Girls isn’t a glamorous show and in many ways that’s what makes it feel so brutally honest and real. In the third season the characters are the most fully developed and realised versions of themselves to date. It’s also one that is full of the kinds of stories and things that will challenge, enthral, frustrate and entertain viewers, and do so in the most visceral way possible.
The fourth series of the show recently debuted overseas but this ramshackle third series has only just been released on DVD. Once again it is predominantly written and directed by the series creator and star, the uber-talented, Lena Dunham. And like the previous two seasons, it once again follows those four idiosyncratic, young women through various episodes that feel very much inspired by or rooted in real life.
In this season Marnie Michaels (Allison Williams) is heartbroken and reeling from her break-up with long-time boyfriend, Charlie Dattolo (Christopher Abbott). She will wind up forming a few different romantic attachments over the course of these 12 episodes and find herself in a very similar place to the season premiere by the end of it all. Shoshanna Shapiro (Zosia Mamet) cuts loose after her break-up with Ray Polansky (Alex Karpovsky). She will revel in her freedom but her master plan will also unravel spectacularly.
The interesting, Jessa Johansson (Jemima Kirke) has a harder edge this season, especially when she enters rehab. She will go to some very dark places as she tackles substance abuse and forms some unlikely friendships. Hannah Horvath (Dunham) meanwhile, attempts to live with her OCD while struggling with her relationship and the notion of success and what that actually means.
The season sees the gals and the attractive male characters like Ray, Hannah’s boyfriend- Adam Sackler (Adam Driver) and Elijah Krantz (Andrew Rannells) all along for the bumpy ride, which also includes an introduction to Adam’s unhinged sister (Gaby Hoffmann). The story lines include a road trip, a beach party, a reunion, a Broadway debut and an untimely death. These all come to a head in the season finale where a world of possibilities are left open for the next series to take up and explore.
The third season includes guest appearances from the likes of Rita Wilson, John Cameron Mitchell, Richard E. Grant, Patti LuPone, June Squibb and Louise Lasser. The DVD set includes six audio commentaries with the cast and crew as well as shorter “Inside the Episode” segments like the previous series. In the latter, Dunham is interviewed and gives brief descriptions of the ideas and writing process for a particular episode and this combined with scenes lifted from that show.
Girls is a TV show where viewers will find the characters utterly relatable or too vapid for their taste. As it stands, this articulate and clever series remains as deep and sharp as ever. There are many thought-provoking and provocative moments that make things feel fresh and entertaining. It also means that even the most bizarre and narcissistic scenes come with a huge side order of reality and insightful lessons that we can all draw things from.
Review Score: THREE AND HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Season 3 of Girls is now available on DVD through Warner Brothers and HBO Home Entertainment. Season 4 of Girls, meanwhile, is screening weekly on Showcase, 7.30pm Mondays (Express from the US)