There were four of us debating the would happens, the wouldn’t happens, and the OMG DID HAPPENS of TV’s most microscopically and myopically watched show. Then, sometimes, there were five. This week we’re six: Dana Drori (DZD), Fiona Duncan (FAD), Jenna Sauers (JRS), Sarah Nicole Prickett (SNP), Danielle Forest (DAF), and hi, Jen Wright (JAW)! But who’s counting?
Hannah’s counting everything. Shoshanna’s counting her relationship troubles with Ray, who’s mostly counting his gummy candies. Marnie’s counting tips and thinking she’ll never amount to shit, while Charlie’s counting his employees, no seriously, and Jessa… Jessa’s counting down to Jemima Kirke’s due date, when she’ll return (please?) from wherever she last fled.
KNOW THE SCORE:
Adam wakes in the piss-coloured light and takes a sip of milk from the mason jar. It has gone very, very bad.
WOULD HAPPEN: There is a specific type of sweet, bullish dude-baby who still drinks straight-up milk (ew, though). That type probably also lets it sit there until a woman cleans up. —SNP
DOES HAPPEN: We should do a count of how many episodes start in bed (seriously, so many episodes start in bed). As far as true to twenty-something life goes, this gets a big DOES because, between our nightly 3-12 hour sleeps, our sex having, our hanging in our rooms to avoid roommates, and the goes-around-comes-around depressive periods, we do spend an awful lot of time among the covers. —FAD
Walking home, Hannah gets—and methodically ignores—Adam’s call. She’s alone, a bit dazed, and twitching like Deneuve in Repulsion. She counts her steps, looking alternately over both shoulders. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. She gets home and opens the door eight times. She counts out eight chips from a bag and eats them all at once. Uh-oh…
WOULD… WAIT, WHAT?
Walking with Ray and Marnie, Shoshanna can’t stop thinking about our dearly disappeared Jessa. “Where is she? What is she wearing? Is it linen? What language is she speaking? Oh my god, is she warm enough?” Marnie has none of it, arguing that no matter the putative cause, be it marriage or her dad, “this is what [Jessa] does.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Though Jessa’s departure was a shock to me too, I agree with Marnie here: it is very much Jessa’s character to disappear for a while without so much as a telephone number. It is strange though, that Marnie—Jessa’s frenemy—knows J better than her own cousin. —DZD
This is why I love Shoshanna so much. I think this ties so well into the fact that, despite being the youngest, she seems to be the most grown-up of the group, at least if “grown up” means being maternal. She’s concerned about Jessa, who is God knows where. She’s concerned about Ray, her homeless boyfriend. She’s concerned about her aging aunt. She’s concerned about the fact that people are always going to be needing her, forever. God, I’m so glad she just got to take a break and hook up with the doorman. Everyone else on this show is really only concerned with themselves. —JAW
Un-previously-beknownst to Marnie, and to us, Charlie has an app. He also has an office in Chelsea and eleven employees and is, per Ray, “a bougie nightmare.”
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: You don’t just go from being a hobbyist carpenter and architecture-firm serf, as Charlie was, to designing and developing and $$$$$$elling an iPhone app. It’s not like a skill you pick up in Saturday classes at Housing Works. —SNP
You also don’t go from selling an iPhone app to having a newly renovated office in like, the span of three weeks. —DZD
DID HAPPEN: My recentest ex-boyfriend is making an app, but that’s because… he’s a full-time web developer. —SNP
My best friend made a pretty successful app (Cloth, buy it!), but he worked at Popular Mechanics? Writing though. Not making mechanics or anything. So, I guess it happens. —JAW
My good friend’s very good friend recently sold his app for like money and went, pretty much overnight, from couchsurfing in Williamsburg and borrowing money from my good friend to having a Thomas John kinda life. It happens. Few apps are worth their bandwidth in gold but I can count (at least to eight) the number of acquaintances I’ve had tell me they are working on one. —FAD
I have no opinion on the verisimilitude here, but I would just like to add that I have worked at a tech company since 2008 and I don’t know anyone who has ever made an app. And now I feel very left out. —JRS
Shoshanna interrupts her friendsistential crisis (“I don’t trust anyone!”) to suddenly know this Indian girl, Ridika. Ridika is “the richest Hindi” Shoshanna knows. Also, she rollerblades. Ray is rude to Ridika’s face and worse when she leaves, refusing outright to go to her “impromptu” (noun; pronounced “im-prom-TOO”).
WOULD HAPPEN: Because of course being a shitty boyfriend who thinks he’s always right is part of Ray’s whole raison d’etre. —DZD
Ray would absolutely make that point about rollerblades. Men in their 30s tend to be really hung up on the fact that they are slightly older than their 20-something girlfriends, and want to mention it in a way that reminds me of the “16 going on 17” song in The Sound of Music. Which is to say, idiotically, and constantly. Men in their 40s will never mention their age, ever, and indeed will hope that you forget that age is a thing that exists. —JAW
WOULDN’T HAPPEN: Ray bemoans his age like it’s more mid-century than early thirties. In a city like New York where single people go to die, age ain’t nothing but a number. I think it just befits Ray to act like a grumpy old man who, of course, dates a 20-something girl. —DAF
Wait, wait, wait, wait. Is that a person of color?! Girls, you’re trying! —JRS
Shoshanna, newly aware that she’s the girl you never see when she has a boyfriend, is not happy. “My worst nightmare is people thinking I’ve died when I haven’t,” she says, “and I’m living it.”
WOULD HAPPEN: But I bet that nightmare is different in her head. She’s probably buried in a box, like that Ryan Reynolds movie. —JAW
Best friends can be mortal enemies when you throw a new boyfriend in the mix and suddenly your BFF is more we’re-trying-a-new-Smitten-Kitchen-recipe than meet-me-for-$1-oysters-during-happy-hour. Usually this is at the beginning of a new relationship. Wait, does this mean this is Shoshanna and Ray’s honeymoon period? —DAF
Guess who’s back in AA? It’s Adam, who—we learned at a Bushwick loft party last season—was a 17-year-old alcoholic. “Lately I haven’t felt so solid anymore,” he tells the group. “I had this girlfriend who at first I didn’t like very much. She was persistent, man, and she just hung around, and hung around, and showed up at my place, and gradually it started to feel better when she was there. It wasn’t love the way I imagined it. I liked knowing that she was going to be there.” Also: “She didn’t know what street Central Park started at, or how to use soap. I wanted that chance to show someone everything.” He’s exhausted.
WOULD HAPPEN: Hearing everything from Adam’s perspective not only keeps him in the Girls narrative, but has also made us switch our empathy from last-season Hannah to this-season Adam. He is now the character I care about most and I want him to get the fuck over selfish and so-much-baggage Hannah. —DZD
Now this is how you treat a serious disease in a television show. You use a a first-year English Lit device known as foreshadowing. Adam is definitely Lena’s most well-written character. His behavior throughout the seasons is a bit frenetic, slightly dark, and increasingly thoughtful in a way you’d imagine someone struggling with alcoholism could be. Unlike Hannah, whose OCD rears its ugly head without so much as a sleepless night or psychotic break. —DAF
DID HAPPEN: And no, it is not lost on me that I have a “did” for every disastrous happening, relationships-wise, on Girls. This is the big one: Years and years ago, I was the Hannah to my penultimate boyfriend (oh, because I’m never having a boyfriend again), who was years and years older and my erstwhile prof. And, though he would probably care to dispute this, I do think he looked up one day and saw me still standing there, but about to walk away, and thought: What the hell. Love? Fast-forward four years and he’s screaming WHAT THE HELL, LOVE, because the girls who want most don’t often want best, don’t act their best, and certainly don’t feel the best about being “shown everything” by a guy who thinks knowing stuff is intelligence. Here I quote, for the hundred thousandth time, Sheila Heti: “He’s just another man who wants to teach me something.” This is the Greek chorus of our early 20s, and to see it from the other side should induce schadenfreude but is somehow, judging by our symphonic awwwws, tragic. —SNP
A woman straight outta Woody Allen’s ‘70s (ed note: literally! She’s played by Carol Kane) corners Adam post-AA. She loves him. She loves his height. She loves his honesty. And she has decided that Adam will go on a date with her daughter, Natalia. Adam demurs, but he’s no match for a yenta.
SHOULD HAPPEN: Can Carol Kane please be a recurring character?! —DAF
Marnie happens to be at, surprise, Charlie’s office, and—wait. Is she wearing flip-flops???
WOULD HAPPEN: ….even though it’s totally inappropriate, because in Marnie’s delusional, selfish mind, it’s OK for her to show up in Charlie’s life whenever she wants. Also she is fueled by incredulity at the fact that Charlie’s life is so great, and hers is so shitty. Basically she’s the worst. —DZD
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Marnie would change outfits and think about this for days beforehand, strategizing, figuring out precisely what to say, maybe making some kind of list. I don’t know what kind, but a list. She’d never just show up at random. —JAW
I have a hard time seeing Marnie “Elie Tahari workwear” Michaels in flip-flops and bootcut jeans, even if this is her wilderness period. —JRS
WOULD HAPPEN: I dunno, Jen, I think this may be a case of GIRLS trying foreshadowing: the uncharacteristically lackadaisical fashion, the desperate rearview mirror maneuvers, I think Marnie may be heading for a breakdown. —FAD
Good point Fiona! We’re getting more intimate with each character — and I don’t mean in the vein of that uncomfortable scene with Ray and Marnie to the tune of Norah Jones (bring back Aimee Mann please). Alcoholism, OCD, daddy issues: where’s Marnie’s tragedy? —DAF
Marnie already has to wear lederhosen, isn’t that enough? —JAW
Marnie says “yo.” Yo, it’s Marnie. “Yo.”
WOULD HAPPEN: I want to say NEVER, but will give Marnie this. She’s a perfectionist boss and when she decides to be chill, she is going to be perfectly, pigtailedly, flip-flopsily chill. —SNP
Nervously, on his flip phone, Adam calls Natalia. Midway through his message, she picks up. Adam: “This is a fucking landline!”
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Adam’s incredulity and Driver’s acting cred nearly make this okay, and yet. We know what Dunham’s doing. We know her favourite genre is rom-com, we know the rom-com was never better than in the VHS days, and we know how crucial the answering machine call-screening trick is to plots of yore. We also know nobody in New York who’s about a landline. Can we not work out how to show texts, emails, gchats, Facebook messages on screen? Somebody get this girl David Fincher‘s voicemail. —SNP
WOULD HAPPEN: I know someone who has a landline at home. His phone worked during Sandy and everything. It’s rare but not unheard of. — JRS
“I’m just here for support,” says Marnie to a bemused, Belize-tanned Charlie. She doesn’t hear his reply: “From me, or for me?”
WOULD HAPPEN: Because as soon as Charlie got out from under Marnie’s oppressive reign he transformed from pathetic weakling to self-assured cool guy and is finally able to put her in her place. —DZD
“Success is the best revenge,” who said that? Oh right, Marnie Madden, the wife of philandering McNulty on BBC’s The Hour, the best show on television (really, it’s House of Cards plus Mad Men but with accents, and Romola Garai: fuck me). But yeah, the best way for the person scorned to exact revenge on the selfish prick who burnt them is to become hotter and more successful than you ever were when you were together. —FAD
Oh, but it is so devastating when they leave you and then immediately sign that book deal/cash that fat magazine check/get confirmed as Secretary of Defense. Marnie was with Charlie when he was an amiable but aimless dude in a shitty band who didn’t even fuck her right. She did her time. Now he’s a gajillionaire with an office in Chelsea and a new kind of zeal for life? Of course she’s questioning the injustice of the universe. —JRS
AMEN FIFI / CHARLIE. —DZD
Charlie’s app, Forbid, prevents you from calling people you shouldn’t, unless you’re willing/drunk enough to pay a $10 per-call fee. “The app is free,” he says, “but breaking your word to yourself isn’t.” Marnie, naturally, was the inspiration. She looks… flattered?
WOULD HAPPEN: Oh Charlie, man of your word. If you learned nothing else from this relationship, at least you learned to stop giving in to Marnie’s lonely whimsies. And made a ton of money from it. —DZD
Okay, Charlie has to go now. “The office next door” is recording “a lip-dup thing” to the 2010 hip-hop song “Teach Me How to Dougie.”
WOULD HAPPEN: This is totally on point, what with the whole Harlem Shake thing. —DZD
Like all examples of enforced joviality intended to build esprit de corps at workplaces where the labor skews young, this made me cringe. —JRS
Hannah is 45 minutes late to meet her parents at The Carlyle. “No fears, bro!” says Hannah’s dad.
DOES HAPPEN: I am hyper-aware of the clock at all times (haaaa) and yet almost always late, even for things and people I care madly about, because a) I succumb to the inexplicable feeling that when I step out of my apartment, I’ll magically be at my destination; b) so much is always to be done that before going anywhere, I panic and think, “I should just send these emails;” c) I’m selfish. —SNP
Adam’s date is also late—and hella pretty. “Holy shit,” says Adam. “Oh my god, I love my mom,” says Natalia.
I HOPE THIS HAPPENS: Whether or not this is realistic: Go Adam Go! <3<3<3 —DZD
“Everything’s going really well with the book,” says Hannah, drumming her left fingers on her right mom. Her parents know. “If your head is filling up and you’re getting county,” says her dad, gently, “we’ll get you home and get you sorted out with your OCD.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Precisely because there’s this book, and it’s not going well. Whenever I have to write something extended and/or complex, I listen to one precise kind of song (pretty, empty, gleaming) on loop til I’m done, no matter how long it takes. When I wrote a review of Zero Dark Thirty, I listened to “Lost in My Bedroom” one. hundred. and twenty times. I don’t have OCD, but I have other things, and I know the combined pressures of inventiveness and sole responsibility make writers (and other creative loners) regress hard to habits we thought we’d outrun. —SNP
True — three years out of college and I still pick up cigarettes and caffeine pills every time I have an imminent deadline. —DZD
The desperate “everything is going really well with the book” thing is something I have absolutely done. I think in creative professions you’re always very aware that you have little real job security. You don’t really have the luxury of saying “this job may be dull but it is completely and utterly stable.” So you feel a desperate need to stress that everything is going to be fine, and you are not going to end up a bag lady, to yourself and everyone around you. Which is a pressure-filled thing without OCD. Also, I need to figure out how to work my IRA. —JAW
WOULD/WOULDN’T HAPPEN: I’m no expert, and apparently neither is Dunham. I will hesitantly admit to an anxious tic that I attribute to too many typing lessons in school, when I would press my fingers on my leg or into my hand as if I’m typing out some of the words being spoken around me. It was much more benign than it sounds, but around the age of 20 I went through a phase of particular anxiety. After researching it, I learned women are most susceptible to anxiety in their 20s (and it can often pass, as it did in my case). So, while I believe an anxiety disorder is more than plausible with one of these characters, I think Lena’s came like a bat out of a hell, was poorly acted, and suggested she’s writing this shit episode-to-episode rather than as a complete season. —DAF
There was one mention of masturbation being a focus of Hannah’s anxiety, brought up by Marnie in an argument in Season 1, so technically, perhaps this condition wasn’t entirely unsignalled. But given how casually most people mean “compulsive,” that mention flew by me and, I assume, most viewers. To believe Hannah suddenly, without warning, developed full-blown OCD is a pretty big demand on the audience. — JRS
Judy Collins sings.
DID HAPPEN: Last year, at the Café Carlyle. Everybody takes their parents to Café Carlyle when their parents visit New York, right? Though I suppose, in this rather unexpected, totally unpredictable episode, Hannah should have taken them there eight times. —JAW
Natalia works for a private eye who sometimes lets her be “the girl” in the bar, “the decoy.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Adam, like a good Greenpoint hipster — aside: I always cringe using this word but I still use it because it is useful (it’s a Yelp “atmosphere” category, didja know?) as a shorthand for a certain demographic of creative-inclined or appearing, white cultured, middle or upper-middle class youth — anyway, Adam, the Brooklyn hipster, is experiencing that energizing relief you feel when you step out of your self-selected peer group and realize there is a whole world of amazing others out there. Hot probably-Polish Private Eye’s assistant with a boastful mom in AA, I met her last week at the Dollar Store on Manhattan. —FAD
Natalia and Adam agree that “dating is awful.”
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Uh, if you both think dating is awful, why did you both agree to go on a blind date that was set up in AA? —DZD
DOES HAPPEN: It’s a downtown Manhattan bylaw that no two straight people may be permitted to go on a date without first agreeing to hate it. Nobody doesn’t think dating is awful. It’s awful! But all these people do it; I’ve never been in a dating-er place. —SNP
Over at “party girl” Ridika’s penthouse, the raaaather friendly doorman checks out Shoshanna’s hot pink H&M ass on her way up. After Ray-shaming in vain to Ridika, who’d rather you didn’t ash in her mermaid, Shosh leaves. The doorman sympathizes; he’s more “into clubs and stuff.” Shosh too, yeah. Totally into clubs. Totally possible that he’s seen her at a club. Is her name Muslim or something? It might be.
DOES HAPPEN: Because, like Shosh, I have more than once let my Hebrew name get mistaken for any other ethnicity. Sometimes it’s easier. Sorry dad. —DZD
I get the “your name’s Muslim, so am I” thing pretty regularly, but it’s less of a stretch. “Sarah” is a name to claim in so many places, races, faiths. —SNP
This is every flirtation I’ve ever had with a doorman, up until the thing about clubs, at which point I usually say something like “I spend a lot of free time reading” and then nothing ever happens. But up until that. UP UNTIL THAT. Maybe I will start saying I go to clubs. —JAW
Shoshanna says he’s “really good-looking for a doorman,” he says she’s beautiful, and bang, they’re in the mailroom. Postman better knock twice.
WOULD HAPPEN: Shoshana is pisssed at Ray for being a loser and for being a selfish boyfriend who won’t come to her friend’s party, pissed at herself for losing her life in her relationship, not to mention new at experiencing sexual attention — OF COURSE she would hook up with a total stranger who provides an escape and revolt against all that! YES SHOSH! —DZD
DOES HAPPEN: Of course this would happen! Shoshanna is exhausted from worrying about everyone. It’s a bit absurd that she’s the youngest and she has to take on that role. Also, she’d never had sex before Ray, and she’s smart enough to be curious about whether they’re really “in love” (if Shoshanna were here I would air quote in solidarity with her, no matter what Ray says) or if it’s just that she never had sex with anyone before. —JAW
All of the above. Get it, Shosh. —JRS
In Shoshanna’s absence, Marnie rails to Ray and his paperback and his super-sad sack of Haribos. “It doesn’t matter how right you do things,” she says. “Because you know who ends up living their dreams? Sad messes like Charlie, and the people who end up flailing behind are people like me, who have their shit together.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Because neurotic Type-As totally think this way! This is exactly like Kristen Dunst’s speech in Bachelorette, when she insists that she should be the one getting married because she did ‘everything right’. Listen you crazy neoliberals, just because you do “everything right” doesn’t mean you get everything you want! —DZD
SHUT IT DOWN, DRORI. —SNP
I can understand Marnie’s resentment, even though it is naïve. — JRS
I admit that I used to think like Marnie back in college when I was obsessed with grades and addicted to the highest dose of Concerta that the Canadian government would allow. I’ve since learned to… chill? Gotta embrace life’s curveballs. Namaste. —DZD
I do not embrace life’s curveballs at all, but I do think that it’s weird that up until that point Marnie has been channeling all that drive and determination into something she doesn’t even want to do. I thought she wanted to be in the art world. No, huh? I guess things will go better now that she will be working towards something she wants to be working towards. —JAW
Ray plays life coach, telling Marnie to step up her game right this second. “What’s your dream?” he volleys. “Yell it out.”
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Uh, when did Ray change his middle name to “of sunshine?” Not a fucking chance he’d un-prostrate himself, let alone turn this pep talk into a pep rally, unless… maybe, just maybe, he’s doing penance for his dickishness by reading Shoshanna’s self-care books. —SNP
Ray does nothing with his life; he would never be able to give a speech about following your dreams. Especially to Marnie. —DZD
“I wanna sing,” says Marnie. Marnie sings. Marnie sings the 2008 Norah Jones song “Don’t Know Why.” DON’T KNOW WHY, INDEED.
WOULDN’T HAPPEN: Can Marnie be this un-self-aware? Are we going to see a reference to an American Idol-type show? This was painful; I have zero friends who would be this deluded. Am I jaded already? All I could think about was that Allison Williams hangs out with John Mayer and he was probably on set giving her a tutorial. —DAF
Vocal tutorial? More like ORAL TUTORIAL! BAM. —DZD
DOES HAPPEN: We just watched Allison Williams’s skincare commercial. Will the pop record be next? Is this HBO or the CW? I’m confused. —FAD
Now in a waiting room, way uptown, Hannah’s mom is being shrewy; Hannah’s dad, over-jovial. “We’ll go downtown to Serendipity’s,” he says.
DID HAPPEN: Hannah’s mom resenting, instead of caring for, her daughter. AYAYAYAY this speaks to me too well. —DZD
WOULD HAPPEN: They established the parent’s role — Dad as friend, Mom as disciplinarian — in the first episode, where the mom was the one to cut off her money. Shrewishly. Though I think the mother, in secret, believes in Hannah more. Note it’s Hannah’s dad not mom who immediately jumps to “you should move home with us until you get straightened out.” In the first season, Hannah’s mom privately told her dad how much she thought Hannah was learning from the fun she was having. I think Hannah’s mother is just frustrated that Hannah seems to be behaving this way at a time when she has a lot of opportunities — maybe not realizing that the stress of those opportunities is why she’s behaving that way. —JAW
Can we not use sexist language like “shrew”? I can’t judge either of Hannah’s parents for their behavior in this situation; caring for a loved one who has any kind of mental illness, anxiety disorder, or who self-harms is very stressful, and sometimes you are not your best self. —JRS
To this archetypically bespectacled psychiatrist, Hannah describes her childhood OCD: The compulsive, secret masturbating, followed by checking if her parents’ door is shut, over and over, til 3 a.m. “It’s classical.” Why didn’t she take medicine? “It made me tired.” How tired? “Very tired.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Everyone I know who’s been prescribed medication for anxiety, or depression, or any mood disorder, really, says it makes them tired. This impromptu session is one thing Dunham gets right (also, she reminds us that Marnie did say something about Hannah masturbating eight times a day, back in the heat of last season’s fight). The rest of the episode is like she learned how to play crazy from watching it on television, which is not… what television actors are meant to do. —SNP
She could have at least watched As Good As It Gets. That’s basically a Nora Ephron movie. —FAD
The Horvaths take a train downtown. Hannah sways, fidgets, glances darkly at her dad. “I hate it when you look so concerned about me,” she says.
DOES HAPPEN: The New York City subway is the place where mental illness gets questioned like the chicken or the egg. Which came first: crazy or the subway? —FAD
WOULD HAPPEN: The Horvaths are model boomers, spending money on a classy, Zagat-approved lunch, but saving it by taking the train. Meanwhile, Hannah’s and my demographic is mostly about take-out and taxicab. We’re fast, lucky, wildly precarious, driven by immediacy; they’re slower and cautious, but far more optimistic. Maybe I’m riding these signifiers too hard? Or maybe Dunham means to show that the ways she’s different from her parents are both the cause of her problem and the cause for their concern, a concern they’d feel with or without this problem, and it’s difficult to know which is which. —SNP
Well done SNP! Now go to bed. —DAF