The Dangers of ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ Posters
Girls Season 5 Episode 7 recap
God, I love Ray so much. Do you think that he has a mansplaining monologue about the dangers of mansplaining? Because I know he does, and I really want to hear it.
I will listen to him Deep Internet any day. Even though he says things like ‘you deal with this one’.
Hannah doesn’t even react to that comment, and you might assume that’s because she doesn’t hear it, or because she agrees she needs to be ‘dealt with’. But I don’t think I agree. Half of what makes her so strident about showing her ‘vagina’ (come on, Hannah, that was your mons pubis and vulva, I expect more verbal accuracy from you!) is that she mayyybe thinks she went too far, but also has this idea of herself as a trailblazing so-crazy and she can’t back away from that. Because if she does, then who would she be?
So her moments of doubling down on being ridiculous and awful are mostly, I think, triggered by the knowledge that she’s going too far. If she acknowledges that and backs away from it, though, she looks weak, and like she didn’t really believe the histrionics. So she has to follow through, even though she’s already aware that she’s ridiculous. To me, this is so exemplified by the feet on the wall in the amazing Marnie and Desi scene. She flails out of her own self-loathing and upset—and, let’s be honest, because Marnie’s attention is distracted from Hannah and her problems – but when she realizes mid-flail that it’s likely to go unnoticed (especially by those two) she has to punctuate it, the adult-child equivalent of ‘I meant to do that’.
Doubt me? Notice Hannah when she sees Adam and Jessa, and notices, by their quiet, by their not saying anything, how clearly they really do believe in their two-ness. She uses the word ‘f*cking’ over and over again, but as we – and Hannah, at her core - knows, that’s not what it is. If it was, she wouldn’t be so upset. It’s so much more. You can tell, because of how quiet and calm they are together. Just like Marnie and Desi, when they quietly sing their soon-to-be-famous song. (OMG, those two.)
I don’t necessarily think this is always true—that ‘true’ romance is quiet, while posing needs to be loud and showy—but I think Girls does. That’s what Fran says, after all: “I do not make scenes in public”, and, elsewhere, that’s what ultimately tips Elijah off. Dill is all about publicly decorating him, and overtly ‘loving that you’re here’, but that’s not the same thing as not wanting to be with anyone else. I love that you can see Elijah realize a few things in succession: that he’s not Dill’s only partner; that that bothers him; that he knows it’s not necessarily supposed to bother him, because he’s a sophisticated man in the world, but it does anyway. Being honest about that (and, in the theme of the episode, quiet rather than dramatic) is super mature—but where does it get him?
Because at the end of the episode, Hannah and Fran quietly postpone the inevitable, and quietly walk away together. They are, as Fran requested, not making a scene in public. Instead, Hannah made scenes all through the ‘play’, hoping one of her friends would notice her pain. Nobody does—just like they didn’t notice Kitty Genovese’s. But then, Kitty was screaming.
See how hard it is for Hannah to figure out what’s right to do? She keeps making noise but nobody can hear her. But nobody hears her when she’s quiet, either. Why can’t Hannah find a way to be heard? She’s screaming as loud as she can.