Girls Season 2 Review “Video Games”

Girls Season 2 Episode 7 Video Games

My favorite episode of Girls so far this season has been “It’s A Shame About Ray,” or, if you aren’t one for episode titles, the one with the dinner party. It was an episode that let all the characters bounce off each other in interesting ways, and really focused on group dynamics as opposed to just centering on Hannah. I’m starting with this because it shows exactly why I was surprised with how much I liked “Video Games” this week. It’s an episode that, much like “One Man’s Trash,” or last season’s where Hannah went home, pulls characters out of New York City and lets it play out almost like a self-contained short story. And, like those, it is almost entirely devoted to exploring Hannah.

In fact, I think the short story comparison is a pretty useful one. It’s easy to imagine “Video Games” as a piece of short literary fiction. The construction is simple; we begin and end at the same place, that rickety train station, and everything seems very pointed in its observations. And all of it leads to one moment, that moment at the end when Hannah calls her parents, and admits that she loves them, and appreciates them. And her mother thinks it’s phony. The show is a comedy, not a melodrama, and so there isn’t any big reconciliation or fight. There’s a just Hannah, trying her hardest to be earnest, for once, and getting undercut completely. While squatting and trying to get through a painful UTI.

Of course, what leads to that one moment is the interactions Hannah observes between Jessa, Jessa’s father, and his girlfriend, Petula. And while all of this may mostly be in service of revealing something to Hannah, it didn’t feel cheap to me. That is, all the familial stuff between Jessa and her dad felt very real, and though the show isn’t devoted to exploring it completely, it gives it enough time that we can feel something about it. I am, however, a little uneasy still about Jessa. I hope she doesn’t just disappear for the rest of the season, and we get something else from her, some illuminating moment that helps explain her to us, because she’s still a bit of a mystery.

And among all this, there are jokes. Jokes that made me laugh, genuinely. Everything with Frank and his friend was just on the right side of too-quirky-for-quirky’s-sake for me, though I could understand if you were annoyed by it. Hannah’s talk with Petula that gives the episode its title was great too, as was Hannah’s disgust at the rabbit reveal later. All in all, “Video Games” is exactly the kind of unique episode of television that only Girls can give us.