Girls: An interview with Patti LuPone


“Incidentals” reveals the true meaning behind bathtub scenes. Alex and Shelby discuss the episode, including Jessa’s life and Adam’s new friend and co-star.

Alex: It’s hard to step back and think critically about “Girls” because this season is excellent. “Incidentals” is no different. Maybe I’m misremembering seasons one and two, but hasn’t three been superior? Something about each episode leaves me both impressed and satisfied; for example, this week’s bathtub scene. It was equal parts adorable, emotional and playful. I wanted to climb into the scene and be the one person to tell Hannah that Adam isn’t the type of person who’s vulnerable to whatever the Broadway scene is, at least I don’t think so.

Shelby: I can’t yet say whether or not Season Three is superior to its predecessors (the second season holds a very special place in my heart), but I will say that I think that Lena Dunham has taken the writing this season to new levels of sophistication. She is certainly proving herself a master of her craft; I’ve also noticed how she’s woven the culture surrounding Girls and her own public figure into the plot of the show. I love that we’re getting all these subtle nods to past seasons and Lena trivia. Bathtub scenes have become a staple for this show; they’re like a symbol of solidified relationships in Girls world. Even though I’ve never been a huge Adam fan, I was happy with the way this episode ended. I additionally love that she and Marnie seem to have finally made it back to the friend zone. I teared up when Hannah embraced her in this episode.

Alex: I’m glad you brought up the subtle nods. The return of Greta Lee’s Soojin was really funny. It showed us Marnie still dreams about managing an art gallery, which is an important glimpse in understanding where she’s going. I’m still waiting for Hannah to run into Joshua, but appearances by Laird, Natalia, etc. give “Girls” much needed boundaries. Lena’s telling us: Look, where we live isn’t really that big… you’re going to run into people you know every once in a while. Please give us a Hannah-Joshua awkward moment.

Shelby: At the same time we’re getting glimpses of old characters, we’re still warming up to new ones–like Hannah’s new work friend, Karen, played by one of my favorite Daily Show correspondents, Jessica Williams. I’m happy that the world of Girls is expanding, and I think that Lena always meant it to (especially since she’s received such flack for the show being too narrowed in demographic focus). Each of the girls is headed toward new places in their lives, and a byproduct of transition is new acquaintances. That being said, it could be argued that Jessa needs to stop making new friends.

Alex: Oh, Jessa. I was so conflicted about what happened to her this week because she saved her story, in a way. Jessa led a boring life after getting out of rehab (earlier than advised, I should mention). It’s unfortunate that she stole from her workplace and relapsed with cocaine, but I thought it was a realistic glimpse in how a past influence can come back into your life and effect it negatively. With Hannah realizing so quickly that Jessa shouldn’t have been taken out of rehab, I wonder what the rest of this season has in store for her.

Shelby: I don’t know what else to expect from Jessa, honestly. Though I find her to be probably the hardest girl to pin down, her actions are utterly predictable. Not only was she removed from rehab prematurely, she hasn’t exactly been welcomed back into an environment conducive to managing withdrawal. She’s been bored out of her mind the past few episodes, and the other girls have only made minimal efforts to support her. I wish that she’d had the will power to resist that creep, and I was proud of her for the fight that she did put up (even if it was all for naught). I don’t think the show or audiences were ready for Jessa to truly get her stuff together.

Alex: They haven’t welcomed her back. That’s an interesting point I never thought of until now, but it’s entirely true. Hannah, Shoshanna and Adam picked her up, but let her go right away. Jessa and Hannah haven’t had the relationship we are used to see in past seasons. Is it just me or do you feel like the rehab stint should’ve been addressed at the beach house?

Shelby: Absolutely; much more so than the two teensy references Hannah and Shosh made. I feel like that kind of thing happens, though–friends, even ones who have the best intentions, tend to ignore their other friends’ serious problems, like the kind that Jessa often has. It’s so easy to pretend that a stint in rehab can fix someone’s problems and that you play no part in another person’s recovery. I think Jessa and Hannah are actually a pretty interesting foil right now: when you compare their recoveries, you can see that Hannah is leaps and bounds beyond Jessa simply because she’s had Adam by her side. Jessa’s had no one.

Alex: I hope this gets discussed in the next episode. It sets up for a classic Jessa disappearance, but there is chance for a natural Adam-Jessa tag team because Adam went through an addiction, too. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but it’s definitely something I’ve thought about. I’ve never been able to predict Jessa’s next move. Maybe you can look into your crystal ball.

Shelby: While we’re talking about Adam, I really wonder where his new friendship with Dezzy is going to lead. I was so annoyed with him from the second we met him sitting with Adam in the waiting room of the audition. The fact that he and Marnie connected so quickly over their music affirmed, for me,  how completely ridiculous he was. Hannah expressed–verbatim–my initial reaction to their “duet:” Are you f***ing kidding me?

Alex: Yeah, I don’t know what it’s supposed to mean even though I spent time trying to figure it out. How much will Adam’s rehearsals be a part of the story the rest of this season? I wasn’t a fan of Dezzy either… I thought he spelled his name Desi. Initially I thought Adam saw some of himself in him, which would make the connection reasonable. I can’t figure out if Adam desires a different flare in his life. How long can it last if Hannah so obviously disapproves?

Shelby: You’re probably right about the spelling. I didn’t like how I spelled it, but I thought it was appropriately heinous enough to match his personality. I guess we just have to trust Lena on this one, but I do think we’ve finally found the wedge that is going to drive Hannah and Adam apart. Isn’t it sick that I’ve been waiting for it to happen since the first episode this season? I had high hopes for the Caroline incident, but to no avail. Lena’s being smart about this and creating a realistic narrative; people don’t leave for just one reason–one isolated incident–I suppose, but they do split when one problem becomes many and the unresolved tension between them becomes too much to bear. It’s exactly what happened with Marnie and Hannah, and I think we’re gearing up for a similar gut-wrenching split at the end of the season.

Alex: But I’d be so sad if this was the thing that pulled them apart because that’s what people are telling Hannah. I don’t want to believe Patti LuPone, even if she might be right. What if we’re wrong and there isn’t an inevitable wedge? By the way, when is Adam going to meet Hannah’s new work friends?

Shelby: Probably never, considering how well Adam does with all of Hannah’s non-work friends. I know you don’t want to see the end of Hannah and Adam, but I’ve loved all the fight episodes, and I think I’m just hoping for another one; or maybe I’m just a masochist.


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