Girls Recap: Hannah and Shoshanna and Jessa and Marnie Marie; Females Only

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Why do we want things to be real? One of the most common complaints about Girls has been that it’s not very much like “real” life, e.g. all the characters are white; all the characters come from a place of economic privilege; all the characters are unlikable; all the characters should grow up, and get a fucking job; all the characters Hannah would never be naked as much as she is. Alternately, Girls is routinely praised for being one of the few shows on television that is at all realistic, e.g. a variety of body types are portrayed; sex isn’t always perfect, it’s frequently awkward and complicated; friendships (all relationships really) aren’t always built on the healthiest of foundations, though they still manage to work. But no matter if you think the show is not real at all or the most realistic thing you’ve ever seen in your whole life, implicit in this discussion is that reality matters in art, and that unless something could really happen, it isn’t worth all that much. This misses the point of Girls, yes, but also of art entirely in that an artist is under no obligation toward reality, and is, in fact, under no obligation to anything except his or her art, and the truth inherent within its message. All of which is to say, there are plenty of times when Girls depicts things that could really happen and plenty of times when it depicts things that probably wouldn’t, but none of this really matters because there is a truth here and an artistry to Dunham’s writing (that even the presence of one too many celebrity cameos can’t void entirely) that is unlike anything else that is on TV right now. All of which is to say, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is probably a very good show, but Girls is doing something innovative on television, each episode has become the starting off point for a million different conversations. And also? Girls is fucking funny.

Everyone’s waking up. Hannah is waking up with Adam, and her hair is fixed from the terrible haircut she gave herself during her mental collapse, and Adam places pills right on Hannah’s tongue and it seems like everything is maybe, possibly just fine. Marnie is waking up on her mother’s couch, wrapped up in Rainbow Brite sheets, looking pained and disgusted with her suburban condo lifestyle. Shoshanna is waking up with some guy on the top bunk of his bunk bed in what is definitely an NYU dorm, and I’d have to guess that it’s Weinstein because of the presence of bunk beds, but I hate to assume that because Shosh is a senior and should not be within 200 yards of Weinstein or a dorm room in general. And Jessa? Jessa is already awake and doing dishes in the way that we all wish we could do dishes, namely, by throwing out the ones that are irreparably crusted with food.

Of them all, Hannah certainly seems to have had the most gentle of waking up experiences, but that won’t last long, because we next see her at the Café Grumpy that Ray manages—where she still works—as she talks with Ray about the problematic reality of moving on from an ill-fated relationship. The two are talking about the demise of Ray and Shoshanna, and Hannah seems to think the two could still be friends, but Ray points out that there isn’t anything to do and that just because the duo “once shared true and stunning intimacy and now [are] nothing more than strangers,” it’s not such a big deal, and is in fact, just “called life.” Hannah thinks this is tragic for all of about two minutes before Adam comes in (he’s dropped his keys down a subway grate, as one does) and is immediately recognized by his ex-girlfriend Natalia, of whom he must’ve disposed pretty quickly so that he could get back together with Hannah.

What follows is one of the most epic confrontations between a totally in-the-wrong ex-boyfriend, a jilted ex-girlfriend, and the ex-girlfriend’s best friend, and that best friend is perfectly played by “feisty shiksa” Amy Schumer, who has this to say about Hannah’s mismatched outfit, “Did you leave in a rush?” Natalia lets Hannah and Adam have it, saying, “You two should enjoy your urine-soaked life fucking like the two feral animals you both are. You’re going to end up with a baby that you don’t know how to care for. You’re going to kill your kid. You’re going to give it spoiled formula. You’re not gonna get any milk out of those tits.” And then she walks out without paying! And so does Amy Schumer! I think we can all pretty much agree that Natalia is going to be just fine.

Maybe not going to be fine? Marnie. Marnie is mourning having been off-camera-dumped by Charlie (later we find out something about them buying ingredients for grilled pizza, but it NEVER GETTING MADE), and trying to convince her mother that she will be JUST FINE, because she has a promising new job (Café Grumpy) and will be moving into a new apartment and whatever else Marnie is saying to convince her mother and herself that she’ll be fine. Marnie’s mother reminds Marnie that Charlie was not “Liam Hemsworth or Ryan Gosling or Channing Tatum or I don’t know Jan Michael Vincent,” and that she gave Marnie her “middle name—Marie—which has a legacy of strength and independence.” And Marnie correctly points out, “Yeah, you know what else it has? Only one letter differentiating it from my first name.” And so, really, Marnie’s problems run deep.

Jessa’s problems are maybe too deeply rooted to even register properly, as we find out during her stay in rehab, where she gets in fights with meth-head Mindy (Kim Gordon, who is maybe not the greatest actor, and definitely looks like she wants to be wearing a scrunchie) and someone named “Fred with a Ph,” and “fat, lesbian Laura” who wears the hell out of a puffy vest and is rocking a cat calendar in her room. Jessa is mostly in rehab because being there means her grandmother will pay her rent in the future, but she’s not doing so well, having been banned from males, which means she has to wear a sign reading “Females Only.” Jessa breaks this rule by hanging out with an older British guy with whom she can act out some of her father issues. Jessa acts out some other issues by visiting Laura, who besides from being a formerly closeted lesbian was also molested by her uncle as a child. Jessa tells Laura, “I’m sorry for your uncle fucking you.” Jessa is suddenly, suspiciously, at her most compassionate, telling Laura that drugs were probably just “a placeholder for pussy.” Which, what isn’t a placeholder for pussy? I don’t even want to know. And, before we know what’s happening (or before Laura knows what’s happening) Jessa is eating out the be-vested lesbian, and then getting kicked out of rehab in very short order.

Despite Jessa not doing so great with the whole mental health thing, Hannah is well on her way to getting her e-book published (happily, it will include a scene where she masturbates a kidney stone out of a Puerto Rican Jew…but will that be part of Lena Dunham’s upcoming book? fingers crossed!) and is diligently visiting her therapist, who seems more interested in what kind of papier maché sculptures Adam makes than anything Hannah says. Which, Hannah is evasive about what the sculptures are of, so I feel pretty confident in guessing that they’re casts of his penis. Just a thought!

But really, Hannah is doing well overall, and is hosting a dinner party for Shosh and Marnie, along with Adam, who is also really pulling it together for Hannah, despite hating her friends. Or, well, as Adam puts it, he doesn’t “hate [Hannah’s] friends, [he’s] just not interested in anything they have to say.” To which Hannah replies, “I’m not interested in anything they have to say! That’s not the point of friendship.” But they pull it together for the dinner, and have great sex after, and Hannah promises Adam he won’t have to see her friends again for a really long time, and everything is GREAT until the phone rings and it’s Jessa, asking for Hannah to pick her up from rehab. Hannah is only twenty-four, though, and can’t rent a car, so…


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