It was only a matter of time. The groundwork has been laid for almost the entirety of Season 3 about how there are too many cracks in Hannah and Adam's foundation for them to sustain a healthy long-term relationship. These two may be crazy for each other (crazy being the operative word here) but their relationship started as such an uneven mess that it's impossible to build it from the ground up. As much as Adam would like to argue that Hannah still associates him with his "older" version, it's a little hard to do that when scorned ex-girlfriends show up at coffee shops or he acts distant and moody on a moment's notice. But Hannah's just as much at fault, too. She is self-absorbed, but also puts Adam on an impossible pedestal even when he doesn't necessarily deserve to be up there. Last week, Adam told her "I'm very committed to you "at this time" and her mother tried to plead with her "You're so special you deserve everything…he's nice, but stay open to possibilities" and it all seemed to fall on deaf ears. These two are operating on very different frequencies (see: how they both dealt with the subject of death this season) and as much as we want them to be perfect together, these are two imperfect people.
Last night's episode "Role Play" had all the characters hitting major breaking points with each other and with themselves. Marnie tried to get herself back out there, in her career, in her songwriting and possibly her love life, and all three fell short of what she had hoped for. She attempted to get a gallery job with truly godawful person Soo-Jin, but the 24-year-old gallerina/electronic DJ/trust-fund brat suggested that she could be her far-more-qualified personal assistant instead. Later on, Marnie has a jam session with Desi and when he encourages her with kind words and sings a song on the spot that includes the lyrics "I need you in my bed now/Can't get you off of my mind/ I'm dying of this thirst, girl," she thinks it might be about her. It is not. Even worse, at around that same moment, her apartment is being used for some truly depressing sex by her friends. (But I'm jumping ahead. Way more on that later.) I honestly don't think anyone gets kicked around on this show more than Marnie. I hope she actually does take Desi's advice and gain some confidence in her songwriter. Though, hopefully, she comes up with something better than her impromptu "Swimming pools of candy" ditty.
Jessa, on the other hand, keeps letting life kick her around because she doesn't know any other way to exist. When we first see Jessa in this episode, she and Jasper are high as kites, continuing to make Shoshanna's apartment and life a waking nightmare. Jessa tells Shoshanna that Jasper is a "sad man," a disgraced former hotelier with an ex-wife and an estranged daughter who lives in New York City. A light bulb must have gone off in Shoshanna's head that the daughter would be the ticket to getting Jasper out of her apartment and, in turn, Jessa. (I also think that, at the core, Shoshanna actually wanted to help these people get better, too.) Shoshanna invites Jessa and Jasper to meet her for dinner and they are soon joined by Jasper's daughter Dot (Felicity Jones). Dot is wrought with worry about her father and pleads with him to get help so he can go back to being the loving, interesting man he used to be. Jessa tries, in vain, to get a tortured Jasper to simply roll his eyes at this situation (she scoffs at the idea that the man she met in rehab has a disease), but in the end it doesn't work. Dot tells Jasper he's got to get rid of Jessa, and when we later see a shaken, smoking Jessa sitting on the ground outside, it appears his daughter got through to him. For now. A defeated, depressed Jessa changes her demeanor when Shoshanna walks towards her and tries to deflect her own guilt and feelings on to her. "I hope you're happy," she seethes at Shoshanna. Shoshanna, already so over Jessa's tactics, tells her straightforwardly, "You look like a junkie." Jessa replies nonchalantly, "I am a junkie." Shoshanna walks inside, knowing she has done more than enough for this person and that she can only do so much. Coddling doesn't work, and neither does tough love. Jessa is left to sit on the stoop and contemplate this, and I wouldn't be remotely surprised if she takes off again.
But while Marnie, Jessa, and Shoshanna all had interesting storylines in "Role Play" (it's about time), it was, once again, all about Hannah and Adam. The episode started innocently enough with Hannah going out and getting plastered with her co-workers. Girls has shifted quite a bit from being relatable this season, but I'd be hard-pressed to find any twenty-something who didn't cringe with familiarity at the sight of Hannah doing shots, making drunk phone calls to her boyfriend, making a scene and subsequently puking in the street. Honestly, it was just refreshing to watch Hannah behave like a normal (albeit very drunk) twenty-something. And kudos to Lena Dunham for playing drunk convincingly, especially when Hannah's asked where she lives and she mutters out, "My parents live in Michigan." Perfect. Hilarious.
When a very drunk Hannah winds up crashing at her coworker Joe's apartment, it sort of feels like we're being set up to believe something will happen between them. But, instead, he just sweetly cleans her up after she pukes pretty much everywhere. When Hannah returns to her own apartment the next morning, she expects to find a frenzied, concerned Adam (that is his nature, after all) but instead she just gets a blasé "Where the fuck were you?" and then he immediately begins talking about the new coat he gets to wear in his show. You should be worried when your girlfriend doesn't come home because she's too drunk and you should be worried when your boyfriend doesn't worry about that. But Adam and Hannah don't spontaneously combust here; it's more of a slow burn that ends in an eruption.
That burn continues when Adam turns down Hannah's sexual advances because he doesn't want to show up to rehearsal "sticky" (this, the very person who requests to have sex at the most inopportune times and places) and get back to reading his book. Adam invited Hannah to his rehearsal, but when the director spots her and asks her why she's there and alerts her that "we can't have anybody watching rehearsals," Adam sheepishly puts his head down, tells Hannah she's at work and lets her unceremoniously get kicked out.
With that, Hannah does what any person in her situation would do: she calls Elijah over to eat burritos in bed and complain about when the honeymoon phase in relationships end. Hannah says that Adam is "treating me like an ottoman with a vagina" and that the thrill is gone, but that she wants to do something to remind him why they're in love. Elijah, who has apparently broken up with Pal since we last saw them at the beach house, suggest that if she wants to fight for her relationship and she's sick of talking about it to actually do something about it.
Hannah interprets that as surprising Adam with some role play. Hannah tells Adam to meet her at a bar after practice (but not before Adam could ask her if she wanted him to bring home dinner because who the hell is this guy anymore) and instead Adam meets a woman at a bar with a truly terrible blonde wig and a hilariously awful backstory. Let's just say it doesn't get off to the best start. When Adam finally recognizes Hannah. he greets her with a "The fuck?" He's clearly not interesting in playing along with her act as a martini-sipping woman who is on the prowl while her husband Jardaniel (good god, that made me laugh hard) is stuck at work. These two are on different pages of this act the entire time, because when Adam starts to play along, she breaks (occasionally into a terrible New York accent), and vice versa. Or worse, Hannah doesn't know when to break character. Case in point: when a stranger thinks Hannah is in actual trouble, she plays like she doesn't know Adam and Adam gets clocked.
They still try to salvage the night by going back to "Jardaniel's pied-à-terre" (which, Adam puts together pretty quickly is Marnie's apartment because it "smells like cookies and air freshener") to have sex. Everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. Instead of arousing Adam, Hannah's lingerie "makes her look like a Christmas tree." When he plays dominant and tells her to eat an entire strawberry whole, she seductively answers, "I'm afraid to eat the green part." It's all actually pretty funny, until it's not. It's clear that from the start, Adam is freaked out and not on board with the whole surprise role-play thing, but it's none more evident than when after Hannah switches characters mid-way through them having sex, he freaks out. "You can't change roles in the middle, it doesn't make any narrative sense," he cries. But, this isn't really about the narrative sense of their "characters;" something much deeper is underneath the surface of all this.
Hannah explains to Adam that the reason she did this was to please him and have the strange sex like they used to. Adam tells Hannah that he wasn't planning out their sex, it just came to him in the moment. "Sex was a thing that kept me from drinking, that's why I fucked women in bars," he tells her, adding that she has "an old idea of who I am." Perhaps that's true, but Hannah was also trying to get back to a time when he found her irresistible and he should be able to recognize that. "We fell in love and I just wanted to have sex with you and be sweet," he tells her, adding, "You think I'm some angry sociopath who fucks older women." Again, Adam has only recently turned into this "perfect" guy, so of course Hannah is always going to have the "old" Adam in the back of her mind somewhere.
It takes a turn for especially nasty when Adam, after telling Hannah he's "not here to fulfill stories for your Twitter" tells her, more or less, that his job is more important than hers. Without missing a beat, he drops on a bomb on her that he's going to stay with Ray during rehearsals so that he can focus so that he doesn't have to deal with the drama. "What drama?" Hannah asks, adding, "This is just me." To which Adam replies, "Exactly." Hannah is no walk in the park, that is for damn sure, but Adam's just as much a selfish jerk for thinking he never brought drama into her life either. Adam tells Hannah that the theater job is something he cares deeply about. In fact, he says "it feels amazing to finally care about something" which is actually pretty devastating to tell one's girlfriend if you really think about it. They trade a few more barbs and have a goodbye kiss gone awry, but Adam eventually takes off. Hannah sits there crushed and confused. It's one of those moments in life that elevates so quickly and to a place that you never expected it to that you not only retrace every minute and word of what just happened, but everything leading up to it. I have no idea what direction Adam and Hannah are heading in, but I'm thrilled with the way Girls is going again: raw and funny and, most importantly, relatable.
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