If you’re one of the grown-up viewers who wrote off HBO’s “Girls” in Season 1, dismissing it as an annoying portrait of Generation Whine, it’s time to take another look. You can easily jump back in at the start of the new season, on January 12. But a better approach would be to watch the previous season’s final episode via On Demand. Don’t expect grace and maturity — you’ll find the eponymous girls as self-absorbed as ever. Yet creator-writer-star Lena Dunham has given the series an emotional richness that might not have been predicted early on, without sacrificing any of her humor.
Dunham’s character, Hannah, is now under contract to become “the voice of her generation.” Instead, tortured by writer’s block, she blows her deadline, punctures her eardrum with a Q-tip and chops off her hair in a confused attempt to copy the pixie cut of Carey Mulligan. Desperate and barely coherent, she calls her ex (Adam Driver), who comes galloping to the rescue. Although the scene echoes “Manhattan” and “When Harry Met Sally,” it has never been so funny or so genuinely moving — a perfect setup for Season 3. —John Birmingham