Girls Season 3 Episode 5 recap.

Let’s assume I’m not a perfect person. Maybe even not a great person. Subjective, of course, based on a million factors – but let’s say that’s true. Does it mean that I can, or I can’t, identify other people who are imperfect? People who have problems? 

This is the rather well-done theme of this week’s episode of Girls, and I couldn’t help but notice that the episode was written by one person, directed by another, and neither of those was Lena Dunham, who instead turned in the best performance I’ve seen her do in a single episode. 

I love so much what Girls is doing this season that I have to pinch myself to see if I’m the same person. I don’t think it’s flawless or even consistently great, but three years in, I feel like they’re doing what they set out to do, which is point out that when you’re in your 20s and self-centered and awful, you can still come up with a moral code you expect others to follow – and know that you’re kind of right.

Hannah’s gross behavior at her editor’s funeral would be just disgusting and off-colour if it wasn’t also the case that when you’re that old you’re lucky enough not to have had to go to a lot of funerals. You act awkwardly and you do that thing that you’ve learned to fall back on, which is “talk about things you have in common. Talk about You.” So she does, and the only thing happening in Hannah’s brain is bookbookbookbookbookbook. Which makes her kind of gross, true, but maybe not terrible.

And when everything is amazing and she gets offered a real book deal and calls her father and verbally abuses her blissfully ignorant cousin, well, what are you going to do? She’s just that kind of person.

And then, at the end of the wonderful-but-horrible day, she screams at Caroline and tells her to get out of the apartment. I believe Hannah when she says she’s doing it for Adam, as well as finally having a target for all her rage that she can get rid of with some feeling of doing something good. I believe that she might be ashamed, later, of how she talks to her father (fine, later may equal five years later, but still) but that she feels justified in her treatment of Caroline. 

It’s the bitch of trying to be a good person that when you are actually working hard at it, as Hannah does when she’s trying to get Adam and Caroline to work out their truly messed up sh*t – nobody notices. You don’t get to put it in the bank for when you are a giant jerk later.  

Still, Hannah’s being awful often doesn’t change the fact that Caroline may also be awful. The bitch of it is, of course, that Adam doesn’t think so. Or he does but it doesn’t matter. Caroline’s terrible, but she’s his sister and he’s supposed to be taking care of her and that’s the end of it. For Hannah, an only child, the math in this situation becomes a little murky.

I wonder about the family thing because I’d love to hear more from Shoshanna on how much of her continued support of Jessa is familial. They’ve been playing Shosh with less and less interest in Jessa’s glamour, which is great, so is it just that she’s a good person and doesn’t want to cut her out, or that she feels some sort of family obligation, or what? I know we’re supposed to have forgotten about the cousin thing, especially since Hannah was the “family member” who signed for her as rehab – but Shoshanna has a million rules for how the world is supposed to conduct itself, and which of them apply when your cousin has a criminal record and wants to work in a chic baby store?

It’s murky too with Ray and Marnie. I loved every frame of this sequence between them and the same logic applies. Ray’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s still qualified to tell Marnie what’s wrong with her, by virtue of Marnie thinking that he is. The actual issue here is that Ray is a misanthropist and Marnie actually is too, she just doesn’t know it. Neither of them really like mixing with other people who can point out, constantly, their inadequacies. Neither of them really wants to deal with the realities of other people in their world having other lives.  Those are the crimes that the Hannahs and Shoshannas of the world have committed – having wider, bigger worlds than Marnie and Ray. Desiring more than just the one person to fill their interests. How dare they, really?

I’m not sure where the show is going or what their bigger point is going to be with the Caroline situation. I like it, though, and I thought I’d be much more exhausted by Gaby Hoffman’s character by now. But if they’re going to continue to show us degrees of good or bad personhood, and emphasize how much the lines can blur, I can get down with watching that, particularly if Shoshanna is going to outline some patterns and rules about it soon.