Oh my. I’m not sure what to do with this season of Girls. It’s been all over the place — from a strong, legitimately funny start to some strange, meditative episodes (Hannah and her affair with the doctor, Jessa’s trip back home), to the odd and boring (“On All Fours”). This season has become less of a commentary on girls, these or otherwise, and more of a ritualistic humiliation that has zapped one character off of the map completely (please come back, Jessa, please!) As for this week, the best I can do with “On All Fours” is that it seemed to be about returning to your base instincts and coming to terms with who you really are. Or something. Hit the jump for why “I’ve been known to dabble in the Macintosh arts.”
There were a few lessons learned this week, mostly that as hard as you might try to change yourself to fit an idealized version of yourself, your real nature will always come through. Marnie is not a singer, she writes terribly cliched lyrics and her instincts to be corny will always outshine her desire to be cool. Charlie, who has legitimately become cool (and successful) can’t help but still be drawn to her (though in the promo for next week it looks like Marnie mentions something about casual sex. I can’t imagine it’s honestly all that casual for Charlie, but we’ll see). That’s who Charlie is — he identifies as Marnie’s protector, and he’s always the most attracted to her when she humiliates herself because that’s when his savior instinct kicks in.
Shoshanna plays the “geisha” game, as Ray calls her out on, as a way to overcompensate for her shame at holding hands with (ummm, at the very least making out with) the doorman, which has unleashed within her a desire to be young and free and not tied to an ambitionless and rude man who hates everything (I love Ray but he’s not necessarily right for Shoshanna right now). She is starting to, maybe, admit this to herself but she can’t admit it to Ray, and she plays out her frustrations by flirting with everyone she can (including Charlie).
In other repressed tales, it took Adam about a week (and less than a full episode) to revert back to the Adam we have always known, and not the nice, sanitized version that he presented to Natalya as someone who stomachs rom-coms and engagement parties, which fight against his very nature. After an encounter with Hannah, for whom he still has conflicted feelings (but with whom he can also 100% be himself), he starts drinking again and brings Nat back to his apartment, which is a perfect projection of himself. Nat doesn’t recognize it, because she doesn’t know the real Adam. And while she at first plays along with his sexual kinks, she quickly becomes uncomfortable with the way things take a turn (and holy shit HBO … seriously? Seriously with the cum shots? Is everyone serious right now?)
Then of course Hannah got knocked down a number of pegs by John Cameron Mitchell who snarked through their meeting by telling her her hymen grew back and he wants a novel about how she slept with a teenage boy. Them’s the breaks when you’re trying to make it and people have specifics about what they want and expect from you. Hannah’s anxiety attacks which have been leading to her OCD behavior (which I just continue to find oddly timed given what else she has gone through in the show) have made her more sympathetic in that way that seeing someone wandering dead-eyed through a convenience store parking lot with no shoes on a cold afternoon will. You just think, “poor creature.”
What it all comes down to, I don’t know. If this is Hannah’s true self as some poor creature wandering the streets of New York like spectre, well, I’d rather not see another season about it. If Adam somehow keeps her sane in her insanity, then I guess let it go forward because we are getting another season. This “you are who you are and you won’t ever change no matter what you tell yourself” is a refrain that Mad Men employs a lot, particularly in regards to Don Draper, and it’s as frustrating and bleak as it is probably true. But … wasn’t this supposed to be a comedy? Or something?
Episode Rating: B-
Musings and Miscellanea:
— Marnie’s song. I will never recover from the second-hand embarrassment.
— When did Charlie get hot?
— Who still doesn’t know not to stick the Q-tip all the way into your ear?
— Another critic really ships Ray and Hannah. I think he would be good for her, but she could never handle his truth-tellin’.
— HBO, cum shots. You went there.
— I really don’t find it subversive or making any kind of interesting statement that we have to watch Hannah pick a splinter out of her ass.
— “Put some pants on!” – Adam. Yes.
— Ray may be my favorite character on the show.
— The statement “he looks like an old timey criminal / Peter Pan” may be the most accurate statement I’ve ever heard about Adam.
— “Sandra Bullock seems like a very nice lady, and I wish her all the best” – Adam