With Jessa out of the picture this week on Girls (for how long and how far we know not), I felt as nervous as Shoshanna. When will she be back? When she put Hannah in her place for not knowing the difference between when something is a sexual escapade and when it’s not? We know Jessa will be ok — as Ray points out, “she’s a fucking hustler. And not in a good way.” But what about us? Will we be ok dealing with Hannah’s sudden onset OCD and Marnie’s insecurity issues for half an hour? Or will we need Shoshanna to help save the day? Hit the jump for what came back, and why “pantomiming is an inadequate way to express yourself (we have talked about this!)”
Once again, the boys stole Girls from the girls. Thank heavens for Adam and Ray. Ray’s blunt exposition and the way Alex Karpovsky delivers it with such perfectly deadpan reactions rescues the most tedious of scenes. Shoshanna without Ray has nothing to ground her — the way he looked at her when she was spiraling out of control talking about missing Jessa and then squealing with her friend about the party were subtly spectacular. It gives her something to stick to without devolving purely into caricature.
Ray is a grump with a heart of gold, which was on display at its best when he was opposite Marnie later on. “Aww, you learned another life lesson Marnie. Good for you,” he patronizes. But he also gives her a good pep talk about recognizing that she’s jealous of Charlie’s success but she needs to do something about it. Charlie channeled his anger and hurt from their breakup into a successful business, while Marnie is the one left anguishing in a rut. When Marnie tells Ray her goal is not to open a gallery or have babies but to sing, his reaction, again, was fantastic. “I wasn’t expecting you to go in that direction with this but … ok! So sing! … Not right now though.” He’s incredulous but gives Marnie the support she craves. Next week, we’ll get to see just how great (or badly) that goes.
In the best and strangest subplot of “It’s Back,” we continued following the adventures of Adam, who has been sober since he was 17 (I truly, truly wish we knew more about Adam and his backstory, he’s such an interesting creature), begins attending AA meetings again because after his breakup with Hannah he’s not feeling that great about things. The AA meeting itself was perceptive, and him standing up to talk about his relationship woes was one of his greatest (of many great) monologues. Luckily, Carol Kane happened to be in the same meeting, ready to set her daughter up with her new AA friend …
But Adam was on his best behavior on the date (and I love love loved him on the phone, “oh fuck! This is a landline? … I’ll be there like a creeper. Because I’m a creeper”). And, turns out, the girl who showed up was attractive and normal seeming, and their chemistry of “holy shit” and “I love my mom” turned into being (from what it looked like) a conversation that left them as two of the last people to leave the restaurant.
Unfortunately, next week it looks like just as Adam starts adjusting into the real world (could it be?) Hannah will return on the scene. It’s interesting that Lena Dunham happened to mention her own OCD issues in high school and counting to 8 recently (and inserting incestual sex scenes into her ritual? Oy!) just before this episode aired, so there are definitely no question of autobiography there.
However, what should have been an important issue was shoehorned in callously and oddly. It would have been nice for once to see an anxiety disorder like OCD treated in a way that wasn’t just about gags, but in all honesty the portrayal wasn’t even that. It was just unfortunate. Yes it came from a real place, but did that manifest itself on screen? Not exactly. Plus, Hannah’s poor, beleaguered parents were once again put in a position of rescue, with their generosity thrown in their faces again by her unwillingness to admit her problems.
“It’s Back” wasn’t as engaging or perceptive as last week’s “Video Games,” but it wasn’t terrible. Only two more episodes to go this season … it’s been a strange one.
Episode Rating: B-
— Charlie’s workplace looked so annoying. It’s probably better than any physical work environment I’ve ever been in, though. It also reminded me of the commercials for Samsung with the Unicorn Apocalypse guys.
— Charlie as a boss though? I don’t buy it.
— “She’s the richest Hindi I know!” – Shoshanna
— I may feel bad about not being more supportive of Hannah’s OCD later, but when it happened it left me cold. I have so many problems with that character it’s just hard for me to move past them and suddenly feel for her. Also, I still think it was handled clumsily.
— Hey, there’s Bob Balaban.
— Hmm, I guess I can give two points for diversity for the doorman and the party girl. And doorman was smokin’ hot. Get you some, Shosh!
— Except sad when it cut back to Ray waiting for her at her apartment …
— Charlie asking Marnie if she needed money was humiliating.
— Doorman: “Is your name Muslim?” Shosh: “Sorta.” Cracked me up.
— The Forbid app is a good idea, honestly. Great money maker.
— I loved cookie guy with his “too many freaks, not enough circuses” shirt.
— Some Judy Collins for you guys. Hey Judy Collins!