Girls: To rehab and back

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“Girls” season three kicked off with “Females Only” and “Truth or Dare.” Instead of a recap, this is a fireside chat about the first two episodes between my friend Shelby and I, which will become a weekly thing. Keep the discussion going in the comments section below.

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Alex: How great is College Shoshanna? Her idea of a souvenir is a wooden rocking chair. Her image of a drug addict is a friend who can’t stop drinking blueberry Red Bull.

Shelby: I’ve always loved how unapologetically naive Shosh is, and I really love how she’s taken to her word at the end of last season. As she’s breaking up with Ray, she tells him that she can’t live under his ominous cloud of experience without having had experiences herself, and so she’s going to go take a life journey of sorts. I think it’s really interesting how Shoshanna has shifted as a character from season one to the premiere of season 3. She’s doing things in the first opening shots of the episode that old Shosh would have never been doing–sleeping under a presumable stranger on the top bunk in a dorm room. But of course, she’s approaching these new life endeavors the same way she approached everything: she has to follow some sort of unspoken social code or rule. I love when she tells the other girls that she’s scheduling in time for these trysts, as to not affect her performance in the classroom or the outcome of her final exams. I love how she thinks that this is the way to become a proper, fully-functioning adult. It’s as adorable as the time she nearly cried over having worn white to Jessa’s impromptu wedding.

A: I think the moment she realizes she’s not a naive child anymore is in the motel room when she’s explaining Truth or Dare to Adam. It’s also the moment I laughed hardest at. Here’s Adam, probably the last person you would ever guess to play the game and here’s Shosh trying to explain it in simple terms that he can understand. It’s funny because, when she’s explaining the rules, there’s this moment of pause when she kind of realizes that there aren’t any ramifications for choosing not to play along and she’s just like: “You just have to do it.” And then, her dare is to kiss Hannah. She is so much fun.

S: Exactly. I think everyone might be doing a little growing up this season–or at least, what they determine to be their own version of growing up. Marnie is making the steps she think will allow her to get past her Charlie heartbreak by moving into her own place, Hannah is in a semi-functional adult relationship, Shosh is preparing herself for her vision of what the real world will be like after college, and even Jessa–unruly Jessa–is trying to reconcile friendships that she effectively slashed with her abrupt disappearance last season.

A: Hannah and Adam’s relationship, at least as seen in these two episodes, is fully functioning. As far as we know, he has helped her straighten out her life since last season’s finale. She’s much cleaner that the end of the last season. She cut her hair like a little boy last season and was a mess, but this year she has it all together — even her book! She and the publisher have a good relationship now, since she has come clean about her disorder. She’s just very happy and it’s good to see. But the cafe interaction with Adam’s ex was crazy, right!

S: SO CRAZY. I was, however, happy to see that the Natalia storyline wasn’t simply dropped. Adam really did do her wrong, and I’m not even certain he didn’t deserve that confrontation in the new Grumpy’s. And I love how Dunham captured something very poignant in that interaction. Did you notice how Natalia didn’t really lose her cool until she realized Hannah was standing right in front of her? I hate speaking for womankind, but that notion is definitely something I have experienced–completely blowing up the minute I realize I’m in the presence of someone who effectively brought about my breakup with another person. For a moment, even if she knew how terrible Adam was for her, Natalia could have enjoyed her last-ditch effort of trying to make him think about her and how awful he’d been to her; instead, she realized that he’d moved on from her already, and it was actually pretty fun to watch her come to terms with that in the worst way possible.

A: I was going to throw my laptop if she was pregnant, but it turned out to be a fantastically gut-wrenching exaggeration. I felt bad for Hannah being in the background of that conversation and I don’t think she deserved the early knock on what she was wearing, but it was in the moment. Did you notice Ray smiling in the background? I’m wondering if this confrontation comes back into the show this season. Hannah had a shell-shocked expression on her face afterwards and I thought she might have realized some things about Adam, too. She hasn’t been in that situation yet where she realizes something like that from Adam’s past relationships. Now she’s there.

S: Oh!! And we have to mention the opening shot! Once again, Lena pays homage to the original opening shot of the pilot episode of Hannah and Marnie spooning, but this time, Adam take on the role of Big Spoon. Do you think Lena is setting up some sort of foreshadowing for her viewers that this relationship is doomed? I only say that because the last two relationships featured in the last two opening sequences were broken by the end of their respective seasons.

S: Right, Adam and Hannah are finally in an actual relationship. They’re finally having sex that isn’t gross and degrading. I’m curious about this, too, because I think that Hannah wasn’t exactly prepared to have to deal with another person’s baggage, given that she’s barely gotten a hold on her own.

A: That’s a great thought! It’s a trend now to start each season premiere that way, and I’ve also realized that some sort of party or get together follows not too far behind the start of each season. A party happened, yes, but these two episodes were different from things we were used to because for the most part (especially the first episode) all of the characters were living separately for much of the time.

A: I thought it was refreshing to see Hannah and Marnie’s relationship on somewhat good terms, but the fact that Hannah lied about her road trip with Adam and Shosh reveals that there’s still some deep down disagreement between them.

S: Yeah, I have to be honest: I was hoping to see Marnie up to something other than wallowing in the pain of life post-Charlie this season. It seems like she’s been doing that for a while now. I do really feel the sting of that breakup, though. I know the relationship had to end for logistic reasons–Christopher Abbot quit the show–but straight up abandonment somehow seems fitting of Charlie’s character.

A: Well you might be upset because I think Marnie’s season three is going to be about getting on her feet post-Charlie. She works at Grumpy’s now and is moving into a shitty apartment. She needs to figure out where she’s going.

A: The ending of “Females Only” was great — Hannah asking Adam how old you have to be to rent a car. I laughed out loud because it was so adorable. “Truth or Dare” anchored this two-episode premiere, though. Jessa is at the center of everything, even though she’s off in the middle of nowhere at rehab. Let’s talk about what you thought she left so abruptly last season to do. What were your ideas and how surprised were you with where she turned out to be?

S: I’m hoping to see that finally happen. She’s been doing this soul-searching thing for a while now, which has been fun to watch, but I’d rather see her do that without the end goal being getting back together with Charlie. I was a tad irked about their reunion last season simply because it seemed so easy and simple and not entirely meaningful.

S: I was actually incredibly surprised to see her actually in rehab, and not so surprised to find out that she hadn’t admitted herself, and that her grandmother was putting her up there. I thought she’d fled the country when she disappeared last season, and I fully expected her to return with an entirely new, foreign husband. I was happy she didn’t. I was also happy to see that she was causing trouble in rehab. I feel like, to Jessa, getting better is like being put down, and that’s just not something her character is willing to do without one hell of a fight.

S: And I feel so terrible that all the men she lets into her life turn out to be such damaged monsters. For once I want her to find a father figure who doesn’t disappoint her or try to bed her.

A: There’s a chance Jessa is a better counselor than any of the rehab employees. Exhibit A: her “interaction” with the girl who threw coffee on her. Exhibit B: She questioned people during sessions, rather than allowing them to vent. She challenged them and I thought that was interesting. Granted, she gets the boot, but helped somebody into acceptance of who they are.

A: That’s my hypothesis. Even more important is the conversation between Hannah and Jessa that ended last night’s pair of episodes. Hannah is growing up and realizes all the shit Jessa has put her through. (By the way, all of the Hannah-and-Jessa-in-college memories last night were amaze).

A: We talked about how everybody is growing up. Jessa went to REHAB and yet she seems to be the least changed of anyone.

S: Jessa has always been wise beyond her years and yet unwilling to use that wisdom in a healthy way. Although you’re not wrong in saying that she’s helped someone be able to accept herself, I do feel that she did so in a rather selfish way. I doubt she truly cared about the implications of her actions. She’s added another traumatizing encounter to the long list of things that have already happened to Laura (aka Taystee from Orange is the New Black).

Scatter brains
S: The chocolate cup!!! I love the chocolate cups!
A: Hannah was in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and didn’t even know it!!
A: OH! And how great were Hannah’s Elton John sunglasses. Let’s be real.
S: Honestly.

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One thought on “Girls: To rehab and back

  1. Thank you guys for writing almost everything I was thinking! And I am glad you mentioned the chocolate cups at the end because as soon as I saw that I turned to Dani and told her that we needed to go there. Blew my mind. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season brings. I have how much they make me laugh and surprise me at the same time! Alex I do miss our talks about Girls in the newsroom though. Who am I supposed to talk to now??

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