Girls: “Good Man” Season 5 Episode 2 Review

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“Good Man” was much stronger than last week’s wacky wedding premiere. Taking the characters that feel most true to who they were in the beginning, and ditching the rest, gave us a worthwhile and “oh, so Girls entry as season five settles in.

This episode allowed some of the other characters we didn’t quite have time for in the premiere to catch up, most notably Hannah’s recently out gay dad. The introduction of this almost out-of-nowhere storyline for Tad was awkwardly handled last season. But here, Hannah is forced to grow up and handle the situation as best as she can, which appears to be the show’s own approach to the material as well. But how clever was it that the guy from an online dating website that he traveled to New York to meet was an only slightly more further along in the gay world version of himself? Girls has a chance to tackle a side of gay culture relatively unheard of on television. As the world progresses more toward acceptance, men like Tad who finally have the courage to come out will face unique and morally complex issues. As he goes on a journey of sexual self-discovery most people get to go on in their 20s, it’s Hannah who’s going to have to walk him through it and be his support system.

Meanwhile, her mother is smoking, wearing borderline punk t-shirts, and yelling over the phone. Hannah’s parents have reverted back to their teen years, forcing Hannah to grow up a little faster. Girls may have took the scenic route in finding something that finally accelerates her maturation, but this family drama could be a great vehicle it. Then there’s that look she gives just after she tells her father she’ll always be there for him. Hannah is learning that there’s no point where you magically start feeling like an adult and that life forces you to string something together before everything falls apart. She, like everyone, is just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. I hope Girls sticks with this path for Hannah and has the rest of the cast find their way to it as well.

The B-story of “Good Man” further expanded on Adam and Jessa’s kiss in the premiere, exploring everything right and wrong about this potential coupling. As Adam pushes and feels out Jessa’s view on them, their chemistry continues to be apparent. They have a cute, adorably cliche Coney Island date and eventually go home together. But there’s rules, as we get a quick cut to them both masturbating, refusing to look at each other until they give in close to their respective climaxes. It’s a cartoonish moment, one that feels like it would be right at home on an X-rated version of Friends. It also highlights that even Adam is becoming a bit of a caricature. But he’s no Marnie yet (thank God). Still, Adam and Jessa make sense, and that’s an exciting prospect moving forward.

So while not without its faults, “Good Man” was a much stronger outing for Girls‘ fifth season than “Wedding Day” was. Getting rid of Marnie and Desi for an episode was absolutely related to how much better it was than last week’s. There are some interesting and natural conflicts being developed here. Even with Girls way past its prime, it still has a chance to reward us down the line. This episode set up some of those potential rewards with nuance, for which it should itself be awarded. Grade: B+

Some Other Notes:

  • You know Girls is breaching into sitcom fantasy territory when Elijah’s new love interest is an Anderson Cooper-type played by Corey Stoll. That’s some shameless gay pandering right there, Lena. Not that I’m not excited to see how this plays out…
  • Also, what was that classy ass gay bar they met in? Where was that in New York City? Asking for a friend…
  • Ray really needs to start hiring for his coffee shop outside of his social circle.
  • The dead fish metaphor/gag was on-point.
  • Hannah talking to her boss about what is and isn’t appropriate to teach her students and then going into detail about her gay dad was the most true to itself Girls has felt so far in season five.

By Matt Dougherty

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