Posts Tagged ‘New York’

“Video Games”, the seventh episode of Girls Season Two, focuses on Jessa and after a season and a half, some light is finally shed on why Jessa is the way she is.  Hannah accompanies Jessa on an overnight trip to the countryside in upstate New York, where Jessa is visiting her father.

Hannah and Jessa at Train Station

The episode starts out with the two girls being stranded at the train station and waiting hours for Jessa’s father to pick them up.  This is the first inkling the viewer gets that Jessa’s father is certainly not Parenting Magazine’s Father of the Year.  When he (Ben Mendelsohn) finally arrives, he is aloof, out of sorts and somewhat cold to his daughter.  The next scene introduces his live in-girlfriend Petula (Rosanna Arquette), an aging hippie type wearing a vintage Jefferson Starship t-shirt.  Everyone gathers around an outside picnic table for dinner, which consists of the same rabbits that Hannah petted and found cute and cuddly earlier that afternoon.  Jessa’s father announces to her that he and Petula have plans for the evening, and Jessa and Hannah are on their own.  Jessa seems quite disappointed, although she tries to hide her hurt.

Hannah and Jessa eating rabbit

In a distracting scene, Hannah and Jessa go out with two local boys and drive a sports car blindfolded through the winding country roads, while doing Whip-Its.  During this scene, Hannah is the only voice of reason and she actually gets out of the car in fear for her life.  We don’t typically see Hannah act as the level-headed one, but for a character who strives to be different and likes outside the box experiences, the entire trip to witness where Jessa has come from, makes Hannah realize she is actually the normal one.  In true Hannah fashion, she does sleep with Petula’s strange son and, I find I’m beginning to grow tired of Hannah’s carefree attitude towards her sexual encounters.  It seems that Dunham puts her character into this type of scene in almost every episode of Season Two.  Knowing that Dunham writes with purpose, I’m hoping there will be some kind of revelation about her carefree attitude towards sex somewhere near the end of this season.

The following day, Hannah and Jessa go to the local country store to stock up on edible food and once again, Jessa’s father never comes back to pick them up.  They have to walk back to the father’s house and, it’s during this walk, that Hannah realizes just how screwed up Jessa’s father is and why Jessa puts on a front of being such a carefree, liberal flowerchild type.  Unfortunately for Jessa, this is the only behavior she knows, but it’s really rather sad.  She is craving her father’s attention, but is rejected over and over again during her visit.  It’s because of this episode, that it’s now clear why Jessa rushed into marriage with Thomas John.  She has a serious need to seek male attention, whether it is the father of a child she babysits for or an uptight business man, like Thomas John.

Jessas Father

While Hannah is in the bathroom dealing with a urinary tract infection, Jessa vanishes, leaving Hannah stranded with only a note that reads, “See you around my love, X.”  The way in which Jessa appeared on Shoshanna’s doorstep in Season One, is the same whimsical way in which she departs from Season Two.  This episode concludes with Hannah phoning her parents from the train station to tell them how much she appreciates them for always being there for her.  In typical Girls fashion, the call doesn’t go smoothly; Hannah’s mother thinks Hannah is full of shit.  But whether or not Hannah’s mother believes she is genuine, Hannah knows the truth, that her upbringing, no matter how messed up or insane, doesn’t hold a candle to the way in which Jessa grew-up.


In a look inside the episode, Dunham explains that writing this episode helps to give the viewer a chance to feel sympathy for Jessa.  Otherwise, they would have never felt anything for her.  On a whole, the episode is a success in that it properly mixes backstory with emotion to show that Dunham’s created characters, like Jessa, are not one-dimensional or mere satire.  They are deeply layered people with past wounds, and their present day actions come from a real place of conviction.

What makes this documentary, Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, so entertaining is that the late Diana Vreeland is an extremely eccentric character and despite the fuzzy interview footage, pulled from  the early 1980’s, you can’t help but become mesmerized by her voice and her overall excitement for life.  The director, Lisa Immordino Vreeland, who is Diana’s grandaughter-in-law, uses photo images throughout the film that Vreeland produced as a Columnist for Harper’s Bazaar and later as Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, and they are so distinctly original, even by today’s air-brushed standards, that the viewer is left dazzled.

Diana Vreeland wasn’t just a magazine editor but a true artist.  Her photo shoots weren’t advertising, but real art glorified in women’s magazines.  She had a distinct eye for the fascinating and unusual, creating mind-blowing photo spreads of models abstractly posed in front of the Egyptian pyramids, walking the ruins in Rome and even standing with Sumo wrestlers in a snowy field in Japan.

Lauren BacallTwiggyAngelica Huston, and Cher, just to name a few, were her discoveries.  She turned these virtual unknowns into famous models, and later even successful actresses.  The brilliant photographers she worked with over the years all concluded that Vreeland was the real genius behind the scenes.

Becoming a woman during the roaring 20’s and then living in Paris helped to shape her world view and prepared her for the role she was born to play.  Vreeland redefined fashion and always seemed light years ahead of the trends.  She became spiritually reawakened during the London rock explosion of the 1960’s and really put her stamp on the fashion world during the following decade.

Like many powerful women, she was eventually fired from her position as Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, after nine years, because her male boss needed someone to blame for poor magazine sales.  Nevermind the change in culture or the other myriad of reasons why Vogue was struggling.  But one thing was for sure, Vreeland’s creativity never waned.

Taking her firing hard, she became depressed and didn’t know what to do with herself.  That was, until the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York came calling.  They asked her to work as a Special Consultant for the Costume Institute.  Again, Vreeland started with nothing and made it into a circus.  She transformed the Costume Institute into a place to go and be seen.  She created 14 exhibitions during her tenure there and made fashion come to life.

A year and a half ago, I visited the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibit at The Met.  After watching this film, I realized that this exhibit wouldn’t have had the over three hour line just to get in, and had become so crowded that I actually saw a girl pass out from heat stroke, if it weren’t for the dedication, brilliance, and sheer determination of Diana Vreeland in the years prior.

We should all be so lucky to have such a zest for life and for the human image as she did.