The best thing you’ll see all week: Girls

, | TV reviews

-I’m sorry you don’t get what’s so hilarious about me peeing on you.
-Okay, you are not a good apologizer. Just FYI.

Hannah Horvath sits in a dark theater, watching the tech rehearsal for a friend’s play. Opening night is two weeks out, so the edges are a little rough, but she is entranced. For good reason. The man she is watching, her friend Adam, is utterly captivating. Confident. Sexy. Powerful. Raw. Scary. She is almost alone with him in the theater, and as he shifts from his monologue to the next beat in the tech rehearsal, she seems about to lean forward and give a bit of direction. It’s a jarring moment, since while Hannah is played by Lena Dunham, the creator of the show and a woman undoubtedly able to give direction, Hannah the character could never do that. At least not competently.

Shortly after that theater scene there is a moment in this eighth episode of the first season of HBO’s Girls when the show seems to be directly talking about itself. Hannah is telling Adam why he should do the play when he has decided to quit. But Girls is not only talking about itself–plenty of shows do that–it’s also pulling thoughts out of our heads:

Do you know how unusual it is to see someone doing something like that? Like what you were doing, okay? That’s so open and honest and weird and you’re not making fun of them in your mind?

Lena Dunham has found a way to scramble our brains. She does it naturally, instinctively, just the way Adam does his monologue, and just the way he quits it. She shows us herself and not without fear, but without winking. She’s created something that is open and honest and weird and I’m not making fun of it in my mind.

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