Telediction: On Keeping It Real

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This week in TV was polarizing. “Girls” had an amazing episode and “The Walking Dead” had some major editing flops. You know I’ll always tell it to you like it is. Let’s keep it real by commemorating Shoshanna’s beautiful speech at the end of this week’s episode.

 


Girls

This week’s “Girls” was incredible. I mean it. It was the angst-ridden episode I’ve been waiting all season for. It seemed as if the show’s own writers were so fed up with the characters that they created this episode to unleash verbal fury.

We’ve known Marnie was in a really bad place for quite some time. In her personal disappointment, she festers an unlikable personality that intensifies every episode. I think it reached its peak this week in “Beach House.” She invites Hannah, Shoshanna and Jessa to her mom’s friend’s North Fork home. Do not be mistaken – this is NOT the Hamptons. “It’s, you know, for people who think the Hamptons are tacky and don’t want to be on a beach that’s near a J. Crew,” Marnie tells Shoshanna.

Marnie arrived a day earlier to plan the perfect Martha-Stewart-approved weekend. She puts little name cards on the beds, pre-assigning rooms and has an itinerary scheduled out.  “I’m so excited. It’s like old times!” Marnie says.

The weekend starts off all right until Marnie obsesses over forming a deep connection. This trip is her friendships’ “Eat, Pray, Love. “

On the way to town, Hannah’s left outside of the market because she isn’t in appropriate clothes. Marnie has a list that she’s strictly adhering to. Not even Shoshanna can sneak in some white cheddar Goldfish. As she’s waiting outside, Elijah and the gay brigade (the best thing to happen to this episode) are walking on the same sidewalk and Elijah pulls out the greatest line ever. “Oh my God, look you guys, ‘SPRAAANG BREAAAKERS.’”

“I think that movie was a beautiful blend of art and commerce,” Hannah says. You get me, girl. Elijah apologizes for everything that happened since the last time they saw each other (Elijah slept with Marnie and kept it a secret from Hannah, making her hate with both of them). In an effort to make the weekend less awkward, by making it more awkward, but introducing booze, Hannah invites Elijah and Co. to the house and Marnie is pissed. Eventually she loosens up just a bit and tells Elijah that the planned to propose to Charlie over grilled pizzas, but he came back with a work friend, packed up his bags and told her he never loved her. (Side note: What an asshole.)

Marnie’s time to “heal” turns into a wine-drunk weekend (the worst kind). She gets sappy with Hannah and they momentarily “heal” but she still hasn’t had that moment with everyone else and that was supposed to be over dinner. She bought four duck breasts for a classy evening in, but Elijah and Co. are still hanging around and Hannah reached the point of upset that she invites them to dinner. Her “are you kidding me?” expressions throughout this episode are spot on and impressively realistic without reading, “Made for TV.”

Every one gets a snack instead of a dinner (Actually, can you even call that a snack? “A fucking Lean Cuisine?” as Elijah says.) To alleviate those tensions, they perform a choreographed number, which Marnie again ruins with her perfectionist attitude and the episode climaxes to a massive fight between the girls of “Girls,” led by the unsuspecting Shoshanna, whose classified as a “mean drunk,” by Jessa. She calls Hannah a narcissist. “I wanted to fall asleep in my vomit all day listening to you talk about how you bruise more easily than other people,” she tells Hannah. She calls Jessa out on her “AA bullshit,’ but Jessa continues to vouch for her since she’s finally being real. She reads Marnie as being “tortured by self-doubt and fear,” which is not pleasant to be around, and she gives fans of “Girls” a huge sigh of relief and massive props for being brutally honest and turning the show over on itself right at the moment it was seeming to fall into a stagnant pattern.

 


The Walking Dead

I like to think of this episode as the episode where “The Walking Dead” editors finally gave up on the show. What else could explain the confusing cuts and an overall misplaced use of coincidence? Coincidence is typical on “The Walking Dead,” but the general lack of trying, it seemed, with the editing this episode was beyond what I’m used to.

The episode’s first fault was in the writing. Having an immense catch-up episode gave the writers the difficult task of having each group (main characters still alive) brought up to speed with viewers as well as trying to form emotional connections. There was a lot of crying, a lot of straightforward-but-borderline-psychotic determination, and a lot of zombies killed in fits of rage.

The episode opens up with Daryl and Beth. Let’s call them Group 1. Nearly all groups in this episode were divided, having at least one member exude hope and other members play along for fear of hurting another’s feelings. I’m starting to think hope is all that keeps this show on the air. Episode after episode over the past two seasons, at least, have shown seemingly important plots dissolve only to start again from point blank.  Inevitably, the groups will find each other, or some will die off. “The Walking Dead” isn’t a show that can survive with separate stories. Eventually, as we’ve seen with the Governor plots twice before, the stories merge. While shocking things happen, our continuous exposure to such events leaves us viewers numb and therefore unsatisfied. I know I can only speak for myself, but at least I have some comfort in knowing I’m not the only bitter writer reviewing this show and turning up unsatisfied week after week.

The episode had some notable moments, cinematographically. Beth’s voice-over while running through a lush, infected forest was one of these moments. She spoke of hope, a continuing theme this episode.

“I’m not going to die. None of us are,” she said to Daryl over a fire. “I believe not. I believe now for Daddy. If this doesn’t work, I don’t know how I can keep going.”

Me too, Beth.

Group 2 consists of Tyreese and Carol’s girls – Lizzie and Mika. Oh, there’s also baby Judith, but it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that she’s alive. We predicted it.

The first awkward cut happened when Mika got scared in the woods while Tyreese was changing Judith’s diaper. She ran off and the other two followed her, without picking up Judith from the floor. I thought, “Oh boy, they’ve finally reached the ceiling,” but no. Through no explanation at all, except oversight in filming, Judith is safe in Tyreese’s arms. Pause for a moment here to indulge in a moment of bewilderment. It only get’s weirder. Tyreese leaves the girls with Judith when he hears a distant scream, believing it’s one of their people. Instead he finds a bunch of zombies, feasting on bodies like vultures at the side of the train tracks. Again, impressive cinematography, beautiful colors for horrifying images but I’m suddenly reminded that these people are unimportant and therefore will get the unimportant treatment on the show. As walkers approach Mika and Lizzie, drawn to them by Judith’s crying, Lizzie almost commits infanticide, suffocating the baby while finding an uncomfortable-to-watch sense of comfort in muffling her cries. Mika is telling Lizzie there’s a zombie approaching them, but she doesn’t listen, so Mika shoots her gun at anything but the zombie. Cut to Tyreese hearing the gunshot and then suddenly seeing Carol and the girls behind like “Yeah, so what? Surprised to see me?” Ugh. It’s times like these where I can only refer to Vince Gilligan’s words on coincidences and how much he hates them.

Group 3 is Maggie, Sasha and Bob. Maggie’s the hopeful one in the group. Sasha’s the pragmatic, and Bob is the mediator, leaning to the more sensitive Maggie in this episode. Maggie goes out to find the school bus where Glenn was last seen leaving the prison in. She finds it, and has a rather dull (Sorry, I’m too jaded by this show) cathartic moment killing zombies one by one. Since there wasn’t a clear shot of Glenn, we can’t assume the last zombie Maggie killed was him. Actually, since we know the writer’s love for the whole Glenn-Maggie romance plot, it’s pretty much a guarantee that he’s not dead. So where is he? By magic or poor editing choices (Take your pick.), Glenn is found in the prison, on the walkway/bridge to the watchtower. The tank destroyed the path across, but he somehow finds his way back into the prison, even though he’s on the watchtower side. He says he “got off” the bus, even though he was in poor heath, and we actually saw the bus drive off. It’s beyond me how he ended up on the walkway so don’t ask.  He forms Group 4 with Tara, from the Governor’s camp, who locked herself up in a garden, moping. “I’m a piece of shit, why would you want my help?” she asks Glenn.

The real answer, is because Glenn can’t have multiple episodes by himself because that would be too boring. He’s conveniently paired off with Tara, who’s a lesbian, to avoid a real plot struggle or threat in his and Maggie’s relationship.

 

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Author: Claudia Marina View all posts by
Journalism student at the University of Florida. Sally Draper is my spirit animal. I love writing about TV and how it affects culture. Occasionally I watch bad TV, but reviews make it better.

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