For a show being hailed as a game-changing generational voice, there is nothing particularly new or fresh in Dunham's approach, other than that she's a girl writing about "gross" stuff and awkward sexcapades, and that she incorporates relevant technology, like sexting. The real driving force that sets Dunham's characters apart is their deep, self-centered sense of entitlement and endless capacity to be sexually and socially humiliated.
The best moments of the show continue to be those genuinely astute one-liners, like when Marnie returns home after a demoralizing job interview to find Shoshanna and Ray happily in bed together and declares that she doesn't want to be around "people who don't hate everything in their life right now."
But the storylines and character arcs remain shallow, relying heavily on viewer discomfort and sophomoric humor. In what feels like an attempt by the all-white show to take last season's racism critique head on, this season sports an "ironically" black Republican love interest (Donald Glover) for Hannah — a ploy that will no doubt result in some sort of awkward, "ironically" offensive moment later this season. Like last season when, after being regularly sexually harassed by her boss, Hannah decided her best course of action was to sexually solicit him. How ironic!
Note: irony is a literary device you have to actually know how to use; it's not just a winking tone the Internet invented.
But this is the world of Girls, an absurdist world hell-bent on tearing down not just the egos, but the very humanity of the characters who inhabit it. It's a world populated by narcissists, a world that trades in humiliation, without artistry, complexity, or skill. It feels like a world written by a girl who doesn't just hate girls, but hates everything just for the sake of hating it.
This is Dunham's world. Specifically. And it is humiliating for the rest of us girls. At least this one.
LENA DUNHAM PRESENTS HER FILM TINY FURNITURE IN A SOLD-OUT SCREENING AT THE MFA ON FEBRUARY 6.