Girls Talk: Hannah Goes For An Unbelievable “Close-Up” In Uneven New Episode

By  · Published on February 23rd, 2015


After last week’s tremendous episode – remember “Sit-In”? we miss you, “Sit-In” – Girls returned to its old tricks with an overstuffed episode that offered little in the way of real substance. Kind of like a bad brunch you have with people you hate! Weeks after Hannah’s (Lena Dunham)horrible return to New York City, she’s still (understandably) struggling to get her life back together, while everyone else around her, well, tried to do the exact same thing. Is there any way these guys and gals can ever really succeed at anything?

While Hannah continued to suffer, Adam (Adam Driver) and Mimi Rose (Gillian Jacobs) burrowed still deeper into their little pocket of domestic bliss, which was rudely interrupted by Mimi Rose’s inability to act like a feeling human. Fun! Shosh (Zosia Mamet) continued to strike out in the job-hunting world, Marnie (Allison Williams) appears to hate her boyfriend, Ray (Alex Karpovsky) tried to fight small scale government, and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) was just there. Things, however, look to be changing – and soon! – even if they seem to be moving in unbelievable directions.

As ever, your own Rob Hunter and myself are here to tear this week’s episode right up.

Kate: What a letdown this week’s episode was after last week’s thoroughly excellent outing. I hated this episode, if only because all the raw honesty from last week’s ep seemed to have been stripped almost entirely bare – the only people who acted like real humans this week were Adam and Ray, again proving that maybe HBO should have just made a Boys spin-off. From Mimi Rose’s inability to think emotionally for others to Shosh’s worst interview yet to Hannah’s decision to become a teacher (?!), everything about this episode made me want to pitch my television out the window. Did you feel the same way? And, if so, what part struck you as being the most ludicrous?

Rob: It’s definitely a few steps down from last week, but I didn’t hate it. Granted, my general take on the show is that it’s at its best with the male characters so this episode is simply more of the norm for me. Adam, Ray and Elijah all got the best lines, jokes, reactions and observations, and the fact that I responded to more than a few of them – Hannah as Mayim Bialik’s stunt double killed me – means the episode works.

That said, the girls fare far worse. The Mimi Rose abortion bit was a fairly over the top attempt to establish her personality, and while she found her humanity in the conversation with Adam outside her apartment it all felt like setup for their eventual split. I’m torn there because it feels the show doesn’t allow time for its characters to be happy in relationships before showing us their troubles. Marnie and Mumford are in the same boat (although I did enjoy the She and Him exchange).

But yeah, Hannah’s move into teaching is absolutely 100% ludicrous.

Kate: We’ve only really seen Mimi Rose in small doses – this horrible abortion bit and that video – and I feel like those pieces are at odds with each other. Video Mimi Rose seems smart, compelling, interesting, and strong, while “oh, hey, I had an abortion yesterday” Mimi Rose is so flippant and independent that she reads as being actually insane. That Adam called her actions “evil” was the most emotionally resonant piece of the entire show for me, because he managed to call out Mimi Rose’s ridiculous shit while also opening his heart up. Still, their relationship makes me queasy, but as you point out, we don’t have enough time to enjoy their happiness. We’ve been told Adam is happy, but everything we’ve seen from has been kind of awful. Should I feel queasy about it? I just don’t know, but at least their expressions of physical affection – unlike Marnie and Mumford – don’t make me want to actually vomit.

Oh, my God, Hannah, what? Honestly, and I’ve said this before, Hannah is capable of great empathy, but that’s something she’s only really demonstrated in her relationship with Jessa (and why is Jessa still around? why can’t these people have arguments that stick?). The idea that Hannah loves to help people is bizarre enough to make me laugh, but now she could be teaching the youth of Brooklyn? Good God, burn it all down.

Rob: Agreed on Mimi Rose, but that’s par for the course here. She’s a guest star appearing simply to cause change and then leave. I hope they keep her and give us time to see her and Adam existing happily together before Adam and Hannah inevitably get back together.

And speaking of Hannah…yeah, this is ridiculous. There hasn’t been a single element of her character to imply that she’d be good at teaching let alone interested. Have we even seen her with a kid or teenager? She has no patience with people, rarely lets others talk, lacks common sense and has never shown the slightest interest in helping anyone. This is a sharp left turn in the narrative with nothing in the 37 previous episodes to even hint at it making it little more than a gimmick. At least with Iowa there was a story thread – Hannah’s a writer – regardless of whether or not she succeeded, but we know the show won’t actually settle with making her a teacher. This is a temporary arc where we’ll get some wacky scenes of her smoking pot with her high school students or catching them diddling beneath the bleachers, but she’ll have nothing to offer them or the school. And she’ll be done with teaching four episodes later.

Kate: Is it so much to ask that even one guest start appears to exist in the normal world? Who are these fucking people?

I get that Hannah is directionless – and always has been, so at least maybe that’s some sort of vague tie-in from the previous 37 episodes – but this is just grasping at straws. I don’t know if it’s because I feel so let down after the genuine high of last week’s episode that I am feeling more burnt out and bitter about the direction of this season now. No one is growing, no one is changing, these people don’t feel real, these people wouldn’t be friends, I could go on forever. Perhaps next week will be redeeming, but right now, I am mad.

At least there’s Jason Ritter?

Rob: Ah, Jason Ritter. Hopefully his character will get a fairer shake than Gillian Jacobs seems to be getting. I did like his intro with Shosh – pointing out how he definitely won’t be hiring her before asking her on a date – but I’m curious what he’ll bring to her arc. Ray already tried to help bring her towards adulthood, and we know how that turned out, so can Ritter’s character fare any better? And will Shosh ever actually find a job?!

And then there’s Marnie. Should we be impressed that at least she recognizes how terrible she is at relationships?

Kate: I still feel like Shosh is the most employable of the bunch, so either I’m drinking the Shosh Kool-Aid (Kool-Osh?) or we are due for her landing a cool gig. It just won’t be at the hoity toity Cup o’ Noodle joint.

Listen, I understand what Marnie is doing – I think she’s still stuck on this idea of “winning” Desi – but, goddamn, this relationship is demented. Where else can this possibly go? Are we just going to watch them burn each other down? I’m repulsed but not totally turned off. Also, what sort of douche relies on his motorcycle for transportation in New York City?! Again, what world is this?

Rob: It’s a world too aware that it’s a TV show.

Shosh is definitely the least harmful or taxing of the bunch, but as we’ve said before she also works best in short, punchy bursts. Giving her a relationship, especially one with a “name” actor, probably means a meatier storyline. Hopefully the writers can manage that without Shosh crossing over to the dark side and becoming more obnoxious than she is entertaining.

And I could watch Marnie’s twisted relationships all day between her frequent romps and eye-rolling/dead stare when the guy expresses anger or frustration with her – seriously, she has the best “who gives a shit?” expression of anyone on the show – but Desi is so clearly a douche that no one really expects them to last. There are few things worse than watching a show devote time and effort to a character/storyline we all know is designed to fail. So while it’s dumb fun watching her stumble it needs to end.

Kate: Can we take a minute to talk about the world’s worst brunch? Not only were the five of them – Hannah, Elijah, Jessa, Shosh, and Marnie – sitting at a bar in a loud and packed restaurant, they spent the entire time ripping on each other. What did Hannah say about Eijah’s personality? That it’s horrible?! RAGE BLACKOUT. Who has brunches like this? Why is everyone awful? Have I finally reached my limit?

Rob: It certainly seems like you’ve hit the red line. I like it. Now the question becomes are there enough episodes left this season to bring you back on board…

And yeah, the brunch was oddly structured, and it seemed to exist solely as a way to throw everyone together for a few minutes of exposition and insults. I enjoyed the insults anyway.

Kate: I’d like to be brought back from the edge, but it would likely just involve turning the show into a showcase for the boys, and that seems like a pipe dream at this point.

I really was shocked to see Jessa still back in the fold, but whatever, that’s just this show. But Elijah! Question: how long do we think has passed since the last episode? Elijah is suddenly back and Hannah seems to be settled back in her place. I don’t mind time jumps, but I wonder why this one didn’t pick up right after the last one. I would have loved to see Hannah waking up in her storage space.

Rob: Agreed on the time jump – I assume no more than a few weeks? Elijah seemed to be accomplishing a lot back in Iowa (a lot more than Hannah obviously), and like you point out Hannah’s now settled, but she couldn’t have gone too long without a job. I’m curious though about that last shot of her walking into the high school. Is she going to apply? Because we’re both agreeing she’d make for a ludicrous teacher, but wouldn’t the school realize the same thing? She has nothing on her resume to suggest she should be allowed near young minds. Or is that her reporting for her first day meaning we’ll never know how she managed to get hired?

Kate: I love the idea of Elijah dating the man running for mayor and thinking about purchasing property. God, I’d watch that show.

I suspect Hannah will apply to be a substitute teacher – it’s telling that she’s walking into what looks like a private Catholic school. My understanding is that private schools have much more lax rules for substitutes, like you don’t need a degree or certification. Have fucking at it, Hannah. Mold those young minds! Another three episodes of ineptitude and nonsense!

Rob: It says St. Justine’s School, but none of the kids are in uniform so I call bullshit on it being a Catholic establishment! But I also doubt the show’s concerned with making this transition a believable one. Could be a Kumon school for all we know.

And we’re dogging this coming storyline for obvious reasons, but while it clearly won’t be genuine it may deliver enough laughs. Right? There’s a chance. What are the odds Hannah gets involved romantically with a student? Would she stoop that low? Would the show?

Kate: How goddamn dare you, Hunter. I went to a Catholic high school and we did not have uniforms!!! (This is actually a true fact.)

At this point, anything is on the table. I am, however, betting that Hannah will get involved with a fellow teacher, if anything. I predict the whole thing will be a huge disaster and we’ll be back to square one in about three episodes.

Rob: What the hell was wrong with my Catholic high school that made them make me wear a goddamn uniform?!?

And yeah, a teacher fling is more likely, but either way it’ll all be so inconsequential.

Kate: It’s already inconsequential.