For those of you who haven't yet carved out the five-plus hours required to watch the just-wrapped second season of Girls on HBO, I urge you to fast forward to the fifth episode, titled "One Man's Trash." The episode stands on its own as one of the best 30 minutes of scripted television in years.
The self-contained episode (a hazy fantasy) leads Hannah to an Upper West Side Manhattan brownstone, where she engages in a weekend-long sexcapade with an uppity, model-handsome physician. The script is a painfully insightful construction of two characters who should, at first glance, despise one another, yet they figure each other out. Ultimately, it ends with a meltdown, which as regular viewers know is Hannah's concept of reality.
Even if you struggle with creator-star Lena Dunham's occasional duds, Girls season two solidifies the 26-year-old wunderkind as her generation's most prolific ascendant.
With her through-the-looking glass absurdity, Dunham drags fans through more caustic breakups, severe misogyny and extreme drug use.
Dunham's Hannah recalls in the season finale how her father's greatest virtue was protecting her from picking up broken glass. What a Freudian gold mine.
Part of Girls' allure is playing amateur psychoanalyst. Here's hoping Dunham shows up for next year's appointment.