prefer this season of Girls to the first – but I totally see where you’re coming from, and it’s a good reason to prefer the first season to the second. I agree with what you’re saying for this episode – I would have loved more humour, a faster pace – but for me, “One’s Man Trash” is probably my favourite episode of the show so far – I loved the slower pace, the way it captured a moment in time so perfectly.

      But I get your criticisms – I think a lot of the characters (Shoshanna especially, but also Adam) have been given short shrift this season, and some plotlines (say, Hannah dating Sandy) felt rushed. For me, I think the slower pace and the willingness of the show to try different story structures is really interesting – Girls is a show that wants to say something filled with characters who aren’t very good at saying anything, and I feel like the show’s had some great ideas behind most of its episodes this season – just at the expense of some characters, and sometimes its humour (though I think it’s still very funny for the most part).

      At the end of the day, I think the show is trying to do hour-long stuff within a half-hour time slot, which is ambitious and great, but it does push against its restrictions sometimes, having to cut out characters and so on. The original Girls feel may be gone, but I still love whatever we’ve got at the moment.

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