Although the second season of HBO’s “Girls” closed with Hannah (Lena Dunham) being swooped up into the comforting arms of her ex, Adam (Adam Driver), while Marnie (Allison Williams) reunited with Charlie (Christopher Abbott, who’s since left the show), there was no happy ending to be had for embittered sad sack coffee shop manager Ray (Alex Karpovsky) in his relationship with college student Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet).
For actor/filmmaker Karpovsky, on the other hands, things seem to only be looking up. Recently nominated for a Critics’ Choice Television Award for best supporting actor in a comedy series for his role in “Girls,” Karpovsky can soon be seen in the Coen brothers’ Cannes Grand Prix-winning “Inside Llewyn Davis.” He also wrote, directed and starred in a pair of his own films, “Rubberneck” and “Red Flag,” which opened in theaters earlier this year.
While in keeping true to its title, “Girls” is primarily about the experiences of its four main characters in being young and female in New York, Ray’s story has become a welcome counterbalance to those of Hannah and her friends, as the sardonic, broke thirtysomething deals with a different, darker and more urgent sense of being at loose ends. If the main characters in “Girls” represent a kind of anti-“Sex and the City” foursome, then who are Ray’s spiritual siblings in worlds of film and TV? We asked Karpovsky, and here are the characters he offered up.
Billy Bob Thornton as Willie T. Stokes in “Bad Santa”: Dark, broken, hilarious, scheming, cynical, but with a heart that finds a way to bleed.
Estelle Getty as Sophia Petrillo in “The Golden Girls”: Grumpy, brazen, a touch older than the girls, no fucks left to give, and full of biting criticism and tortured advice.
Ben Stiller as Roger Greenberg In “Greenberg”: Adrift, sharp, drenched in existential angst, sexually drawn to younger women with heaps of semi-misplaced neurotic anger.
Howard Beale as Peter Finch in “Network”: Fed up, furious, uncompromising, perceptive, a mad prophet with dazzling diatribes about everything we’re doing wrong.
Albert Brooks as Daniel Miller in “Defending Your Life”: Depressed, insecure, stubborn, warm-hearted, self-deprecating, regretful, lonely, searching for love and answers in the strangest of places.
“Girls” season two won’t be available on DVD until later this summer, but here’s a clip of one of Karpovsky’s finer moments from its fourth episode, in which Shoshanna learns that he’s actually moved into her apartment without telling her.