Boy, when Girls gets something wrong, it gets it so wrong, but when it gets something right, it gets it so right. Case in point: the soaring feeling you can get breezily walking through the streets of downtown Manhattan when everything in your life briefly, inexplicably falls into place and/or the crushing defeat that can surprise the hell out of you during what was supposed to be a routine trip to get frozen yogurt. Life in New York City changes on you on a dime, and sometimes you're zipping through Times Square having just heard the best news of your life, and other times you're carrying a pizza with you after having been dumped in Brooklyn.
After last week's vast improvement "Beach House," last night's "Incidentals" was another stellar showing in what had been an off-putting Season 3 thus far. Now, Hannah having a lunch with Patti LuPone to interview her for an advertorial piece about a bone density medicine was about as unbelievable as the fictitious GQ snack room. For something like this, it would have been a phoner, but then we wouldn't have had the joy of having a Patti LuPone cameo and she was a truly hilarious addition to the roster of guest stars.
After getting stood up by Ms. LuPone, Hannah contacted her publicist and tracked the diva down at a rehearsal (again, unlikely, but I just like that Hannah is showing a little initiative towards anything). The two have some pretty funny back and forth ("I'm the laziest person in the world… sometimes I use my chest as a tray") and Patti more or less makes up her struggles with her non-existent Osteoporosis on the spot. Of course, any fleeting professionalism Hannah had before goes right out the window when she picks up a call from Adam during her interview to get the news that he had been cast in a Broadway play he'd auditioned for (more on that in a moment). Patti, funnily enough, didn't seem to mind the interruption, and was more than willing to dish out some words of advice and caution to the partner of a Broadway star. "Good luck," she told Hannah, "He's going to need you to support him and forgive him because he's gonna be an asshole." She also warned that if he was in any way sexual, he was pretty much going to be intimate with his co-stars and have fans and hook up with anything that walks (hell, as Patti put it, even "the Elephant Man got laid a lot") and that set off alarm bells for Hannah.
Granted, they've more or less turned Adam into a saint on this show, so what's there to worry about even if he is still socially inept (in the waiting room for the casting call for Major Barbara, Adam loudly declares over the phone to Hannah that he's "Not here to make friends" and "Everybody here looks how I'd look with a nose job") and gets to more or less coast through life where others struggle. Adam has made a point to repeatedly exclaim that acting is more or less a hobby, and while thousands of other actors in the Big Apple fight for their big break, Adam effortlessly books a prime gig in a Broadway presentation of a famous George Bernard Shaw piece. Still, even with my lingering sour thoughts of Adam, I still found myself excited for him as he giggled when he heard the good news and then freaked out in the bathroom. Chalk it up to the charms of Adam Driver and Adam Sackler alike.
And while Adam exclaimed he wasn't there to make friends (maybe he should be auditioning for a reality show instead), he, of course, still managed to make one. Desi (played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach) is a cool, hippie-type cast alongside Adam in the play who offered to give his new co-star a ride back to Brooklyn on his motorcycle and, wound up hanging out again later in the day.
Meanwhile, back at Hannah's magical, wondrous, high-paying gig at GQ (according to her paycheck, her entry-level editorial position in one week equals a week of rent at her Brooklyn two-bedroom, which I simply refuse to believe), she gets another bitchin' gig to write up an advertorial about staying at the swanky Gramercy Hotel. Hannah invites all of her friends over, including the newly-returned Elijah, to celebrate Adam's big news and presumably, to actually write at some point, though we never actually see that happen.
Of course, it wasn't all fun and Broadway banter. (I could have watched an entire episode of Elijah trying to coach a disinterested Adam through the ins and outs of Broadway, and regaling him with tales of seeing "Tyne Daly get super drunk and fall down a flight of stairs" and warning him, "Don’t come crying to me when Kristen Chenoweth passes out because you forgot to feed her.") A whiny, emotional Marnie (so, you know, Marnie) stormed in upset after she had a day that included running into Booth Jonathan's UNBEARABLY ANNOYING former assistant Su-Jin, who not-so-humbly bragged about her new gallery (paid for, of course, by her parents) and getting unceremoniously dumped by Ray who told her, "I don’t want to do this, I want a girlfriend. Have a relationship that’s deep and sincere and challenging and scary." Marnie did not take it well and said two of the most irritating things I've ever heard her say on this show: "I wouldn’t be eating pizza in front of you if I actually liked you," and then implied that he was simply trying to "Humiliate the girl you couldn’t get in high school." (Quick sidebar: I refuse to believe that Ray would have Netflix-rented Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. That's even less believable than him courting Marnie in the first place.) In the Buzzfeed quiz of life , no one wants to be a Marnie. Of course, Marnie didn't tell Hannah any of this (she did, however, give her a shoulder to cry on) and instead saddled up to former One Tree Hill star Desi, who was regaling everyone with songs and "vision quest" stories. Hannah was not into any of it.
That scene paled in comparison to a coked-up Jessa showing up with a coked-up Jasper (Richard E. Grant), who had showed up to her job just hours before convincing her that she actually wasn't healthy and couldn't be tamed and was living a lie. Sadly, that seemed to be all the convincing she needed because the two of them eventually wound up high as kites and stealing money from her store to score more coke. While this whole thing truly bummed me out (I'd rather watch Jessa grapple with retail boredom than backslide in to her addiction with this sketchy guy for a bevy of reasons), it was amusing to watch Shoshanna's interactions with Jasper (she initially thought he was going to rape her, and he thought she was also on drugs.) Still, this can't end well.
I guess the same could be said for Hannah and Adam, though. As much as I loved their cute, natural and sexy scene in the bathtub together at the end, Hannah's doubts are looming way heavier over excitement for Adam's newfound success, even if she does get a kick out of his stage voice. Hannah telling Adam "I don’t want you to get so happy doing the play that you don’t like our life together anymore" cannot spell good things, even if a romp in a luxury bathtub would appear otherwise.
Still, I don't want to leave things on a sour note, because aside from the Jessa disappointment and all the dreadful Marnie scenes (though I did get a kick out of her mistaking a Bob Dylan tune for a Michelle Branch original, still having an AOL email account and thinking Desi's "irksome" vocabulary were actually folk song lyrics), this episode was actually pretty damn enjoyable. And pretty damn funny to boot. ("Are you afraid he's gonna leave you for Sutton Foster?" was a Shoshanna gem if there ever was one.) This was the kind of Girls I had missed at the first half of this season and the kind I'm happy to have back: smart, funny and the right amount of infuriating.
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