This week, Alex and Shelby put on their best Birthday Bitch hats and celebrate Hannah’s 25th by talking about Hannah’s happiness, the “Marnnah” relationship, that “Rent” song, what’s happening with Ray, the psychopath behind Door Number One, and why Caroline looks like Tina Fey’s Blerta.
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ALEX: I have it on record, in an email, that you think “Girls” this week was “the most WTF episode I’ve ever seen on television anywhere.” I can’t decide if you think that’s generally a good or bad thing, but let me tell you what I thought. Both of us have watched this show from the beginning, meaning we’re used to seeing crazy things on screen; however, I’ve never been so shocked than during the last scene this week. I’ll recap, in case you forgot: Hannah and Adam return from the birthday party, after a really cute scene that involves Adam giving Hannah his tooth on a necklace. Hannah has to pee in the middle of them ripping each other’s clothes off, and there’s Caroline. Naked. Bush. Glass. Shattered. Hand. Last season’s Q-Tip incident was painful in a different way than this scene last night, but it was a little too much for me.
SHELBY: You know, the last scene was definitely what took the cake with all the what-the-f***ery that took place in this episode, but touching on the point you made that both of us have been watching this show since the pilot episode aired, I have to say that last night’s episode was really the first episode in the entire series that felt very “un-Girls-like” to me. Perhaps it’s because Hannah is in a generally healthy place for the first time since the show started, and for a long time the premise of the show has been centered on this tension of whether or not Hannah is ever going to get her shit together. But, she’s also turning 25 in this episode, which seems to be a some sort of a milestone judging by the way Marnie and everyone else seem to stand in wonderment before their 25 year-old friend (gasp!) outside the bar. Did you notice that (with the exception of Jessa, who was barely featured at all) everyone else BUT Hannah was acting like a toddler all night? Is our girl growing up?
ALEX: I’m glad you brought that up because last week I bit my tongue and read some of the “Girls” criticisms from the first two episodes and an overarching theme was the question of whether Hannah’s happiness is dangerous for the show. It’s something I considered, but (as a lover of all things Hannah) I’m somewhat happy for her right now. I didn’t notice that she was acting the most adult-like of anybody, but that’s probably because I couldn’t take my eyes of her Birthday Bitch hat.
SHELBY: Dude, we’ve talked about how Hannah/Lena Dunham and I are all one in the same and I am citing that Birthday Bitch hat as my closing argument for the case: I have a Birthday Bitch crown that I made and have worn since I turned 19. I nearly spit out my Kool-Aid when I saw that hat.
Moving on, though, I did seem to think that she was the only one acting like an adult. Marnie is caught up in her Charlie drama as always, pouting and blaming him for posting a video to YouTube that, as Hannah points out, she was absolutely complicit in making (and OMG THAT RENT SONG). Shosh is trying to act like a grown up but seems to be going about it in a very childish way–shouting to strangers from the backseat of a cab, wearing ridiculously tight party dresses, smoking. Is this what she thinks adults do? Ray: throwing a tantrum over the DJ changing the song. Hannah’s boss: wasted and crashing a party he wasn’t really invited to and insisting someone hand over his/her phone so he could go on a Grindr binge (LOL). And, as sweet as Adam may have been in this episode, there was still the sibling drama that reeked of petulance. I’m also incredibly happy for Hannah, but it’s still so weird to see this imbalance in Girls world, don’t you think?
ALEX: It’s time to admit something: I enjoyed this episode. There was so much to it. The music video was hilarious. The “Rent” duet was an all-time awkward moment. However, Marnie bothers me because everything she did this week was so self-serving. She needed to throw, and pay for, that birthday party to convince other people that she’s OK and can still pay for things and be a fun person. But did you see Hannah’s parents’ reaction to paying for the party? They weren’t so excited. Also, her relentless effort to do the duet with Hannah shows that she’s banking on happy memories of the past to distract her from her real issues. Hannah didn’t want to do that, but everything she said went right over Marnie’s head.
I enjoyed the dinner party last week where it looked like Marnie could reasonably get along with everyone else and I thought this birthday party was another sign of that; however, it was all about Marnie. She was the show. The main reason I liked Adam so much in this episode was because he made it all about Hannah. I loved the line about Hannah being used to disappointing birthday parties because I think that holds true for a lot of people. When you’re college-aged, or 25 years old, or whatever, birthday parties aren’t cake and goodie bags, they’re typically all over the place. I thought “She Said OK” did a good job portraying that. As much as everybody is there for your birthday, everybody kind of does their own thing. That’s what was happening this week with the exception of Marnie dragging Hannah everywhere.
SHELBY: Oh, Alex. I love that you saying you liked this episode is seemingly some sort of shameful admission. I can’t totally quantify my feelings about the episode other than to say it felt weird to me, but I trust Lena Dunham and her co-writers. I know we’re about to go on a journey, and I’m excited to see where all this goes. I think the show has been maturing for some time now–ever since “One Man’s Trash,” which STILL gets to me. Girls wouldn’t be Girls if it remained constant, because life doesn’t remain constant, and that’s what Girls has always been about: real life.
On a side note, I totally love “Take Me or Leave Me.” It’s my favorite song on the RENT soundtrack and sometimes I sing it loudly when I’m cleaning my apartment. But, yeah, Marnie is out of control. And it’s obvious that the Marnie-Hannah friendship is at an all-time low, even more than the time they yelled and threw toothbrushes at one another, don’t you think? There was something so incredibly tense between their characters last night. Any predictions for the Marnnah storyline this season? (Marnnah is Marnie and Hannah’s couple name, in case you were wondering. It’ll catch on.)
ALEX: Marnnah. Why not Hanie?
Their relationship is so unpredictable that it’s hard to predict (ugh, I hate that sentence), but if I had to guess I would say it’s something that doesn’t get addressed as long as Hannah is happy. You’re right. It’s just as bad as the season one blowout that boiled over.
Tangent: I re-watched the first two seasons of the show before this season started and came to the conclusion that the aforementioned episode (“Leave Me Alone”, season one, episode nine) is the best of that season — not only because of how important and outstanding that fight was, but because it’s the episode which Hannah attends a reading and totally over thinks it. I’ve always enjoyed the professional trials and tribulations as a Hannah story line and that episode I especially enjoyed.
Back to things that matter: This week’s Shosh vs. Ray face-off was spot on. Here’s something I can completely understand on Ray’s end. When he runs into Kobe and finds out this random guy is at the bar to see Shoshanna, it makes him realize what he needs to realize (even if it’s just for right now). He can’t stay friends with her, even though he loves her, because shit like that is going to keep happening. “Have a nice life,” was the right line because it’s his chance to tell Shoshanna that she can’t have the best of both worlds. Ray isn’t going to wait around, while Shosh sleeps with anything that moves, smokes, dresses provocatively, etc. (I mean, as a man, sure: Shosh was a real looker this week… that’s beside the point). I tried gauging her reaction to Ray’s confessional, but couldn’t pick up on it.
And I say that about Shoshanna — the “best of both worlds” thing — because I feel like that’s something she’s holding onto, the idea that Ray is still kind of there. This is up for debate like anything else.
SHELBY: I totally have to agree that she thinks of Ray as the guy who’ll be waiting for her once she’s gone and had her fun. I think that was always her plan, really. She pretty much admitted it during the breakup (“And maybe once I’ve had my experiences I can come live with you under your black umbrella but not while I’m becoming a fully-formed human…” or something to that effect)
Ray’s in an incredibly fragile state not only because of the breakup but also because he’s entering a new, unfamiliar stage of life, same as any of the girls on the show. He’s being groomed to take over the Grumpy’s franchise and admits he has no idea how to be a boss or even take on more than the few responsibilities he’s had to take on in the past. My heart was almost breaking for him as he spouted off all the things he’s been doing to get his life in order to Shoshanna. I think in the middle of saying all that to her is when he realized he’d been shaping up, in part, for her, and that all that effort was to no avail. It was important moment for him to realize all of that, but it was also painful. We’ve all been Ray in that moment.
ALEX: Hopefully the show is taking Ray in a direction, now, to want to do those things for himself. The potential story of a redeemed life for Ray is way to intriguing to me. A version of Ray with aspirations is an interesting Ray.
I just overused his name. God.
SHELBY: Ray’s always been my favorite of the Girls guys. The fact that he’s this character who sees himself as someone with so much potential but has yet to put it to good use is a channel I think almost anybody having a lackluster time in their twenties can use to identify with him. He’s the embodiment of millennialism.
Who else do we need to gossip about…? OH YEAH, THE CRAZY McCRAZERSTON with the bleeding hand and the pube forest of indigenous creatures.
ALEX: One last note on the guys: Adam is becoming less interesting by the week.
Perfect transition to discuss a different person sharing genes with Adam. I spent a lot of time today thinking about what I could say about Caroline. The dumbest thing I came up with is that seeing her naked behind Door Number One made me appreciate Lena Dunham’s nudity exponentially more. She keeps it clean and I love her for that.
ALEX: She and Jessa should hang out… but, like, somewhere away from everyone else.
SHELBY: I do think that Caroline’s emergence is going to stir up a lot of mud from Adam’s past, and this is something you touched on last week–that Hannah and Adam’s relationship has finally come to the point of Hannah becoming aware of all of Adam’s imperfections. I’m surprised that we’ve made it through two full seasons and learned shockingly little about Adam. We know that he’s battled alcoholism in the past, but we’ve never truly been aware of why or how he ended up needing AA. I have a feeling Adam is about to get interesting again.
ALEX: It’s going to stir the pot, even if only because Hannah is letting her stay and Adam wants her to get out as soon as possible. I wonder if he doesn’t want her around because he’s afraid of what she will say. There could be truth behind what he says about her destroying everything in her path.
SHELBY: I think anyone who would bite a stranger is also capable of raining down a shitstorm on anyone who comes near her. (What was that nutso dance with Ray, anyway?) I found it really interesting (Oh em effing gee. I misspelled “interesting” in that last email. Can you edit it for me?) that Adam, who earlier in the episode cupped Hannah’s breasts in an attempt to break the tension, and who has always seemed to use sex to cope with his troubles, actually DENIED Hannah whenever she suggested sex after Not-So-Sweet Caroline’s hand fiasco. That seems very un-Adam-like. Clearly, his big sis has got him trippin’.
ALEX: Caroline has me trippin, so I completely understand.
SHELBY: For the blooper reel: Remember in season 1, when Adam answered the phone with “Yo, skank, what’s up?” Gettin’ that pussy pounded?” and then told Marnie and Hannah his sister was calling him. Was that Caroline?!
ALEX: She’s the only sister we know he has, so evidently it is. Seeing who she is, I’m baffled they have a conversation like that.
SHELBY: But for real…eerily similar, right?
ALEX: HAHA. That was a great find, Shelby.
Lastly: is this the first “Girls” birthday party? It’s the only one I can remember.
SHELBY: Yeah, I think it is. And I’m a little surprised that Hannah is the oldest among them.
ALEX: I would’ve guessed Marnie. Either way, happy birthday, Hannah Horvath… can I please be invited next year?