It’s staggering how much the conversation changes between the beginning and end of this week’s episode of Girls. The second episode of this season, “Triggering,” is a smart comedy about the nuances of Midwestern life and real criticisms of Lena Dunham’s works, whether we’re talking about her book or her show.
But Hannah’s tone takes a sharp turn downhill after initially arriving in Iowa City, rewarding it with “two thumbs the fuck up,” and trying to recruit Marnie to join her as she starts “the revolution.” Instead, she’s calling her mom on a pay phone because she’s thinking about suicide for the first time — not actually executing, more like imagining how she’d do it.
Iowa’s being very hard on her, after being so inviting at the start of the episode when she’s renting a beautiful old house for $250. Welcome to the Midwest. Then, Lena and Jenni Konner start to pack in their set of geographic jokes, which are almost good enough to make you completely forget that the University nixed their intention to film on campus (note: the first time Iowa was hard on Lena/Hannah).
Hannah stumbles through all of these Midwestern follies. People in Iowa don’t lock their bikes, but hers get stolen. Everyone’s so much more simple minded. A cell phone dead zone isn’t the end of the world, merely a way of life. Also, always have a second credit card ready because they’re not calling Amex for you. She’s not exactly the most elegant cyclist either.
It’s all such smart satire, and Hannah can find a way to live with it. Her outlook on everything changes during the writers workshop, which has to be one of the toughest places to make a first impression — speaking from experience. Hannah feels misunderstood, which sends her down a sink hole, because her classmates are ganging up on her during the critique and in the way those things work, she’s not allowed to have a voice. Lena has expertly drawn from her own personal experiences to create accurate portrayal of how Hannah feels.
You feel like Lena is speaking directly to her critics, especially during the conversation between Hannah and Logan (Marin Ireland) in the bar. Hannah’s either genius or embarrassingly naive to think Logan’s a victim of abuse just because of how she reacted to the story. But that’s what makes this episode so great.
“Triggering” has a lot of continuity. It’s honest; I mean, the best way to immerse yourself in the college culture is probably to go out and rage, right? It only makes sense that Elijah shows up to pull Hannah out of a funk. They’ve always kind of depended on each other. This week’s epic party sequence reminds me so much of season two’s “Bad Friend,” when she and Elijah go raving and try cocaine. In both instances, Hannah’s letting loose from stressful writing critiques.
My favorite thing: Shoshanna would watch Scandal and admire the torrid relationship between Quinn and Huck.