With "It's a Shame about Ray," we've now seen the exposed sides of Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna's relationships, teaching us about our main characters' vulnerabilities and projections, and how they look when they're at their most raw. Hannah is sloppy, tortured and afraid; Marnie is lost without her labels; Jessa is full of pain; and Shoshanna is strange but quite innocent. I think this might be my favorite episode of Girls so far, in no small part thanks to the well-proportioned screen time each of our protagonists got and, like in "All Adventurous Women Do," there was this wonderful moment of female friendship at the end, framed by a completely on-the-nose song that was just too perfect to really sneer at... you know, unless you hate-watch this show. In that case, I'd imagine that Hannah and Jessa in the tub is one of those scenes that made you cringe harder than ever before and only furthered your antipathy for Lena Dunham. To which I'd ask: unless you're getting paid to do it, why are you still watching this show, really?
I'm not knocking hate-watching here, as I know the pure joy I get from making fun of Smash's insanity or yelling at The Walking Dead every time Lori opens her mouth, and I would never dream of taking that bliss away from anyone else. But Girls is a pretty earnest sitcom about a few friends in their '20s that's far better written than most of the shows on TV (not just the ones that win awards) and actually takes risks with its content and lets its characters fail with purpose. I understand that Dunham can be polarizing and that it's easy to make jokes about how often we see her boobs (which I totally partake in -- this episode, it was minute 28:22), but if you despise her so much, and feel personally victimized and offended by the fact that a young woman helmed a TV show and a movie (without relying on nepotism) and created a female character who is not conventionally attractive or even "adorkable" yet is still a sexual being with thoughts and feelings, then don't fucking watch it because this show is not intended for you.
On the other hand, if you like Girls overall or at least think it's interesting enough to sit through, but you're a discerning viewer who'd like to poke a few holes in it and talk about why it can be problematic, then you're in the right place. I swear I'll stop pontificating and start talking about what actually happened in the episode.
Jessa is a cold, hard bitch. I mean, I thought Thomas-John absolutely deserved everything he got, but telling a person they're the same pathetic loser they (thought they) were in high school and that you're embarrassed when you walk down the street together because they're "so fucking average" is about as cruel as it gets. The thing is, though, that what he said to her was equally painful. I honestly believe she didn't marry him for his money or to add "another fucked up story" to her collection; she married him hoping to break her masochistic cycle of sleazy dads and spiteful window sex. The problem is that Thomas-John, despite being "the only finance guy who actually made a profit from the recession," is far too burdened with his own insecurities to believe in himself and stick up for Jessa. It's also possible that he was using her good looks and bohemian image to lend authenticity to his hipster lifestyle. In any event, I think Jessa was so beyond angry with herself that when Thomas-John offered her $10,000 to get out of his life, she took it (plus another $1,500) entirely out of spite. Same goes for smashing his Humie.
Oh yeah, before that, the scenes at (I think?) Peter Luger with Thomas-John's parents (played by Griffin Dunne and Deborah Rush) were highly enjoyable, what with his father's gross attraction to Jessa and her heroin-filled past, and his mother's obvious disdain for her new daughter-in-law's complete lack of career ambition. And I'm glad that we got a little closure during the fight scene regarding Jessa and Thomas-John returning little Garbage, Pucker and Hanukkah.
As for Marnie's storyline, though I had some general problems with it (which I'll get to), there were a few interesting things at work here, mostly Marnie realizing how hard it's going to be without Hannah or Charlie around to support her. The Girls writers do awkward very well, which made the dinner really fun to watch -- even when it got dark and all about Charlie's butthole. I also appreciated Charlie calling Booth Jonathan "that little Ewok in fucking Capri pants."
After all that, seeing Hannah stick by her friends was another one of those "only on Girls" moments in female relationships -- the fierce loyalty to your "crazy" friend, whether she just stormed out of your dinner party or she's climbing into your bathtub unannounced. My favorite Hannah moments were her telling Charlie that he was a jerk while referencing Marnie having "sex with a gay man," the reappearance of the phrase "that is none of your concern," and the aforementioned "Wonderwall" sequence.
And of course, the Shoshanna and Ray storyline was adorable. It might not have been as earned as some other romances we saw on TV this week, but their relationship, Ray's signed picture of Andy Kaufman, their dynamic -- hell, even the way they dress in this episode -- felt straight out of a John Hughes movie to me. It was like having a clit in my butt... but in my heart.
Because I'm pleased to see Hannah finally standing up for herself, I'm glad she's kicking Elijah out -- but on the other hand, I do wonder if it's exactly true to character, or if it's because Andrew Rannells is committed to The New Normal and can no longer slum it as a 20-something on HBO. Either way, I hope it's not the last we see of him, although I can't imagine there's much more material to squeeze out of that relationship. A vintage cardigan can only be repurposed so many times.
Elsewhere, I don't entirely believe that Hannah would have Charlie and Audrey over for an intimate dinner. She's not friends with Audrey (the girl couldn't stand to stay at her party without pot), Charlie publicly humiliated her, and her best friend is still getting over him. I guess Ray and Charlie are good friends, but I still don't exactly buy that the invite would happen for any sake other than sitcom convenience... which, knowing Hannah, actually seems like a plausible explanation, the more I think about it.
Also, watching Thomas-John squeeze Jessa's breast kind of made me want to throw up and die. And hey -- is Jessa pregnant? I know Jemima Kirke was pregnant during the time of filming, but is her character supposed to be expecting, too?
I love the fight that Elijah and Hannah had at the beginning of the episode, but it wasn't quite as quotable as I'd like for it to be. Fortunately, there were these:
When Life Hands You Artisan Mustard
Marnie, on what's new with her: "Nothing that great. Nothing with condiments."
On Snorting Heroin
A very sarcastic Thomas-John: "It's just like an Advil."
Why You'd Want to Know Your Boyfriend Is Living with You
Shoshanna: "So I could have, like, you know, bought some new sheets, or called my aunt for advice about living with a man for the first time."
Thomas-John, on hookers: "They don't say, 'Oh I like your apartment,' but then mumble under their breath about it looking like 'the set of gay Entourage.' And they don't buy a bunch of fucking Buddhas [especially funny since he's talking about Budai statues] and put them everywhere so it looks like whenever we're having sex we're being watched by a bunch of fat babies."
Jessa, on happiness: "I'm going to be so fucking fat like Nico and you know why, that's because I'm going to be full of experiences."
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