Prozac Nation

Prozac Nation is the slowest quick read I’ve ever read. It’s 300+ pages of glib complaints, easy rants, long-winded descriptions, and it is utterly exhausting. But it’s a necessary read for a twentysomething female, and for anyone in the modern world who experiences depressive thoughts, or knows someone who does.

Elizabeth Wurtzel is both the most arrogant and bravest person of her generation for writing this book. She took all her horrific years of pre-diagnosed depression, hashed them out in what was undoubtedly very painful detail, probably even relived them as she put them into words, and then let the masses do the rest. She invited people into her brain, to feel sorry for her, to feel repulsed by her, to want her to shut the fuck up, to want to hold her hand, all in an attempt to describe something that is even worse once it’s described. And that thing is depression. Depression is the most selfish disease of all, but it’s a real one, and her story is the recounting of what happens when it — and its host, for lack of a better term — are not taken seriously.

She summed up her mindset pretty early on: “No matter how many chemicals I have ever used to bleach or sandblast my brain, I know by now, only too well, that you can never get away from yourself because you never go away” (p. 11). Everyone wants to be someone besides who they are at some point, but to have that thought constantly? That’s something else entirely. That’s a chemical imbalance that is often masked by the wrong chemicals — drugs, alcohol — and the wrong experiences — suicide attempts — rather than the right chemicals — drugs — and the right experiences — who’s to say?

Wurtzel is quick to qualify the catch-22 of her depression, too. She recognizes that the source of her depression is no more tragic or complicated than anyone else’s; in fact, she’s probably a lot better off than most people with it. She had just as unstable a childhood as the next person; divorced parents, absent dad, crazy mom. But she never accused them of not loving her, even if she said it at different times in her adolescence. As she put it, “Nothing about my life seemed worthy of art or literature or even of just plain life. It seemed too stupid, too girlish, too middle-class” (p. 51). And then, over the course of the book, she proceeds to describe how everyone around her, including her parents, her school, her employers, her friends, her boyfriends, her own lifestyle, accommodated her disease and made it easier for her to live with it. No one, including herself, found her situation dire enough to fix because it never got that dire in anyone’s eyes — it’s hard to comprehend that behavior like hers was in a gray area, half induced by her own volition, half induced by something askew in her brain, fully coming across as incoherent and helpless. When someone complains about something you can’t relate to, or at the very least see, it becomes trivial. When they do it all the time, and pull the attention away from the good and into the bad, it becomes repulsive.

As I read this book, I found myself relating to passages in it, and then scaring myself into thinking there was something seriously wrong with me. This passage in particular struck a chord because, well, it’s accurate: “Instead of thinking that there was no future, all I did was plan for the future, treating the present tense and all its tension like a lengthy, labored preamble to a real life that awaited me somewhere, anywhere else but here” (p. 97). It’s not that I’ve had those thoughts, it’s that I do have them, currently. But then I’d read on, and see that her reaction would be to go on a bender, and I’d feel relieved that that idea sounded completely unappealing to me. Selfish, yes, and comforting. What a combination.

Wurtzel intended for her readers to experience these emotions with her. She wanted us to go through each little breakdown, each big breakdown, each idiotic decision, all the back and forth between times in her life. She wanted everything to blend together, and for us to feel annoyed, and scared, and unsettled. “As I found myself saying to not a few people who would tell me they found the book angering and annoying to read: Good. Very good. That means I did what I had set out to do” (p. 356). Adding up all the instances of inane whining actually amounts to something — a constant state of something unfixable, but also a tale of how there really is hope.

I finished this book weeks ago, weeks before yesterday in particular, and had been meaning to write about it for some time. Today felt like the right day, in light (or rather, darkness) of yesterday’s awful news about Robin Williams. Like many people across the world, spanning generations, I feel a loss that’s going to feel like a loss for awhile. Robin Williams was an omnipresent, supremely talented man, one who brought everyone joy in a variety of ways, one who was relatively open about his drug and alcohol and mental health problems, and yet one who couldn’t be saved from himself. It goes to show that actually, maybe, you can never be too open about your problems if you articulate them in the right way to the right people. There is help out there for some people. Maybe it’s in the form of laughter, maybe it’s in the form of medicine, maybe it’s in the form of writing, performing, data analysis, sewing, DJing, whatever. Maybe it’s some combination of all of those things that hasn’t been discovered yet. I hope it is soon. I can’t imagine what his family is going through right now.

You won’t enjoy every sentence of this book, because it’ll hit you hard, but if you think you need to know what it’s like, you probably do. It’s better to know, and to empathize, than to shrug it off. I’ve never felt more confident in uttering a cheesy statement like this before, because it’s the truth: We’re all in this together.

The Devil in the White City

It’s hard for me to think of a time when I did not consider Chicago to be my favorite city. My first visit there was when I was five, and I was hooked on its kind majesty, its flat expanse, its alleys and bridges and tunnels and unity despite all that architectural division. And its FAO Schwarz toy store, of course. I’ve visited again and again, always dumbfounded by how such a kind and cultured urban space could exist in the middle of the country, and by how other cities seem not to adopt its simple, unique demeanor. In fact, I was there just six months ago, intending to read The Devil in the White City in situ, but Byrne’s How Music Works took a little longer than I intended. Now I’m desperate to go back, because it turns out that I knew nothing of the city’s incredibly dark past. The seediness makes me that much more curious.

In the introduction to The Devil in the White City, author Erik Larson warns us that we’re about to read something so unusual, so unbelievable, that we might forget it’s non-fiction. And he was right to issue that warning. There were so many times, paging through this book, when I’d forget it was all true. As the story of Daniel Burnham, chief architect of the 1893 World’s Fair, trudged along, I wondered why it wouldn’t pick up, why the author hadn’t chosen to pace the story with more fervor and excitement. But that trudging must have mimicked real life, the constant bureaucratic pitfalls, weather delays, labor shortages, equipment problems, transportation issues, and other large-scale annoyances that Burnham encountered as he was trying to erect a city within a city in a fraction of the time that a normal city could have been built. The book only dragged because Larson chose to tell it in a parallel timeline with that of H.H. Holmes, blue-eyed pharmacist and cold-blooded killer. Holmes’ murderous activities were far more interesting from the outset, again, until I remembered that everything he was doing had happened to real people, and then I wished it had all been made up. Larson toys with our emotions without even making anything up. He’s a master of non-fiction — that’s probably why this book was a National Book Award Finalist, among many other reasons.

It’s not perfectly written — he strives to maintain a good portion of the type of language used at the turn of that century, and so some of the metaphors feel outdated, clunky, and even unnecessarily cheesy. He rarely editorializes, and even though this maintains the factual accuracy of the book, I almost wish he had inserted his own opinions of the buildings and the behaviours of the cast and crew, because he must have gotten to know them quite well as he was researching the book. I suppose he let their actions speak for themselves.

But he manages to paint a very different portrait of Chicago than any other I’ve seen before, using the shades of its black and white sides, and thus telling a far more stark and beautiful story. At once I want to know what that Chicago was like, in its utter chaos and stench, and I also know that I’d probably be the exact victim that Holmes targeted. Chicago sounds terrifying and enticing — how calm it seems now.

The idea of a World’s Fair is so foreign, just over 100 years later. I suppose the Olympics or the World Cup has taken the place of these kinds of events, and even so, the host city and country don’t really have to construct buildings like they used to. The stadiums are lasting legacies, but the athlete villages disappear. Anyhow, the pressure was so great back then, to succeed, to sustain bragging rights, to uphold a reputation across the world, to avoid disappointing and offending, to instill values — though our world has changed dramatically, and judgement is almost instantaneous, I find it comforting that modern society across the world has abandoned this idea of the World’s Fair. Of course, these fairs still exist, but they don’t seem to carry the same weight that they used to. Now that travel is more readily available, so we can travel the globe if we have the means, instead of letting it come to us.

Now when I return to Chicago, I’ll have even more of an appreciation for the majesty of its buildings and the mystery behind them. Even though much of what was built for the fair is gone now, I want to go back to Jackson Park and just think about it. Over the course of one summer, fame, fortune, and favor gathered in one place. The poor experienced opulence and the wealthy experienced grunge. Maybe that’s why I like it so much — everything evens out in the Midwest.

Just a single quote, because it’s more fun to read and experience the story than pinpoint the language:

p. 97, regarding one of many extravagant banquets // “It was the first in a sequence of impossibly rich and voluminous banquets whose menus raised the question of whether any of the city’s leading men could possibly have a functional artery.”

Golden Globes 2014

I’m one of those people who watches awards shows, of late anyway, to bitch about them later. There’s something so superficially satisfying about disagreeing with a disembodied body like the Academy or the Hollywood Foreign Press or whatever, and also about forming your own opinions on a topic you really think you know a lot about. It’s usually a race to the February finish to fit in all the movies before the Oscars, and bonus points to those of us who finish them in time for the Golden Globes. I’m going to take a moment to pat myself on the back now, because I think I saw most of them in time for Tina and Amy’s Sunday show.

Awards shows are inherently bullshit — why are we comparing all of these different pieces of art that are so fundamentally different, when really it shouldn’t be a competition and (as my dad alluded to when I tried to explain my complex feelings about awards shows to him) all of the pieces should be displayed and viewed in a big theater museum, kind of like how art is. Yet it feels so good to see your favorite artists get recognition, and most actors are inherently attention-seekers, so awards shows become this sort of fun pomp and circumstance, where we all get to see if they’re really like how we’ve imagined them, if they’re anything like the characters we’ve grown to love, if they’re as heroic as we’ve made them in the past year. It’s bullshit. It’s hypocritical. It’s gross and it’s fun.

I can say, with some sense of pride and probably a lot more irony, that this is the first awards show I’ve watched and not treated like a hostile sporting event. Sure, I yelled a lot, but they were yells of joy! I found myself fully on board with the decisions that the HFP made, and as a result of that, I fully enjoyed the ceremony. It helped, naturally, that Tina and Amy were at the helm of the whole thing, keeping it at just the right level of drunken shitshow. But what I really, truly loved about this year’s ceremony is that, Breaking Bad not withstanding, the juggernauts finally got de-throned. The Big Bang Theory didn’t win anything. Whatever Hobbit movie came out this year didn’t win anything. Modern Family didn’t win anything. It was a year for the little man, yes. It was also a year for spreading the wealth very evenly, and in the right nooks and crannies.

Here’s what I mean. Dallas Buyers Club wasn’t the best movie of the year, but it did contain two of the best performances of the year in Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey. And both of those guys won! And there was still room for Leonardo DiCaprio to win, because his movie was considered a comedy. Dividing the field into two parts is slightly better than not dividing it at all. And Blue Jasmine wasn’t the best movie either, but it did contain the best dramatic performance, as far as I’m concerned, by Cate Blanchett, and she won too! And Gravity was Alfonso Cuaron’s visually stunning baby, more than anything else, and he won Best Director! Her was Spike Jonze’s literarily stunning baby, and he won for best screenplay! And Amy Poehler, long overshadowed by Edie Falco and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, finally got her statue. And a new comedy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, got recognized for being different and unique and fresh, and another SNL alum (Andy Samberg) got to take home his own statue, too. And Robin Wright! She makes me understand what “yin and yang” mean. And 12 Years a Slave! Hard to argue with that being the best dramatic film of the year. And the composer for All is Lost! That movie was mostly not talking, so he had to work especially hard to make the score grab the audience. (That sounds fake, but it’s only because I haven’t seen it yet, and I’m still glad he won.) And Elisabeth Moss! She got a Peggy consolation prize. Works for me.

See what I mean? American Hustle cleaned up a little, sure, but it didn’t dominate or anything. The accolades got spread around in such a lovely, democratic way that it almost makes me not want to watch the Oscars. To leave this good, happy feeling in my mind, that somewhere out there exists a real group of people who reward films based on true merit. It bodes well for Hollywood… outside of Hollywood, anyway.

We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy

A book like this definitely needed to be written, if only to serve as inspiration and comfort and education for people like me. I’ve only recently begun to read more about sexism, particularly with respect to the industry I’m interested in, which is comedy. Never before had I considered just how male-dominated this world is, and how many strides women have made to break that cycle.

I hate that the “women aren’t funny” issue came up a few years ago when Bridesmaids came out. It literally did not occur to me that Bridesmaids was “groundbreaking.” I didn’t notice that the main cast was female–really, I did not–and instead just enjoyed it as a movie. And then the internet went insane, commending ladies for finally breaking the glass ceiling and all that. It’s bullshit, though, because, um, what about Sex and the City? Jesus, that show was funny. (Remember this?) And its main cast had only XX chromosomes. I think Bridesmaids is hilarious because Kristin Wiig is so multifaceted and Jon Hamm completely debases himself in it and Chris O’Dowd is so lovable and Melissa McCarthy completely kills it as whatever that character was but, let’s be honest, most people laughed because Maya Rudolph took a shit in the street. It’s still frustrating that we even have to be talking about the movie in terms of its female parts.

Back to the main event. We Killed isn’t a manifesto or anything. In fact, it had its frustrating parts, too. Like Live From New York (which it actually drew upon for some research), it was an oral history, with quotes from ladies and gentlemen of comedy placed in chronological, sometimes completely contradictory order. There were many times when I found myself reading about one breakthrough comedian, only to find in the next chapter that she was considered hack, and that the “next big thing” was the real breakthrough. Lizz Winstead brought up a good point about female “hack” comedians: “It seems that people like to make this stereotype, but how can they keep saying that’s what women comedians do all the time when a bunch of successful ones don’t?” (p. 170). Essentially, comedy by women has behaved in cycles (har har har!); there have been times to be androgynous and asexual (Ellen, Roseanne) and times to be beautiful and appealing (Sarah Silverman, Natasha Leggero) and times to be wifely and doting (Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers). If you, the audience member, hones your comedy taste in one cycle, the other is going to seem foreign and cheap to you. And that’s why, when reading this book, I never really felt like I was able to trust anyone talking about comedy who came up before the 1990’s, because all I truly know about comedy I learned starting at that time. I’m not discounting anything before that; I’m just saying it feels more unfamiliar to me, and consequently, today’s scene feels unfamiliar to them. I just can’t imagine a time when women were though of as lesser, unfunnier performers, and I’m damn proud of it.

I found that women were less hard on each other over the years than men were. Maybe that’s a good thing. But as a result, it was hard to tell who was actually “bad” besides, well, Kathy Griffin. It appeared, from this oral history, that no one ever really liked her. Ouch. But the rest of ’em were just “not my style” or “unconventional” or some other Band-Aided term for “not good, but not willing to admit it.” Or maybe not! It was so hard to tell! Where was the filter? Was any woman really willing to admit that some women actually weren’t funny?

I’m ranting, I know. But I should also say that the book had a lot of high points. For example, the description of Mary Tyler Moore (starting on p. 68), made me want to watch MTM more than I’ve ever wanted to watch a show. I still have never seen an episode, and the reverence with which people speak about it is so intoxicating. Speaking of intoxicating, I was intrigued by the stories of Elayne Boozler (p. 119) and Laura Kightlinger (p. 236), two comics who got famous in comedy but never became stars. I still don’t fully understand why.

We’re in a golden age of comedy now, what with podcasts and YouTube and alt rooms and $5 shows at the UCB and more dudes than ever defending our right to be on that stage for just as long and with just as many dick/vag jokes. A sweet anecdote by the otherwise unbearable Victoria Jackson, about how on The Tonight Show, “Carson would interview me while arranging everything to make me look funny, not himself. He would let me get the laughs and tap his pencil to get an extra laugh” (p. 144), that diplomacy was once rare but is now commonplace, at least among the good ones. The bad ones are still out there, throwing the double standard back at pretty female comics (p. 282) and insisting that explicit sexual content in a routine is just there for shock value, but the good ones jump right on board with Kightlinger, who mused, “I’m an awkward person, who, for some reason needs to forge a connection with strangers by sharing true, intimagte, humiliating events from my own life” (p. 223). If that’s not a comedic truth, I don’t know what is.

The Dark Knight Rises

It took me several weeks to work up the courage to see this movie. As soon as I heard about the premiere date, I was all set, all pumped, couldn’t wait to see how Christopher Nolan could possibly top The Dark Knight… and then the Colorado tragedy happened, and scared me shitless. I cried that morning, angry that a lunatic had taken away the trust we all have in each other inside the confines of a movie theater, and relieved that none of my friends who went to the premiere that night happened to live in Colorado. I’m still not completely over it, but weirdly enough, seeing The Dark Knight Rises after all, in a theater with strangers, did help. I wouldn’t necessarily see it again, though.

I’m not sure if it was the shooting and my subsequent paranoia that tainted this movie for me, or if it really just wasn’t as good as The Dark Knight. Probably a bit of both, I imagine. On the one hand, Heath Ledger owned The Dark Knight, and there were simply no comparative acting performances like his in The Dark Knight Rises. So in my mind his Joker (and thus his movie) will always reign supreme. The Dark Knight is a movie I own, a movie I love to re-watch, love to get into, love to admire. The Dark Knight Rises is a movie that needed to be made to finish the trilogy and the story, but one that emotionally drains its viewers. It’s a brutal three hours.

Sure, there were delicious shots, and it rarely dragged from a spectacle standpoint. That one image of Batman standing atop a statue, overlooking Gotham, stands out in my mind. It was beyond iconic. Plus, Hans Zimmer’s music does something to my bones that makes me want to stand up and scream, “THIS IS AWESOME!!!” every time I hear swelling brass. But I’m having a hard time shaking the fight scenes. Batman (Christian Bale) and Bane (Tom Hardy) beat the absolute shit out of each other, twice, with their bare-ish hands. It was downright disturbing, in a way I’ve never quite seen disturbing before. We watch war movies, where actors channel innocent young men fighting for their lives and some sort of cause, and then we see action movies, where actors play out choreographed battle scenes and wield technologically advanced play weapons. Somehow, the cro-magnon hand-to-hand combat in The Dark Knight Rises combined these two polar opposites and made them wholly unappealing. Batman and Bane became machines, barely human weapons, not even fighting for their “causes” anymore because they had abandoned them long ago. They were fighting to fight, which is even more terrifying because all the emotion leaves the situation and it remains a bloody skeleton of itself.

But let’s backtrack a little. Batman, at some point in the movie, did regain his humanity. And then he lost it. And then he got it back. It’s a little hard to follow. Bruce Wayne isn’t the warmest guy, so I’m not going to beat myself up about it (pun not intended, but sustained). The important thing is that Batman found it within himself to ditch the crippled rich guy act, rescue himself from a hellish pit prison, and ultimately save Gotham City. There’s heroism built into his story. Plus, it sucks that he fell for a traitor, so he gets a bit of our sympathy there. (Sidebar: I did not see Marion Cotilliard’s flip-flop act coming. Sometimes, suspending your disbelief can make things more fun!)

Bane, on the other hand, I can’t even wrap my mind around. Plenty of jokes have been made about his indecipherable basso profundo Yoda-speak, so I won’t travel too far down that road. Suffice it to say, it was hard to take him seriously with the bad guy standard set
so incredibly high by Ledger. And yet I found Bane absolutely terrifying! Even more terrifying than the Joker! What the hell? My only way of explaining it is that I was unable to see Bane’s mouth, and therefore unable to read him at all. The Joker, though he was pure evil, was a fraction of a human being, in the sense that he experienced emotions that were visible on his face. He might even humor you for a second with witty repartee before blasting you. But Bane, Bane was a human machine. Bane spoke in calculated sentences and destroyed everything in his path, and was not remotely fun to watch on screen. Tyra Banks claims to be able to express emotions with her eyes, but I think it’s a load of crap. I’ve always found more expression and subtlety in the mouth, and comparing the Joker and Bane this way is basically just unfair. Bane had no emotions, not even when his backstory was revealed. He was a P90X’d Jason in an Abercrombie and Fitch duster, and I am pissed that I found him scary.

So when these two fight each other on such a base level, I couldn’t take it. It didn’t seem right for two Goliaths to be fighting each other David-style. And for this kind of violence to be glorified on an IMAX screen… well, it gives me shivers.

I enjoyed Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, of course. She put Chuck Norris to Republican shame with all of her high-heeled roundhouse kicks, and she made Christian Bale look really lame for not having as much fun with his role. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine did what they came to do, which is Spout Wisdom. Not much to be said there. I also enjoyed the bit parts from Thomas Lennon (not a gynecologist this time!), Aiden Gillan (not a politician this time!), Desmond Harrington (still a cop this time!), and that one guy from The Hour (still creepy this time!). But if anyone gets to “own” this movie, it’d have to be Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He was a little awkwardly set up for the next flick in the last 20 minutes, what with all the “Robin” exposition, but his turn as Blake was strong and collected. His signature boyish smile was gone, replaced with a multi-layered cynical sneer and occasional appearances of last-resort hope, and I think he’s such a great choice to carry on the franchise, wherever it goes next.

I want to end this post on a happy note, even if the movie was largely sinister. A wildly entertaining, spectacular three hours of sinister, mind you, ones that I’m glad I spent on this movie but won’t revisit for a long time. I’ll just say that, like in The Dark Knight Rises, Bale got to deliver the one funny line of the film in his throaty Batman voice. Back then, it was, “At least I’m not the one wearing hockey pants.” This time, when Catwoman disappears on him, he mutters, “So that’s what that feels like.” Well played, Dark Knight.

Tiny Furniture and Girls

I’m incredibly jealous of Lena Dunham. I’m also incredibly proud of her.

She’s a year older than I, almost to the day, and she’s accomplished some phenomenal things. She made her own movie, Tiny Furniture, and she made her own TV show, Girls. Both are excellent, both tell different versions of her story, and both have secured their spots in the current pop culture dialogue. So you can see why I might be both jealous and proud.

It’s not often that someone so young rises to the top. It takes talent and luck and ambition, and a perfect storm of something indescribable, and for that reason, I probably shouldn’t be so jealous or proud of her, because she’s an outlier. But I’ll use her as inspiration anyway. She’s given a voice to herself, and she’s given a voice to a lot of the girls out there who didn’t think our stories were interesting enough to tell.

Tiny Furniture and Girls are about very specific struggles. Most people won’t relate to them. In Tiny Furniture, Dunham’s character moves back home after college. In Girls, her character decides to stick it out in New York instead of moving home. In both cases, her character ends up sacrificing a great deal of her personal happiness, and has to deal with the consequences of a slightly-less-comfortable life. I can see why so many people broke out their miniature violins upon hearing these premises, but the thing is, this happens to a lot of people. The struggles of an upper-middle-class white girl may not be as dire as most people’s, but they are as valid. I can’t say my life parallels Aura’s, or Hannah’s, or even Lena’s, but I can say that I saw many versions of myself in all the characters in the movie and the series, and more accurately so than in other post-college coming-of-age stories. As cliche as it might sound, before watching Tiny Furniture and Girls, I didn’t really think there was anyone out there who might understand my life, even a little bit. Now I know that’s not true.

Both works put a harsh, whiny, sometimes glamorous, mostly unflattering face on the lives of twentysomethings. In other words, they mostly tell the exact truth, which is that if you are born into a nice family, are lucky enough to attend a nice college, and then decide you don’t want to be a doctor/lawyer/other lucrative profession, post-graduate life can be very disorienting. Being some sort of an artist doesn’t mesh well with the only lifestyle you’ve known. I can remember reading all the criticisms about Girls, especially, when it premiered, many of which complained that Hannah had no right to complain about her life, that she lived in a white liberal arts college bubble, that she was afforded every possible opportunity, that her drama isn’t real. But it is real. Dunham wasn’t trying to garner sympathy for herself, or anything like that. She was, quite simply, showing how bratty some of us can be when we’re forced out of our comfort zones. That’s what the pilot of Girls was about. Over the course of the season, we saw her and her three friends make loads of mistakes, exemplify twentysomething FOMO behavior, and act generally idiotically. But I also think these girls didn’t give themselves enough credit for being smart where it counted. The four girls had abhorrent taste in men throughout the whole season (which I’ll get to in a second), but they also have this unabashed, if slightly disillusioned, confidence in themselves. And in New York, they sort of need it to survive. Even if they aren’t that great, even if Hannah’s memoir doesn’t pan out or whatever, she believes that it’s a masterpiece, and that’s going to get her somewhere. They haven’t been jaded by the city or their lives yet, and in a cutthroat location like New York, blind confidence is a treasure. In the case of Lena Dunham, if she actually had that blind confidence, it got her to a pretty great place.

Now, let’s go back to those men. Adam Driver, wow. I would never date his character, but he and Dunham were a pleasure to watch together. Same goes for Christopher Abbott, who played the very vaginal Charlie to Allison Williams’ Marnie. I only wish Marnie had gone for Jorma Taccone’s Booth instead, because, well:

That’s how you talk to a lady, amirite?! Moving on: Jessa (Jemima Kirke) started the season with an intriguing, bohemian bent, but then ended it with something really stupid: She married a stranger. Normally I love Chris O’Dowd, but his character on the show is creepy as shit. I suppose that’s the point. But I felt it a little too shock-valuey for HBO. Anyway, Shoshanna (the brilliant Zosia Mamet) played her V card with the weird guy from Tiny Furniture? Okay. Fine. I suppose he was nice. I didn’t get most of these decisions, but the mere fact that I’m this irritated by these fictional characters’ lives should say something. I was so wrapped up in the show that I forgot they weren’t real.

I really can’t wait to see what else Lena Dunham does with her brutally honest talent. If the rest of her life’s work is as semi-autobiographical as what she’s done up to now, I’d be fine with that. I just hope the rest of the world is, too, because she really does lead an enviable life. Maybe I’m disillusioned in thinking so, but then again, I’m a girl, too.