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Thompson on Hollywood

HBO's Accidental Feminism, From Lena Dunham's Hannah Horvath to Laura Dern's Amy Jellicoe

With the recent finale of the second season of “Girls,” and the “Enlightened” season finale still resonating in my mind, I’ve been thinking more and more about the characters from both shows. The upcoming new season of “Veep” is only a few weeks away, too, and, even though it’s a more stylized comedy half-hour, it’s another example of what I’ve come to think of as HBO’s inadvertent nod to feminist sensibilities; these three shows have female protagonists who are far from lovable -- but we love them. What’s going on here?
  • By Julia Chasman
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  • March 21, 2013 11:37 AM
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'Girls' Recap 10: Saving the Worst for Last

If last week’s episode dealt with body horror (ass splinters! lodged Q-tips!), this week’s episode deals with the horror of finishing things. Hannah struggles -- but not too hard -- with wrapping up her barely inchoate manuscript, while “Girls” struggles with capping off its second season in a coherent, consistent fashion. It fails.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 18, 2013 12:30 AM
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  • 3 Comments

SXSW 2013: ‘Bates Motel’ Preview a Few Cuts Under Its Pre-‘Psycho’ Potential

“Who’s gonna rent a room in the rape/murder hotel?” smokin’ hot Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) rhetorically asks her introverted son Norman (Freddie Highmore) after a grizzly scene has just unfolded in their creaky house. Based on the first episode of “Bates Motel,” which was unveiled March 11 at SXSW, a number of clunkily-drawn characters will probably swing by the infamous rest-stop, less in the service of true creepiness and more for generic thrills.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 11, 2013 11:46 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Now and Then: 'Enlightened' and the Perfect TV Ending

Saying farewell to a beloved series is tough going, so I was gratified to have "Enlightened" do it for me. Even if its cancellation isn't yet assured, "Agent of Change," the second season's finale, felt like a goodbye nonetheless -- and a perfect one at that.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • March 5, 2013 12:29 PM
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'Girls' Recap 8: OCD and AA in an Episode That's All Over the Place

“It’s Back” works hard to juggle four different storylines. Two are successful, and two are cringe-inducingly out of left field.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 4, 2013 12:33 AM
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  • 3 Comments

'Girls' Recap 7: In 'Video Games,' Ben Mendelsohn Guest Stars as Jessa's Flaky Father

In Season One’s “The Return,” we see Hannah and her parents in their natural Horvath habitat, Michigan. In Season Two’s “It’s About Time,” we’re offered a brief glimpse of Jersey girl incognito Marnie’s passive-aggressive relationship with her mother. In this week’s episode, “Video Games,” we’re introduced to Jessa’s father (Ben Mendelsohn) and gain some insight into his character, and the characteristics he’s transferred to his daughter.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • February 24, 2013 9:30 PM
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'Girls' Recap 6: The 'Boys' Aren't in Kansas Anymore, Toto

One of the things I’ve admired about this season of “Girls” is that it has no obligation to regularly check in with each of the four “leads” of the show. Instead, certain characters are more central in certain episodes, in an organic way, while supporting characters are given a surprising amount of interiority.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • February 17, 2013 9:30 PM
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  • 1 Comment

‘Girls’ Recap 5: ‘One Man’s Trash’ a Two-Hander for Dunham and Guest Star Patrick Wilson

In “One Man’s Trash,” Joshua (Patrick Wilson), a handsome, disgruntled neighborhood man, confronts Grumpy’s manager Ray about trash from the café that’s being foisted into his personal garbage bins. Hannah follows Joshua back to his gorgeous Willamsburg brownstone and confesses that she was the culprit. They end up spending the next day and couple of nights together -- talking, having sex, and (mostly) enjoying each other’s company.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • February 10, 2013 9:30 PM
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  • 9 Comments

'Girls' Recap 4: And After All, Where's the Wonderwall?

We haven’t seen much of Jessa or Shoshanna so far in the second season of “Girls,” making their highlighted storylines in this week’s episode refreshing. “It’s a Shame About Ray” deals with the difficulty of relationships, and how being in love and feeling used can overlap.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • February 2, 2013 10:35 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Campion Embraces TV Over Film with Moodily Misogynistic 'Top of the Lake,' Review Roundup

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Jane Campion marks yet another first-rate filmmaker ("The Piano") who when faced with an uphill climb to get such idiosyncratic smart-films as "Bright Star" financed and released, has transitioned to long-form television. It's a sheer delight to see her stretch out in a six-hour mini-series format with "Top of the Lake" (Sundance Channel, March 18), a gorgeous mystery thriller set in the New Zealand vacation country where Campion spent her summers growing up.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 1, 2013 4:28 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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