In the first two seasons of Girls, the third episode always wound up being one of the most talked about of the season. In the first season, we discovered that Hannah had HPV and that she liked to dance to Robyn in her bedroom. Hannah! Just like
us some people! In the second season, Hannah did a ton of coke off a toilet seat and ran around New York in a neon mesh tank top all in the name of stunt journalism. Hannah! Just like us some people! And this episode is also sure to be one that’s talked about a lot (and not just because of Gaby Hoffman’s full bush and thigh bruises), but because the appearance of Hoffman as Adam’s sister Caroline goes a long way to explaining why Adam is not only drawn to Hannah when she’s flailing and spiraling, but also why he has such a driving urge to save her. It all comes back to our families, you guys. They fuck us up.
But so, Caroline intrudes on Adam and Hannah’s scene of domestic bliss (is there anything that’s more intimate than cutting someone’s hair? or that involves more trust? not really) because she has been shockingly dumped by the man she was seeing, and left by the side of the road near a guard rail of all things. Hannah is incredibly sympathetic as Caroline expresses her confusion, telling Hannah, “He had so many pets and he was so good to them. How can a man who loves pets with such a haunting totality turn around and brutally rebuff me?” It’s not a good question, but it is a question, and Hannah gets it. You know who doesn’t get it? Adam. Probably because Adam has seen Caroline work her destructive magic before, and you get the feeling that Caroline’s attempted murder of their grandmother is just the tip of the iceberg. So Adam wants Caroline to leave the apartment, and Hannah says she’ll go along with his wishes, but then fucks the whole thing up by inviting Caroline to her birthday party. Not that Hannah can really help herself, because once she sees that Caroline has a whole thigh full of enigmatic bruises (it’s not that Caroline was abused per se, but she also “doesn’t know what to call an unprovoked physical attack by someone you love”), well, Hannah just can’t resist compelling, damaged people. See: Adam, Jessa, et al.
Speaking of damaged (although not even slightly compelling) people, Marnie made a music video. And it’s predictably terrible. Well, it’s level of terrible was actually sort of unpredictable, because it’s really, really bad. It’s a cover of Edie Brickell’s “What I Am” and it features Marnie wearing too much eyeliner and dancing in a stairwell, and Marnie in plaid boxer shorts awkwardly gyrating against a wall, and Marnie wearing glasses and writing music. It’s exactly what you’d expect from the person who sang “Stronger” a capella at a party last year. But Marnie is not as excited about this video as we the viewers are, because she made this video with Charlie and it was supposed to be private, which I guess proves that they had the sickest, most twisted sex life of anyone else on the show. Charlie, of course, broke up with Marnie, and is now digging the knife in a little more by posting this video on YouTube where commenters are brutal (“please stab this Disney princess in the face and tell her to shut the fuck up”) and Marnie can’t take it down. Poor Marnie. I’m sure she won’t act out on these feelings of shame by trying to embarrass another person later on, right? Right?! Haha, oh right. It’s Marnie and she’s the worst. Of course she will.
As it turns out, Marnie is co-hosting Hannah’s birthday party with Hannah’s parents (nice hat, Mr. H!). Well, co-hosting in the sense that Hannah’s parents are paying for everything and Marnie gets to walk around being a jerk and wearing a terrible purple and yellow dress and doing bitchy thing. How bitchy? Well, when Hannah’s mom tells Hannah that she looks wonderful, Marnie agrees saying, “Doesn’t she? I tell her she could look like this every day if she wanted to.” Shut up, Marnie. Why are you even involved with this party? Oh, because you want Charlie to see the pictures of the party on Instagram? And because you want to do explicitly what Hannah asks you not to do and drag the birthday girl up on stage to sing a song from fucking Rent? I get that Caroline is supposed to be the fucked up one in this episode, but Marnie is without a doubt the person with whom I’d like to spend the least amount of time. At least Caroline is a good dancer.
Which, on the opposite end of the spectrum of terribleness is Ray. Ray is a good person, but Ray is having a hard time. Things are going well enough at work, but it clearly isn’t fulfilling Ray and is, if anything, overwhelming him because of all the responsibilities inherent with being a boss. But work isn’t the real problem. The real problem is that Ray isn’t over Shoshanna, mostly because he feels like things ended too soon, and that “it’s not fair to end things in the middle.” Ray wants closure, but he isn’t going to get it. At least not yet, and definitely not at this party. No, at this party he’s going to get bitten by virtual vampire Caroline, as she dances around him like the insane person that she is, and he’s going to get punched out by Hannah’s editor David (not Ed Norton! he is not Ed Norton, but he is a “poor man’s Anderson Cooper”) because David does not appreciate that sometimes, when you want to listen to the Smashing Pumpkins, you want to listen to the fucking Smashing Pumpkins! Poor Ray. It’s like he feels like he’s done everything right—taking the responsible job, living in his own apartment, ignoring the crazy girl dancing around him, entering into an implied contract with the DJ—and yet he’s the one who winds up alone and bloodied, while someone else is going home with his woman. Poor Ray.
And while Ray does not escape the night unscathed, Hannah seems to have survived everything from seeing her parents dance in public, to Marnie’s Broadway show tune singalong, to having Shoshanna tell her how amazing it is that she’s “accomplished so little in the four years since college.” And not just survived, Hannah seems to be doing really well…she and Adam are really happy and he gives her a not at all creepy present of a necklace made out of one of his baby teeth, or maybe it was one of Caroline’s baby teeth because their mom kept all the teeth mixed up together and that’s what we call FORESHADOWING. But then just when Hannah and Adam are about to have some good, old-fashioned birthday sex, Hannah goes for a pre-sex piss and sees Caroline—pants-less—in her bathroom. Caroline is clearly having an episode of some sort because she’s holding a glass and then she breaks that glass, spilling her blood all over Hannah and Adam’s home. They take care of her, of course (and you do have to wonder if Hannah is secretly delighted that this will lead to good stories for her memoir), and bring her to the hospital and tuck her into bed, but Caroline achieved her mission, and ruined their night. Adam realizes that his worst fears came true, his vampiric sister has been invited in, and now she’s going to stay. And Hannah doesn’t get her birthday sex. Happy fucking birthday.
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