Forget everything else that happened on this really depressing episode of Girls and focus solely on Adam and Ray and the possibilities, oh the possibilities, they could have in a spin-off. One of my favorite things narratively is when two characters are put together who either have never met (but have big but separate presence on the show), or who rarely interact alone together (they may have been on screen together before, but in a group) because it really opens them up in ways we haven’t seen before. The scenes between these two very different men, who decided maybe they aren’t so different (“because we’re both pretty weird looking”), and the way they went from antagonistic to friendly to antagonistic again were the best things Girls has done all season. There was plenty more to unpack in this episode, including a lot of really fake crying, so hit the jump for more on why really, your date should pay $4 for a taco.
I want to get the Hannah stuff out of the way first, much like this episode did, because it’s so tiresome. After last week’s odd episode where it looked like Hannah, maybe, finally, was figuring some stuff out about herself, this week it felt like that tiny bulb of awareness never happened. We knew Hannah would always be suffocatingly self-absorbed, but I couldn’t help but blanch, literally, when the show brought John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) on to praise Hannah for her brilliance and for “finding her voice” in regards to her lost generation. Are we talking about Hannah, or Lena? It can be so hard to tell. Either way, it was one of the more narratively masturbatory moments on the show.
Things did get better from there, and the scenes with Hannah at Booth’s party were really well-wrought and familiar to anyone (so, everyone) who has been alone without a cell phone at a party full of people you have nothing in common with. Her getting knocked down a few pegs about her writing “just” an e-book was, honestly, a little satisfying — but in typical Hannah fashion, it didn’t spur her on to start anything, but rather, gave her more of an excuse to do nothing. At the same time, her taking a break after doing nothing to look at “5 Foods That Make You Fat” online and check her phone was, like her at the party, unfortunately familiar.
Marnie was an interesting case this week because she finally had to come to the realization that Booth was not her boyfriend. Whereas Hannah realized that what she wanted was to be happy in a normal relationship, Marnie has been under the impression she wanted something different. In the end though, she didn’t — she still wanted Booth to be her boyfriend, to meet his friends and be the only girl he sleeps with. While it’s easy to have seen from the start that Booth was never her boyfriend, and that he asked her to host the party because he saw that as her job (not a favor), it’s also an uncomfortable familiarity to see yourself probably having been in that same position — so blinded by what you want to be there that you don’t see the obviously bad (or not what you wanted) situation you are in.
Things broke down later when Marnie admitted to Booth she just liked the idea of him, something I can’t believe anyone would say out loud. His subsequent tantrum left me cold. Are we supposed to feel sorry for him? I absolutely don’t. His behavior is loathsome no matter how sad he feels about himself because his (supposedly) brilliant art brings about a lot of hangers-on. Maybe if he wasn’t such an absolute prick he might have picked up a few actual friends along the way.
The boys had it as rough as the girls this week, with Adam still confused about his hatred / love for Hannah (again, a familiar feeling, although in his spin-off with Ray I want her out of the picture completely), and Ray confused about himself. Ray may care a lot about Shoshanna, but already her disillusionment with him, like Marnie and Booth, is setting in. She is confused by his lack of ambition, and frustrated by the fact that he doesn’t treat her like the princess she has been taught to be expected to be. Shoshanna isn’t wrong to want to be treated well — she’s so young, she needs a lot of experiences to figure out if being with someone like Ray is what she really wants. I don’t think that it is. I feel some heartbreak coming, and maybe not just between Ray and that poor dog.
Episode Rating: B
Musings and Miscellanea:
— A really uneven episode. Moments of humor and familiarity blocked out by unsure sentiment. I would have given it a C but for the Ray/Adam interactions.
— If we’re going to praise Hannah as a brilliant essayist, why not have some evidence she actually has talent? How did John Cameron Mitchell read her stuff in the first place?
— Sorry Allison Williams, but you are a terrible fake crier. You have an amazing body, though!
— The Staten Island girl slayed me — and, sadly, she really pierced Ray in a way he hadn’t been in a long time.
— Adam was unbelievably great in this episode. “I can harness Dog’s energy …”
— “It’s just an e-book. That’s still a real book … right?” I assume the stigma of e-books, like blogging, will slowly dissipate.
— Shoshanna: “Does she think you’re Marmee or Amy?” Ray: “Probably Marmee.” Hannah: “Actually, you’re probably the dad who dies of influenza in the war.”
— Jessa wafted through one scene like a ghost. I need her back!