I’m Just Going To Be Totally Honest With You Right Now
Girls Season 2 Episode 3 recap
What does it say about me that this was the Girls episode I enjoyed the most? I originally wrote “annoyed me the least”, but first of all, that’s kind of a dick thing to say, and second of all, it’s not necessarily true. Which is fine.
This is the first episode in a long while where the annoying choices the characters made – and they did make them – seemed absolutely in line with the characters they’ve shown us and who they’ve been trying to be instead of just random hilarity so that we’d think the show was cool and trendy. (I’m looking at you, “cute abortion” episode, even though you were a long time ago.)
First up – I am so delighted at this week’s appearance of Shoshanna and Jessa. To me, these are the roles they were meant to play – comic relief or sardonic commentary, without actually being developed into characters whose foibles we’re supposed to care about every week. This isn’t to say I don’t like Shoshanna, because I do – I have a real soft spot for her, actually -- but she, of all the girls, is the one who’s least conflicted about who she is, she’s being pretty true to who she is. Jessa, on the other hand, is so far up her own pretension that she’s never coming out. Both are fine as occasional barometers.
But Marnie and Hannah – these two are the two who are constantly behaving one way, and questioning whether it’s taking them closer or farther to who they want to be and whether who they want to be should change moment to moment.
For my money, this was best explored in the Marnie plot – when Booth drags her to his insidiously awful apartment and shows off things that are supposed to impress her, Marnie’s bullsh-t meter goes off over and over again but she suppresses it because he’s “so talented”. This episode gets the award for the least gratuitous sex scene yet, since “what is she feeling” “…sexy…” “No, she’s sad” “she’s sad” is the most succinct sum-up of a 24-year-old doing what should feel amazing but doesn’t. Knowing on a subconscious level that a dude is a douche but not actually being able to formulate the conscious thought for another few years seems, to me, like a coming-of-age story that feels really honest. Also, there’s such a premium on being cool with things that her revulsion and claustrophobia (or are those mine?) come out as “you’re so f*cking talented”.
Then, of course, there was the cocaine-for-article plot. This both resonated with me and annoyed me more than I can say.
I wish I could be all THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN with regards to the online magazine, and in fact probably the only reason the storyline got through is because this show is on HBO, since this odd-but-true type thing is the kind of thing traditional networks buck against, but the truth is, I think it would and has and does. It seemed like a not very subtle nod to a certain confessional website with a dynamic blonde editor, and I didn’t have a whole lot of trouble buying that someone had a conversation that was something like this.
And so that’s the construct upon which we watch Hannah and Elijah do coke. My issue with this is that her protestations about actually getting the coke from the junkie aside, I don’t believe that Hannah would be this chill about the doing. I believe she’d enjoy it and feel like a million dollars and be dramatic and make everything about her but the initial choice to do so was blasé – and that doesn’t seem like the Hannah we’ve met so far. Yes, she drank twig tea but I feel as though the same Hannah who tattooed herself to subvert expectations of what her body is would have certain expectations about what taking cocaine would say about her or who she is or how she chose to do so.
Her relationship with Elijah is actually not that surprising to me because they clearly find safety in one another. It’s the fact that she’s so legitimately hurt that he and Marnie had a moment that rings so false. Hannah should be using this to lord over them as proof that she’s not making such bad choices. An eye-rolly smirk seems much more in line with what should happen than her emotional reaction. I’m supposed to buy it’s because she’s insecure about the fact that she had no idea he was gay and maybe that says something about her but Hannah’s never had a lack of partners since we’ve known her; she is not struggling for people who will deign to see her naked. What the emotional betrayal is about doesn’t really make any sense, and in an already caper-ish episode, it pulled me out of these strange sensations I was having which I believe could be characterized as empathy and even identification with the main character.
I am heartened. I am not going to damn with faint praise. I want the fact that Hannah isn’t very self-aware at all to be the thing she’s aware of first, and most. A girl can dream, right?