Girls: GQ is a literary magazine

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Alex and Shelby discuss “Free Snacks,” which they both agree is one of their favorite episodes of “Girls.” They discuss Hannah’s new job at GQ, Marnie and Ray’s relationship and who Shoshanna is having sex with lately.

Alex: This is really simple. “Free Snacks” was a fabulous episode, Shelby. I loved everything about it. There are many things I could gush about, but I’m going to pass you the ball because you’ve earned my respect on the court. How did you feel about it?

Shelby: You know, when I was younger my mother told me that the sermons at church every Sunday were written to somehow be relevant to everyone in the church, even though every person in the room might be facing wildly different obstacles in their lives. With that in mind, I think I might have found some new religion in Girls; it seems like each new episode speaks almost directly to the experiences I’m facing in my own life. I felt it in season 2, and I especially felt it on Sunday night. “Free Snacks” is officially my favorite episode of the third season, if not the series. I loved every second of watching Hannah first steady, big girl job–writing sponsored “advertorials” for GQ Magazine.

Alex: We’re in complete agreement. “Free Snacks” is my favorite episode this season, maybe of all two and a half years, although “Deep Inside” is theatrically superior. “Free Snacks” presses all the right buttons and feels all the right feelings. The idea of Hannah in a corporate desk job was planted in our brains in the initial season three teaser trailer and I felt indifferent about it, until now. Not only are all four of the guest-star co-workers excellent, but the story is fantastic. We’re quick to realize that Hannah is really good at this when she gets the old snarl from the co-workers who’ve been around the block a time or two. It transforms her home life, with Adam, into something really pleasant and accurate. Yet, it’s also a challenge because Hannah realizes what she’ll have to do to maintain her internal life goals. Her reaction to her co-workers’ back stories (“You’re a poet”) rings like something we’ve heard many times before in “Girls” because we have. It’s always Hannah’s struggle, realizing there are so many others like her. I’m so glad Hannah talked herself into sticking around the office.

Shelby: I love that what seems to upset Hannah most is that she’s praised for being so good at her job–as if excellent job performance somehow doesn’t equate with artistic brilliance in her mind. My favorite quote of the episode–“Do you think that I think this is the best use of my myriad talents?!” I’ve totally been there, and I think lots of people our age who are settling into jobs straight out of college feel the same way. At the same time, newfound adulthood is a little bit addictive, when you realize that sometimes it can come with perks (i.e. steady paychecks and free snacks). Hannah finds herself caught between being able to live comfortably, and retaining her integrity as an artist. As writers ourselves, I think you and I totally relate to wondering how we can achieve our writing goals if we’re not fully dedicated to our craft. This kind of struggle is something I’m not sure I’ve ever seen on television before, but it was so sincere and so relatable that I just know Lena was up on her pulpit preaching directly to me this Sunday.

Alex: It’s hard for me to remember an episode of television I felt so connected to. There are certainly funnier episodes and more dramatic episodes, but something about “Free Snacks” was so special. I don’t know if you caught the perfect similarities to the two Home From Work scenes in Hannah’s apartment and how the camera shot is the same but Hannah’s moods couldn’t be more different. That’s either the artistic eye of director Jamie Babbit or the writing genius of Lena Dunham (or both). Either way, it was so original. I loved Hannah’s first line at her desk “I’m sorry, I’m new here so why don’t you — (the caller hangs up).” It’s exactly how I felt my first day on the job… scared when the phone rang. There are so many things to gush about and I regrettably can’t think of them all.

Shelby: Seeing Hannah interact with the corporate world was relatable and hilarious. She’s already developed a workplace foe and attempted confrontation, and she committed one of the worst faux-pas I’ve ever seen since she made a rape joke during a job interview in season one: who tell their boss that they don’t want to be working with the company in ten years two days into the job? Hannah Horvath apparently does, and she seemed to be real unprepared for her boss’ response: “Okay, Hannah, there are a lot of other people who would love to have your job.” And within seconds, her boss, who seemed to be showing some favor toward Hannah, became completely dismissive of her. I don’t understand how Hannah hasn’t been taught better.

Alex: Every decision she makes is suggestive of how her parents raised her and this was no different. It was awkward how quickly she turned against the job, as soon as she realized she was no different than her co-workers. It stems back to the pilot episode doesn’t it? She thinks she the voice of a generation, which makes it difficult for her to come back down to Earth in situations like this. Everything we know about Hannah makes me wonder why she stumbled back into her bosses office to take back her resignation. Why do you think she did it?

Shelby: Honestly, I think she did it to try to win back some of her boss’ favor. I’m not sure she walked into that office thinking that she would be let go so easily. Hannah’s always been a little self-centered, which makes me think that she was hoping for something a tad more dramatic than what she was handed, if only for the sake of having a good story. I also believe that she does have some common sense about her, and she realized that she needs to be able to support herself in order to even be in New York and live out the experiences she feels she needs to have to be a good writer.

Alex: I really thought this episode was a rare success story for Hannah, which was part of the intrigue. Being that it was her first large corporate job, I don’t think she realized right away that she was really good at coming up with ideas. It felt more like word vomit, so it didn’t hit her right away what she was doing in the first meeting. I’m glad “Girls” shined some light on her this week because I don’t think there’s been a lot otherwise. Smooth transition here… I’m enamored with Ray and Marnie’s “relationship,” a.k.a. I really, really enjoy it.

Shelby: How the hell could we have known that those two would work so well together? It’s a perfect representation of what happens when people get lonely–they somehow find and often end up with other lonely people. It’s nice to see Marnie not moping, and even though her snappy behavior is at an all-time high, I’ve realized that she and Ray are really similar on that front. Both of them have been able to retain their own personalities and still mesh well together–something that I think neither of them had with their previous partners. I think that Marnie and Ray make way more sense than Shoshana and Ray ever did. That being said, I have no idea what their relationship means for the future of Marnie and Shoshana remaining friends.

Alex: Your guess is as good as mine, as to what it means for Shoshanna and Marnie. I couldn’t help but feel worried about Shoshanna this week and not only because of what’s happening between Marnie and Ray. She doesn’t seem to be having as much fun as she was at the beginning of this season and it all seemed to change after Ray said he couldn’t be friends with her anymore. I got the sense this wasn’t the first time she stumbled onto Ray’s basketball game in the park. Now she’s settling for a guy she thinks is the dumbest person in the world.

Shelby: I’m not sure that I feel sorry for Shosh, mostly because what she’s going through right now are the direct side effects of the choices she’s made recently. However, it does pain me to see her try to resolve her problem in what might be the worst way possible. I don’t think Shoshanna really has the hindsight yet to realize how exactly she ended up in the position she’s in; I think right now she’s feeling like the world isn’t really in her control anymore, and that probably does have a lot to do with Ray severing ties with her. But I really disagree that Shosh is trying to “settle.” Maybe she doesn’t yet realize that she has options beyond her boy toy, Parker, but she’s most assuredly set her mind on something that she wants and is going after it with all the ferocity she can muster, because that’s who Shoshanna is. For all her non-stop chatter and naivety, Shosh has never been a dispassionate person. She’s always been driven to achieve her goals (no matter how ridiculous those goals might seem to us). And, on a side note, she drove this point home in my favorite quote from the episode: “There is no need to terminate sex just because we aren’t meant for each other.” Shosh wants, Shosh gets.

Alex: I’d like to point out that you’ve identified two quotes as your favorite from the episode. I can forgive you because it was a great episode. My favorite “quote” is the little noise Hannah made after Adam covered her in the blanket, at the end of the episode. I thought it was cute. Also, should we talk about Jessa or table that discussion another week to see if she comes back into the fold?

Shelby: It’s too hard to pick a favorite anything about this episode! It’s all my favorite, including Jessa’s new job–which is too funny, but also, sort of weirdly familiar. Have you noticed that the only jobs we’ve seen Jessa hold have been child-related? I can’t help but notice a theme with Jessa and children: first, she was a nanny, and now she’s a shop girl in a children’s clothing store. But, let’s not forget what brought Jessa back to New York in the first place: she was pregnant. I think it might be too soon to tell what’s going on with Jessa but I can definitely smell the bread crumbs Lena’s baking.

Alex: Jessa… I just don’t know about her lately, but I’m withholding any judgement. She seems generally more unhappy than usual. We’ll see.

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