I count on the lead character of Girls to be cuckoo like Cocoa Puffs, in an arrested-adolescent, navel-gazing, borderline-endearing sort of way. But judging by the Girls Season 3 premiere Sunday, she seems almost, well, normal. Or at least more normal than she used to be.
Oh, the horror. And on HBO!
The first of two back-to-back episodes opens with Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver), her on-again, off-again, psycho boyfriend, not only together, but in cohabitational bliss. He has nursed her through her Season 2-ending OCD mania, and she’s going full steam on her e-memoir.
The idea that Adam, who has the social skills of a feral cat, would actually extend himself to another human being requires a suspension of disbelief of which I am not capable. Besides, these two historically don’t have much in common except their penchant for nonchalant nakedness.
Regardless, could our 24-year-old heroine be morphing into – dare I say it – a grownup?
When Adam’s ex from last season goes postal on them in Ray’s coffee shop, Hannah manages to keep her cool. In therapy, Hannah experiences a breakthrough. "My only limitation is my own mind,” she says to her (male) shrink. “Like, I hold the keys to the prison that is my mind.”
When long-absent Jessa (Jemima Kirke) calls from rehab upstate and asks Hannah to fetch her, Hannah convinces Adam to rent a car – he’s the only character old enough -- and off they go, with Shoshana (Zosia Mamet) in tow.
In fact, compared to Jessa’s despicable acting out in rehab, Marnie’s (Allison Williams) bottomless pit of control issues and self pity, and Shosh’s incessant nattering, Hannah is the prodigal den mother.
This adult veneer begins to melt early in episode 2, thankfully, but not soon enough for my taste. I’m still waiting for Adam to return to form, too. He is b-o-r-i-n-g when he’s rational.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Girls, it’s that there’s more than enough crazy to go around, and the characters have a knack for sharing it. For all her so-called maturity, Hannah will soon awake from her medicated cloud and go back to the terra ferma of incessant wallowing. I feel it.
That, of course, will push Adam to revert to his natural state of pathological narcissism, and there will be a parting of the ways. Hannah is not meant to be lucky in love. She may have sex with guys, but it is her girls, especially Marnie, who hold her heart. Think Sex and the City, the early years.
However, for Hannah and her "sisters," adulthood is a complicated instrument, one they are just learning to play solo. I don’t mind when they’re off key. In fact, I prefer it, because it makes them more relatable. How many of us were virtuosos in our mid-20s?
Sometimes their togetherness has its own toxicity, but I don’t mind that, either. Sooner or later, they’ll find their way out of the maze. The trial and error of that journey, along with all the others, is what keeps me watching.