Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Twice as Sweet as Sugar, Twice as Bitter as Salt

What a weekend for Booth Jonathan, huh? Co-starring in the best SNL digital short since Dick in a Box on Saturday night, then following it up on Sunday by giving Marnie an inverted snow angel. But I’m getting ahead of myself I think.

So, Hannah scores a gig as a freelance writer for the online magazine Jazzhate, which is good news. The less good news is that they’re only concerned with faux edgy topics like {GASP} drug use! Now Hannah needs to score a whole bunch of coke so she can write all about this incredibly novel experience that's never been written about before. Hannah is resolute to make the magic happen, even if it’s outside her comfort zone, so down the rabbit hole she goes. Only catch is Jessa, the group’s resident ne’er-do-well, can’t cop any drugs for her. As a last resort, Hannah drops in on her junkie recovering neighbor, Laird. Like most coke addicts (sorry, I’m on a Lonely Island digital short kick right now) the guy has some boundary issues as evidenced by his accurate description of Hannah’s daily schedule and magazine subscriptions. But he does have a cool pet turtle and lots of pomegranate juice, so he’s some what getting his shit together. Despite his new found sobriety, he agrees to get the blow for Hannah.

But with all this yayo…what to do?!?! Leave it to Elijah, coke-night planner extraordinaire. Obviously dancing. Obviously. Punching a former Disney star? Check. “Power-clashing” outfit inspired by a middle school incest victim? Of course. By 4pm, the two are already jacked up to the point that they’re writing down their incoherent ramblings on the apartment walls in sharpie. It’s gonna be a long fucking night.

While Marnie is hostessing in her little Von Trapp suspenders, she runs into the aforementioned Booth Jonathan. He doesn’t even remember her name, but that certainly doesn't stop him from pulling her out of the restaurant by her wrist so they can have sex. Back at his apartment, Boothe shows off his art (ie. a bloody doll house and a lockable stand up closet that flickers disturbing animal images and blares Duncan Shiek. In all honesty, the modern art isn't the strangest thing about Booth. You know what is? The fact that he still uses AOL mail. Now that's some weird hipster shit. When Marnie is finally let out from the sensory box she's completely overwhelmed but emerges with one realization however misguided: “you’re so fucking talented”. The sensitive artist persona is a tough hand to play if you want to get laid but gotta hand it to him. kid's got game.

At this point in the night, Hannah and Elijah appear to be on a lot more than just coke. In a state of seemingly unrealistic drug induced euphoria, Hannah changes shirts with some pony tailed bike messenger type on the dance floor. Sporting a see through mesh tank top, Hannah marches off to the bathroom with Elijah to do more blow off a toilet seat cover. If that's the only available surface that's one thing. But they're really going to do gummies off the seat also? Gross. Catalyzed by the coke's truth serum effect, Elijah confesses to banging Marnie. Hannah takes this news pretty much exactly as we'd expect...by sweating bullets, dousing her entire head in sink water and screaming “I hate you!”.

Even though Elijah reminds Hannah that his dalliance with Marnie is none of her concern, Hannah is still pretty butthurt about the whole thing. Ever competitive with Marnie, Hannah decides to kiss Elijah in the drug store aisle. Maybe she can get 4 pumps out of him and prove to Marnie once and for all that she's superior in at least one way. She might even be able to capitalize on this plan but right then, out of the corner of her eye, she spots a lurking Laird in the next aisle. Laird is overcome with guilt for introducing the innocent Hannah to a world of drugs and bad decisions and admits that he's been following her just like the mom in Really Loud and Close. World's most mediocre movie of all time, don't see it. Still struggling with addiction, Laird reveals that he bought himself some smack, which I'm pretty sure is part of Step 2, before giving it up to Elijah so he can stay on his road to recovery. Since he has nothing else going on that night, other than shopping for socks before going home to hang out with his turtle, Laird tags along as Hannah and Elijah decide to do a surprise drop-in on Marnie, who is currently wiping cum out of her box at Booth's house.

When they arrive at the Booth Jonathan fortress unannounced, Hannah cuts to the chase immediately. "I know about you and Elijah" she tells Marnie. Marnie is stung, and if you recall, she wanted to tell Hannah all along but Elijah swore her to secrecy, not the other way around. Hannah, never shying away from being over dramatic and extremely egocentric, is at this point preparing us for an out of control maniacal coke rant. But that isn't what happens exactly. Instead, we get one of her more salient epiphanies; an accurate realization of the friendship dynamic between her and Marnie. Fashion advice and lunch dates do not make a good friend. The only thing that matters is not doing the things that will intentionally hurt somebody else. And that's where Marnie has failed Hannah. Everything else is meaningless, petty bullshit and Hannah can see that clearly now. See? Drugs are good. They help you think.

Marnie goes to puke and Hannah takes the momentary break in the action to remind Elijah that he's going to have to move out because he ruined her: (1) article (2) night (3) relationship with Marnie (4) relationship with coke, which could have been her favorite drug. In the world’s worst carnie game of all time, the consolation prize is that Laird takes you home. Most disturbingly to anybody who has to watch, Hannah and Laird go at it in the hallway because Hannah clearly gives zero fucks about anything anymore. And now she has AIDS. Probably.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Pour One Out for Adam

Happy Friday and if you're anywhere along the Eastern seaboard, stay fucking warm. Or try to at least. I got a submission today from an old work colleague of mine just itching to give her take on Ep 2. If you find any of her ramblings remotely interesting, you can follow her on Twitter @Carahessels.

Pour One Out For Adam
Surprising to no one anywhere, George broke up with Elijah once he heard the news of the single-digit-pump affair with Marnie. George eventually storms out, but not before giving a few fuck you’s to Charlotte, Elija’s mother, and twisting that little knife called guilt in Elijah’s gut for keeping this secret from Hannah. Look, I don’t want to hate Marnie. I really don’t. I enjoy looking at her and… well, that’s about it. But seriously, as the female writer of the week I have to ask - where is the girl code? Gay, straight, bi, boner, beautiful naked (whatever, he is), Elijah is still Hannah’s ex beau of two and a half years. I don’t care how down and desperate Marnie was feeling in that moment, chick should have kept her legs closed. And after deciding to go through with it, she should have shown at least ONE nip. If you’re already asking him to get a condom and you’re still kinda uncertain about his sexuality, you can show him a nip. Just saying. So Marnie is a prude-wannabe-hussy. Also, the sky is blue and the earth revolves around the sun.

After Marnie has to experience what is most likely her first real rejection in life (at her interview) she returns home to shitting-rainbows Shosh and Ray who are in that phase of their relationship where anything and everything seems romantic and lovely. Like, bathing a pig for example. So beautiful. Love this stage. Impossible is nothing. Anyways, it’s these two lovebirds that give Marnie the idea to get a “pretty person job.” No, not modeling, but something more along the lines of hostessing or Champagne Facials, as Matt, aka blog-daddy, pointed out (Editor's Note: I'm ALL about being referred to as Blog Daddy. Thank you for that.). Now, it is often said that those with “pretty person jobs” also have major daddy issues confidence issues as they exploit their looks, or as Hannah describes it, cash in on their sexuality for coin. Stigma aside, I think every girl secretly wants that “pretty person job”. You get power, money and the opportunity to shake what your mama gave you. Oh, and let’s not forget the opportunity to flirt with rich men work on your interpersonal skills. Why wouldn’t Marnie take the job?

Finally enter Jessa, your anything-but-basic bitch and Thomas-John, who looks better on canvas than in real life. I will never understand this guy. I just won’t. After running off to his mystery meetings and bestowing three puppies upon Jessa, TJ disappears for the rest of the show. Again. Jessa names her three puppies Garbage, Fucker and Channukah (oddly, three very symbolic words for my own life) and tells Hannah that her life will never get better than the very moment they are in. Apparently, everyone’s life can improve but Jessa’s – the girl who married a stranger. The stranger who she turned down a threesome with to ‘eat [Marnie’s] cunt on the sidewalk.’ The stranger who makes mashups of children playing in a field with Vitamin C’s Steal My Sunshine. Right. Him.

Seemingly unfazed by her breakup with Sandy, the only black character in the show, Hannah is trying to enjoy a night of Internet how-tos when Adam screams, “SURPRISE!” in her bedroom doorway. Legit, I almost lost my shit during this scene. I didn’t know what to expect. Roses? A knife? Lord knows the kid owns a lot of tools. And while Hannah seems freaked, you know she’s flattered deep down. You can tell by her word choice that she doesn’t necessarily hate him being there. Here is where I want to address “don’t” vs. “shouldn’t”. While running in circles, Hannah tells Adam he shouldn’t come back the next day. “Shouldn’t” implies, “I rather you didn’t, but you can” whereas “don’t” straight up reads, “do.not.come.back.” Though Hannah’s physical actions are saying “GET OUT OF MY FACE, OUT MY FACE!” her words really say, “Get out of my face… for now.” Guarantee Hannah goes through a whole want what you can’t have/grass is always greener sort of thing when Adam leaves her alone for good, or even for a day, and she misses his comfort, attention and need for her.

I found this entire scene especially tragic. In a matter of minutes, Adam runs the gambit of emotions, quickly going from creepy, to sweet, to frantic, to the verge of tears and an emotional breakdown with the realization that his relationship with Hannah might truly be over. Real talk, the tears work every time for me. Seeing a manchild cry right before you (me) can be so gut-wrenching that you (I) actually forget all of the f’ed up shit that has happened in the relationship, even if it occurred only minutes before. You (I) think to yourself (myself), this is my moment, this is my Notebook moment! He loves me SO much that he is actually crying, CRYING, for me. LET’S BE TOGETHER FOREVER! I LOVE YOU! But no, Hannah holds firm. Stronger than I, she only offers up a brief, but deep stare at Adam, the meaning of which we may never know, only to be interrupted by none other than… uh oh, smells like bacon. This scene was enough to make even me feel uncomfortable. Imagine having to admit you called the cops on your ex… in front of your ex? AWKIES! And for the nth time, we find ourselves feeling bad for poor Adam.

Regardless, rough as it was to watch Adam get carted off by the popo, I think every chick’s inner sex goddess stood proudly for just a second and saluted Hannah for her resolve, however crazy it might have been… because honestly, who wouldn’t find a little pleasure in witnessing their ex getting cuffed by New York’s finest? Hannah screams from the top of the steps, “I just wanted him to stop texting me!” and in that moment, she debases their entire relationship to what it truly is: a fucked up, twenty-something, you live and you learn, sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same type of romance. More or less, a song from The Fray.

So let’s all pour one out for Adam. And by ‘one’ I mean a big ol’ glass of milk.

Till next time, ya sad little glowworms!

-- @Carahessels

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Put My Thang Down, Flip It, and Reverse It

It may have been 3 pumps, possibly only 2 1/2, but George is done with Elijah. Infidelity and bi-curiosity are two unattractive traits in a gay relationship...I would think. Hannah is none the wiser though and has no idea that Elijah and Marnie banged on her living room couch. This is for the better since Hannah can't help but take everything personally and would somehow find a way to relate their activities to her own shortcomings. And if her own shortcomings are starting to drag her down, Hannah is at least making strides to address them. Albeit through self-help Youtube clips on cutting your own hair and dancersize, but, you know, baby steps.

In a reversal of fortune, Marnie is now the unemployable one. Even in her best Ann Taylor suit, she is unable to impress at her interview. Her interviewer (played by Lena Dunham's real life mother and real life artist, Laurie Simmons) can only feign interest in Marnie's qualifications and is much more focused on verbally lashing her intern for not dunking her teabag in the desired manner. If the intern really needs instruction on tea bagging, I'm sure there are plenty of guys who would be willing to help out. To add insult to injury, Marnie returns home to the sight of Shosh and Ray deeply immersed in lovey-dovey pillow talk. Most of their discussion revolves around the merits of bathing a baby pig together but they do offer one constructive tidbit when they plant the seed in Marnie's head that she might be better off getting a "pretty person's job". For the love of God, please let that job be at Champagne Facials.

Thomas-John wants to look pretty also so he dons his fanciest fedora and poses shirtless on a stool for Jessa. This guy infuriates me. I want nothing more than for there to be 3 more of him in this scene so I can flip that stool over, get a little creative so that all four of them could sit on the stool at the same time. Between the matching tiger tattoo, his affinity for "Dana's" shorteralls, and his fucking "meetings" it's a mystery as to how Jessa can stomach the sight of him. He does give surprise gifts though, which bitches love, and in this case it's quite literally an entire box of bitches. Not to be overshadowed by all the celebrities, Jessa names her new puppies Garbage, Fucker, and Channukah.

Emboldened by Jessa, Hannah confronts Sandy and asks why he hasn't read her story yet. At first he tries taking the easy route, saying he hasn't read it, but under more pressure he eventually folds and admits to not only reading it, but also not liking it. Admittedly, the quality of writing is strong, but like everything else we've known Hannah to write, "nothing happens in it". Hannah takes this slight and tries to draw a parallel to their difference of opinion when it comes to politics. Sandy was able to brush of the condescending political comments from Elijah earlier in the morning but at this point he's done laying down for the flaming liberals. There's only so much he can be baited before going militant-black-ballistic. Sandy calls their relationship for exactly what it is (Hannah's desire to dip her toes into something a little more exotic and exciting... a.k.a. "black") which Hannah denies vehemently. But she doesn't exactly do herself any favors when she starts quoting Work It and then claiming she didn't even realize Sandy was black. All in all, her relationship with Sandy is a pretty good allegory for the show's entire relationship with racial minorities: a half-assed and short lived attempt at diversity for the purpose of breaking up painful monotony.

When Marnie settles on a hostess job (much to my chagrin, I thought Champagne Facials was a promising career for her) it doesn't seem like the worst choice. $400 a day, good hours, and lots of social time is most people's idea of a decent job. Hannah on the other hand can't help but take a dig, reminding Marnie that her $40 job is more noble because she's made the "choice" to not cash in on her sexuality. "Choice" would be one way to put it. Another way to put it would be that nobody in their right mind would hire an overly tattooed, overly weighted, and overly condescending person to greet prospective diners. On the bright side, Marnie does get to dress like a slutty Von Trapp child. Fun side note on that video: I actually sent that out to my old company's list serve of several hundred very confused employees before picking up and walking out. Fact.

Hannah may feel sorry for Marnie, but she certainly doesn't feel sorry for Adam. Not after all his unsolicited acoustic love songs. Not after his late night texts. Certainly not after !SURPRISE! he lets himself into her apartment and jumps out from behind the doorway to scare her while she's in bed. Hannah is a bit freaked out, understandably so, and dials 911 before reconsidering and hanging up. Damage already done though. Adam pours his heart out, both applauding her resolve to try and end things while also admitting that "as a man living his man life", he's not ready to give up quite yet. But to no avail. Hannah pleads for him to just leave her alone and there's so much hurt and desperation in her voice that for the first time Adam realizes he's fighting a losing battle.

With his tail squarely between his legs, Adam slinks off, but wait, Hannah calls him back. There's a pregnant pause as the two stand in the door way and maybe, just maybe, Hannah is about to take him back. We'll never know. That's when the cops show up. Rather unfortunately for Adam, an unpaid public urination summons means he can't plead ignorance to this whole fiasco. He's gotta take a night time field trip to the slammer. Ain't that just like the po-po? Always there when you don't want 'em, and never there when you need 'em? Story of my life. Hannah gets off easy, allowed to stay at her apartment even though all the stalking started with her, a pair of knee socks, and a Jason mask. From the top of the staircase she can do nothing but watch as Adam is dragged away and weakly mumble what should really be her life mantra at this point: "I'm so sorry".

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It's Back! It's Really Back!

In its triumphant return to Sunday night prime time, GIRLS begins Season 2 with the same shot as Season 1: a pan up starting from a set of feet, to reveal Hannah playing little spoon in a morning cuddle session. This time though, Marnie is not her cuddle buddy. She has been replaced by Elijah, Hannah's old boy friend and now new roomie. Even though Elijah's boner is reserved for somebody else, things appear to be going a lot better for Hannah than they were when we last saw her. She's all about her new roommate (going so far as to set preliminary plans for a whole array of theme nights including Fondue Night, Crafts Night, Japanese Snacks Night, and French Salon Night), has 3 jobs, and is getting served a steady dose of Jungle Fever. On that last point, I must say if this is Dunham's response to constant debate about the show's lack of diversity, she doesn't exactly put the "b" in subtle. But not everybody is satisfied with their life arcs. Shosh is spinning in circles, burning incense and trying to work out the kinks in her "ruin Ray's life" mantra while Marnie is getting laid off from her job.

Then there's Adam, who's definitely worse for the wear. In a full leg cast from getting run over by that pesky car, Adam is bed ridden and reduced to pissing in a bucket. Even though they are no longer dating, Hannah is there to help out, (clearly burdened with guilt) but there to help nonetheless. There's still some form of love between the two but a cloud of smoldering anger and resentment is present. For now, as Adam puts it, Hannah is just his "main hang" and not much more. Sandy (Hannah's new love interest played by funny man Donald Glover) would prefer that Hannah informs Adam of their newly blossoming relationship but Hannah decides to withhold this bit of info from Adam, seemingly unable to cut the cord quite yet.

I started to dissect Marnie's lunch with her Chelsea Handler wannabe mother, but honestly, it's just a whole dramatic mother-daughter snippy conversation that I can't even begin to relate to. So I'll pass.

Plenty of action at Hannah and Elijah's party though. We've got karaoke performances from half the cast at one point or another, Elijah's boyfriend George gets white girl wasted and gets bounced from the soiree, and there are a couple of rendezvous (rendezvouses? rendezvii?) between exes. Shoshanna tries to play cold to Ray with a flippant "Oh, Hello...GOOD. BYE." but she can't fight him off for long. Ray catches up with Shosh alone in a bedroom, charms the audience with some topical Emoji humor, confesses he still has feelings for her, and then swoops her into his arms for an instant classic kiss. While we don't know exactly what happened between the two, it seems to be a moot point now. Marnie and Charlie's catch up isn't quite as romantic. While Charlie waits outside the bathroom for Audrey like a lap dog, in his typical subservient fashion, he tries shooting the shit with Marnie. Audrey may be a bigger bitch to Charlie than Marnie ever was, but that doesn't prevent Charlie from trying to wax poetic on how amazing their relationship is. Audrey storms out after she can't score any weed and even as Marnie tries to lick his wounds (and possibly more), Charlie assures Marnie things are great between them. The kid just can't help but put the pussy on a pedestal.

After Hannah disposes of Elijah's boyfriend (who's a dead ringer as Buffalo Bill's doppelganger, by the way) she slips out of the house to drop off a bag of supplies and meds for Adam. When Adam tries to get her to stay and hang out, plying her with balloon faces and director's cut scenes from Baggar Vance, he doesn't get the response he was looking for so he pulls out the big guns. "You're the best thing in my life. I don't know how to behave without you. I'd die if you go away." Even at that, Hannah is somewhat nonplussed. Adam doesn't buy her ambivalence but Hannah firmly reminds him that their relationship, whatever it may be at this point, is not on his terms. It's on hers.

Back at the apartment, the party has been abandoned and only Marnie and Elijah remain, as they belt out karaoke jams on the couch. You might not be able to tell from this scene, but Allison Williams actually has some serious musical chops. Elijah confides in Marnie, telling her about his sometimes confusing sexual orientation, and how he still finds himself attracted to women at times. More insecure and desperate than we've ever seen her (no job, no boyfriend, no Hannah) Marnie clearly has nothing to lose when Elijah makes his move on her.

As the clothes start to come off, we brace for what will be known as the best 15 seconds in television history. Every time Allison Williams gets naked, an angel gets its wings...and a raging boner. However, the show's writers and director are sadistic animals and all we get is a little bit of sideboob. Even Elijah is turned off by this cruel twist, immediately losing wood. Marnie tries to console him, reminding him that he doesn't need to pretend to be something he isn't, but Elijah shoots the same observation right back at her. Broken and truly lonely, Marnie shows up at Charlie's place to spend the night in the company of somebody she trusts. It looks like she IS the wound, after all.

Oh right, and then there's Jessa who gets tossed in there as an afterthought for good measure. Judging by the cornrows and puka shell necklaces, Jessa and new hubby Thomas-John have just returned from their honey moon and they are still head over heals for each other. So that's nice. As Episode 1 closes, we know that we're in for a lot of what we expected this season: angsty life drama, tons of awkward sex, and Hannah will be naked. A lot. If you bet any money otherwise, looks like you lost your office pool.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Girls Like Guys Who Like "GIRLS"

With the season premier only 4 days away, @newyorksiddy dropped by to give us her two cents on the show. When she isn't running around as Associate Producer for the TODAY Show, @newyorksiddy is dropping knowledge and backing up all us guys who watch (read: enjoy) the show. If you wanna read more from @newyorksiddy then go right ahead.

Here's the thing about "Girls": It's the best TV show ever. 

It reminds me of a scene from season 1, episode 7: On the way to a Bushwick warehouse party (“all of Brooklyn and two-thirds of Manhattan” were there), Jemima Kirke’s character Jessa says "Jaded as I am, I still hold out hope that the next party will be the best party ever."
“O.K., best party ever," Lena Dunham's character Hannah ponders.  "To me that's like saying best gym ever or best nature documentary ever -- how good can it really be?"

One might think the same of a TV show. The answer, in this case, is simple: it’s really fucking good.

And despite what many may have assumed from the title -- the show isn't of the chick variety. I think many men I know (at least all of them in Brooklyn and two-thirds in Manhattan) assumed “Girls” would turn Sunday nights back into the hell that was 1998-2004 (also known as the "Sex And The City" era). It was a dark period defined by a lot of endless stereotypes about supposed Manhattan women (everything from unrealistically expensive clothing to equally as unbelievable relationships) that became the fantasy for every woman who has ever lived here (disclaimer: I could probably recite the entire six seasons in their entirety).  For guys, it was a particular low point. The show magnified everything they had ever feared about New York women.

While "Girls" is exactly the opposite of its predecessor, it's still fascinating that guys find the show so endearing.  For a long time, I thought that my guy friends didn't want to know what girls were actually like. We don’t all look that great naked. Sex can be alarmingly awkward. Some of us are still virgins. Some, like Jessa, are free spirited, emotionally unavailable, and downright out of their minds. Some are an incredibly annoying combination of uptight and gorgeous, like Marnie. Some are quirky, vibrant, and not particularly good at smoking crack -- like Shoshana. And some, like Hannah, are still trying to figure out who they are. That’s just how we roll. 

And that's the reason that every self-respecting man I know watches every Sunday. Maybe it's just as refreshing for them as it is for us ladies to watch a show about girls who look a little something like the girls they actually know in their lives: their girlfriends, co-workers, sisters, friends. They are complicated, kind of crazy, really fucking hilarious, and a whole lot of fun.

"Girls" has made Sunday nights like the best party, ever. Boys allowed.  

-- @newyorksiddy