It’s been a strange season for Girls, but the best thing that can be said about “Incidentals” is that some of it was a little reminiscent of the style and flow of Looking (which, in case you didn’t know, is excellent). Like last week, the episode had a natural rhythm to it. Despite some over-done moments, it ultimately felt like the kind of collection of vignettes that is Girls at its best. Adam still remains the most interesting and compelling character, though, and every minute not spent in his presence feels like a waste. But what we did get of him was worth it. Plus, Richard E. Grant returns! Hit the jump for why Broadway is the most seductive of mistresses.
What makes Girls occasionally worth its salt is that, sometimes, it comes out with real truths. Hannah’s exuberance at getting a fat paycheck that is more than her rent (selling out never felt so good!) and celebrating by buying a dress from the shop window, was a nice moment. Her going to find Patti LuPone even after the interview was cancelled also showed an initiative she rarely has. She’s good at this job, and she’s enjoying it. Having that part of her life actually working for her actually helps the show so very much.
Still, what would Girls be without Hannah’s insecurities? In “Incidentals,” they were tied up in her fear — thanks to Patti LuPone — that Adam doing a Broadway play would draw him away from her and their life. Their moment in the tub was actually quite sweet, even though she was just on the precipice of passive aggressively suggesting that he not do the play because of her fears. But for now, things are ok and — God forbid — the two of them actually seemed to be having fun. This is Girls still, right?
It’s rare that a Hannah plot is the highlight of any Girls episode, but “Incidentals” actually managed it. Marnie continues to be humiliated by the series, with Ray breaking things off with her just after her embarrassing run-in with Soojin (who was the insufferable Booth Jonathan’s assistant that he fired for eating some of his rosewater ice cream). If even Hannah gets some moments of self-awareness and redemption, Marnie deserves a little too. But it seems that after the blow-up at the beach, very little changed among the group, and Shoshannah in particular has gone back to just being quiet and rolling with the punches, hanging out with these people she, apparently, despises.
As for Jessa, who had a great thing going at the children’s store at the beginning of the episode, when boredom caused her to be pretty amazingly hilarious, things fell apart with the advent of Richard E. Grant, playing her rehab-friend/father-figure Jasper. I love, love, love Richard E. Grant, but Jasper is a role that both showcases his talents and wastes them. Further, his best moments were not with Jessa, but with Shosh. We’re told she thought he was a rapist, and later, they match super-speed manic speech because he assumes she’s on coke, or something, but of course she’s just being herself. He and Jessa jail-breaking and running around stealing money and buying drugs was beyond where that story needed to go. Giving up and giving in is what defines Jessa, and just once it would be gratifying to see her move in another direction. Once again, if the show is a satire, let her continue. But if it wants to trade in real emotion, show us something real.
In the end, per usual, it was Adam who provided the most interest, the most humor and the most emotion. Seeing where this Broadway gig takes him, if he’s able to keep to it, will be worth investigating. The rest of it really is incidental.
Episode Rating: A-
Musings and Miscellanea:
– Quite a nice turn from Patti LuPone. I like it when a guest star really adds something to any show, and she was great.
– “He’s the most mature person I’ve ever met, and in other ways, he’s not even born” – Hannah about Adam.
– I loved that Shosh and Elijah recognized Desi as having played the “gay disabled hockey player” on One Tree Hill. A little Elijah goes a long way, and his line that “I wouldn’t call myself a fan, but I’ve seen every episode” was so great (and basically how I feel about this show … minus the intimation of appreciation).
– “Don’t come crying to me when Kristen Chenowith passes out because you forgot to feed her!! – Elijah to Adam.
– The Marnie/Ray thing was never built to last, but that it fell apart in such short order (while Ray was reading Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart) was disappointing. Poor Marnie, the show really does love making her look like a fool. Her interactions with Desi were so, so painful. I felt like her having an AOL account is both an old joke, though.
– “I wouldn’t be eating pizza in front of you if I cared about you” – Marnie to Ray.