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Late to the Party: Josh Reviews Girls Season 3

October 8th, 2014

Judd Apatow’s involvement piqued my attention in the first season of Girls.  My wife and I enjoyed that first season, and even though I read many critics who felt the show took a downturn in season two, my wife and I enjoyed that season as well.  We’ve had the third season sitting in our DVR for almost a year, but for whatever reason we kept putting off watching it until just a few weeks ago.

I seem to be somewhat in the minority in that while I enjoyed seasons one and two, I had a tough time getting through season three.  The season starts off strong and, thank goodness, ends strong.  But there is a rough stretch of episodes in the middle that I found very off-putting.  The central problem, for me, was just how unlikable I felt all four of the main girls became, and how little interest I found I had in any of their stories.  An unlikable character or characters can certainly anchor a series, but it’s tough for me to remain engaged if I have zero affection or empathy for any of the main characters.

It’s funny to look back, now, on the first season, in which I liked all four of the girls but thought that the show’s biggest weakness was how terribly the guys were all depicted.  The three main guys — Adam, Charlie, and Ray — were all such weirdos and morons that I felt it made the show a little too off-balance.  I’d have preferred to see the girls interacting with slightly more “normal” guys.

Cut to season three.  I’m amazed (and pleased!) at how the show has rehabilitated Adam, and Ray has become the most normal character on the show.  The four girls, on the other hand…

As I wrote above, the season started off strong.  The first three episodes were great, with the show funnier than it’s ever been.  I really enjoyed the new dynamic of Hannah and Adam as a relatively healthy couple.  I loved the road trip in the season premiere (watching Shoshanna and Adam interact was gold), and the third episode, “She Said Ok,” was one of the show’s best.  My biggest complaint about season two was how the four main girls spent most of the season separated and estranged, so it was great to see them all together at Hannah’s birthday party.  (The episode was filled with great moments, from Marnie’s crazy youtube video to Adam interacting with Hannah’s parents to David kicking Ray’s ass.)

But things turned sour for me with the fourth episode, “Dead Inside.”  In this episode I felt Hannah wasn’t just unlikable, she was sociopathic.  Her trying to get help on her … [continued]

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The Top 10 Episodes of TV in 2012 — Part One!

I hope you’ve been enjoying my Best-of-2012 lists so far!  Follow these links to read my Top 15 Movies of 2012: part one, part two, and part three, and my Top 15 Comic Book Series of 2012: part one and part two.

When writing my Top 10 Episodes of TV list last year, I wrote that I’d considered not doing a best-of-TV list anymore, and the same thought crossed my mind this year.  My life has gotten so busy these past few years, and as a result I watch far, far less TV than I used to.  I manage to do a pretty good job of still seeing lots of movies, but I am much more of a niche TV viewer these days.  There are not that many new shows that I watch, and much of the TV that I see is actually old stuff in the form of DVD season sets.  But I do still love me some great TV, and so here is my list of the most wonderful television I watched this year.  One last caveat before I begin: know that I have not seen seasons 2 or 3 of Louie or seasons 2 or 3 of Boardwalk Empire, or any episode of Breaking Bad and Community. All of those are shows that I would love to catch up on, and I actually have DVDs of all of those shows sitting on my to-watch shelf.  Someday!  OK, enough delay, here’s my list:

10. Mad Men: “The Phantom” (season 5, episode 13, aired on 6/10/12) — This was a spectacular season of Mad Men, possibly my very favorite season.  The year was stuffed with memorable moments and fantastic episodes.  I thought about including on this list the season 5 premiere, “A Little Kiss,” for the Zou Bissou Bissou scene; or “Tea Leaves” for the fantastic comedy of Harry and Don Draper back-stage at a Rolling Stones concert; or “Signal 30” for the hysterical and awkward dinner party in which Pete and Trudy host Ken and his wife and, of course, the fantastic moment in which Lane punches Pete.  But, instead, I opted for “The Phantom,” the fifth season finale.  There’s a lot of greatness in this episode, moments both comedic and very sad, including the connections between Lane’s suicide and that of Don’s brother , Adam (from season one); Peggy and Don at the movies; and Roger on acid again.  But what earned this episode a spot on my list is its closing shot, that iconic image of Don Draper, in all his James Bond badass glory, walking away from his wife on a brightly-lit soundstage and into the darkness of … [continued]