I’m still not quite sure how to feel about “It’s Back,” an episode that’s equal parts messy and compelling. It reminded me of a later-era Sopranos episode, gently pushing against the boundaries of traditional television storytelling; feeling like no other show on television. It’s full of sharp writing: I loved how the show contrasted Shoshanna’s intense listening with Marnie’s narcissistic disinterest in conversation. Shosh gets a rare spotlight and makes the most of it; I wouldn’t have pegged her for the type to hookup with a doorman, but the show sold it expertly.
Thing is, Sopranos was an hour-long show, while Girls has less than half an hour to work with, and it doesn’t always handle these constraints well. This was clear in Adam’s blind date subplot, which felt undercooked and sadly uninteresting. The main feature of the episode, of course, was the return of Hannah’s OCD. I felt like this should have worked, and I did really enjoy the scene in the psychiatrist’s office, but I was never quite convinced – surprising, given it’s based on the real-life experiences of Lena Dunham. I’m impressed by the ambition of Girls, but sometimes half an hour just isn’t enough to realise it.