Yeah hoes, this the finale! Your four, no five favourite key-demo white girls are back for the grandest, most romantic, and probably worst Girls ep yet. What happened to the Hannah who had her cake to herself on the beach, dreaming? What happened to the Marnie who wanted more, and where is Jessa when everybody needs her? Only Shoshanna knows what she’s about, and yet—if she no longer wants to be “surrounded by negativity,” how does one explain all her friends?
Please join, one more time, Dana Drori, Danielle Forest, Jenna Sauers, Olivia Fleming, and Sarah Nicole Prickett for the recap to end all recaps. No, for real. We can’t do this anymore. When we began breaking it down, we didn’t anticipate just… breakdowns. Do we still care? Do we love it? Or do we wish most of this never happened?
WE BEEN ON:
Hannah, neurotically reading message boards about her ear symptoms, falls into a WebMD black hole, searching absurd body issues involving skin microbes and the body’s capacity to melt.
WOULD HAPPEN: Anyone who looks at WebMD would skip from one irrational condition to the next; the site is structured that way. It once told me that my heart would stop. —DZD
I knew a girl who would take indigestion tablets before going to bed “just in case she got a stomach ache.” …WebMD was bookmarked on her toolbar. —OKF
DID HAPPEN: Last week I spent >3 hours on message boards ascertaining the nature of a recurring spider bite on my ass, even though I promise you, Dani, there are no spiders in our apartment. Verdict: It’s either histamines or stress or both or I’m about to die. Anyway, that’s why my book is four years late. —SNP
I have Googled dust mites on occasion, usually near bedtime. And while it isn’t WebMD, I will click link-to-link until I am so eager to clean that I either don’t sleep, for fear of being among tiny creatures, or I get up and clean things once I’ve already turned in. This usually replaces other anxieties, as it does for Hannah. While psychological issues can be manifested physically, I think it’s easier to diagnose physical symptoms, even where there are none, than emotional ones. —DAF
Hannah’s e-book editor, the gay Jefferson Hack, has little patience for her “auditory symptoms” and their putative impact on her work (i.e., lack thereof). Hannah seems surprised to learn that an author can be sued for the repayment of an advance if he or she does not complete the book under contract.
DOES HAPPEN: Just ask Elizabeth Wurtzel and Ana Marie Cox. —JRS
Marnie, mid-Charlie-lingus, asks him how he got so good at that. “No, seriously,” she says. “How’d you get so good at that? How many people have you slept with since we broke up?” Charlie half-snaps out of the moment, but doesn’t answer, saying “I’m not doing this with you.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Maybe not mid-oral, but can’t blame Marnie for being curious about Charlie’s sexcapades while she was Boothing. —DZD
Charlie, who used to have about as much sex appeal as a doorstop, now has Marnie groaning like Maggie Gyllenhaal in Shortbus? I’d be hella curious “how he got so good at that,” too, and probably paranoid enough to demand an answer mid-moan. —OKF
This is like Dunham’s (accurate) version of pillow-talk. While I would maybe press further than Marnie does, Charlie is a boss in the best way, and on all accounts, here. —DAF
Shosh wears her hoodie while Ray feebly squeezes her left tit. He threatens not to cum until she does, to which she replies: “Will you get out of me?”
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: What jerk fucks that miserably and then has the audacity to expect his partner to come? —DZD
WOULD HAPPEN: Ray, which I believe is Greek for “worst.” —SNP
Adam and Natalia might be doing it missionary style, but she’s on top. Adam asks her if she likes his cock, and she replies with an enthusiastic yes. “You do like my cock, you dirty little whore,” he says. “No,” she replies. “I can like your cock and not be a dirty little whore.”
SHOULD HAPPEN: Which is why it’s so boring to watch. —SNP
DOES HAPPEN: I think her security — her ability to say what she thinks, rather than what she thinks he wants her to say — is incredibly hot. —JRS
Marnie and Charlie have lunch at Roberta’s. She is happy they’ve, you know, “settled.” He is confused. When she makes the opposite of a sexit, he chases her like an idiot, and she confesses, “I want to see you every morning. I want to make you a snack every night. And I want to have your little round/brown babies, and I want to watch you die.” Charlie tells her he loves her.
WOULD HAPPEN: Okay Charlie finally got Marnie to say what he wanted to hear, and her feelings are believable, and his monologue about loving her even when he knows he shouldn’t is VERY real…
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: … but what would Marnie eat at Roberta’s? —DZD
WOULD HAPPEN: Charlie is right, you can’t (unfortunately) help who you fall in love with. Also, his arms… —DAF
Hannah calls her dad, who is daddishly shopping at the dadware store, to ask him for money. She wants to pay back the advance and restore “freedom” to her “process.” He wants to stop being manipulated, and says no.
WOULD HAPPEN: “No. More. Mon-ey.” Remember? Hannah’s parents cut her off in Season One, Episode One, and if dad goes back on that threat, mom’s gonna have a hairball. —SNP
His speech is also totally on point; Hannah is manipulative and, in yet another moment of weakness, she goes running to her parents. —DZD
Marnie comes to visit Hannah, who first doesn’t answer the door, and then—when Marnie enters anyway—hides. Her laptop is open to My Book.doc. The first and only sentence written is, “A friendship between college girls is grander and more dramatic than any romance…”
WOULD HAPPEN: Hannah is faster and faster regressing from psychic adolescence into childhood, of which nothing is a surer sign than the first-person possessive. Please, if you’re an adult, you call it UghThisBook.doc. —SNP
Hannah cuts her hair. It’s obvious that the bangs she’s cutting are actually glued-in hair extensions.
DID HAPPEN: A couple weeks ago when I was on deadline for an article, I reached a point where all I could think about was hair. I would turn off the Internet, write a paragraph, then turn the Internet back on and reward myself with another ten sweet minutes of Googling street style photos of women with amazing dream hair. As soon as I turned in the piece I went to the bathroom and gave myself an undercut. —JRS
WOULD HAPPEN: Haircut-in-identity-crisis is how we, collectively, deal with having “rotten insides” — how else are we supposed to express sheer emotional turmoil? —OKF
IT’S BRITNEY, BITCH. —SNP
I’ve recently started cutting my own hair, sometimes without a mirror, and often, as in weekly, in the a.m. (look, I just want blunt and clean ends). One of my best friends is a hairstylist, and shudders every time I tell him. And while he swears that I’m one inch away from attacking someone with an umbrella, I feel strangely in control and content. Delusional, perhaps? —DAF
Hannah asks her ex-junkie neighbor, Laird, to fix said haircut. Improbably, he makes it worse. She does not notice, being too busy delivering a mental state of the union address, after which she quasi-faints on the floor. When he moves to help her, she assumes he’s making a move.
WOULD HAPPEN:It’s like when Dr. Patrick Wilson invited her into his brownstone for a glass of water, and Hannah responded by assuming that he would rape and murder her (and then threw herself, literally flung herself, at him). She routinely thinks that being alone in a room with a man is necessarily a threat to her body, or person, which seems counter-productive to gender equality. —DZD
Hannah’s predisposition to victimhood is my least favourite thing about her. Is she crazy to think anyone could be a rapist? No; nor does she think so. She thinks any stranger could be a rapist, which is an idea formed by childhood paranoia, not informed by research, which strongly suggests you’re most likely to be raped by someone you know. Also, if you have so much to fear, why the fuck are you still so defenseless? —SNP
Laird: “You are the most self-involved, presumptuous person I have ever met. Ever. I had feelings for you until I realized how rotten your insides are.”
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Come onnnnn, Laird was a coke addict. Heroin addict? Whichever: I’m going to be judgmental enough to assume he’s met some fairly corroded, corrosive peeps. Lena’s meta-criticisms have metastasized a line too far. —SNP
WOULD HAPPEN: I don’t know, I think Hannah is horrible enough in this scene to make anyone respond that way. —DZD
Shosh, who definitely changed her outfit four times first, finally breaks up with Ray. He clutches one of her sixty-four pillows. “I love you kind of like I feel sorry for a monkey,” she says, “because he’s trapped and his cage is so ugly.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Such an insult on top of injury! But I think a lot of women fall in love for this very reason, without realizing it. Until one day they do, and they blurt something like this out. —DAF
“No one gets out of it unless there’s someone on the docket,” says Ray, who imagines that someone to be a tall, blonde guy.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: There is no way that Ray actually believes this absurd falsity. He’s perceptive and old enough to know that people lose interest, and when Charlie and Marnie broke up, Ray did not accuse her of having someone on the docket. This is just bad dialogue. —DZD
WOULD HAPPEN: Totally plausible. A lot of men/women don’t let one go, until they’ve lined up the next. A friend’s mom always and I think accurately, if not a little Venus-Mars-ish, says that women check out of a relationship while in them, not ending it until they’re over it. Men, on the hand, often end a relationship more on a whim…
There is no doubt having a crush “on the docket” makes it easier to get out of a toxic relationship that you know you have no business being in, but struggle to leave because you still love the person. Still, Ray’s comment shows his lack of self-awareness; he can’t possibly blame himself, so he casts around for “someone else.” —OKF
“I can’t be surrounded by your negativity while I’m trying to become a fully formed human,” she says. “I can’t be the only thing you like.”
DID HAPPEN: My Gen-X-bf used to not-joke that he only liked basketball, hot wings, and I forget the other thing, but he really, really loved me. That wasn’t enough. I wanted (…want?) someone whose world was as big as I wanted mine to be, or bigger, and would take my hand and show me, or be shown. In fact, he did show me so many things, but not so many of them were new. It felt like once he had found me, he could stop looking around. Worse: He seemed to resent my finding anything new, after or beyond him, as though it threatened my authenticity, or ours, or just his. —SNP
Hannah calls Jessa and leaves a voicemail. Perhaps because she knows it’s all in vain, she calls Marnie “anorexic” and Adam her “stalker ex-boyfriend.”
WOULD HAPPEN: But actually he’s neither. —JRS
The anguish of having your best friend go MIA in the midst of your meltdown/toddler tantrum/OCD relapse/Bad Hair Day is five per cent “I hope she’s okay,” and 95 per cent “how dare she leave me alone.” —OKF
And can I just say that Jessa’s “I would never check a voice mail” is my favourite line on this very lineful episode? BOW DOWN. —SNP
When I was 16 and got my first cell phone (I am old), I mentioned in my outgoing voicemail message that I did not intend to ever check that phone’s voicemail. My then-boyfriend was horrified and made me change it. Now, over a decade later, the Times is on my side. And I have an app that transcribes voicemail into text. In conclusion, #teamjessa. —JRS
Having turned to her parents, to Laird, and to Jessa’s voicemail, with no solace, Hannah calls Adam. Or rather, “accidentally” FaceTimes him. She tries to sound chipper: “I just wanted to check in on you.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Phone call by phone call, Hannah is appealing to those she believes will judge her least… which explains why
DID HAPPEN: Unfortunately, there is no better validation that you’re still a loved human being by someone—anyone—than from your ex-boyfriend, whom you broke up with. Not too long ago, I had an exceptionally bad habit of doing this while dating a string of jerks. It’s like the smiling, talking, back-tickling version of salted caramel ice-cream when all you want to do is cry. Oops. —OKF
Romantic validation montage set to heart-swelling music by the band “fun.” Adam goes back to Hannah, Charlie goes back to Marnie, and Shosh gets with an “adult male blonde” in a bar.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Dunham wanted her characters to exhibit some arc of change this season, but how have either Hannah or Marnie evolved? They both go back to their old boyfriends, whom they once hated, and Hannah is even more delusional than before. The only one who has evolved is Shoshanna, and even then, only in the realm of sex and coupledom. —DZD
This all felt a little too rom-com for me. I’m fine with the narrative, but in a montage, to over-the-top music, at the end of the end of the season, these gestures felt too desperately grand. Dunham was one cliche away from Adam standing at a window with a stereo held high above his head. —DAF
But I loved it, regardless. —OKF
Adam breaks down the door to Hannah’s apartment, jumps over the couch, and scoops her up from under her covers. They kiss.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: I feel dramatically less secure behind my standard-issue steel New York City apartment door with a deadbolt and a chain lock now that I know a tall guy of average build can apparently knock it down with one heave-ho. —JRS
WOULD HAPPEN: In sick, sick dreams. Look. I cried real tears at what my friend Malcom called “an iPhone commercial” of an ending, because in my worst of hearts I want this too. While I’ve never related most to Hannah, I am often the weakest kind of writer—not talent-wise, I hope, but temperament-wise. I’ve also missed deadlines for no better reason than a mood disorder. I also can’t handle money… or maybe it’s time. And I want to (believe I can) take care of myself, but I make such a steaming mess of it that sometimes all I want is for someone strong-armed to clean up after me.
But do I want to want it? Should I want it? Should this be given to me, and to the viewers of Girls, with so little shame?
I think what feels most wrong about this scene isn’t that she needs to be taken care of, because everybody sometimes does. It’s that she has almost never taken care of anybody else. So gender equality is some of the trouble, and so is romantic cliche, but mostly it’s the lack of basic human reciprocity. The last time I needed someone to hold me this badly was after I’d spent a night trying to fix a deeply addicted friend, only to call an ambulance and then get in a cab alone, silent and horrified. I went straight to a guy’s house, yes. But there was a chain of demand at work. That Hannah remains, at season’s end, on the receiving side of help is fucked as hell, and worse than anti-heroism. There should be empathy, but here there’s only sympathy, and even that is hard to feel. —SNP
Shit gets dark as GIRLS moves towards the end of its second season, with almost all the characters spinning out of control— and down, down, down— in the penultimate episode: Adam is driven to drink, while Hannah has no one to drive her to the hospital. Marnie sings a post-ironic rendition of Kanye West’s “Stronger” at Charlie’s party, and Shosh’s romantic misery is as palpable as a doorman’s hand. Like all avoidable disasters, the mess was enthralling to watch.
But was it real, like Shoshanna’s shiny shiny doughtnut-shaped hair? Or fake, like artificial sweetener that is totally bad for you? Back this week to assess verité are Dana Drori (DZD), Fiona Duncan (FAD), Jenna Sauers (JRS), Sarah Nicole Prickett (SNP), and Olivia Fleming (OKF), five key-demo white girls who, like Ray with a Macintosh, have all at some point dabbled in the disaster arts.
HERE WE GO:
Adam is now in a relationship with Natalia, who likes rom-coms and hates toilet humor. Natalia says she’s ready to have sex, since Adam has “been nice all week.” They keep their shoes on.
WOULD HAPPEN: I’ve come up with far worse rationalizations for why I’m ‘allowing’ a guy I’ve just started seeing to sleep with me. Shoes equal spontaneity? Like, I have so not been planning this since Tuesday, or anything. —OKF
It’s really sad that Natalia’s turn of phrase implies she sees sex as the appropriate reward owed for Adam’s good behavior. —JRS
Natalia, about to fuck Adam sans condom, rambles: “I’m on the pill, but come outside me just in case. I don’t like being on top or soft touching because it tickles and takes me out of the moment, but everything else I’m ok with.” Adam: “I like how clear you are with me.” Natalia: “What other way is there?”
WOULD HAPPEN: A friend is actually writing a feature on our generation’s ‘phenomenon’ of forgoing condoms with casual partners. When did we start becoming so laissez-faire about warts on our vaginas? HIV didn’t just disappear, people. —OKF
[Just for the record: the risk of contracting HIV vaginally from a positive partner is surprisingly low: like 1 in 1250 for women and 1 in 2500 for men. Even less likely for the woman if he comes outside of her.] —DZD
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Good for Natalia for being able to articulate her desires; half of having good sex is knowing what you want and being able to give it a name. And lots of people, women especially, unfortunately aren’t able to be so straightforward with someone they’re seeing for the first time. But I refuse to believe that someone so self-possessed when it comes to sex, and who apparently had the time to think extensively about this encounter in advance and rehearse a little speech about it, would not go to the fucking bodega and buy condoms. —JRS
DOES HAPPEN: Like all the time. Olivia, I have a half-dozen friends your friend could interview on the subject. Myself, unfortunately, included. And I spent years giving workshops on safer sex, harm reduction, and HIV/AIDS to youth-at-risk across Quebec. It’s like this Olsen twin fan fiction I once read: the risk itself is exciting (that was M-K, not Ashley, obvi). —FAD
Hannah has a meeting with her editor, who hates her draft. “Where’s the sexual failure?” he asks. “This is very Jane Austen. But we talked about Anaïs Nin. Your life on your back. Actually, that might make a good title: My Life on My Back.” Then he offers this: “If you’re not getting fucked right now, make it up.”
WOULD HAPPEN: The older, wealthier men who still largely run the media economy have always been willing to pay for the shame, repackaged in prose of mostly middling quality, of younger, women writers. The personal is political and blah blah blah, but when you’re a lady writer trying to sell a pitch that is political-political and every editor is convinced instead you should write a “think piece” about marriage or [highly personal topic X], something is rotten in the state of publishing. Hannah is too young to recognize this shell game of diminishing returns for what it is, and that mining your own life for “material” to make a buck is always the first, but never the last, bad decision a writer can make. —JRS
Remember when Hannah wrote for that xojane parody? It seems that in Hannah’s world, all publications are searching for self-exploitation. I wonder if Hannah’s difficulties parallel Lena’s own issues with writing a tell-all. —DZD
DOES HAPPEN: There have always been girls and women who are willing and able to take off their clothes for money, and why not? And then why not do it in one’s art, films, writing? It’s funny to me that even feminists who claim solidarity with strippers and sex workers are super-fucking-judgmental of all the naked and paid female writers. The attitude says: “Sell sex, but not on my lawn.” —SNP
Guilty Shosh being overly nice to Ray. “What’s with all the geisha shit?”
WOULD HAPPEN: Overcompensating when I have my tail between my legs is, unfortunately, not one of my better traits. And for an anxious Shoshanna, who lives in fear of disappointing people, this is the easiest way out of a guilty situation. —OKF
Marnie is laying down tracks and following her dream.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Marnie, I wasn’t always on your side when you were a haughty gallerist but, damn it, at least I respected you. Please stop saying things like “lay down this track.” —DZD
Adam and Natalia get coffee. When she uses Splenda because sugar will make her fat, Adam says, “I’d rather you be fat and healthy.”
WOULD HAPPEN: This is a classic boyfriend/“good cop” line, not unlike, “Why do you smoke? You’re so pretty.” —SNP
It’s true though, that stuff is basically poison. —JRS
Wait… cigarettes? Are bad for you? Get the fuck out or I’ll call the cops. —SNP
No Sarah! Artificial sweeteners. Shudder. Still not on board with Adam’s concern-trolling, though. —JRS
Of course Natalia uses sweetener. —DZD
Marnie arrives at Charlie’s office, dressed again in the Ann Taylor separates of her youth, only to find he’s forgotten their lunch date in all the excitement over his app’s 20,000 “MAUs” (monthly average users).
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: What is with this show and its failure to communicate using everyday 21st century technology? Charlie makes apps. He runs an app store, or something. He doesn’t go one minute without his phone, and Marnie wouldn’t wait for FORTY-FIVE—would any of us??—without texting, calling, and calling his assistant. Hashtag bye. —SNP
Hannah, butt-shuffling across her floor, gets a splinter in the ass. After disinfecting, she decides to clean her ear so ferociously that she lodges a Q-tip inside. She calls her parents.
WOULD HAPPEN: The way Hannah deals with the splinter is surprisingly responsible and accurate. —DZD
Um, maybe? But the behavior leading up to and following it is neither. We were quick to criticize how quickly Hannah’s OCD came on last episode but now we are truly, madly, deeply in it with her. Lena has managed to capture how, under the weight of mental illness, everyday life can turn into an obstacle course. Just a few episodes ago, we were lol’ing along, and now things are so tense, I had to pause the program twice, just to catch my breath. Lena’s downshifted several gears in one go, and it works—it’s a testament to her talent and true to life. (I just compulsively ate four ginger stem shortbread cookies trying to string that one together #jetlag.) —FAD
Shosh and Ray are miserable at Charlie’s party. Ray is miserable because the party—and Charlie—are “bourgeois.” Shosh is miserable because Ray is a miserable person, and also because she’s guilty, having so recently fucked a doorman.
DID HAPPEN: My Gen-X ex hated, sometimes openly, most of the parties we went to (mostly because I wanted to). Girls he could hang with, but to many guys (especially guys my age, and especially successful guys my age) he was an utter, unmitigable dick. I think much of the power older dudes have over younger girlfriends is actually a waning or a lack of power, for which they compensate by strong-arming.—SNP
Adam goes to an engagement party for one of Natalia’s friends at a bougie bar. The woman of the hour says her whole group of friends just loves Natalia, she is “like Mother Teresa” to them, “only Mother Teresa never blew my cousin! Ha, ha, ha!” When she is introduced to Adam, who has “the face of an old-timey criminal,” she sticks out her hand like she expects him to kiss her ring.
WOULD HAPPEN: Certain people do act like getting engaged is some kind of an achievement. They are The Worst — or maybe The Second Worst, after people who have casual sex without condoms. —JRS
Is it only in New York that people seem to stay friends with really, horrible people? I don’t get girls who brush these kinds of comments off for, what? —OKF
It’s true, Adam’s face is from a different era. That’s why he was great in Lincoln. —DZD
Hannah, walking home from the hospital in what is perhaps an army surplus tee, no pants, spots Adam outside the bougie bar. They talk, awkwardly; Adam is sure to mention his girlfriend.
WOULD HAPPEN: Running into your ex while dressed like shit is such a women’s mag truism, but it’s forgivable here because the small, sad talk plays out so wincingly. I’d almost forgotten how good Dunham and Driver are together (really good). —SNP
I like how emotional Hannah gets after hearing Adam call her ‘kid’. That has to be so crushing. —DZD
Then Adam, sober since 17, decides to drink. Natalia lets him?
WOULD HAPPEN: We already knew Adam was on the brink, and that was without running into Hannah. Seeing her, especially in a weak state—coming from the hospital, no pants—is a pretty powerful trigger. [Reality-assessment aside, this scene is so heartbreaking.] —DZD
Marnie sings at Charlie’s party. WTF?
WOULD HAPPEN: Marnie has been on a downward spiral all season. It’s not surprising that her rock bottom involves delusion and a desperate cry for attention. —DZD
She’s following her pop star dream, remember? And let’s not forget, IRL Allison Williams did this. —OKF
WOULD NOT HAPPEN: OH MY NO NO NO NO NO ONE IS THIS DELUSIONAL. —FAD
Marnie says to Charlie she’s not flailing. Her life is great. “I’m good. I’m very good. But sometimes being very good all the time feels really bad.”
WOULD HAPPEN: This is the most real we’ve ever seen Marnie. Expectations have met reality, and the façade is cracking. This is a character who, over the course of the series, is being systematically disabused of all her illusions. And we hate her for it even as we lap it up as entertainment. Sorrowfully fucking her sadistic ex is just the latest in the ongoing humbling of Marnie Michaels. —JRS
After Charlie lays down the real talk, Marnie says, “Don’t pity me, it feels terrible.” Then they fuck.
WOULD HAPPEN: Remember how pathetic Charlie was last season? How Marnie never wanted to have sex with him? The opposite of that—Charlie successful and forgetful of Marnie, Marnie desirous of his attention and by extension, his cock—is just as realistic. —DZD
Shosh can’t bring herself to tell Ray the truth, and instead tells him that she held the doorman’s hand. Ray believes her.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Would anyone— even Shosh— feel that guilty for holding a doorman’s hand? Would Ray really believe that Shosh still wants to be with him after all the avoidance, emotional unresponsiveness, and outside flirting? Ray might be idealistically dense, but he is usually more perceptive than this. —DZD
Natalia calls Adam’s house depressing. “Does it make you feel differently about me?” he demands of her. She reassures him: “No.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Adam, drunk and probably full of internal and external anger, would test Natalia now. He would try to scare her off as some self-fulfilling prophecy of his own personal ugliness (which is especially difficult to watch, considering how happy he seemed at the beginning of the episode as the considerate and rom-com-attending BF). —DZD
DOES HAPPEN: That moment when you walk into your boyfriend’s apartment for the first time, and try to convince yourself his moldy dishes don’t matter. —OKF
Adam orders Natalia to get down on all fours and crawl to his bedroom. “I want to fuck you from behind,” he says. “I want to hit the walls with you.” When Adam moves to eat her out from behind, Natalia says she hasn’t showered.
SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Natalia, formerly so clear about what she does and does not like and the sex she will and will not have, agrees tentatively to go along with Adam’s Secretary fantasy. But her discomfort is palpable, and grows throughout the scene. It’s distressing that Adam doesn’t seem to notice (or, worse, care) that she is really not into this at all. —JRS
It was the same with Hannah, although Hannah never really told him outright, just complained about it to Marnie. At least Natalia is honest to Adam’s face. —DZD
Being taken advantage of by someone you trust and care deeply about because you want to please them is about one step away from rape. We know Adam has aggressive tendencies he sometimes struggles to control, or at the time, comprehend. And alcohol is like the supermarket express line to these, as my mother would say, ‘true colors’. —OKF
I thought the whole point was that Hannah was into shit like this, and Adam was reminded of it by seeing her again, and so was testing his brand of craziness, that suited Hannah’s craziness so well, on this nice girl. Or something. —FAD
DID HAPPEN: I’ve succombed to some pretty degrading erotic praxes in my rapidly less-young life. Sometimes I was into it; sometimes I wasn’t, but got into it; sometimes I stayed totally out of it. I suppose… I never really felt used, because I too was using the experience to learn. It’s possible Natalie isn’t sure how to resist, but unlikely, given the calm force of her preconditions. It’s also possible she’s not sure she wants to resist. When afterward she says she didn’t like it, her tone is one of realization, not shock. —SNP
WISHED IT HAPPENED: OK, the lack of Natalia’s consent aside, was anyone else extremely turned on by this scene? —DZD
YESSSSSSS. DUH. —SNP
After coming on Natalia’s tits — “not on the dress,” she says, cringing — Adam uses his shirt as a cum-rag.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Adam fucks her for, what, ten seconds before he’s suddenly ready to finish? Unless he has serious erectile dysfunction that is not what happens when 22-year-old guys have sex. —JRS
DOES HAPPEN: I’ve had sex *exactly* like this, a lot, with 24 and 32-year-old guys (Adam isn’t 22, is he, Jenna?). But it never ended there. In my albeit modest experience, dudes who get off quickly, also get it up again quickly. Anywaaaaaay, also, outside of actual porn, I can’t think of another e.g. of seeing cum on screen, at least not on television. So kudos. —FAD
WOULD HAPPEN: Sour milk at his bedside and rusty nails on the floor? Adam would use his own shirt as a cum-rag. I’m into it. —DZD
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
Good morning and make yourself comfortable—would you like a glass of water? Nespresso?—because we have a lot of (literal) dad issues to work through today. Never mind the doubtlessly Lana Del Rey-“inspired” title. It’s not all “take me to the Hamptons,” more like “drown me in a fast-moving river in the middle-of-fuck-nowhere.” Like, Manitou Station? That is where Jessa’s dad lives. It sounds like a Tragically Hip song (hashtag Canada).
This unlucky seventh episode is more tragic than hip, as you’ll soon see (if you haven’t already, which we get, because there was ***sincerely*** nothing better to do last night than look at photos of Jennifer Lawrence and Kristen lightly touching each other). Hannah and Jessa escape Greenpoint to see said dad. Jessa is revealed to be stranger than ever we hoped, while Hannah attempts to get on Jessa’s level and fails gracelessly. Meanwhile, we can only hope Shoshanna is seeing a psychic about Ray. When will she get a breakout ep? Should we petition?
Jessa goes upstate to see her dad and her dad’s new girlfriend, “Petula” (that is how Jessa says it, nothing but air quotes). She brings Hannah and a Louis Vuitton duffle bag the size of Hannah’s abandonment complex.
WOULD HAPPEN: I love Jessa; she endears herself to no one. Would you, after your divorce from the most unsuitable suit, travel to your dad’s with the most unsuitable suitcase? Doesn’t it just scream “ELEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS?” Probably you would not. That’s why Jessa is Jessa and you are a fictional character she finds unbearable to watch. —SNP
Jessa tells Hannah that she should try to cure her urinary tract infection by putting garlic in her pussy. “But I think you, like, have to put a whole clove up there,” she says.
DOES HAPPEN: Obviously, in like 99% of cases, you get UTIs from banging gross dudes, so they are like the malady of being a 22-year-old girl in New York City. —JRS
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: But garlic is for yeast infections. (And it helps if you pierce the clove a couple times with your thumbnail first.) Cranberry capsules are for UTIs. Jesus, Jessa. Everybody (who’s ever been a 22-year-old girl) knows that. Don’t fuck with Ocean Spray. Go straight to the capsules. —JRS
“After all the shitty stuff you’ve been through lately,” says Hannah, “you really want to see your dad?” Yada yada yada yes, says Jessa.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Actually, Hannah, that’s a really good point, and I’m semi-surprised Lena let you make it (although this show, as I am surrreee we’ve discussed, is like most contemporary art in that it contains its own critique). IRL you would go see your mom, if you have a good (relationship with your) mom. Or get a very fuckable personal trainer. —SNP
WOULD HAPPEN: IDK, if your relationship with your father is the model of all subsequent male relationships, and you’ve just run the most significant one (on paper at least) into the ground, wouldn’t you seek out that ur-dynamic? To figure out what went wrong? To look in that first mirror of a man? —FAD
Jessa’s dad, who looks like a young, lank-faced Gary Oldman, pulls up in a paneled station wagon with an unexplained back half full of ‘90s personal computers.
DOES HAPPEN: Everything superficial about Jessa’s dad reminds me of my own parents, i.e. not the rehab and absenteeism, but the vintage station wagon, eccentric bohemian clutter, and aversion to vacuum cleaners: yes. It’s almost too precise a picture. —FAD
SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN: It made me sad when Hannah talked about how big and “ugly” those old computers were. Hannah, that humble Macintosh is the esteemed progenitor of your precious little MacBook Air! Have some respect. Related (?) — does anybody remember Acorn computers? My primary school had one in the library. I think we got it by clipping coupons or something. —JRS
Jessa and her dad bond by doing inexplicably wank-y accents, using fuck as an adjective, and declaiming, “You know, we’re not like other people.”
WOULD/DOES HAPPEN: Father/daughter dynamics, man. We communicate through tease and taunt but, really, so much is left unsaid. —FAD
Life is but a video game, Petula Nhat Hahn preaches virulently.
WOULD HAPPEN: Because even New Age second-wave feminists know about that song [link to Video Games on Youtube I guess] and/or she read about the MoMa’s video game collection in like the New York Daily News. —SNP
And because the line between peaceful, New Age, earth mother bullshit and violent antisocial delusions can be as thin and soft as the hair of a rabbit. —FAD
Jessa’s dad’s house is filthy with art therapy landscapes, hairballs, and vintage pornos; no clean towels.
DOES HAPPEN: Borrowers reference FTW. —JRS
WOULD HAPPEN: Doesn’t this totally explain the marriage to Thomas John? He seemed everything her father isn’t. Jessa’s manic-pixie-dream-girl schtick sometimes smokescreens that she IS carrying a LV bag and had shacked up in a Brooklyn condo (plus whatever did happen to those puppies?), but Lena is at every award podium because she’s writing more complex, and less archetypal, GIRLs. Maybe now we can shelve the “I’m such a Marnie/Miranda” talk. —DAF
Hannah wonders: Is Frank attractive in a loserly way or just a loser?
WOULD HAPPEN: Hannah considers every man a potential bone. Good for her but ew in most cases. Also, Frank = Bobby Briggs + Bill Haverchuck = definitely attractive. —FAD
DOES HAPPEN: Lena loves a loser. This is one of the more apt insights into some of the sadder and stranger things about being a 20-something-girl. I recently read Sarah Kay’s GIRLS-ish TED talk where she told her would-be-daughter: “I know that trick, you’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else, find the boy lit the fire in the first place to see if you can change him.” This is so right for a lot of girls (still find Kay’s words gutwrenching to read), but at least with characters like Frank and Adam, it’s more tragicomedy than straight up depressing. —DAF
Holding a 1979 issue of Penthouse, Jessa defends the Hannah-described “crazy vaginas” of dead porn stars. Helping a boy find his sexuality, she thinks, is one of the most noble things you can do. “Aside from being a doctor, or a firefighter,” snarks Hannah. She gently snaps back: “Who says she’s not a doctor?”
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: This is sneakily out of character for Jessa, who’s always been on a girls-first, ladies-never tip. Are we to believe first that marriage changed her so much, second that divorce didn’t change her back? This exchange is quick and clever, lighting up the schisms in feminisms that often make this second season interesting (remember Hannah versus Marnie on “cashing out on [one’s] sexuality,” for e.g.), but by flouting character development it flaunts that as its purpose. Do you care who wins in a rigged fight? —SNP
Hannah objects to eating the rabbit that earlier that day she had held in her arms. Jessa tells her to quit being such a baby. Petula says they eat rabbit every day. “A rabbit a day keeps the doctor away.”
SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Jessa is right; Hannah is being a brat with all that “we’re eating your pet” talk. Those rabbits are raised for food, and why shouldn’t you eat an animal that you know has been treated humanely? I think it’s far more “natural” to feed, care for, and butcher the animal you’re eating than it is to pick some piece of disembodied Styrofoam-packed feedlot Anymeat out of the Key Foods frozen section. (Maybe this is one of those things that comes from growing up in New Zealand and knowing lots of kids from farms?) But please, for the love of God, do not eat rabbit every day. Rabbit meat is deficient in essential fatty acids, and if rabbit is your primary source of protein you will eventually develop acute malnutrition. It’s called rabbit starvation and it is real. (Maybe this explains some things about Petula’s personality.) Start raising some chickens and save the rabbit for special occasions. It’s so delicious in a mushroom crème fraiche sauce. —JRS
Someone named Tyler shows up, is announced to be a lacrosse player and a published poet.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: *makes round eyes* Boys can’t be pretty and smart at the same time…. can they??? —SNP
“I just inked a book deal,” says Hannah. “Inked.” She just “inked” a book deal.
WOULD HAPPEN: I don’t draw a significant difference between an e-book and a book (a book is form, not medium), but Hannah does. Hannah also pathologically self-aggrandizes, often with that cute or quirksome habit of using grown-up words to see if they fit. —SNP
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: It’s an e-book. I don’t think ink has anything to do with it. —JRS
In this part of America, the cool kids drink, drive, aaaaand whippet (whippet good).
DID HAPPEN: This car scene is like Dummy, À ma soeur!, Twin Peaks, Death Proof, and every tweenage summer I spent on Big Tancook Island in Nova Scotia (population: 150). I wonder what those boys are doing now. —FAD
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Whippets? Shit, is Thirteen on Netflix now? This show and drugs, man. So awkward. —SNP
“It’s not stealing when it’s from a corporation,” Jessa rebel shouts from shotgun. American Eagle Tyler, with white teeth that glow in these backwoods, echoes thickly, “I wrote a paper on corporations once. They’re totally evil.”
DOES HAPPEN: Last week I stole a lip balm from Duane Reade, a Vitamin Water from Dean & Deluca, and four dark chocolate almonds from Whole Foods. Every time I’m in an airport bookshop I buy snacks while holding a huge, glossy ladymag I have no intention of paying for, and they never know/care/say shit. Corporations aren’t evil; they’re just not human. We feel no responsibility to them. —SNP
Well, duh. Duane Reade, movie theaters, Whole Foods… pretty much any big corporate chain. Plus American Apparel, because Dov Charney deserves worse, even though I shudder to fall into any stereotype Tao Lin has inked (he’s 100% Hannah’s breed of inker). Some self-awareness though, girls: last summer, when I shaved my head, pierced my nose like a bull, and couldn’t bear to wear anything but torn denim and black, I became extremely self-conscious about my kleptomania. Like, I interpolated my look into guilt and my sticky fingers were wiped clean, for a little while. Now that I’m back to blonde, I’m stuffing so many macrobars up my sleeves, my colon can’t keep up. Stop stop-and-frisk! —FAD
WOULD HAPPEN: I have never stolen anything in my life. Stealing is wrong. But I believe Jessa “Louis Vuitton” Johansson would defend it as a political practice. —JRS
Hannah stops the car, jumps out, and runs away, saying something about being an “undiagnosed hypoglycemic.” Frank follows her. They fuck in a cemetery: Hannah shares her vision of the afterlife; Frank, his five second little death into her thigh crease.
WOULD HAPPEN: Yuuuuuup. For all her character flaws, at least Hannah is consistent. —FAD
Back in the car with Tyler, poet laureate of the United States of American Eagle, Jessa describes her depression as “freefall” and also like being “one big festering sore.”
DOES HAPPEN: That’s exactly what a breakup feels like. Right? Right? —JRS
DID HAPPEN: Fiona can attest I’m testing out new metaphors for depression every time it comes back bad, just to keep it interesting. That was a joke! Depression is the opposite of interesting! It’s like watching water not boil. Anyway, I’ve already used both of these metaphors, but good effort, J. —SNP
Hits like a ton of bricks, a toxic cloud rolling in, I’m walking through a haze, the blanket falls on top of me, j’ai envie de m’ouvrir les veines, as the world’s pain flows through me. Cheer up, buttercup, the sun will come out tomorrow, because what goes around comes around. —FAD
Fiona, you’re beautiful and I love you. —SNP
“I’m the child,” Jessa pleads, “I’m the child.”
WOULD HAPPEN: But it shouldn’t be in this show because it’s so boring. Yes, this confrontation with her feckless fucking dad explains some things about Jessa’s personality. But isn’t having shitty parents just a bog standard part of life and a boring thing to explore in fiction? The kinds of issues caused by having an absentee dad are issues that have been validated by ABC Family dramas for going on the past 30 years. I don’t need to see another rusted-out swingset function as a visual metaphor for a lost childhood in a television show or a movie, ever. —JRS
Jessa leaves with a note.
SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Please don’t tell me this is where Jemima Kirke leaves the set to give birth because I miss you already. —FAD
Aimee Mann’s “How Am I Different” is the soundtrack of genealogy.
DOES HAPPEN: Oh brother! Oh mother. Oh father. In the last couple years I lived with my parents, Aimee Mann played through our family home even more than Neil Young (hashtag Canada). After this episode closed, I started on the YouTube “Top Tracks for Aimee Mann” playlist and it’s still going. I AM BLEEDING AIMEE MANN. I’M SORRY ROOMMATES. —FAD
Just put on “You Could Make a Killing.” Remember Women in Songs? I’M SORRY OFFICE COLLEAGUES. —DAF
Woman in Songs! Volume 1, 2, 3, and then I went Interpol. I attended the first Lilith Fair you guys. With my mom. 1997. —FAD
Girls is back from that was-or-wasn’t-it-a-dream to its regular format, and so we return to our would-it-or-wouldn’t-it reviews. For the sixth episode, us girls—Dana Drori, Danielle Forest, Fiona Duncan, Jenna Sauers, and Sarah Nicole Prickett—debate the verisimilitude, the so-trueness, of La Vida Lena.
This week, Hannah gets an e-book deal, Jessa gets nothing, Shoshanna can’t even get her boyfriend to spend $4 on tacos, and Marnie gets even more (literally and figuratively) plastic. Meanwhile, Ray and Adam get a chance to prove they’re played by very good actors. Claudia Weill directs so beautifully we almost forget the name “Jesse Peretz,” while Murray Miller writes this most peniscentric ep yet. We’re not mad. Not even when we have to go all the way to Staten Island.
Hannah has a meeting with a 40-something editor who seems to be or have been some kind of icon and who, somehow, likes Hannah’s writing. He tells her that she worked hard for her “voice”. He also tells her to write an e-book in a month.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Girl gets an e-book deal based on one essay? This guy clearly isn’t only delusional about Brooklyn. —DZD
DID HAPPEN: Maybe not so fast, but… I got a book agent after publishing one personal essay in a fashion magazine in Canada, and in New York, after one profile that went viral. They wanna get you young and/or before you develop things like “boundaries” and “good judgment” and “any desire at all for human privacy.” I’m willing to accept “getting a book agent” and “getting a book deal,” which IRL are two very different things, as happening suddenly and simultaneously for Hannah because it’s already episode six and girl’s gotta move. —SNP
Meanwhile, Marnie is in bed with Booth Jonathan, stroking his back affectionately, agreeing with him that Soo-Jin—his Blackberry-slinging assistant—is a thief for taking a bite of his ice cream.
WOULD HAPPEN: Marnie is such a pathetic sycophant around Booth, it stings my soul almost as much as her fucking Charlie last season. She is, no question, the saddest character on the show because she has no idea how sad she is (can we get her a weekend with Patrick Wilson or something?). —FAD
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Not to be all pro-Booth here, or ever, but… who snakes a weak-ass bite of ice cream like that? Obviously, you just buy yourself a whole container on his Max Delivery tab. —SNP
DID HAPPEN: Soo-Jin, girl, I’ve been an executive assistant. Worse has happened over less precious things than rosewater ice cream. Booth is just pathetic enough, too, that his assistant would have a Blackberry. —DAF
When Marnie gets up to go to the bathroom, she takes the entire comforter with her. Half clothed, she stands in the doorway on her tiptoes to make her legs look thinner.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: It’s summer in New York. Aside from Allison Williams’ no-nudity clause, what earthly reason is there for Marnie to wrap herself in a duvet? — JRS
Ray: “When people say they want to be a writer they usually don’t want to do anything besides eat and masturbate.”
WOULD HAPPEN: I live with a writer and let’s just say we always have baked potato chips. — DAF
Bitch, those are your goddamn Lays. It’s just that maybe sometimes I eat them all? —SNP
Shoshanna, upon hearing that Ray’s grandmother recommended he read Little Women, asks, “Are you a Marmee or an Amy?”
WOULD HAPPEN: Because the parallel to GIRLS (and before it, to Sex and the City) is just too good, and TV-loving Shoshanna would assume that people self-identify with only one of four female archetypes. —DZD
Hannah’s response is why Hannah, while she may not be likable (the most overused word when talking about GIRLS), is my favorite to watch. — DAF
Yes! Did GIRLS just go literally #nodads? —SNP
The only question I care about is who is the Jo March? —JRS
I desperately want an outtake of the scene where Ray recommends and lends Hannah Little Women. —FAD
Shosh tries to get Ray to take some Donald Trump classes so that he can one day own his own coffee shop. Problem: Ray doesn’t want to own his own coffee shop.
WOULD HAPPEN: Ray is such a Gen-X piece of shit. Like, as if “everything sucks” and so doing none of it is the moral choice. Every time I trip and read something on GIRLS by, like, John Cook, or the Slate bros, I read it in Ray’s hangdog snarl and just laugh and laugh and laugh, it’s so sad. —SNP
Ray goes to retrieve his copy of Little Women from Adam’s, where Hannah left it. Hannah says she cannot go back there, and when Ray knocks hard and enters this smokepit of exorcistic wood-chopping, we see why.
WOULD HAPPEN: In my breakups, and the breakups of my friends, it has almost always been the boy who seems at first stoic and disturbingly chill about the end of a situation, while the girl falls Taylor Swift-ly apart. Weeks or months later, however, she gets up all sunshiny with new skin singing “we! are never ever ever! getting back…” ANYWAY, and he is calling her, like, “I will not love again.” —SNP
The conversation between Ray and Adam, who also? Has stolen a dog? Right… is the longest scene between men since the series began.
WOULD HAPPEN: Guys talk about girls amongst themselves all the time, right? In the same way everyone talks about their personal lives and romantic desires with their closest friends. It’s only strange that this tendency is so rarely accurately reflected in literature, film, and popular culture. It’s interesting that nearly all of the scenes between female characters in GIRLS would pass the Bechdel test, but this, practically the first significant scene between two male characters, would not. —JRS
Bragging about her relationship to Shosh, whose boyfriend won’t spend $4 dollars on tacos, Marnie says, “That’s the thing, It’s happening on a fancy nice level.”
WOULD HAPPEN: If we’re talking quality, there is a CHASM of difference between the $2 and $4 taco. It makes no sense to skip out on Calexico, or even Papacito’s, for the inaccurately named “Yummy Taco” up the street because you are getting shit rolled in a tortilla for two bucks, which doesn’t fill you up anyway. (Defending the $4 taco since 2010.) —DZD
This is completely beside the point; all tacos in New York basically suck, because New York is neither Mexico nor California. —JRS
Marnie does this entire scene standing in front of a mirror being skinny.
WOULD HAPPEN: Okay, again, in defense of Marnie, plenty of people pose or angle or whatever in front of a mirror. I can’t get down with the haters-ball on Marnie’s new body BUT I can criticize every comment she’s made throughout commodity-fucking Booth. —DAF
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: I think it might be useful here to distinguish between Marnie, the character and Allison Williams the actress. Is Marnie Michaels the kind of person who would suck in her stomach before her friend to make herself look thinner, or stand on tiptoes in front of a romantic partner in the hope that he (who had already, presumably, seen her naked body wrinkled and bent and dimpled and spread into all kinds of contortions during the physical act of love) might nonetheless be momentarily duped into thinking that her thighs are skinnier and longer than they actually are? Or would Allison Williams, the actress, cheat her body towards the lens of a camera in order to foster the same illusions in the minds of the viewers of the HBO show in which she appears? In this scene, I find it hard to believe that Marnie feels a need to impress Shoshanna with her flat tummy. And Booth Jonathan couldn’t even see Marnie’s body from where he was positioned on the bed, so the tip-toes thing wasn’t for his benefit. This physical preening reads as inauthentic to the scene not because no woman has ever tried to make her body look “better” for a lover or an imagined audience, but because it reads as Allison Williams projecting and performing her personal body issues for the camera (and, not coincidentally, trying to look totally “hot”). It breaks the fourth wall and makes the actress and her body the focus of discussion, rather than the character. —JRS
DOES BUT SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN: I hear ya Jenna, and that well said, from now, can we let her body be, pleeeeeeease? Let’s dissect Marnie’s self-important eyerolls and clueless whines, or Allison Williams’ less-than-convincing acting. Anything but the bod. I have regular nightmares that I’m a contestant on America’s Next Top Model and have to figure out positions to make myself look less short and round (but my knees, they’re bones, I can’t make them any less big!). I don’t know why that’s relevant, exactly, but I keep thinking about it now. Maybe because the body snarking Allison Williams attracts here is no different than the kind we criticize Hannah/Lena for having to brave. Female bodies are under constant scrutiny and that gets transferred to this intense self-monitoring, which, whether it’s Allison Williams or Allison Williams as Marnie Michaels, is evident here, in the flexed flesh. I mean, this is a mirror image shot. This could be as much a performance of Marnie for herself as it is Allison for the camera and both suck. So, let’s all love ourselves, giant knees and all, ra-ra, Rookie, etc. —FAD
I agree with Fiona. I angle/flex my body all the time to make it as flattering as possible when I’m half naked in front of the camera. This is all new for Williams, it’s not easy. —DZD
Fiona, I hear what you’re saying. But my entire point is that the angling/flexing is a (particularly distracting) component of her less-than-convincing acting. —JRS
Adam and Ray go on an adventure to Staten Island to return the dog that Adam stole. On the boat, Adam says: “Young girls and older ladies” are where it’s at, romantically. “It’s the in-betweens that are the problem.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Yeah, bro-dude, actual women with their like personalities and needs and shit, that shit is so frustrating. Having a relationship with an equal where something is at stake is always hard and often painful. But that’s life. —JRS
[Insert clap emojis for JRS] —DAF
DAMN, J. To quote our wonderful friend Molly Crabapple: “Do guys think of women as just this thing between them and a vagina?” —SNP
Hannah’s e-book, so far: “Untitled Document: Chapter One: Room For Cream? Her name was Murhashihawa…”.
WOULD HAPPEN: LOL. How globalized. —FAD
Hannah distracts herself with an article called, uh, “Twelve fruits that will make you fat.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Wasn’t that actually a Buzzfeed listicle? —JRS
Hang on, I’m just checking Buzzfeed’s “22 Reasons why Wawa is the Greatest Gas Station on Earth” —DAF
Pretty sure we’re all guilty of similar listicle distractions. I read ones about productivity, and ultimately get nothing done. —DZD
Jessa, suddenly materializing in Hannah’s apartment, asks “How’s your book of shit?” She follows up with, “This book doesn’t matter. It’s not going to matter to the people who read it, or to you.”
WOULD HAPPEN: She fell asleep in the tub! She needs a dustpan! Jessa spin-off show please. —FAD
DID HAPPEN: As the confirmed Jessa of many friend-circles, I can vouch for being a languorous, lizard-tongued nihilist in the best of my depressions, let alone the worst. I think it would be more accurate to have a writer talking like this to herself, but also not as funcomfortable to watch. (That’s my portmanteau for basically all of GIRLS and fuck you I’m keeping it.) —SNP
Adam to Ray, on Hannah: “She’s like a carnival game. It all seems so simple but you can’t get the ring on the bottle cuz it’s fucking rigged.”
Don’t know if this falls into a WOULD or DID or WOULD NEVER HAPPEN, but I would just like to note in passing that this line is incredibly insightful. —JRS
Adam to Ray, on Shoshanna: “She’s just some kid you feel safe with because you know it won’t work out. She clearly doesn’t like you.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Adam’s probably right, and even if Shosh still likes Ray now, she’ll stop liking him eventually, because she’s 21 and first relationships fade. —DZD
Marnie, in a plastic dress that she would otherwise never wear, queens around the party, saying hiiiiii to all of Booth’s friends.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: You don’t just pull a plastic dress out of your closet when you get asked to host a party by the near-stranger you happen to be fucking. At least, you don’t just pull a plastic dress out of your closet when you are Marnie. —JRS
WOULD HAPPEN: Poor Ann-Taylor-loving Marnie buys an uncharacteristic new dress to impress her non-boyfriend and his art world, only to feel foolish when she realizes that she meant nothing to him all along. —DZD
Shopping montage or it didn’t happen! —JRS
The Cornel West lookalike in line for the bathroom with Hannah mistakes her for the “girl who got her period at the Dairy Queen” on one of Ryan’s shoots.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: “Ryan” must be a nod to Ryan McGinley, which, nice try, but that guy has never shot anyone half so “normal”-looking as Hannah. —SNP
Ray, upon trying to return the dog, gets yelled at by a luscious, gap-toothed, totally un-city girl in a Webster Hall cap and jean shorts. Kicking ass and calling names, she reps everything GIRLS aren’t. “Go back to Yogurt Town, Kike,” she says.
WOULD HAPPEN: Oh my American Fish Tank! This girl spin-off show too, please. —FAD
Marnie, upon realizing she is not and never will be Booth’s girlfriend, says, “I think I just thought it would be cool to know you.” She cries.
WOULD HAPPEN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS A DAY IN MY PERSONAL HELL OH MY GOD: Alison Williams can’t act her way out of a plastic dress. This scene was so nails-digging-into-thighs bad, I thought Marnie was faking it to make Booth feel sorry for her before spitting in his face or something. But, of course, that would require Marnie to possess bodily fluids. —SNP
My favorite worst part is how A-Willz fails to react — not even a blink, let alone a flinch — as Booth smashes a first and then a second bottle of red wine on the floor at her feet. Come on! At the very least, you know she spent too much money on those shoes to risk them being ruined with wine-splash. —JRS
After Marnie breaks down, Booth Jonathan moves to comfort her.
WOULD HAPPEN: It is the fucking worst kind of manipulation when a dude makes you cry and then says, “Don’t cry.” Real men let you cry on your own. — JRS
Hannah and Marnie compare notes at the end of their separate, disparate, yet equally disappointing nights. Marnie, standing in some inexplicably overground subway station, tells Hannah she and Booth are in his garden, watching fireflies. Hannah, lazing in bed, says the book is going really well.
WOULD HAPPEN: Because what the other thinks really does still matter because they are, despite it all, fwiends. She’s on the Brooklyn side of the JMZ, btw, you silly Manhattanites. —FAD
This isn’t fun anymore. We thought we knew the games Girls played, and the rules, and in turn we played rulekeepers. For the first four episodes of this second season, we kept score: Would it happen? Would it never? Worst, did it happen to us? We did this because Girls had led us to believe in its believability and/or verisimilitude as organizing principle.
Well, now all we can say is: Nice move, Lena. The fifth episode feels not like television, but like a short, bittersweet film. We follow Hannah through two days in her life that are, perhaps, not in her life at all. We can’t imagine them in ours. These are the unlikeliest, loveliest days, days that feel like she is always about to wake up, and if we’re not wrong, what happens in these days will never be acknowledged on the show. But we might be wrong. We know that now.
Girls didn’t change the game, but maybe, maybe it changed the rules. Let’s play.
(Don’t forget to click “next page” to scroll through the full recap. Four pages. We know you love us that much.)
WOULD ANYONE LIKE TO GENTLY STROKE MY WET HAIR?
by Sarah Nicole Prickett
It feels like yesterday I was saying that Girls makes me never want to be a girl again, but really it was four or five days ago, and in those days I spent a lot of time thinking about how to write myself older. Could I be wise, decisive, unafraid, terrifying, beautiful in my work? Would I then be all that in my life? But then how could my work and my life co-exist without this total millennial convergence? I’ll end up a woman married to my work, and so then my work has to have its own shape, distinct from my self. Else it’s not intercourse, just masturbation.
All these things I thought about, alone, and then I watched Girls, not alone, and twenty minutes in I thought finally I’ve caught this fucking city flu. But no. It’s only that I relate to Hannah for the first real time and, to flip and reverse that Icona Pop song: I DO CARE. I HATE IT.
We begin at Grumpy’s, outside, Hannah and Ray bantering sunnily. Hannah believes she has invented the word “sexit,” as in, an exit made for the purposes of getting some… I think. I don’t know. I don’t much like defining words or having them defined, so I didn’t listen to Hannah, just picked up her meaning in the context of the ep.
We go inside. Enter Patrick Wilson, handsome and chagrined. I surmise from the first Hannah-reaction shot that she’s going to fuck him. Actually, for all this episode’s one-off oddness, very little surprised me—and that’s a common thing with Girls, and possibly, its one great trick. To think: Is the show predictable, or are we?
What happens next to Hannah, in this curiouser and curiouser trip into happiness, a trip plotted like the romantic comedies—from meet-cute to rescue to the twist—that Lena Dunham so loves? A frightening thing: She gets what she wants. Except, she didn’t know she wanted it. How would she? We say “got what she wanted, didn’t want she got,” but that isn’t true. What is true is a hard paradox: Nobody knows what she wants until she gets it.
“Don’t tell anyone this,” says Hannah, but—she wants to be happy.
“Everybody wants to be happy,” says Patrick Wilson’s character Joshua (not Josh).
Joshua is a 42-year-old doctor with a barbecue and a brownstone and those perfect, ever-full bowls of fruit that rest on gleaming surfaces. He’s very handsome and exquisitely dull. He plays ping-pong. When Hannah talks, his expression is professional, and when she descends into rank confessionalism, it’s while (because) he is stroking her wet hair as she lays curled in his lap, on his bed, underneath a large photograph of a more conventionally beautiful woman.
“I know that,” says Hannah, and maybe I’m paraphrasing, forgive me, “but I thought I was different.” She’s not. “I want what everyone wants, I want what they want, I want all the things.”
If there is anything I believe about “my generation” it is that we’re more depressed than the generation before us, and that we’re more depressed, in significant part, because we were conditioned to believe we were special. Depression is inter alia a failure to identify, is the dark side of individualism. Once you graduate from school, from arts programs, from first love, from whatever, how quickly “specialness” oxidizes into “isolation.” And, how accelerated is this change when you decide to be, to become, a writer.
When at 20 I was hospitalized for three days (I’ve written a longer explanation of this here, but it doesn’t really matter), I emerged with this fully formed mantra: My depression is not more special than anyone else’s. I repeated it over and over, not understanding it was a contradiction in terms, or knowing that years later—fun!!!—I’d be found to have been misdiagnosed.
Hannah seems more like… self-diagnosed. She explains to a patient Joshua that she feels compelled to take on bad, painful experiences, in order to share them with the world, to save others. She tells him she read that Fiona Apple profile and—here I knew exactly what she was going to say, and curled into a ball on Dana’s couch to escape it, but alas—like Fiona, just wants to “feel it all.” Ooooooouuuuuuuch. Then, Hannah says that whether bad things happen to her, or whether she makes them up, the cause is the same. There’s something broken inside.
And here is a thing you can’t admit, there is no sense in admitting, until you’re presented with a fix. With a doctor from a short story you wrote when you were eleven, maybe, or from a sublimated episode of your mom’s soap opera.
With so much money that nothing ever gets dirty.
I loved Hannah’s vulnerability here, the quick hard way she melted from precious unique snowflake into single pathetic tear. That was, in this least verite, most cinematic Girls ep, the REALEST THING.
And, too, I hated that Hannah’s just been dressing up in nakedness this whole time. Some people have never had a choice to be clothed. Some people don’t, like, choose to feel more, to suffer. I am not saying I’m one of them (although I often think that and so do the doctors!), but I am saying they exist and live and die hard, and it’s unfair for Lena Dunham to sell them out so easy.
I hated also what Hannah took for happiness, though again I was not surprised. I’ve often felt this show to be secretly conservative, and here we see it, plain: Hannah’s artistic bent is revealed to be pretension; her struggle, a ruse. What she’s really about is this Nancy Meyers life. Aren’t we all?
Well, no. Or, fuck I hope not.
When Hannah walks away from these wish-fulfilling, fear-reifying two days, she walks alone. Yes, that “subverts” the romantic comedy model, and yes, she looks good doing it. But the feeling I got stuck with is that she is determined to be happy, if not in marriage, at least in a brownstone she’ll own. Is this far enough from Sex and the City feminism, you know, the feminism that replaces a man with The Man? Is this any closer to… freedom? I think not. I think, never mind “happy” or “normal” or “safe.” I just want to not have to own anything. I really wish.
Hiiiii and welcome back to Girls on GIRLS, the recap that gives more pleasure than a black rabbit-eared dildo. Your fave key-demo white girls—Dana Drori, Fiona Duncan, Sarah Nicole Prickett, Jenna Sauers, and Olivia Fleming—are checking in with HMJS and wondering, what’s real (like Shosh’s puppy-eyes) and what’s not real (Thomas John’s mom’s face)?
HBO aired the episode a day early, and with wine, black licorice, and nachos, we cuddled on the couch and braided each others’ hair (truth) for our version of SuperGIRLS Saturday.
First off, the title of this week’s episode nods to The Lemonheads and we nod right back. Now, to recap: Elijah and his paddlebrush are gone for good, Audrey and Marnie cat it out at Hannah’s ‘grownup’ dinner party, Hannah burns the noodles, Ray admits to Shosh that he’s a loser in love, and Jessa has a hard time meeting Thomas John’s parents.
But was it painfully LOLzy or pretty laughable? Would these scenes happen IRL? Would they never? Or—gasp—did they happen to us?
FROM THE TOP:
Elijah’s moving out because he “had sex” with Marnie and Hannah can’t deal. “I resent the fact this wasn’t a dialogue, it was a monologue,” he says. “And I paid for our butt plug.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Hannah’s approach to conversation is so unilateral, the U.N. is holding a conference in Moscow about it as I type. —SNP
Hannah says to Elijah: “There are certain people who are meant to stay in your past. You’re a fink, Elijah, I made a mistake trying to repurpose you.” Elijah: “I’m not a vintage cardigan.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Hannah’s right. Some people (especially of the HPV-carrying-gay-turning-ex-boyfriend variety) are meant to stay in the past. Of course we’re glad he didn’t. —DZD
That sober realisation after you tried to turn your now-gay ex-boyfriend into a pet project of hopeful subjugation, even if only to suppress the overriding feeling you weren’t ‘woman enough for him,’ and it was thrown back in your face. —OKF
Hannah: “That’s what boyfriends do, they pay for things.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Because you know who is a fink? Hannah. Hannah Horvath. Hannah “Shut the FUCK up” Horvath, who claimed—not TWO (2) episodes ago—to not be all “cashing in on [her] sexuality.” But also, maybe she’s using “boyfriends” pejoratively, in which case I could not agree more. Boyfriends are inherently shit and they only pay for stuff because they’re not worth anything. HUSBANDS OR LOVERS. THAT’S IT. THAT’S MY WHOLE POLITICS, BYE. —SNP
Sarah, our star-crossed girlfriend, drunkenly reporting from the Super Bowl sidelines. —OFK
Jessa has crimps, with chopsticks in her hair, and as she is arranging flowers she says: “I can’t even eat meat unless I’m menstruating.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Jemima Kirke is so obviously pregnant here IRL, that maybe a little iron would do her good. —DZD
I do not, as a rule, eat red meat. It has something to do with the environment? Fracking? FoxConn? I forget. I do know that when I’m bleeding like a Tarantino villain, all I want to do is eat some fleshy, hideous animal by the pound. —SNP
Wait, is that a thing? Craving red meat when you’re menstruating? (Appreciate Jessa’s use of the grown-up word, by the way.) I just learned on a Jezebel comment thread (natch) last week that apparently a significant minority of women find swallowing after a blow job causes stomachache, which was also new to me as a concept. So maybe the lesson here is just that women are individuals and our bodies and needs are different. — JRS
Calling bullshit on swallowing stomach aches, that’s some Hannah Horvath neuroses right there. (Also, Hannah would totes comment on Jezebel.) – DZD
Can we talk about Jessa’s crimps, please?!? —OKF
Dig the kinks. —FAD
Jessa is saying she can’t eat meat because, mid-season shocker, she is meeting her husband’s parents tonight. This will be fun! Anyway, she doesn’t want to go, and tries to delay proceedings by revealing a single boob. Says to Thomas: “It’s the good boob.”
DOES HAPPEN: Everyone has a favourite boob, right? —OKF
Hannah is cooking dinner for Audrey and Charlie in a “Mama Cooks” apron with a “Diet is a Four-Letter Word” plate in the background.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Apron, maybe. But even Elijah’s stale sugar-daddy ex had better taste than that plate, which connotes even less cool set decorators than did Shoshanna’s KEEP CALM AND…. poster. —SNP
Hannah invites Marnie, her number one frenemy and Charlie’s ex, to this dinner party as a “last-minute gesture,” the excuse being that she won’t show. Or, apparently, text.
WOULD HAPPEN: Pa-leease. Of course Hannah, the drama craver, knew she would show. The last minute “whoops” rids her of any otherwise excruciatingly obvious manipulative guilt. Because Hannah is the good friend, remember. —OKF
Audrey is launching a new line of artisanal mustards.
WOULD HAPPEN: A year, three years ago, sure. Plusssss… Audrey, in this ensemble, looks like she only eats mustard. —SNP
Marnie is not that into mustard. Audrey, in turn, slights Marnie on her new hostessing gig: “Oh, are you hosting a slam poetry night? Or an open mic night?”
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Is Girls being ironically sincere now? Who in this city has slam poetry nights? That’s so, like, Sohemian, so mid-period mediocre Woody Allen minor character quirk. —SNP
The thought of Marnie hosting either a slam poetry or open mic night makes me giggle. —DZD
WOULD HAPPEN: I think Audrey is mocking Marnie by implying that she would host something as “uncool” (at least in the eyes of people like Audrey) as a slam poetry night or an open mic. —JRS
Nooooo, I think she’s mocking Marnie because she knows Marnie isn’t “cool” enough to host a slam poetry night or open mic. Even though those things aren’t “cool,” and how would Audrey know, anyway, given that Audrey is currently and forever dressed like Pocahontas Spice. —SNP
Shosh, late to the dinner party, leads with a string of excuses, like… she lost her earring in a cab? Ray explains that, since they’re “all adults here”, she can just say they had sex. Okay, they had sex. Shosh apologizes.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Wait, who are the adults here? —DZD
DID HAPPEN: Shosh reminds me of a) my best friend in high school who might still be a virgin, and whom I loved beyond belief; b) my best friend in journalism school, who was so so accustomed to—and desirous of—being liked that she would craft CIA-level lies rather than admit to the slightest failing. Once, an hour late, she claimed she’d been stuck, while walking, “behind an Asian tour bus.” She has never forgotten it. —SNP
Shosh, again, compliments Hannah on how “amaze” her apartment looks. “The best years of your life are totally going to happen here,” she says.
DOES HAPPEN: I totally feel this way about my new apartment, New York, and the crippling pressure to make the most of my 20s. —DZD
Marnie smartens up her mouth, saying to Audrey: “So where do you get your headbands?”
THANK GOD IT’S HAPPENING: Whoa. Whooooooaaaa. Did Marnie just grow a pair… of labia? I like it. —SNP
Audrey is such a ridiculous hipster pixie dream girl of a character and I love that this show is finally opening her up for mockery. —JRS
Shosh, the eternal innocent, wants to know what a butt plug is.
WOULD HAPPEN: Because at 21 I also had no idea what a butt plug was. And really, only two weeks ago revelled in their (beauty?) at Kiki de Montparnasse, with Dana, after an hour in a shared sample sale changing room – where statements like “this is a great blow job bra” floated as if we were discussing the merits of peanut butter M&M’s vs. Reese’s Pieces. —OKF
UH, BUTT PLUGS ARE NOT ONLY FOR GUYS, MARNIE! (And I do love my new blowjob bra, Olivia.) —DZD
WHAT LINGERIE SAMPLE SALE AND WHY DID YOU NOT INVITE ME? My collection is in a building period. — JRS
DID HAPPEN: Oh my Gaia, I fucking love the exchange of looks around the table and the, “You wanna take this one?” hand-off of the explanation. How I relish devirginizing ears with information on interior body parts or whatever. Sad story: Being in Grade 10 and having to explain to a car full of girls what a ‘clit’ is. Like, what kind of garbage erotica were these moms buying their daughters! —FAD
Hannah to Marnie: “Unlike you, I would do almost anything sexually.”
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Calling bullshit here. There is so much Hannah is way too neurotic to do. Like swallow, probably.—DZD
WOULD HAPPEN: I mean, so she can write about it? —SNP
Hannah about Marnie: “She’s far too self-involved to slit her wrists.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Because this is an ostensibly edgy aphorism that makes zero material sense, and, you know, Hannah writes for xoJane now. —SNP
“Oh my god, do you live with me!” Shosh just realizing Ray has been staying at her house every day this week, and “the week before that and the week before that”.
WOULD HAPPEN: I love that what she is actually worried about is that she didn’t get the chance to buy new sheets, or call her aunt for advice. —OKF
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: How could someone as watchful — and as invested in traditional values and markers of commitment — as Shoshanna just not notice a boyfriend moving in? Where is Ray’s stuff? Has he been wearing the same shirt for three weeks? Where is his toothbrush? You notice the first time a lover leaves a toothbrush. — JRS
At dinner with Thomas John, Jessa admits to dropping out of Oberlin after seven months to go to rehab for heroin. “I never shot it, I only snorted it,” she says. TJ’s dad is pretty into it.
WOULD HAPPEN: Of course his dad would hit on his daughter-in-law. Where do you think ol’ T.J. learned to be such a douche? —JRS
Why doesn’t Jessa ask TJ’s mom what the fuck she does with her life, eh? She looks like a big-time trophy wife. —DZD
Marnie, after Audrey calls her a “fucking Stepford psycho,” runs to the roof. Charlie chases after her, abandoning his girlfriend.
WOULD HAPPEN: Duh. Charlie is always going to be in love with Marnie no matter how much of a cunt she is to him. Also, if I were Audrey, and my bf’s ex came by late one night to cuddle, I’d be fucking pissed too. —DZD
Marnie is now ‘seeing’ Booth Jonathan, apparently, and subsequently rejects Charlie’s (boob grab!) advances.
WOULD HAPPEN: Even if Marnie, resident Stepford psycho, believes that consummating a relationship means instant monogamy, who wouldn’t reject Charlie, beard or no beard, after that WTF grope. —OKF
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: I don’t know, I’m kind of into the boob grope. —DZD
DID HAPPEN: When ex-boyfriends strike back, I take such a perverse pleasure in resisting their advances, even when I want them; in denying us both. —SNP
Charlie, now officially the hottest guy on the show, calls Booth an “Ewok in fucking Capri pants.” Marnie rebuts his Small Dog Syndrome with the comeback, “he’s an artist, and he’s of average height”.
WOULD HAPPEN: Well, Charlie is the new Free People model, and Booth is pretty shrimpy. —DZD
DID HAPPEN: I could write an Urban Outfitter’s book of all the insults my ex used to describe boys I personally found more fuckable than I did him, e.g. “American Apparel reject photographer with Down’s Syndrome.” —SNP
Marnie claims to think she’s not intimidating to Audrey because her job is lame. She also wishes someone would tell her which path to take in life.
WOULD / DOES HAPPEN: It’s very hard not to define yourself by your work, and to question your worth and direction because your job might not be meaningful. —DZD
Hannah, despite the fact she’s ‘not talking to Marnie’, defends her frenemy without missing a beat as soon as the word ‘cunt’ comes out of Charlie’s resentful and dejected mouth.
WOULD HAPPEN: Just because I can talk shit about my best friend, doesn’t mean you can, asshole. —OKF
Jessa, considering how much Thomas John would have to pay her to leave, says $30,000. He counters with $10,000 (burnnnn). She settles for $11,500, because she “did things [I] didn’t want to do.”
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Um, this doesn’t seem like a conversation either legally married party should be having without counsel present. I don’t think partners in the state of New York just get to offer and accept divorce settlements like *pouf* magic. This wasn’t even a no-fault state until 2010. —JRS
Also, legalities aside, since when did Jessa back down at anything, especially $18,500 dollars? —OKF
Come to think of it, Thomas John seems like the kind of dude who would have made her sign a disadvantageous prenup anyway. And it is pretty telling that his response to the first problem in their relationship is to throw money at it to make it go away. —JRS
WOULD HAPPEN: Oooookay, Jenna “Harper’s Index” Sauers. Some of us are emotional, not legal, creatures. Some of us say what we mean in The Moment, not what is recorded in whateverthefuck state department, and some of us are prone to throwing entire, open cartons of almond milk across the shared loft. And so this fight, while reduced to jerky jot notes by not-unparalleled director Jesse Peretz, rings true or familiar for any stormy May in a May-December situation. —SNP
Um. Thomas John’s raging breakup speech on why he likes hookers: “Because they respect me.”
WOULD HAPPEN: You know he learned that from his Stepford/Whore-complex father. Can’t fight the family. —FAD
Ray, 33 and homeless, whose “only asset is a signed picture of Andy Kaufman” confesses his love to “beautiful, cute, smart 21-year-old” Shoshanna at the Graham avenue subway station.
WOULD HAPPEN: Ray is like the Greek chorus of GIRLS. Not only did he call Charlie out on being a dick to Audrey, but he seems to know perfectly well that he is at the bottom of the eligible-bachelor tier, even for a newbie like Shosh. —DZD
Shoshanna would apologize for saying I love you! —OKF
DID HAPPEN: I’ve dated SO many guys exactly like Ray! They’re insecure about their life choices but really well-versed in Kafka and Camus! —DZD
Dana, I love you, but that is revolting. —SNP
Sarah, I still don’t understand the “type” I was attracted to in college. But GIRLS seems to! —DZD
DID HAPPEN: You think they won’t hurt you because you both know they’re sort of not as good as you are. But then they always do anyway. —JRS
Jenna, when I told my boyfriend I was falling in love with him in a fit of drunken tears, all I got was: “Wow. That was unexpected.” My only claim to dignity was that instead of apologizing, I told him where to take his pity hug and stick it. —OKF
Jessa, with a wet face, interrupts Hannah singing Wonderwall in the bathtub. Jessa gets in and immediately snot rockets into the tub. Hannah: “I’m sorry, I know you’re sad right now, but that’s disgusting. I pee in every bathtub I ever get into and even I wouldn’t do that.”
WOULD HAPPEN: BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT BEST FRIENDS ARE FOR. —OKF
This is the most beautiful culmination of female friendship I have seen in a long, long time. —DZD
<3 <3 <3 <3 —FAD
SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN: I realize this is a show called “GIRLS,” but peeing in the bath is completely unacceptable past the age of 4. Tops. —JRS
Welcome back to “Girls on GIRLS”, the most hyperbolic GIRLS recap in the entire internet. Joining our fave key-demo white girls—Dana Drori, Fiona Duncan, Sarah Nicole Prickett, and Olivia Fleming—are Jenna Sauers, who is sassy like the doll Marnie is forced to describe mid-fuck, and Danielle Forest, who’s afraid she relates all-too-well to Marnie mid-fuck.
This week, Hannah gets the worst/least surprising kind of writing job, Marnie and Booth Jonathan meet again, Elijah is totally gay, and Jessa and Shoshanna get the short end of the script. Someone named Jesse Peretz directs, and at least two of us wonder who he fucked to get to the director’s chair. But how very is verite when blood-spattered dollhouses and bags of heroin are involved?
FROM THE TOP:
Hannah gets her first paid writing gig at a website where “magic happens… outside the comfort zone.” Her editor, an undisguised version of Jane Pratt, tells her to do cocaine and write about it. Hannah is excited to “expose all [her] vulnerabilities to the entire internet” for $200 per post.
WOULD HAPPEN: Hannah may not be a Lizzie Wurtzel or a Cat Marnell, but she does like to make herself a victim, and certainly wants to get attention as a writer. Plus, Hannah has been writing “It Happened to Me” essays her whole life. —DZD
Hannah is the kind of person who would think doing cocaine was original. —JRS
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Getting paid $200 for it. Do any sites pay this much? —DZD
xoJane.com pays $50 per post. Can you even? —SNP
$50 per post? X No Jane. —JRS
Jessa sells her memorable clothing on the stoop of her erstwhile hovel. Shoshana blames her sleeplessness on Ray and Ray’s Netflix marathons. Marnie is very pretty.
WOULD HAPPEN: I love the way Jessa touches Shoshanna’s hair and teases her newly boned-up demeanor. This is the kind of subtle female bonding that made me first fall in love with the Girls because, my Monique, you are so totally a Jessa and, sometimes, I can be such a Shoshanna, right? —FAD
The honeymoon is over, Shosh. —DZD
That Marnie is the one sitting at the cashier’s table says everything. —OKF
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Isn’t Jessa sleeping next to designer puppies and her super-rich husband? Why is she having a yard sale? —DAF
DID HAPPEN: At least she’s unloading pretty dresses. My yard sales were a walk down Nu Rave-lane with a neon, and very ironic, New Kids on the Block knit sweater and a $150 House of Holland tee that said Cause Me Pain Hedi Slimane, sold for $5. —DAF
Marnie, now working as a hot-to-trot hostess in some private members’ club, spies Booth Jonathan. Remember Booth Jonathan? He remembers Marnie, if calling her “Maddie” counts. Who does he think she is? “Oh, you’re a person who’s about to have sex with me,” he says. Sure enough…
WOULD HAPPEN: Marnie walks out of her job: if you were obsessed with a guy for a year and finally had a chance to fuck him, at the risk of losing your shitty meaningless job that said guy just made fun of, wouldn’t you? —DZD
This is supposed to be the Norwood, right? That seems like the kind of thing that would happen there. —JRS
DID HAPPEN: To my *clears throat* friend, whom he mistakenly referred to as Michelle. Also, read the NYT wedding announcement for Tom Sachs and Sarah Hoover (a Gagosian-gallery girl). The only thing that would’ve made this more plausible is if they aged Booth (which is the BEST name for a douchey artist) by a few years. —DAF
Booth Jonathan locks Marnie inside a tower of loopy, aurally hellish VHS art. When he finally lets her out of this 1990s nightmare, she calls him “fucking talented”.
WOULD HAPPEN: This is a perfect (if dated) parody of the sometimes-absurdity of contemporary art. Jonathan’s booth is terrible and I would have probably cried, but I did just see a really beautiful video work that included a lo-fi loop of a catchy chorus from a David Gray song at PS1. —DAF
DID HAPPEN: This weekend I was coerced by sex into watching 40 minutes of the NBC show Smash because the most fuckable guys are insidious, reprehensible sadists with really good mouths. —SNP
Hannah dollarlessly scores cocaine from her “junkie” neighbour, Laird, even after he tells her he’s just gotten clean. Leaving all human decency aside for a sec, who is paying for this, and how?
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: That shit’s expensive. Are we supposed to believe that Laird bought two or three grams just for Hannah? No. And she is broke. —FAD
WOULD HAPPEN: Well, she is getting paid $200 to write the thing. —DZD
And he wants to impress Hannah, whose noble and lifelong resistance to “cashing out on [her] sexuality” feels curiously absent now. —SNP
Hannah pathologically confuses entitlement for ambition. Her first foray in cocaine, getting an ex-junkie to swing from a steely “no,” to “sure, I’ll buy you some,” is testament to the power of that confusion. —OKF
Elijah, while showing Hannah how to power-clash her coke outfit, says: “This isn’t going to be a night driving around in your mother’s Volvo downing cough syrup with a box of cold McNuggets.”
DID HAPPEN: My friends and I once smoked oregano in high school and then drove through the McDonalds for not-so-happy meals. —DAF
Sigh. High school. And Quebec McDonalds, where you can replace your fries with poutine. —DZD
“Andrew Andrew are DJing at Greenhouse.”
WOULD HAPPEN: I’m pretty sure they still DJ at Sons of Essex? And just like Elijah and Hannah, Andrew Andrew are so two-becomes-one. —OKF
Hannah and Elijah look like they just showered in anal lube, but they FEEL like the sexiest nonsexual couple Greenhouse has ever SEEN. “It is my greatest dream to have sex with myself,” says Hannah, “and also my greatest fear.”
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: If you are Hannah Horvath and have never done anything truly dangerous, not even once, you are not now going to take an entire gram of cocaine mixed with molly, or cayenne pepper, or whatever else could possibly make you as sweaty and asinine as this. This is not what regular-grade cocaine is or looks or FEELS like and also, WHERE’S JESSA? —SNP
DID HAPPEN: “We are the sexiest people here!!!!!” Definitely a thing I have thought while doing cocaine. —JRS
After doing several more lines off a dirty toilet seat, Elijah and Hannah rage out to Icona Pop’s “I Love It.”
WOULD HAPPEN: This made me want to go out and party. —DZD
Once again, a total yeppppppp song for a dancing scene. I still have never felt cocaine to make me this shiny or happy or maybe I’m forgetting my youth??? —SNP
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Toilet seat ew. That’s what keys are for! Elijah, you seem to have done drugs before — unless you’re faking. Why don’t you save Hannah from herself? —JRS
Uh, Jenna, do you remember the Electric Room bathroom stall and its scarce hard surfaces? —DZD
Booth Jonathan’s next show is going to be titled “Children’s Death Games.”
WOULD HAPPEN: But major eye roll. —FAD
How midlist YA novel. Next. —JRS
Marnie, having just retrieved her vagina from cryogenic storage, gets spread-eagled and spit-fucked sans condom. Booth makes her describe a creepy doll; she calls it “sassy.” At least she laughs afterward.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Wait, they didn’t use a condom? That is so not in keeping with Marnie’s Type-A self-righteousness. Also, ew. —JRS
He asks her whether she’s on the pill, Jenna, then cums half a nanosecond after she breathes “yes” from the bedspread her face has been jammed into for the past four minutes. Which also explains her bunch n’ stuff toilet paper-plug afterwards. Also, ew. —OKF
The condomless (zipfull) fuck, I know, would happen but here’s what would never: Booth Jonathan, disrobing in his Baroque bedroom, reveals himself as a trans FTM like the sublime Buck Angel, i.e. still with vagina. Marnie goes down on him and gets a big lady load in her mouth and then brags about it to Hannah; this is what I, for real, dreamed last night. —FAD
DID HAPPEN: Successful dicks think every girl wants them because of “who they are,” and so feel no compunction over treating the everygirl like any old slut. The most famous man I’ve ever fucked (and may I never type those seven words again) was also a depraved rat bastard who left me bruised and shivering in his hotel room for an hour while he went to get coke, then screwed me dry on every hard surface. On the other hand, he taught me how to dust joints like Marianne Faithfull? Also, my dignity is fine, and I’d like $200 please. —SNP
My friend Abby just emailed me this re Marnie: “Every narcissist I’ve slept with was so awful in bed, I wish I could go back in time and laugh at them.” —DZD
Between finding out Elijah and Marnie did “two and a half pumps” and mouth-kissing Elijah mid-fight, Hannah finds time to eat beef jerky at the 24-hour pharmacy.
DID HAPPEN: Beef jerky is the number one choice of four a.m. snack among strung-out wretches who want to be disgusting in a low-cal way. Hi! —SNP
“As Rizzo says in Grease,” says Elijah to Hannah, “there are worse things I can do.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Elijah’s character is so well-written! Rizzo is totes queen of the queens. —DZD
Elijah calls Hannah out (FINALLY!) on how self-absorbed she is: “Leave it to you to make this all about you and your role in my sexuality.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Girls: Lena Dunham’s meta-experiment in which all stories lead back to the self-absorption of its lead character, Hannah, based not-so-loosely on Lena Dunham. —DAF
Hannah puts Marnie in her place: “Maybe I’m not the bad friend and you’re not the good friend… I don’t even care! We could keep being friends as long as you know you’re the bad one.”
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Both Hannah and Marnie looked like they had just farted and/or were about to burst out laughing during this entire scene. Even they didn’t believe what they were saying. —JRS
WOULD HAPPEN: What! I thought this was the best/most genuine moment of the episode, maybe the whole season. Bad girls make the best bad friends they deserve. —FAD
True friendships don’t end. They just restructure. —DZD
Agreed, Fiona. One of my favorite lines yet. —OKF
Hannah hooks up with Laird for “work.” He has basically already cum all over his junkie pants.
WOULD HAPPEN: Aaaand it took less than 24 hours for her to become the poor man’s version of Elizabeth Wurtzel. Remember, you guys, having sex with the guy from the ground floor will be great fodder for the aspiring writer who thinks she is “the voice” of her generation — “or at least a voice, of a generation.”—OKF
Hannah, with all her unkempt pathologies, half-baked aphorisms, and harsh flaws, is—ultimately—a romantic. And romance is not about love, or even sex. It’s about being the heroine of your own narrative. Is this whole uncomfortable twist merely the dark side of a Nora Ephron quote? Yes, and that makes perfect sense. —SNP
Salut little birds and welcome back to Girls on Girls, the recap with the highest ratings among middle-aged men. Here, four key-demo white girls—Dana Drori, Fiona Duncan, Sarah Nicole Prickett, and this week, Olivia Fleming—get as real as possible about the new Greatest Show of Our Time.
Last night’s episode (for last week’s, click here) was called “I Get Ideas,” and girl, do we ever. It seems creator/writer Lena Dunham has been chewing on her criticism and is now spitting it back into our needy beaks. How does it taste?
The girls, once lovable despite or because of their flaws, are becoming caricatures of themselves, objects of mockery, and stereotypes of a generation (not, of course, to be confused with Lena and her cast). We used to smile when Hannah smiled, or at least we did at the end of that best, the Bushwick, episode. Now it’s cringe or eye roll or laugh at, not with. Oh and lo! A black man! Just in time for Martin Luther King Day and Barack’s inauguration, we’ve got the new black Republican character, Sandy, bickering with white “independent” Hannah over the New Jim Crow and colorblindness. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves—
In sum, last night: Hannah successfully rid herself of both of her love interests, one to the aforementioned awkward debate over prison statistics, and the other to the po-po; Marnie was told that her future may not be as she imagined and so she, carpe diem and carpe her hot bod, got a “pretty person job”; Jessa lived the dream, painting her husband in her factory-facing Williamsburg loft and naming her new puppies Garbage, Fucker, and Hanukkah; and Shoshanna tamed the beast in Ray as they pillow talked about bathing beasts together.
Now, on to the exhaustive recap. Would it happen? Would it not happen? Or, worst, did that happen to us?
FROM THE TOP:
While exercising in her room, Hannah wears the same outfit as her virtual trainer.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: New season, new year, new bodies, I get it, but I do not like this yogurt-y bullshit. When did Hannah have three kids and get her real estate license? Who does these aerobics? At home? Shouldn’t she be going to Frank’s Red Hot Yoga or whatever Greenpoint is doing now? No, this is a total Shoshanna move, and more to the point, Girls is supposed to have a heroine who isn’t trying to be “hot,” not one who spent her whole Basic Bitches Club gift card on some as-seen-on-YouTube shit. —SNP
Elijah’s sugar daddy-ish boyfriend, whose name no longer matters, broke up with him for reasons that cannot yet be disclosed to Hannah. Instead, we are told “folks that old, have different rules.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Every part of this makes sense: 1) George (it is George, right?) sounds just like Dan Savage w/r/t his intolerance of closeted youth, 2) Elijah easily curtails Hannah’s very brief inquisition by turning the subject back to Adam. —FAD
Meanwhile, Adam is going full John Cusack outside Hannah’s window, except it’s her browser window, and he’s made her a YouTube video with his acoustic guitar. Love sure is modern in 2008! “It’s scary with all the tools behind him,” says Elijah.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Adam, what the fuck. Get SnapChat. —SNP
DOES HAPPEN: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/men-sends-viral-youtube-love-letter-long-distance/story?id=12289620 —OKF
So far in this episode, Hannah has appeared in: the aforementioned gym ensemble; an orange, inexplicable sleeping bag; suspiciously diaper-like shorts. To Elijah, she shrugs: “I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drummer, ever since I cut my camp shirt into a halter top.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Of course Hannah thinks that this is a way of asserting her uniqueness and has been living by it since her adolescence. —DZD
DID HAPPEN: I mean, I wore souvenir scarves as tops as recently as the summer of 2008. —SNP
WOULD HAPPEN: Wasn’t there a whole Lexicon Valley episode dedicated to this precise kind of lapsus linguae? We beat drums, not drummers. Maybe once a drummer beat us (but only because we asked real nice.) Another instance, like last week’s French Salon, of Lena writing a language/literary slip-up into Hannah’s character to distance herself from her. —FAD
Marnie goes to an interview at an art gallery, where it is revealed that she, Marnie Michaels, is from Montclair, New Jersey.
WOULD HAPPEN: Totally. You know what else is from Montclair, New Jersey? Cheaper By The Dozen, a hit 1950s book that is ultra-conservative and cute and popular and incredibly boring and I think you know where I’m going with this. —SNP
Isn’t that also the name of a movie starring Hilly D? —DZD
Lena’s mom playing the gallerist: “Can you grab me juice #5 from the fridge?”
WOULD HAPPEN: Not the first time a New York show portrayed a female exec on a juice cleanse (Serena’s boss on Gossip Girl). Also not the first time Lena’s collabed with her mom (Tiny Furniture). —DZD
In March, Vera Wang (@VeraWangGang) tweeted: “Have been inspired by @glamour to try @coolercleanse. We are doing it as a team so none of us flake.” A jab at the six-juice-a-day-dieters we have all worked for, rolled our eyes at, and stabbed in our dreams, at some point. —OKF
Marnie wears Ann Taylor to a job interview, prompting the gallerist to reject her, before stating that she doesn’t “see” Marnie in the art world.
WOULD HAPPEN: HAHAHA. Is that what she said? I thought it was at least Lord & Taylor. Whatever it is, the look is dead on. Costume designer Jenn Rogien is doing a great job this season, with Elijah’s layering leading the way. —FAD
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Come on, she would at least go to Rag & Bone for those don’t-fuck-me blazers and shifts. Nobody who works in downtown contemporary art galleries shops at Ann Taylor. Nobody! Not even Marnie, who sucks. —SNP
WOULD HAPPEN: Especially Marnie, who sucks. Last season she wore a cap-sleeve cocktail dress to a party in Bushwick (enough said), which she probably bought from Lord & Taylor or somewhere as gross. At least at this point she’s forced to confront the fact that her warped view of ‘polished dressing’ is not serving her as well as she had hoped. Cue the Slutty Von Trapp child. —OKF
Hannah tells Sandy: “I really like having sex with you.” She means: “I really like you.”
DID HAPPEN: I’m pretty sure I’ve said this 93083902839028 times. Fuck condoms, emotional safety first! —DZD
Shoshanna tells Ray her summer camp stories—in bed.
WOULD HAPPEN: The only thing 20-something Americans are more obsessed with than where they went to camp is where they went to college. If you don’t go to camp or college, can you call yourself an American? No. —SNP
DID HAPPEN: Yes, all Jewish kids *do* go to summer camp! My parents forced me to go for years, which turned out to be an experience more like Wet Hot American Summer than like Shosh’s. We didn’t bathe pigs (why would there be pigs at a jewish summer camp?) but I totally waterskied. —DZD
SIDE NOTE: The word confluence is now dead to me. I will NEVER be able to get Ray’s pig-washing dreams with Shoshana out of my deeply-scarred head. —OKF
SIDE NOTE FOOTNOTE: Olivia, I know rite! I love the way it came out of his asymmetrical puffy lips. —FAD
Fiona, EW. —OKF
Marnie, after being told she can’t work in the art world, realizes the uselessness of her Bachelor’s Degree.
WOULD HAPPEN: It’s really hard for college graduates to accept that just because they put in four years of study doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed a job. The Nation recently published a piece on Girls vs. Shameless, and the difference between being broke and poor. Marnie (and Hannah), aspiring to careers that would emerge out of her BA, and having her parents as a safety net, is broke, not poor. She might now get a job hostessing but as Aronowitz writes, her “expectations belie [her] upbringings,” and as the “privileged poor,” she is “indignant about [her] dwindling job prospects.” Just read the article. —DZD
Ray to Marnie: “I’m personally not attracted to you at all, because I know you.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Anyone who knows Marnie would instantly be repulsed. Unless they’re really into hate-fucking. —DZD
Ray is such a negging little boner. Marnie continues to suck. —SNP
Marnie, post-interview failure, to Ray and Shoshanna, who are giving her a reason to live by telling her she’s pretty: “I mean, I’m not like a model…”
DID HAPPEN: I’ve often said this (get your fake IP addresses ready, shamers!) to deflect compliments that I secretly wished would be better compliments. But also, if a guy ever tries to pick me up by saying, “are you like… a model?” I immediately wonder how he would look in a suit at his own funeral. —SNP
Shosh calls her friend Denise to help Marnie get a “pretty person job.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Shosh is the only one who helps out her friends! She’s the only one who is not 100% completely self-absorbed; she willingly takes the four seconds out of her time with Ray to call a friend and help Marnie find a job. That is why she is my favorite. —DZD
“It’s terrible,” Jessa says of her near-life-size portrait of hubby Thomas John, “It’s because I’m painting someone I love so much and I’m so used to painting things I hate. Like my mom. Or scenery.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Hallelujah for the return of Jessa and her purrrfect accent which makes everything sound believable. This is such an efficient establishing shot for Jessa’s new life: the scale of the windows, the scale of the canvas, the scale of Thomas John’s gut. —FAD
DID HAPPEN: Almost every time I try to write about somebody while I love him, it comes out like I’m afraid of him. —SNP
TJ and Jessa get matching tattoos.
DID HAPPEN: Okay, not really. But not that I haven’t tried. —FAD
My ex-boyfriend did this with his new girlfriend three months after we broke up.Ugh. —OKF
Jessa wants a “jam box for the shower.”
WTF does that even mean? —DZD
It’s a bluetooth waterproof speaker for the shower, duh. How fucking bougie can she get? —OKF
Olivia, HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT? —DZD
Dana, that’s a conversation best left out of this column —OKF
Jessa being so blissfully happy in marriage.
WOULD HAPPEN: Jessa is Ram Dass, Be Here Now. She is the moment. —FAD
Jessa knowing anything about the news, first of all, then saying to Hannah: “Just read the newspaper, just read one newspaper.”
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Despite this being good meta-commentary on Lena’s own twitter wars, Jessa doesn’t even read news, she’s just playing off her husband. Jessa and Lena are both too solipsistic to pick up a paper. —DZD
WOULD HAPPEN: I’m solipsistic, and I read newspapers, therefore Jessa must read newspapers too. GET IT??? P.S. Solipsism is not of-itself evil: If your mind is constantly expanding, believing only what’s in your mind is not necessarily a handicap. —SNP
Just because you’re beautiful, doesn’t mean you can’t be informed too. I can totally backstory see Jessa dating an Occupy Wall Street-er and/or her sophomore political philosophy professor and osmosis-ing all their knowledge and setting a paper reading habit for life. —FAD
“Thomas John looks at my paintings the moment I show them to him,” says Jessa, in a perfect tautological line. “If [Sandy’s] not reading your essays, he’s not reading you.”
DID HAPPEN: Ugh, I have said this almost verbatim: “If you’re not reading my writing, you’re not reading me!” It must have worked, because a year later, my ex-boyfriend reads almost everything I write. Although, maybe he’s hate-reading. Is he hate-reading? Will he leave a comment and let us know? And did he ever find my mini clothes steamer? —SNP
Hi Dad! —FAD
By the way, Sandy is a black Republican who lives in Brooklyn.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Cool story, sis. You could tell me Marnie is a lesbian dominatrix with a heart of gold (or even just… a heart) and it would feel truer than this business. I’m not even going to talk about the statistical likelihood of a young black person you meet at an independent coffee shop in Greenpoint being a Republican, because I can’t count that low. Also, that’s not the point. Every other (white) character on Girls is a recognizable “type” with gentle, sometimes quirksome, mostly thoughtful twists. Then there’s this one guy, created in direct response to criticism of every other (white) character, and he’s this total unicorn. I know Lena Dunham can’t do anything right by some people, and I feel for her/that, because it is not a 26-year-old show runner’s job to fix all that ails HBO. Still, I do think she could try harder. Nothing says “I’ve never met a black guy” like writing in a black guy nobody’s ever met. —SNP
Good point SNP. I’m just going to link to this as further authority without adding any of my own words. Thanks Ta-Nehisi! —DZD
WOULD HAPPEN WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: I really wanted to try and counterpoint SNP, mostly just to fuel fire/languish in her entertaining vitriol. But I couldn’t. Not only do I not believe in unicorns in Brooklyn (did you know only virgins can mount ‘em?), I think this is lazy plot development; like, we need a black character but we need him to not be what you would expect and we need to be able to write him out as quickly as we wrote him in. —FAD
Later that day, we discover that Sandy has read Hannah; has, in fact, read Hannah better than Hannah reads herself. His comments on the idle, desultory, and yeah, solipsistic nature of her writing do not go appreciated. She bristles. “It’s just not for me,” he says.
SHOULD HAPPEN: Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Because Lena needs to address her critics, but also needs to do so in a way that suggests her critics don’t actually exist—much like, say, black Republicans in Brooklyn. I’m still ragey about that, but at least now Lena is going to do something useful and almost brave with that rage, like have Donald Glover drop a fiscal avalanche of truth on her diaper-wearing ass. —SNP
“I never thought about the fact that you were black once,” says Hannah. “I don’t live in a world where there are divisions like that.”
WOULD HAPPEN: YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Of course she doesn’t live in a world where there are divisions like that, because first of all, she lives in a fucking twee fort. Secondly, divisions aren’t always like that. Where class and race overlap on a Venn diagram, black becomes not quite white, but sort of grey. Yes, Hannah has thought about the fact that he’s black, while not ever admitting it to herself out loud, but also, he’s not black the way she grew up thinking people were black. He’s rich. He’s a lawyer. He has this great loft. To her, and to many of us, he’s like Obama, you know, like, white. —SNP
WOULD HAPPEN/WISHED WOULD HAPPEN: Genau! Great repartee between Glover and Dunham (HBO GO tells it me was partly improvised) and the insert of hipster colorblindess (see: n+1’s What Was the Hipster?) is apropos buuuuuuut, yeah, the most interesting and under-discussed thing about living in New York is class and so I’ll refer back to that Nation article again and request, dear Lena, since you seem to be listening to the critics, that this be addressed b/c you’re smart and would do it well (smiley face/thumbs up). —FAD
Marnie gets said “pretty person job,” for which she must dress like “a slutty Von Trapp child.” Hannah accuses her of “cashing in” on her sexuality, a thing Hannah, of course, has so courageously eschewed.
DID HAPPEN: As someone who cashes in on her sexuality for a living, and has had to defend herself against both second-wavers who think I’m anti-feminist and others who think I’m a dumb bitch because I model, I’ve felt the hate of the assumption that what I do is frivolous and against “the cause.” Guess what, everybody: my job gives me hella earning power and will be what puts me through grad school, not to mention supporting my future family. It’s 2013! Read any contemporary feminist or the handful of lady-journos who write about sex! Read my good friend’s blog; she’s a stripper, and a lesbian, and a huge feminist. I mean, yes, I did have to pose behind the glass in a meat counter at a supermarket yesterday… that felt pretty objectifying. But fuck Hannah. At least Marnie works for her money. Hannah got her job through Ray and stands around doing nothing. Where does she get off being so righteous? Plus, Hannah writes about her sex life, isn’t that also “exploiting” her sexuality? —DZD
WOULD HAPPEN: Hannah stands there judging Marnie’s decision while eating spoonfuls of Cool Whip. —OKF
There is nothing wrong with spoonfuls of Cool Whip, MISSY. This is season one Hannah! —SNP
Hannah cutting her bangs with orange kitchen scissors.
WOULD HAPPEN: It just would. —FAD
Adam chases Hannah around the kitchen and Hannah accuses him of “SPACE RAPE.”
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Because there’s no such thing as space rape. —DZD
DID HAPPEN: I may have been known to make terrible jokes about things that aren’t rape being like rape BUT ONLY WHEN THE CAMERAS AREN’T AROUND, OK. —SNP
Hannah dials 911 on her phone in the kitchen, then thinks again, hangs up. Several minutes later, the cops show.
DID HAPPEN: If you’ve ever called 911 from your mobile phone, they have your address on file, and yes, cops will beat your door down even if you’ve changed your mind, or hung up, or gone to bed. They will show up and they will not leave. This actually happened to me, years ago, but in slightly worse circumstances, and with far, far worse consequences (for him). I know these laws are to protect women, who are far likelier to be victims, at all costs, which is why you have to think really, really hard before trying be a victim. The circumstances would have to be actually terrifying for me to ever call the cops for anything ever again. Also, fuck cops. —SNP
WOULD HAPPEN: My first response to this scene was, “Really? This is how feckless Hannah has really become?” But my second response was, I probably would have done the same thing. When you’re scared, you’re fucking scared, and that’s what 911 should be there for. —OKF
In the stairs with the cops, Hannah mutters something about restraining orders and Adam rebuts that he should’ve gotten a restraining order on her, “when you used to show up at my house all the time in knee socks.” She goes “one time” and he quietly amends (I missed it the first time), “…and a Jason mask.”
WOULD HAPPEN: This isn’t a “would” (except in that it’s consistent with Hannah’s character) so much as a place where I can say that this line marked the only time I lol’ed all episode. —FAD
Hannah, dejected, sputters: “I just wanted him to stop texting me.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Because by now, we have accepted that Hannah is the cross-bearer for all white girl sins; is no longer the heroine of our story; is the villainness. I’m actually kind of impressed. —SNP
DID HAPPEN: Like the little girl sent to her bedroom to ‘think’ about what she has done, and the under-the-breath excuse that follows while she’s shuffling there, head down. Because this is as close to contrition as Hannah can get. Because we have all overreacted and sulked when things didn’t quite go to plan. Because we ALL self-pity, even when it’s not about us. —OKF
Hey girls, it’s Girls. I know! I missed you too. Can you believe it’s been—hold on, July, August, September, October, November, December—like, seven months? I mean, if I were pregnant right now, I’d be HUGE. No, I’m kidding. Nobody’s pregnant. Right? Anyway, tell me about your life. Tell me everything! Was your summer the best? What did you do for the apocalypse? Let’s talk about you, ’cause for real, I am so sick of talking about me. Like, done. Like, that 3.7 million dollar book deal, and all these festival appearances, and then every time I tweet it’s like I owe mankind an apology? I thought about quitting, but there was this whole #ResolutionsGIRLSbreak hashtag, and I thought, no, irony is last season. Or maybe it was post-irony. Or, like, post-sincerity, pre-irony? Or do we care, even? Like, last night I was at the Golden Globes, which, by the way, I LOVED your tweet, and I think Jodie Foster kind of gave me a look, but I can’t tell whether it was a mom look or like a lesbian look or maybe a lesbian mom look, and I had this weird thought, like, what if nobody even listens to my speech because they’re all thinking about how I can’t walk in heels. Totally weird, right? I KNOW. You haven’t changed either. I mean it.
Welcome to the second season of Girls, the HBO show that launched a thousand .gifs. Spoiler: Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, and Shoshanna are as precious, clumsy, self-absorbed, and only half-wittingly hilarious as ever. On the other hand, they’re as into perogies, Solange, and hating their moms as we are. Dare we relate to them? Each week, four key-demo white girls—Dana Drori, Fiona Duncan, Sarah Nicole Prickett, and this week, Olivia Fleming—get as real as possible about the new Greatest Show of Our Time.
But first, to recap. At the end of season one, Marnie and Hannah’s egos were so inflated they could no longer live under the same roof; Adam literally got hit by a truck; Shosh shed her hymen with Ray; and Jessa used (surprise!) marriage to cut the line to adulthood.
As season two begins, Hannah is caught between Sandy, her new boyfriend, and Adam, laid up with a broken leg; Marnie, still single and crashing at Shoshanna’s, loses her gallery-girl job; Shosh is amaze, works on getting over Ray; and Jessa is on honeymoon somewhere where fourteen year-old white girls get their hair braided. Oh wait…
So, that’s what’s happening. And when something happens on Girls, we play a thinking game: Would it happen? Would it not happen? Or, worst, did that happen to us?
FROM THE TOP:
Hannah and her gay ex-boyfriend, Elijah, are “best roomies ever.” He might be wearing her pajama pants.
WOULD HAPPEN: It’s kind of like a Shit Girls Say outtake, but sure, yes. Their fake-morning-sleepy voices are really cute. —SNP
Although it is the year 2013, Shoshanna has a “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster in her bedroom. It is the only thing in her room that isn’t pink.
WOULD HAPPEN: Shoshanna!!!! —EVERYBODY
fired downsized. “I run a fucking art gallery,” says her boss, in response to Marnie’s eyebrows. “I can’t afford two employees.”
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Marnie works at “a gallery in Chelsea,” but the space used on Girls is Lehmann Maupin on Chrystie, which makes this a few kinds of awkward. Does anyone know how much money Lehmann Maupin makes? No, because contemporary art is in a huge, hollow, rainbowy insane bubble, and if we tried to count that high we would faint. These bitches eat their greens off Tracey Emins. Plus, if that-sized space were in Chelsea, it would be even more expensive, and the gallery itself, too legit to rely on interns. This seems a small point, but it’s not, because Girls has a notion of sad liberal starving artsiness that may be true for many of us, but not… anybody on Girls. —SNP
WOULD HAPPEN: True, a few people in the contemporary art world make crazy, stupid money, but it’s an unregulated, super-competitive industry; no one pays anyone they don’t have to. In New York, in the gallery system, just like in fashion and popular publishing, there would dozens of girls who have already had their dads U-O-Me email in their CVs who are willing to do Marnie’s job for free. Plus, I bet Marnie’s just the worst to work with. —FAD
Sandy (like the hurricane? They filmed in June, so guess it’s a sad coincidence) subtly calls out Hannah on her sex-tourism: “So, it’s irresponsible for you to date me?”
WOULD HAPPEN: Of course the Girls writers thought they could pay back the backlash by opening the season with white-privileged Hannah fucking… a black guy! (Note: Jenni Konner, executive producer and co-writer, told Grantland’s Hollywood Prospectus Podcast that Donald Glover was cast before any of the criticism. Yeah, right.) At least they made Sandy more grounded and astute than Hannah, and his response gets credibility points for its soft, justifiable skepticism. —DZD
Adam’s upper body is still fit, despite his full leg cast/immobility.
WOULD HAPPEN: He’s totally the type to have a chin-up bar between his kitchen doorway. Also, just generally, kudos to all the male bods showcased in this episode.
Adam delivers the key tweetable: “When you love someone, you don’t have to be nice all the time.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Even while bedridden, Adam Driver has this hyperkinetic, propulsive way of acting that makes any line he’s given sound like a perfect ad lib. So, yeah, it’s believable. —SNP
One word: Hangry. —OKF
DID HAPPEN: …But I think I said it. [Insert clenched-tension-teeth-with-crazy-eyes emoji here. Oh, and the broken heart. Finger peace sign. Tuna sushi roll.] —FAD
Marnie goes for a lunch with her mom, played by Rita Wilson. Mom says Marnie looks 30 years old.
WOULD HAPPEN: Now we know where Marnie gets her self-important, image-centric complex. She didn’t have a hope in hell of turning into anything other than an uptight, Ann Taylor-wearing, riesling-drinking snob. —OKF
Also, is the comment about Marnie’s bobbleheaded look a way of writing Allison Williams’s (blatant) weight loss and its inevitable media blahblahblah into the show? —FAD
DID HAPPEN: Moms who try to dictate their daughters’ images/bodies/etcetera RUIN LIVES. —DZD
Marnie’s mom is fucking a cater waiter, because “sometimes you just need a pair of rough hands on your body.” Horrified Marnie says even she wouldn’t do that, and she’s “the same age” as a cater waiter.
WOULD HAPPEN: If I were married to Brian Williams? Yes, absolutely I’d fuck the hot cater waiter. Also, I don’t care, I love Marnie’s mom so much I almost want to forgive her for not having an abortion. —SNP
Hannah and Elijah want to have a “fondue party,” maybe.
DID HAPPEN: My mom, who is the opposite of Marnie’s mom in every way, bought me a fondue set two Christmasses ago. I waited a month for fondue parties to make their kitschy comfort-food comeback, then forgot. —SNP
Hannah, who is still calling herself a writer, thinks “French salon” means “fancy hairdressing place.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Hannah is oblivious to the literary world. In season one, every essay of hers is written off as either “whiny” (Marnie), “trivial” (Ray), or self-indulgent (also Ray). She might have mentioned the New York Times once in season one, but otherwise she’s reading US Weekly at Grumpy’s and writing only about herself. (P.S. Then she reduces Gertrude Stein to a lesbian? Fuck off.) —DZD
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Hannah—like Lena—went to Oberlin, right? It’s crazy that anyone who studied writing somewhere private/culty doesn’t know what is meant by “salon.” This one of Dunham’s one-step set-ups for a joke, and those only work if the joke is good. —SNP
Shoshanna is the first to arrive at what may or may not be a French salon with fondue, talking a mile a minute, as usual. “I may be deflowered,” she says of her failed relationship with Ray, “but I’m not devalued.”
WOULD HAPPEN: Of course, Shoshanna is the first one to show up to the party. And with a gift-wrapped bottle of wine. —FAD
Girl gets all her feminisms from glossy magazines, but makes them work. —DZD
Marnie has thought about it, and she would be totally cool with not having sex for eight months. She says this to Charlie, who has grown an aggressive beard and is still dating Abby, or Audrey, or whatever.
DID HAPPEN: What single girl hasn’t used that excuse for why they haven’t fucked anyone since the ex-boyfriend they dumped, ostensibly, for better prospects? —OKF
WOULD ONLY HAPPEN: To Marnie, who is made of Evian ice. —SNP
Audrey’s, um, outfit.
WOULD HAPPEN: I mean, she is dating Terry Richardson IRL… —DZD
Audrey looks like she was styled by Rachel Zoe circa 2006. Believe it but where do you even buy clothes like that New York? [Someone informs me: Nastygal.com.]—FAD
George, who is Elijah’s boyfriend/sugar daddy, gets wasted and screams into the karaoke mic. It’s shit like “you’re all fucking boring” and “too cool for one song” and “when I was your age I was snorting coke off twinks,” plus “what are you looking at, fake lumberjack boy?”
WOULD (SHOULD) HAPPEN: At first I was thrown off by the daddishness of the so-2009 “lumberjack” line, but then I loved the subtext, which is/should be that this old queer who spent his youth in fear of AIDS is confronted with the deradicalized hipness of Greenpoint. It’s not really about the drugs, man. —SNP
WOULD HAPPEN: Obviously. Kudos to the music supervisors for using “Losing You” when the episode was shot, i.e. before the single was released. —DZD
DID HAPPEN: Dana, didn’t we play this ten times in two hours on New Year’s Eve? —SNP
Ray finds Shoshanna, who is not speaking to him, in the bedroom, looking for something shiny. They fight because he never calls, and she sends all-emoji texts. She smacks him down: “I am tired of being insulted even when the insult comes before a compliment.” GIRLLLL. Oops, then they kiss.
WOULD HAPPEN: The bedroom where all the coats are is always where party drama goes down. —SNP
Shoshanna is tougher than she looks! Sure, her motivation is sort of premasticated girl-power shlock but it, combined with her lack of a filter, allows her to stand up for herself. —DZD
Except she kisses him anyway, right on his icky, condescending, hate-reading, mouth-breathing mouth. I guess she would? But gross. —SNP
Commiserative, sure. But his grand kiss-me-quick gesture proves maybe he really does have the remains of some tender humanity wedged deep within his hipster douchebag (but maybe bleeding?) heart. —OKF
“And that I made you feel like you’re whole body was a clit!” Adam reminds Hannah.
WOULD AND DID AND WILL HAPPEN: Girls say the darndest things. —FAD
In a last stand with Adam, Hannah describes herself as “selfless” and gets away with it.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Despite kicking George out of the party on Elijah’s behalf, Hannah is not “selfless” or even “selflesser,” and nobody on this show has forgotten last season that fast. She does nothing without whining about it, and even this is probably just story material, or an exercise in feel-good martyrdom. —DZD
DID HAPPEN: I told my former, 13-years-older boyfriend I couldn’t be that selfish, even though I was being that selfish, because I was sacrificing the “most attractive years of my life” to stay home and feel “prematurely married” with him, and… he didn’t break up with me? —SNP
Hannah: “I feel like I never want to see you again. It’s not your choice, it’s my choice!”
WOULD HAPPEN: Girls are allowed to feel what they feel, and when someone says otherwise, why not feel it stronger? I once had a boyfriend whose mantra was “unique suffering confers unique entitlement.” He was as self-obsessed as Hannah. —DZD
Meanwhile, Elijah is having sex with Marnie.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Not only is Elijah the gayest gay in Greenpoint, he HATES Marnie. Maybe he was trying to humiliate her… for “two pumps?” Bonus points, though, for his American Apparel boxer-briefs, because he so would wear those. —DZD
WOULD HAPPEN: Am I the only person in the whole world who still believes in bisexual boys? —FAD
Marnie hides her tits during sex like a flat girl in a junior high gym locker room.
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: Marnie, even Charlotte showed us the goods. The coverup is awkward and orchestrated and makes me see contracts and cameras when all I want is some suspension of disbelief! And to see some tits! But: Karaoke, Sarah McLachlan, so right. —FAD
Marnie shows up in Charlie’s bedroom after the “two pumps” failure that was Elijah, because she just needs to “be next to someone right now.”
DID HAPPEN: Because it’s too easy to run to the one person who you know still loves you, and use them as a cocoon for your own self-pity and loneliness. The safety net of validation it brings is addictive. —OKF
WOULD NEVER HAPPEN: No dude as secretly, slipperily misogynistic as Charlie breaks up with a girl as hot as Marnie… and leaves her with his keys. —SNP
Hannah, by the end of the episode, is back to her clingy self, showing up at Sandy’s late with a lame excuse: “Can I borrow the Fountainhead?”
WOULD HAPPEN: We knew you couldn’t change that fast, Hannah. But at least there’s a bit of humility to her self awareness. —DZD
And a super-ominous pun! —SNP