The Prodigal

February 25, 2013 23:02:18 Posted at February 25, 2013 23:02:18
Duana Posted by Duana
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Girls Season 2 Episode 7

I am so tired of the commentary on vaginas these days. I have had enough.  Please do not talk about how women are being shamed into hating their labia, or criticizing or worshipping the giant bush, or talking about ambassadors of vagina, or something. I am not trying to sound like Chuck Lorre but is this really the only thing we can talk about that makes us seem daring and with it and rebellious? Really?   The only thing? I guess the next gasp will be about anal fissures, or something, but it just seems so…second-year university. “Look how many times I can say the word vagina without flinching!”

I mean, it’s like the more I struggle with Girls, the more I can see what they’re doing with it. I cannot imagine that this is not at least partially intentional on the parts of the writers -- that even as I recognize something real, I boil with rage at how much I hate it. In this case I don’t understand why everything has to be so completely over the top and so twee. The stepgirlfriend is named Petula AND is played by Roseanna Arquette AND they eat rabbits? Any two of those would have been sufficient. The creepy son has a turtleneck And virginity AND a haircut reminiscent of mental institutions. It’s over the top, as is the father character, and on and on. 

This is to say that even after getting the window into her sort of creation myth – the reasons why she is the way she is - I still hate and will never understand Jessa. She is so horrible – on purpose, most of the time – and Hannah is never worse than when she’s with her. I hate them both most when they’re in scenes together, as they try to out-horrible each other, which would be an interesting and true commentary on young women if only one of them would acknowledge it…

And yet – isn’t that what this kind of episode is about ? Just when you think you might hate your friend or what she does or why is she like that, you realize, all at once, why exactly she is. Why exactly you are the way you are. They say that you always hate that in others which you revile in yourself – and listening to Jessa beg and whine “Why didn’t you stand up to me?” seems like it could apply equally well in Hannah’s life, albeit in another permutation. Why would you let me be this annoying? Why do I have to live with myself this way?

This story – being a certain age, realizing that your parents’ lack of perfection is not fair and also nothing you can do anything about – is nothing new under the sun, and the dressing – 19-year-old Hannah has sex, arguably for the first time – feels like it was ripped off from Rachel Getting Married as much as anything. I do begin to wonder if Hannah has an empathy button at all, since you can see her wheels turning from the second the “story” begins, it’s all about her.

But this story – the thing where you realize that as much as you might hate all kinds of parts of your life, at least you don’t have your friend’s life - there’s some worth to it.  Or there would be if  there was anyone to tell about it.  If the friend Jessa is was anyone to whom you could relate on a regular basis. The fact that she’s faded off, though, is just supposed to be part of the inherited flakiness that will become her MO as she becomes an adult, because it’s easier to complain about patterns than change them, just as we can see that Hannah is frustrated with her parents’ provincial suspicions every time she gets in contact, just as she’s suspicious of new people in her life (but plays it as blasé.) It’s interesting stuff, if only Hannah were interested in it. I sometimes feel like during the 6 days and 23.5 hours when we don’t see  her, her mind is blank – like she can only have a thought if there’s someone to share it with.

Another “experimental” episode of Girls has a cast of strangers and no real good feelings for anyone – so, depending on the level of continuity next week (and, I suppose, Jemima Kirke’s due date) we’ll see whether Hannah is beginning to put any of the pieces of this disjointed season together.

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