‘Girls’ 2.0 tops expectations; madness from Laura Dern | TheUnion.com

‘Girls’ 2.0 tops expectations; madness from Laura Dern

Dermot Mulroney guest stars with Laura Dern on "Enlightened" as an investigative journalist in this handout photo taken on June 6, 2012. Molly Shannon also guest stars this season. Photographer: Lacey Terrell/HBO via Bloomberg
Lacey Terrell |

You’re my main hang” proves to be too little, too late for Hannah, the heartbeat of Lena Dunham’s extraordinary “Girls” on HBO, when she finally hears those words from her moody maybe-boyfriend this season.

Hannah, like “Girls” itself, has moved on.

The second season of Dunham’s comic drama, which chronicles four young women negotiating adulthood, love and Brooklyn, arrives with considerable expectations.

Season One was a critical favorite that made instant celebrities of its young cast, especially Dunham, the show’s creator, chief writer and director, not to mention star.

Based on the four half-hour episodes available for review, she’s done it again.

Despite a misstep or two – a third-episode storyline about a cocaine adventure rings false – “Girls” builds on its success without skipping a beat.

Picking up where last season ended, Hannah is tending homebound boyfriend Adam (Adam Driver), his right leg busted after the cab accident in last year’s finale.

Feeling smothered, she’s also dating Sandy (Donald Glover), a black Republican (and likely retort to early critics who complained of the series’ homogeneity).

Hannah’s best friend Marnie (Allison Williams), meanwhile, is out of a job and lonely for her gushy ex-boyfriend Charlie (Chris Abbott), who rebounded quicker than anyone expected.

Kirke’s absence from the Williamsburg fold is felt in the first couple of episodes. Guest star Andrew Rannells (“The New Normal”) as Hannah’s gay roommate, fills some of the void, even if his quippy role seems a bit too sitcom-sassy for this show.

“Girls” airs Sunday on HBO

In its own eccentric way, “Enlightened” paints as sure a portrait of the zeitgeist as the thunder-stealing “Girls.”

The lovely, bristly series stars Laura Dern as a corporate whistle-blower whose burgeoning social activism has been all but indistinguishable from her madness.

Or so it seemed.

If the show’s under-watched debut followed Dern’s office drone Amy Jellicoe as she reassembled herself following an emotional collapse, the sophomore season suggests that the abrasive, aphorism-spouting do-gooder might have a firmer take on contemporary reality than anyone suspects.

Set mostly in the fictional Abaddonn Industries headquarters, “Enlightened” ended its first season with Amy rebuffed in her attempts to convince corporate higher-ups to change their corrupt, polluting ways.

Now she’s taking her evidence to a crusading L.A. Times reporter – and he’s not laughing at her.

Dermot Mulroney plays the journalist, and keeps us wondering about the character’s motives.

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