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Girls' third season premieres Sunday, January 12 at 9pm on HBO.

Girls, Season 3: TV review

In its third season, Lena Dunham's Girls offers new opportunities for awkward hilarity.

Written by
Jessica Johnson

In its sophomore year, Girls went to some dark and experimental places, concluding with Lena Dunham's Hannah struggling with crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The third season finds the protagonist in a much better place, though the same can't necessarily be said for the rest of the titular girls.

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After rescuing her from her misery, Adam (Adam Driver) is now living with and helping to take care of Hannah, whose plans to become a published writer seem to be back on track. Of course, don't think that means we've seen the last of his ex Natalia (Shiri Appleby), who makes a raucous reappearance in the premiere. Due to Christopher Abbott's abrupt exit from the show, Marnie (Allison Williams) is now wallowing in the sadness of being dumped, which leads to some of the biggest laughs the series has ever delivered. Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) has been embracing her separation from Ray (Alex Karpovksy) by sleeping around a lot. Jessa (Jemima Kirke), meanwhile, has landed in a rehab clinic and she's just as good at group therapy sessions as you'd expect her to be.

While the new season isn't quite as daring as the last, these first six episodes may be the funniest Girls has ever been. Melancholy Marnie is loads of fun and Dunham continues to push the boundaries of Hannah's narcissism in fresh ways. Several of the show's recurring guests return, including John Cameron Mitchell and Jon Glaser. It's Gaby Hoffman, however, who truly steals the show as Adam's manic sister Caroline. It's a brilliant piece of casting that offers a great energy boost and allows us to see a new side of Adam. The focus on Hannah's budding career and Marnie's rebuilding phase leaves Shoshanna and Jessa frequently sidelined, but since those characters operate better in moderation, it doesn't feel like a great loss.

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