Kate Erbland and I don’t quite agree on this week’s episode of HBO’s Girls. It’s a shame, too, as we’ve been in such beautiful synch recently. The ep opens with a brief appearance by Ray (Alex Karpovsky) before Hannah (Lena Dunham) disappears down guest star Patrick Wilson‘s rabbit hole for a few days of the high life. That’s it… no Marnie, no Jessa, no Shoshanna and still(!) no goddamn Adam. What’s the deal?
Keep reading as Kate and I struggle to answer that question below:
Kate: So. This was either the best episode of Girls ever or the worst. It’s certainly the most unique, and it’s profoundly different in terms of look, feel, motivation, and aim.
Rob: I’ll happily set the record straight on your confusion Kate… it was neither the best nor the worst. (Her outfit on the other hand was definitely the worst.) The episode was one of the most ridiculous, though. Maybe if Hannah was still trying new drugs I’d be able to chalk this up to a drug-induced haze, but the fact that they’re playing this as real is just insulting to people with brains. Unless of course Joshua really is an “old ghost.” Or Hannah got hit by a car on her way to apologize and is barely clinging to life. Or she’s actually a young retarded boy in a 1940s mining town and the entire world of Girls is in his head. Or…
Kate: I will admit, during the episode, I wondered more than a few times if this was some strange dream sequence. And yet, I do sort of get the idea that both Hannah and Joshua were playing make-believe with an existence that neither one of them are truly interested in living. Hannah isn’t ready for that type of domesticity yet, and Joshua might have been trying to get his mojo back post-separation. But did that get properly telegraphed?
Rob: It all makes sense from Hannah’s perspective, of course, in that he’s someone who has it all together professionally and represents the proper adult world. Adding to that he’s affectionate towards her, can clearly provide and even calls in sick just to spend time with her. But I just don’t see his attraction to the situation. I think casting Patrick Wilson was a ploy to subconsciously get viewers to believe it could happen, because Wilson is a known sex freak obviously, but I just don’t see this character finding her attractive either physically or personality-wise and then devoting all this time to her. It’s just nonsensical. Did he not see her outfit? In fact the only believable moment was his reaction to her sob story.
Kate: Would you have had less of a problem with Joshua being attracted to her if he was played by some other, less traditionally handsome, actor?
Rob: Probably. And I know this veers dangerously close to me being labeled an asshole, but this pairing just doesn’t happen without a lot more character work. The social and intellectual differences are a part of it, of course, but the physical details can’t be ignored. Nothing about his (albeit limited) character presentation says he would see any part of her as appealing. I view this ep and this pairing as more akin to wish fulfillment on Lena Dunham’s part than anything else. And before you say it, I feel the same way about sitcoms that pair Kevin James, Jim Belushi and Mark Addy with women far outside of their league. Am I making sense or just digging a dick-shaped grave for myself?
Kate: I can understand what you’re saying, but I think that, good looks aside, Joshua just seems kind of blank and sad. Perhaps the allure of having some young, random girl popping up in his house, one who kisses him, was appealing enough on its own.
That all aside, what did you think of Hannah’s freak out post-ill-advised sauna-shower?
Rob: I’m still not buying the coupling, but the post-sauna scene was the only part of the episode I truly enjoyed. It was the first glimpse of honesty from both of them. For him it allowed a believable reaction, but for her it allowed a window into a character who until now has always seemed superficial and phony. She’s never been afraid to share, but her outbursts have always felt like they were coming from a braggart and attention hound doing it for the audience… meaning both other characters in earshot and the show’s actual audience. This time though I felt that Hannah was talking more to herself than to anyone else.
Kate: I agree about the honesty level that finally comes out of Hannah. It was refreshing and didn’t seem like something she was just spouting about so that she could write about it later (a common feeling I get from her), but I still feel as if it was not complete breakthrough for her. Even after fessing up to her desires, she still says something offhand about being “too smart” for that sort of thing, and that’s Hannah’s major problem – even after knocking and dragging herself down, she’s still convinced that she is a special snowflake, but she’s done nothing to prove that that’s the case.
Rob: Agree 100%. I am curious if this new self-awareness will continue throughout the season, and while my guess is that it won’t I’m still hopeful that Dunham recognizes the necessary growth of her character.
That said, who the hell cares about Hannah, because Adam’s finally back next week!
Kate: She does seem to be, if not fully “growing,” getting closer to a place of growth in fits and starts as the season goes on. I think we are still far away from a real Hannah breakthrough, but I can feel it coming.
Thank goodness! What do we think he’s been doing? Jailbirding it up?
Rob: Adam seems so angry in the teaser, but that’s to be expected. He can’t have been in jail this whole time, it was only unpaid parking tickets after all, so I assume he’s been holing up planning his revenge on Hannah. Maybe we’ll find out next week that Joshua was actually Adam in a Mission: Impossible-style mask! It’d be just as believable…
Kate: Adam Driver is…Tom Cruise.
Rob: I’ll take it! And that seems like as good a spot as any for us to sexit.