I realize there's something inherently wrong about saying the best thing about HBO's Girls — a groundbreaking show that's blazing the trail for female characters, as well as writers and show runners on television — is a boy. And that's not to say that Golden Globe winner Lena Dunham isn't deserving of her praise (deal with it, haters) or that I couldn't watch an entire series about Shoshanna (because oh em effing gee, that would be amaze), but returning guest actor Andrew Rannells has been the best thing about Season 2 so far. Sorry girls, but the guy is stealing the show right now.
Rannells made his mark on Girls back in Season 1 as Elijah Krantz, Hannah's gay ex-boyfriend who had some of the most memorable moments (slapping Marnie, for one) and the most stinging zingers. ("It was nice to see you. Your dad is gay!") In Season 2, Rannells is still the comedy's comic relief, not to mention the only actually likable male in the whole bunch. Adam veered from cautiously charming to full-fledged crazy person during last night's episode, Jessa's shotgun hubby Thomas John (fellow guest star Chris O'Dowd) is the very picture of insufferable Wall Street type, and you'd like to think the softness of Shoshanna would balance him out, but Ray is still a pompous jerk.
But it's not just the endlessly entertaining character of Elijah, with his terrific theme night ideas, his backhanded compliments (he told Hannah his morning boner was not for her, called his "three pump" one night stand Marnie that she looked like a "slutty Von Trapp child") or his impeccably coifed hair that makes him worth watching. It's so much of Rannells, the multi-talented 34-year-old actor who had audiences singing, dancing, and totally losing their s**t in the aisles when he originated the role of Elder Kevin Price in the Broadway smash musical The Book of Mormon. Rannells deservedly earned a Tony nomination for his gut-busting, show-stopping, and emotionally honest turn.
While his talents certainly aren't exactly being squandered on the hit-and-miss NBC sitcom The New Normal
(he's the best thing about it),
Dunham (whom he has unbelievable chemistry with) and Girls
are taking full advantage of having him there. Sure, Elijah is cartoonish, but for a show that roots itself in such a grim reality, he's a much-needed shot of hilariously bitchy adrenaline. But even as the gay best friend, Rannells still makes Elijah a three-dimensional person. He's just as lost as Hannah, even though he'd never admit it (he depended on his ex-boyfriend George for all of his finances and he may or may not be a German bisexual), but he's actually fun
to be around. Think about it, out of anyone in the entire Girls
universe, is there anyone you'd want to hang out with or throw a party with more than Elijah?
Whenever I watch Rannells weave his magic on Girls (and by magic I mean turning a line like "Are you having a stroke?!" into comedy gold) I always think about his big solo in Book of Mormon, the epiphany number "I Believe." Sure, we're laughing at his blind faith and ambition, but he also makes you admire and respect him for it. Rannells always made us root for him and hope things turned out for the best for him and everyone around him. He brings that very same charisma and energy to Girls. All hail.
[Photo credit: HBO]
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