Tuesday, March 19, 2013

That's All Folks

We've all been there. An isolated irregular heart beat or a weird discolored skin patch sets off a frantic Web MD downward spiral. But then we get bored and go back to watching whatever is on TV. Hannah can't turn it off though, and she can now add "paranoid hypochondriac" to her list of ailments that are slowly unraveling her. When David calls and demands the rest of her pages by the end of the day, it dawns on Hannah for the first time that she's in breach of contract. So, she calls her dad for advice (read: money) to get her out of her latest jam, but doesn't exactly get the response she was looking for. Up to this point, we always kinda-sorta feel bad for the way Hannah's parents have treated her. She's kept at arms length, they completely cut her off financially, and they hang up the phone when she calls them from upstate New York. But now we get it. They've seen this movie one too many times and have finally decided they're over it. 

Marnie on the other hand, is living life to the fullest. She just gets to kick back, get her box munched and enjoy weekend brunch with her new and improved boyfriend. In the last year, it stands to reason that Charlie was just slaying girls left and right, all of whom were smitten by the fact that he was designing screens for a TBD iPhone app. Because that's how girls do. No matter, Marnie gets to reap the benefits with an upgraded Charlie v. 2.0. Charlie isn't only more sexually mature, he's also wisened up a bit, and puts Marnie on notice that she shouldn't expect to waltz right back in to where they left off. Doing this, Charlie is at last able to get the response out of Marnie that he'd been looking for during the entirety of their relationship: an apology and the acknowledgement that she actually loves him...and his money. We'll see how long this cash-grubbing ho sticks around once he gets sued for IP theft

If Ray wants to keep Shoshanna, he needs to stop dicking around, and fast. His lack of ambition has become a "real issue". So, he heads to work on his day off to tell his boss he's going back to school. Or at least he tries to quit. Instead of returning home to Shoshanna with a degree in Latin studies and a Big Brown Bag filled with pastry shaped clutches, Ray comes back with a promotion. As Brooklyn Heights' newest coffee shop manager, surely Ray has done enough to impress Shoshanna. But not so much. Turns out the problem isn't really Ray's overall ambition, but more his entire life outlook, shitty personality, lack of self awareness, black soul, et. al. He even hates colors, pillows, and ribbons, so I mean, like, really...come on.

As if Hannah's plunge couldn't get any worse, her behavior becomes even more dramatic and insane. Hiding under her bed from Marnie is exceedingly normal compared to the rest of her afternoon. Within a few hours, she's cutting off her own hair and then soliciting help from her drug attic neighbor Laird to complete the look: a retro-chic bowl cut/mullet. When this doesn't prove to be enough drama for her personal taste, Hannah faux faints and begs Laird not to rape her...like last time. More amused than offended by her ludicrous and delusional accusation, Laird calls her the single most self involved and presumptuous person he's ever met, before he walks out and leaves her to deal with her own shitty problems. Getting dressed down by a drug attic loner should be enough of a wake up call for most, but that's clearly not gonna get it done for Hannah. Not yet, at least.

The only person that can help her, the only one that can shake her from her current nightmare state, is the only person who can match her unique brand of weirdness. It's not gonna be her parents who no longer want the responsibility. It's not gonna be Marnie, from who Hannah is too embarrassed to seek help. Who the fuck knows where Jesse is, so she's out. Even Laird doesn't have a desire to sexually assault her. It can only be Adam. His spot is as soft for Hannah as ever, and he's most likely tired of having to go through Occupational Sex Therapy with his new girlfriend anyway. Missionary just ain't his style. Adam immediately identifies something is seriously wrong with Hannah, even before seeing her OCD twitches, so he springs into immediate action. Running through the streets of Brooklyn only half dressed, dodging in and out of traffic, miraculously using FaceTime even without access to a WiFi network, Adam arrives at Hannah's apartment and kicks in the door. Sweeping her into her arms and holding her like the princess he believes she is he tells her "I was always here" as the season comes to a close and we can firmly believe that everything will be OK.

A lot of people I spoke to did not like this season very much. Many of those same people did however like this episode and thought it brought the season to an acceptable close. One friend asked me yesterday "So what'd you think about last night's episode?". I'll paste my response below, verbatim, rather than try to articulate some synopsis with a grander and more elaborate point to make.

Unfortunately, while it was a "feel good" episode it kinds of just became the same thing as every other show. The whole momentum and cult following they picked up from the first season, of being a true representation of relationships and the lives of 20 somethings kind of fell apart this year. It all culminated in that final episode. Rather than continue on the path set in that first season, the show devolved into a typical ending from any Rom Com, thusly, being a show that is not worth blogging about anymore.       
It's been real, everybody. 

Mad Men in just a couple weeks and guess who's pumped...    

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Breathe & Stop"

In the penultimate episode of Season 2, it appears Adam has finally been domesticated. Between the Sandra Bullock rom-coms, the happy-go-lucky smiles, and the freedom from Hannah, Adam has found some inner peace. Even if he isn't allowed to cum inside Natalia, even if she doesn't like being on top, and even if she is the good two shoes girlfriend from Swimfan, these things don't matter that much because Adam is no longer feral. And as we know, nothing bad can ever happen when you try to lock up a wild animal.

Hannah on the other hand, hasn't exactly found quite the same level of serenity. Her OCD ticks have become volcanic in their volatility, her editor hates the work she's submitted for her ebook, and she's being asked to seriously consider naming her work "Life on My Back". As if this all isn't enough to put her meltdown into full fledged overdrive, she's got a chunk of wood sticking an inch out of her ass and a Q-Tip (sorry, I just couldn't resist) jammed straight into her brain stem. At this point, we've gotten used to seeing Hannah in varying states of discomfort, but this is an entirely different scenario. The extreme anguish and absolute, painful misery painted across her face at the hospital is a new low for our star character. This is what we call rock bottom.

At Charley's "Congrats-to-Me-and-My-20,000-Average-Monthly-Users-Party", Ray is decidedly unimpressed by the fare...and Shosh is unimpressed by Ray's lack of enthusiasm. The end to this immature relationship is frighteningly close. Even putting aside the fact that Shosh is a cheat, her opinion of Ray has changed as well. He's no longer the mysterious and intriguing intellect. He's just kind of a dick. While that may be desirable for about half the female dating population, it certainly isn't her style. Even when she finally confesses to Ray about her romp with the doorman, his blind love and acceptance of this fact, provides what seems to be the final nail in the coffin. I can't really blame her. Ray is dead weight and all washed up, and she still has the majority of her 20's to look forward to. She can't be held back from new prospects. She's even patrolling for some new ass at the party and lands on a goober who would seemingly love to spend late nights with her at trendy restaurants with all the other New York City douche bags who Instagram their appetizers.

If this was where the party started to wind down, the night could still be considered salvageable. However, Marnie has other plans. Following her (brand new) life long dream of becoming a singer, she uses Charley's work party as her audition tape. Charley's work associates are less than entertained by her sonata remix of Stronger which I find rather surprising. I've been to a handful of dull pizza parties in varying offices and I've yet to see anybody do an impromptu karaoke. If I had, I would think people would have the decency to be amused by it, rather than just exchange blank death stares, but, fucking hipsters. Before you write off Marnie too quickly though, it looks like the girl is dumb like a fox. Her stunt gets Charley back, and if you think that was just some fortuitous consequence of her public embarrassment, then you clearly don't know Marnie well enough. That shit was manipulation at it's finest.

At another party, an engagement party to be precise, Natalia brings Adam around to meet her friends and socialize. It's definitely not Adam's scene (because people and full sets of clothes are present) so once his only option becomes small talk schmoozing, he decides to go get some air. If he had only walked outside 30 seconds later, everything could have been different. But on this particular night, at that particular moment, fate intervenes and Hannah strolls by. At her lowest moment, seeing Adam is enough to make everything a-ok again. She lights up when she sees him and squints out tears of nostalgia when he calls her "kid". That's all she gets from him though. Adam is over her, happily in a relationship, and has no interest in catching up with her. He leaves her alone outside, and returns to the party, clearly unflappable. Adam is rattled BIG TIME. So much so that he falls directly off the wagon for the first time in years. As Adam continues to get sawced, the night becomes a blur of dancing, drinking, crawling on the floor, rim jobs, rough sex, and his take on a Jackson Pollack painting. I will say, the last time I actually saw semen pictured in TV or (non pornographic) film was many years ago. So that was refreshing.

Heading into the season finale, every character has regressed to their Season 1 roots. Charley and Marnie are likely to end up back together. Jessa is nowhere to be found. Shosh and Ray will end up single, each incapable of companionship in their own way. Adam is as big a degenerate as ever. The only wild card here is Hannah. She's built to march to the beat of her own drum but her path seems even harder to predict now. Before she was flighty and misguided but now she's troubled. What's worse, is that her friends, the eponymous GIRLS, don't even seem to notice.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Return to the Familiar

Criticism for the last few episodes appears to have made Hannah a bit jumpy. OCD-level jumpy. Now, I’ll admit…at first I thought this was a cheap plot point just to make every bit of unimportant minutiae seem high stakes and dramatic. Then I rationalized the erratic behavior as being caused by having to sit through a Judy Collins concert, which would be enough to make me suffer a similar fate. However, after the episode ended, I learned that Lena Dunham actually suffered from OCD and my stance softened a bit. It didn’t soften out of pity or out of guilt, it did however soften because one of my main criticisms of the show this season has been that I feel it’s steered away from relatable situations for 20-somethings. The fact that the show’s writer is addressing a very real and very personal life situation directly addresses that criticism of mine, so I’ll tip my hat and move along.

But there’s another reason why this episode was stronger than the past ones. It’s because the Boys are back in the mix. Charley, Adam, and Ray all have significant relevance in this episode and it’s because of that, that the episode is smoother, more interesting, better paced, and obviously funnier. Take that Beyonce. The episode's title proves to be rather apropos. I'm gonna say that "It's Back" refers to the general rhythm of the show that we all enjoyed from Season 1. 

Ray has to confront the fact that his antisocial and cynical ways are not going to end up being a great match for blabber-mouth Shosh. While I would agree that being a 33 year old hanging out with college kids is about as creepy as it gets, in this situation it probably would have been prudent to suck it up so he could keep tabs on his woman. Wanna know what happens when you don’t keep tabs on your woman? A dude from another HBO show is gonna jack her from you, that’s what. I will say though, props to Shosh because I did not think she had the stones to cheat….let alone with a doorman…played by an actor who only got 2 seasons on his previous show before getting cancelled.

But Ray isn’t the only one who should be keeping an eye on the person he cares about. While Hannah is busy at the shrink trying to get her nervous OCD ticks under control, Adam is scoring dates at AA. Adam’s been clean and sober for a while but he’s feeling stressed out and unburdens himself at a meeting, much to the delight of another attendee. In fact, the woman is so impressed by his honesty and poise that she sets Adam up with her daughter. The mom might be a kook, but the apple fell immensely far from the tree. She’s hot, grounded, and Adam appears to have a new sex toy to play with. 

While Hannah and Ray allow their loved ones to play the field, Marnie is doing quite the opposite. Upon hearing that Charlie has started his own company, built it out to what appears to be 20 employees, and secured what looks like a multi-million dollar loft space, (all in a manner of a couple months), she shows up unannounced at his office. Dating an artist is cool and all, but dating a millionaire is way cooler. Unfortunately for Marnie, the entire genesis of Charley’s new found wealth is behind his new app: FORBID which prevents you from calling somebody you hate…and it was inspired by her. Ouch. Marnie should see some royalties on this though, no?

When Marnie arrives home she has a mini-freakout which Ray finds amusing. While she bemoans the fact that sane, have-it-together people like her are forced to struggle through life, sad sacks like Charlie get to be rich and lavished with the gifts of luxury and fame. Or something like that. Ray, always the purveyor of sage wisdom, advises Marnie to stop all the petty bullshit and finally pursue what she wants. Enough of the hostessing and gallivanting. Marnie confides that her true passion is to be a singer and then belts out some lovely sounding tune that I was too lazy to Google.

What we have at the end of the this episode is something that we haven’t had possibly all season: many different possible paths for all the show's characters. This is a good thing and will actually have me looking forward to next episode for the first time all year. Will Shoshanna’s indescrietion bring an end to her relationship with Ray? Will Marnie become a professional singer? Will she sing naked? Will Adam start dating Natalia seriously? Or will she only make him realize how much he misses Hannah? Will Charlie ride his wealth to party it up with models in Ibiza? Or will he come crawling back to Marnie? If Charley comes back to her, will Marnie get naked? Will Jessa reappear? Is she going to be a peripheral character the rest of this season? Will Hannah conveniently conquer her recent bout of OCD to make room for a new plot point? Will her OCD continue to plague her for the rest of the season to become a ½ season arc? Will you continue reading this blog? Will Marnie get naked?

Yes. No. No. Maybe. Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes. Yes also. Yes. No. Probably not. Sadly...I doubt it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It's Time to Get Back to the Basics

Wanna know why, contrary to the opinion of most others, I didn't refer to Episode 5: One Man's Trash as the worst episode in the history of the series? Because I needed to save room for a potentially worse episode. This was that episode. In even simpler terms, this did not make for good televesion. Sunday night premium cable series that only run 12 episodes in a season do not get the luxury of having multiple filler episodes in a single season. That's for shitty network TV. GIRLS has now had 2 of these in the last 3 weeks. Believe me, there were more entertaining things I could have been watching on Sunday. Let's get into the episode, but know that I'm not done railing yet.

After a season and half of flighty behavior, Jessa's character is now being explained. Even before her dad appears, it's clear that he's the genesis of Jessa's flaky and unpredictable ways. Naming one of your kids Lemon, filling your station wagon with computers from the mid 80s, and living with a woman who's of the belief that we're all living inside a giant video game (because scientists are liars) is definitely enough to royally fuck up your daughter. Things might turn out ok though. Hannah is undergone a major metamorphasis: from "wound" to "cushion". They might make it through this weekend yet.

There isn't really all that much to do in the upper reaches of those sleepy Hudson River towns, other than look at vintage Penthouse (under rated activity) and eat the family pets, is there? So it stands to reason that once dinner is through, it's time for a little joy ride. Frank and his "friend" Tyler take Hannah and Jessa on tour of the country, complete with hairpin turns, whip-its, and stunt driving. Hannah gets to be the normal one for once and begs out of the car before there's a serious accident. But that's about where Hannah's level thinking ends. Before long, she's allowing Frank to jizz in her leg fat crease, smack in the middle of a grave yard.

This episode isn't about Hannah though, it's about Jessa. We learn that Jessa has already blown off her past 6 visits with her dad and that she's fully aware she and her family aren't "like other people". But are these explanations or excuses? Jessa expresses her disappointment in her father's inability to stay put, be reasonable, and act as an example of good behavior for her. All fair criticisms. However, if Jessa is able to recognize and correctly evaluate these things as character flaws, how does she have no ability to make changes in her own life? There's a clear cognitive dissonance here. It's incongruous to demand that her father suddenly become more responsible when she demands to be permitted her own free spirit ways. Is your life style a curse or a choice, Jessa? It can't be both. There's one other problem with this scene, as well. While it's a nice moment and does a good deal to explain Jessa's character, wouldn't it have been more impactful if, oh I dunno, she was actually in this season? What possible emotions can we be expected to feel for somebody who has been pushed aside as fringe character? Not to mention that Jessa's grand solution, when confronted with the ghosts of her past and abandonment issues and irresponsibility is to...run away. Brilliant. Not interesting.

GIRLS needs to make two major adjustments and they need to be made quickly if the show has any desire to recapture its appeal from Season 1.

1) Stop grossing out the viewing public, simply for the sake of grossing out the viewing public. I can watch 2 Girls, 1 Cup on the internet if I ever have that burning desire. (No link, you'll have to use Google). Listen, I get why Hannah went naked in the first season. Not all women have model bodies and it was a healthy expression of realistic female sexuality and all that shit. I get it. After that, Hannah's nudity came in waves. It was a real legit middle finger to all the critics who demanded that she put her clothes back on. I get that, too. That's fine. But now that people are seemingly ok with it, and even commending her for her bravery, who do I need to watch her bent over naked, pissing blood with a UTI? Seriously...what is being added to the show? What is being accomplished? I know it's not funny or amusing to guys. If it's some inside joke just for the girls, doesn't that go against what made the show interesting to begin with? Wasn't this supposed to be a show that all 20-somethings could relate to? Isn't that why I started blogging about it in the first place?

2) Get back to reality. The charm of Season 1 was that it was truly believable most of the time. Awkward relationships, getting dosed at a party, struggling to pay rent...these are the things that 20-somethings can relate to. We finally had a show that presented urban yuppie life for what it was (more or less). Most 24 year olds don't eat at places like this on a weekly basis or live in apartments that look like this. GIRLS started out honest. It was representative. It felt believable. Holing up with 40 year old divorce doctors and traveling to the sticks to bang 19 year old homosexuals in cemeteries does not feel representative. Or believable. Or entertaining.

In fact, it's about as honest as losing your virginity to Rihanna.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happiness is finding a pencil, and some other shit

After last week's debacle, Hannah and the gang return for a much more typical (and clothed) episode. What's even better, is that once she gets over her wave of panicked nausea, Hannah can start working on an e-book. Her mentor may have only given her 1 month to complete the project, and he may or may not actually know what a pistachio is, but I just don't see how there's any way this can turn out badly.

On the other side of town, Booth Jonathan and Marnie are lying in bed when it's revealed that Booth's assistant, Sujin, tasted some of his rose water ice cream. Clearly, this is a fire-able offense and Sujin is relieved of her duties, permanently. Shorthanded and now in a bind, Booth asks Marnie if she wants to host a party for him that evening. Marnie, ever the social climbing wannabe debutante, interprets the request as hosting with Booth and not for him. So, while she thinks that things are starting to happen on "a fancy, nice level" for her finally, she's nothing but hired help.

Shosh wants nothing more than to give Ray's life a bit of a kick start, but this is a tall task. Ignoring Shoshanna's prodding to try out a business seminar, Ray has his ambitions fixated on a much more important goal: retrieving his lost copy of Little Women. Unfortunately, the book is somewhere in Adam's lair, and it now falls on Ray to retrieve it. Adam greets Ray with a tornado of fury, as anything connected to Hannah is enough to send him into a blind emotional rage at this point. Adam's outburst is nothing compared to his newly acquired watch dog, though. When Ray finds out that Adam actually stole his new junkyard pet, he dresses him down something fierce. Dog is an asshole. Dog is not treated that well by others. Dog is a victim. Dog deserves a shot at redemption. Dog is an extension of Adam.

With the show's two best characters finally put together for a significant amount of screen time, Ray and Adam sojourn to Staten Island on an Odyssey to return Dog. As the dynamic duo trudge through the muck and grime of the worst outer borough, they reflect on past relationships. Perhaps because they are both honest men, or more likely because they are kind of "weird looking", their views on women and most other things are remarkably similar. Well, similar on matters other than Hannah. When Ray drops some knowledge about Hannah being difficult, selfish, unattractive, and a somewhat terrible person, something in Adam snaps. In spite of his best efforts to rid himself of any emotional tie to Hannah, Adam's love for her is still deeply engrained. Overwhelmed by his own emotional display, Adam ditches Ray with Dog and goes home. Left to his own devices, Ray can't even convince the dog's rightful owner to take it back. Ray's a loser; this is something he has come to accept about himself at this point. His relationship with Shoshanna is one of convenience, laziness, and immaturity. He has no real ambition and no clear way to break out of his funk. He's just a fucking loser, a faggot who wears faggot pants, a kike lookalike, dog fucking loser from yogurt town. Not my words, but they'll do just fine.

While Ray cries all alone in self pity, Marnie is surrounded by all of her new "friends" at Booth's party. Hannah can only last through a half conversation involving periods, Dairy Queen, e-books, and other art shows before she pulls an Irish good-bye. As the night winds down, Booth attempts to pay Marnie for her work that evening and it is only at this point that she realizes she was not actual hosting the party...but working it. Marnie inevitably breaks down when she realizes her misunderstanding of the situation, but if she's looking for sympathy from Booth, she's barking up the wrong tree. You see, Booth had a different understanding from Marnie as well. He was under the impression that Marnie actually liked him for who he is...rather than the idea that he represents as an artist and a socialite and a minor celebrity. Once Booth throws a couple of wine bottles for dramatic effect, Marnie takes this as her cue to go home, leaving Booth with his own mess to clean up.

By the end of the night, Hannah is in bed and stuck on page one of her yet-to-be e-book. In need of some comforting consoling, she calls Marnie who is just as happy to be comforted after her night. But instead of an open conversation, the two hide behind facades of faux happiness. Hannah lies about her progress on her book and Marnie lies about her night also, pretending to be watching fire flies in Booth's garden, rather than huddled up next to a subway grate. The phone call stalls awkwardly as the breadth of their distance becomes obvious and they hang up, disappointed. If they can't be honest with each other, recognizing how much worse off they are when separated, there is little else to discuss.

Expectations. That's what this is all about, isn't it? Expectations and happiness.... What we expect from our professional success (Hannah); what we expect from our relationships (Marnie/Booth); what we expect from the people we care about (Shosh); most importantly, what we come to expect of ourselves (Ray). It's a reflective episode, more so than many others and it's not like Girls is ever light on the introspection. Charlie Brown might say other wise, but in my book, happiness is pretty easy to quantify. It's the relationship between what we expect to have, and what we actually do.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Who's More Disgusting: Guys or Girls?

After the last two weeks, between naked flabby ping pong and shared-bathtub snot rockets, I've come to a firm conclusion: girls are fucking gross. They're gross on a wholly different level from men. It's as if there's not even a remote sense of acceptable social norms on their part; an alien species living amongst civilized humans. So I went to a female friend and asked her if she could explain to me what the deal was. This was JayVee's response:

It should be noted that I'm an avid reader of Guys Watching Girls. Such an avid reader that you could essentially title this guest post I was asked to write as Girls Watching Guys Watching Girls, but that would come off way too confusing. You know, just as confusing as how I felt watching this past Sunday's episode where Hannah inexplicably holes up in a random dude's brownstone for 48hrs.

In my opinion, last Sunday's episode of Girls was HBO's new equivalent to The Sopranos series finale where the masses shouted a unanimous, angry "WTF just happened?!" But not in that fun retrospective way of, "let's deconstruct the episode to find the deeper meaning in it." No. Two days later and I'm still trying to process what the fuck happened coupled with a more knee-jerk reaction of, "man, I wish I could UNWATCH that shit and strike it from my mind completely." But I can't, so onward and upward or so they say.

After a brief Facebook IM convo with Matt, which centered around all the things that I despise in Hannah and how revolting of a character she is, he swooped in for the kill. A guest post request. But this request was not born solely out of Hannah's repulsive ways (i.e. naked ping pong or pretty much anything at this point), but also the previous week, which treated us to Jessa's bathtub snot-rockets, which apparently got Matt thinking "girls are just plain gross." Well, dear Matthew. I agree. I agree so much that I could've dedicated this post to all the reasons, as a female, I find girls to be gross. Seriously, girls are fucking GROSS. But have you done any self-examination lately? I mean, I'm sure at SOME point SOME female has told you that a certain thing you do drives them mad, right? If not, here's a starter list for you to contemplate.

1. Silent, but Deadly -- Yes, the sneaky deployment of bodily gas. We get it, people are gassy, girls are too, but the sneak-attack method of releasing said gas is disgusting. I'm not talking just a little wind-break. No. I'm talking about that stank that you boys release that basically can bring you to the point of choking and tears.

2. Persistent Ball Scratching - Not the quick itch and move on. The full on crotch dig, where you basically move your junk to excavate. You know you're guilty. I often wonder if every guy's junk (without known diseases) could be that itchy or is it more of a nervous tick? Are you simply checking to make sure it's still there? I don't get it. (Editor's Note: I sense a twinge of jealousy)

3. Peeing on the rim of the bowl and/or floor - I cannot comprehend this behavior no matter how hard I try. I used to chalk this up to laziness, I still believe that's part of the reason, but the bigger issue is probably that maybe your mother loved you TOO much. You were too-coddled. You were pampered. And now, as an adult male, you think all females will clean up your piss. Well, this is not the case.

4. Peeing in the shower - It seems counter intuitive to have TWO bullets dedicated to urination, but it must be said. You do it. You know you do. Pee BEFORE entering the shower...but see #3 as a reminder to get it in the damn bowl. I don't care if the shower provides "more surface area."

5. Speed Eating - This seems mild compared to the other offenses, but it's gross. It's frustrating to sit across from someone who basically scarfs down his food in less than 10 minutes. This behavior also encompasses, mouth-open chewing, exaggerated eating/drinking noises, and usually culminates in a belch. You're disgusting.

Granted there are more irritating and disgusting behaviors, but in my opinion they're probably smaller infractions and generally can be overlooked. Right? Or maybe I'm blocked most other behavior out of my brain... now if only I could find a way to block Hannah from my brain. She's a car wreck... and I just can't look away.

-- JayVee

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sex, Cries, and Ping Pong Paddle Tape

It's been tough sledding for GIRLS on the ratings front the last two weeks. First going head to head with the Super Bowl and now the Grammys. No matter. Lena Dunham got to watch boyfriend Jack Antonoff (guitarist for the band Fun.) perform live on stage and then take home some hardware too. Fun. fact: before dating Dunham, Antonoff was with Scarlett Johansson. I shit you not. Talk about a nosedive down the pecking order. Another Fun. fact: the band decided to go with a period instead of an exclamation point in their name because, as lead singer Nate Ruess puts it "we're so boring that paint watches US dry." Only one of those facts is made up, try to guess which one. But that's neither here nor there. Never afraid to bare all, Dunham seemed determined to upstage the Grammys in more ways than two.

This episode really seemed to rub people the wrong way. I've received more texts and phone calls from friends regarding this episode than all the other ones combined. While the near unanimous assertion is that this was the worst episode in the history of the series, I do not agree. I do however think that it reeked desperately of self-seriousness and it tried way too hard to win some sort of recognition as the most profound 30 minutes in television history. It wasn't. It was far from it. Sometimes when you reach too much for the accolades, you fall flat. And that's what this felt like.

When Patrick Wilson (who is now sure to be a household name) enters Grumpy's with a rather benign request, he is met with Ray's hostility. Maybe Shosh isn't helping him relieve his tension as much as he'd like. Maybe Hannah's fleshy thighs put him in a horrid mood. Maybe Ray just loves having his trash in other people's cans. Whatever the reason for Ray's emotional outburst, Hannah is so appalled that she quits on the spot (or at least "quits" for the day) and head's straight to the customer's house to apologize. 

Racked with guilt, Hannah comes clean and admits that she is in fact the Trash Bandit. Joshua is amused by her earnestness and recognizes that, while inconvenient, the whole episode was a rather victimless crime. Despite the fact that he's a hard 10 and you should never stoop more than 2 points, Joshua accepts Hannah's advances. Hannah has now spanned the entire spectrum from brownstone owning doctors to semi-recovering heroin addicts, further illustrating the point that any girl can sleep with any guy, just so long as she wants to.

Here is where the episode starts to get slightly interesting. Their late afternoon romp turns into a full blown 2 day love affair. Hannah and Joshua play hookie from work and enjoy 36 hours of naked ping pong, sex, more naked ping pong, reading the paper, steaks, and other run-of-the-mill weekday activities. In a new twist, Hannah seems truly happy, and more importantly, comfortable. Comfort and stability are always elusive for the 20-something crowd and Hannah is now experiencing it all for the first time. But the comfort and whimsical dreams of a different life are fleeting.

As Hannah wakes up from her steam shower induced coma, she begins to sob uncontrollably. An epiphany hits her when she least expects it. All the things that she's mocked, that she's written about, that she's snarkily judged, these are the things she actually covets. Hannah is smart and sensitive but she is also lonely and poor. All college graduates want more for themselves and more poignantly they expect more of themselves. For some it's working for a noble cause instead of a boring 9-5, for others it's insane wealth that gives them the freedom to pursue their interests, but what Hannah realizes is that she has none of it. No fridge stock piled with food. No lemonade in crystal glasses. No installation of a solarium to look forward to. No job that makes a difference for anybody. Certainly no automated electronic steam shower. She might be a clever writer who wants to disavow the creature comforts through clever prose. But she's not special, she isn't unique, and she's certainly done nothing to earn those things. The realization hits her like a ton of proverbial bricks.

Hannah's blissful nonchalance is quickly (and correctly) re calibrated in Joshua's eyes into flakey-ness. Hannah emotionally unravels right in front of Joshua and although he does his best job to calm her and ease her anxiety, it's clear that this pseudo relationship is already dead to rights. As a pity present, Joshua allows her to stay one more night but when she wakes in the morning, Hannah realizes she's alone in the house. After taking out the trash and making the bed, Hannah leaves the brownstone and walks down the street alone as she's ever been. All she has is a ringing reminder rattling around in her skull of what could have been, a fleeting taste of what she really wants, and the painful realization that she is nowhere near ready for it.