GIRLS Recap: “It’s a Shame About Ray”

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After last week’s shambolic offering, I was still looking forward to this week’s Girls largely because of the title, “It’s a Shame About Ray.”  “At last!” I thought, “less Hannah and more Shoshanna!”  It was blessedly true, with a lot more Jessa thrown in as well, and a dash of Marnie.  As irritating as the show can be, when it sticks to a theme (in this case, the idea or question of financially parasitic relationships) and shows real emotion (which came from a variety of sources — basically from everyone except Hannah), Girls finally lives up to the hype.  Hit the jump for more on why “when I’m 30 I’m going to look like I’m 50, and I’m going to be fat, really fat like Nico, because I will be full of experiences!”

The show’s first season kicked off from the catalyst of Hannah being cut off from her parents’ money, and that idea snaked through much of the first season as the girls found jobs or lamented about the lack of them.  That theme has taken — so far — most a backseat this season, with even Hannah able to hold down steady employment.  Marnie, mostly, has been the only one to carry that continued torch of employment frustration, and therefore was the only one left out of the idea of relationship mooching.

girls its a shame about ray lena dunhamElijah’s arc made a point to note how his boyfriend paid for everything, but how Elijah felt that was kind of the deal since he was young and hot (like a trophy boyfriend).  Strangely though, Thomas-John’s seemingly traditionalist parents judged Jessa for not having a job, when it seems like they would be more likely to accept her position as a housewife.  Of course, Jessa is seen as little more than a bohemian gold digger to them.  It’s worth noting though that her interest in art is utterly dismissed, yet in an apartment across town Audrey judges Marnie for being a restaurant hostess while she, Audrey, starts up a mustard company, because at least her endeavor is artistic and creative.  If this really was Sex and the City, Carrie would have likely typed on her laptop early in the episode, “what, exactly, defines a relationship mooch?”

In the strangest and most affecting twist, Ray is revealed to be a 33 year old homeless man, dating a wealthy 21 year old in Shoshanna.  I’m not sure I remember them mentioning either of their ages before, but if they did I forgot all about it.  Shoshanna seems older and he seems younger, but despite how they might appear to actually work out well together emotionally, the idea that Shoshanna is shacked up with, and in love with, a man many years her senior who lives in his car is pretty strange from the outside.

girls its a shame about ray jemima kirke chris odowdThere were a lot of really broad moments in “Shame About Ray,” from Jessa’s dinner conversation with Thomas-John’s parents (though their argument afterwards felt real), as well as Hannah’s dinner, where the conversation turned to buttplugs and continued on with Audrey accosting Marnie.  Hannah painted herself as an even more of a loathsome character than ever as she falsely invited Marnie to the gathering then threw her under the bus, siding with Charlie and Audrey while Marnie composed herself.

Later, instead of trying to patch things up, Hannah put the burden on Charlie to decide which of them would stay, and then yelled at Marnie that she was a grown-up because she had made food.  Yes Hannah is a grotesque parody, and as a side-character she is ok.  But it’s why, when the focus shifts too much to her, we can’t take anything she does or feels seriously.  She flipped again on Charlie later on by yelling at him for not giving Marnie her due, choosing the wrong side again because Charlie had just been shut down by Marnie (again).

girls its a shame about ray zosia mamet alex karpovskyAll of Hannah’s mess aside, “Shame About Ray” was a strong episode in how it helped build up Jessa, and to lesser degree Shoshanna, as more complex characters than just comic relief.  Jessa has had a strange and tumbleweed existence, and someone as “square” as Thomas-John might really be the best thing for her, if she could compromise.  It reminds me a lot of the relationship at the end of Six Feet Under between the bohemian Claire and the average-Joe Ted, who she met at her hated office job where she discovered he liked Top 40 radio and going to bars in the mall.  Still, sometimes a little stability on her part and a little spice on his can make things work.  The same is probably not true though for Thomas-John and Jessa.

Episode Rating: A-

Musings and Miscellanea:

girls-season-2-poster– But seriously y’all, did you see how Hannah’s breasts slipped onscreen at the very end of the episode?  Because God forbid we got 30 minutes without them.

– Marnie is “seeing” Booth?  As if.  Show me those receipts.  Marnie needs to be with someone like Charlie, and one day she’ll figure that out.  Poor Charlie though, in the meantime.

– “The ewok in capri pants??” – Charlie

– I laughed out loud at Jessa lobbing out a breast and saying “and this is the good one.”

– So they took the puppies back to the pet store??

– Only $11,500 Jessa?

– “He was asking you to literally plug his butt, and you still had doubts about his homosexuality?” – Charlie

– Jessa is a much more tolerable kind of free-spirit than Audrey, who is way too much of a hipster parody.

– “I’m embarrassed when we walk down the street because you’re so average.  I told my friends you were a test tube baby just to give you some edge” – Jessa

– Snotting in the water is so gross, yet people do it all the time in pools (spitting, too). Nasty!

– I really liked Marnie rooftop diatribe about her confusion with what to do with her life.

– Is Adam still in jail?




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  • Mark

    Stop giving this POS coverage and help let it die.

  • Nicole Pedersen

    Not likely to die as long as people like you keep “Hitting the Jump.”
    Just a thought…

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  • VicManMan

    I’m a straight dude and I love this show. SUCK IT WORLD!!!

  • Albert

    I loved loved this episode mainly because at last (!) she wasn’t the main focus of it. It was so great to finally see Jessa showing some vulnerability at a certain degree. The dinner with Thomas-John’s parents was pretty much my favorite part of the episode. Shoshana and Ray is my favorite thing that has ever happened in this show so far. It was a great episode for them as well, When Shosh went “Oh My God! Are we like living together?” I just laughed so much, it was just great. And their scene on the subway station was just so cute and honest.
    The only thing that I could complain about is the fact that Adam has been completely forgotten these last two episodes.
    And also, I agree with you. I was about to say VICTORY until I saw Hannah’s breast at the bathtub scene. That needs to stop.
    There were many many great moments during the episode that ultimately makes it my favorite so far.

    • Albert

      * I meant that at last Hannah wasn’t the focus of the episode

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  • ac

    You missed the point of hannah’s flip flopping. She’s angry with Marnie, yes, which is why she was being such a bitch to her the entire time Marnie was there, but deep down Hannah still loves Marnie even though they’ve been fighting. That’s what Hannah’s moment with Marnie’s ex was; it was the writers way of showing that Hannah and Marnie will always be friends, they just aren’t right now.

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