On Jerks

February 18, 2013 15:15:11 Posted at February 18, 2013 15:15:11
Duana Posted by Duana
Photos:
Neilson Barnard/ Getty

Girls Season 2 Episode 6 recap

You know, it occurs to me that Hannah is kind of a jerk.  

This isn’t, or shouldn’t be, news. But it really struck me as an immutable fact when she was so flippant to Ray about getting his book back from Adam, no matter how implausible and flimsy the excuse about the book (and really, show, make it something even a little more plausible – Clockwork Orange? - and we could feel sad that Ray is 33 going on 20).  

Nonetheless, she truly didn’t care, and I thought to myself that she probably will write the book then. This is the sad truth: artists are a little selfish. Have to be a little selfish, maybe. If Hannah constantly concerns herself with what other people want, she’ll never do what she wants to, because it takes time and energy, yes, but also sacrifice and isolating yourself from your friends and leaving parties early.

I’m not sure she can do it. Not because she doesn’t want it, but because Hannah’s whole life is about sparring with other people and getting their reactions to things.   I’m not saying she doesn’t write -- she clearly has essays to read at any given time -- but the isolation that writing an actual (e)book requires – I don’t know. I do know she has to probably be a bit of a jerk to get it, and I guess that’s OK, sort of? In the context of following one’s dreams?

But then how come that’s okay for Hannah as writer and not Marnie as…boyfriend-wanter or whatever she is? Am not trying to judge, exactly, except that’s exactly what I’m doing – Marnie’s selfishness and talking in a casually bad way about her friends comes when she’s trying to appeal to Booth-Jonathan (can you believe there’s a hyphen?), because that’s what gives her the bigger lift. It will be the story that defines her year of being mid-25, or however old: she slept with one of the most irritating narcissistic (talented?) artists of her time.    

So, they’re selfish. Jessa, as usual, jumps all the way from selfish to sociopathic, so there’s no real need to talk about that, and Shoshanna isn’t selfish, so she can never really play on the same field as these girls. I find that the more Girls annoys me the more I can usually find something in it that feels real, so I have to admit that the final phone conversation was probably exactly replicated in the early-to-mid 2000s with everyone I’ve ever known. That thing where dear God, if I let someone else know how bad this all feels, I might never climb out of it. I don’t know what we thought would happen, exactly. That you’d be taken off the going-to-be-a-grown-up conveyor belt? That you’d be the first person ever to admit something not going well? Nonetheless, we shut up. We don’t say anything. We turn around years later and go “well, of COURSE you felt alone. We all felt alone.”

The amount of real estate spent on Adam and Ray didn’t really do it for me. One thing I will say is that Adam is quite consistent – it’s not merely Hannah that makes him act insane as I once thought. But the storyline felt like it was poking fun at the criticisms that the guys are too similar, and not necessarily doing a great job at it. Why do I need to know that they’re both separately, but similarly, angry? Why were they trying to draw parallels about Hannah into it?  

In general, this episode is the kind that makes me roll my eyes about Girls. So there are parties and book deals and people don’t like each other, and Hannah and Marnie won’t talk in a “real” way until episode 9 or 10. I don’t feel like they’re progressing, moving, or that there’s anything real happening in their lives. Last week’s episode, I can see how that will resonate for Hannah for months. But this? Even though it’s where she got her (first) book deal, it really doesn’t matter at all. So I guess Jessa said something useful this episode after all.

Attached - Lena Dunham at the Writers Guild Awards.

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