Doing Drugs and Having Sex: It’s All For the Art
Last night’s episode of Girls, “Bad Friend,” will forever be known in my mind as “that time Hannah did coke.” It will also forever be known as “that time I spent thirty minutes thinking that doing coke looks like a lot of fun.” Did I just say that? Is that allowed?
Hannah is hired (!) as a freelance writer for a website that pays its contributors 200 dollars per article. (Um, can I write for you too, please?) When Hannah asks what kind of content the site is looking for, the site’s vapid editor responds that Hannah should push outside her comfort zone and write about it: Have a threesome! Try coke for the first time!
Hannah quickly rules out the threesome option, deciding that she has problems enough dealing with sex with one person at a time. Clearly, the next feasible option is to score some coke and write about her life-changing experience snorting it. Her only potential hook-up is Laird, the scruffy dude who lives in the apartment below her. Laird, her friends inform her, is most definitely a junkie.
So Hannah, always prone to making good decisions, drops by Laird’s apartment unannounced to ask if he can score her some cocaine for the sake of her writing. Laird tells Hannah that he’s clean now. (Hannah’s tactful response: “Oh, you didn’t look clean.”) But lucky for Hannah, Laird offers to buy her some coke anyway; it seems the poor recovered addict has a bit of a crush on his upstairs neighbor.
Meanwhile, Marnie’s at her new job as a hostess/waitress/professional pretty person. She’s busy fending off advances from sleazeball customers when who should she see but Booth Jonathan, the smarmy artist whose arrogant directness at an art world party last season caused Marnie to duck into a bathroom for some solo lovin’. Booth doesn’t seem to have changed much. After Marnie bashes his art as overrated and derivative, he looks her in the eye and responds, “When was the last time you had sex?”
“Who do you think I am?” Marnie cries.
“I think you’re a person about to have sex with me,” he says.
What do you know, Marnie follows Booth back to his studio, where he wins her over with his new work, a dark, multimedia collection for an upcoming exhibition titled Children’s Death Games. “What the fuck, man. What the fuck,” she says after viewing one disturbing piece that involves being locked in a chamber while loud music and macabre footage plays over multiple screens. “You’re so fucking talented.” Then — surprise! — the two have sex.
Hannah and Elijah do lines of coke and draw all over Hannah’s walls before heading out to a club to have drug-fueled adventures for the sake of Hannah’s “work.” Amid sweaty dancing, trading shirts with strangers, and multiple trips to the bathroom to do more coke, Elijah admits to Hannah that he slept with Marnie. Maybe I don’t properly understand gay ex-boyfriend dynamics, but I don’t get why this upsets Hannah so much. She runs out of the club and yells at Elijah in a drugstore: “I was meant to be your last!” But this hate-fest is interrupted for two reasons. First, Hannah and Elijah discover Laird the Former Junkie lurking in a neighboring aisle of the drugstore — apparently he’s been following them around all night in an effort to protect them from the perils of drug use; he can’t live with the guilt brought on by buying two innocent young people cocaine. Secondly, Hannah gets a text message from Marnie indicating that she’s over at Booth Jonathan’s house, and Hannah takes this as a cue to find Marnie and confront her about sleeping with Elijah.
Somehow, Hannah and Elijah know exactly where Booth lives and works, and they show up at this studio with Laird in tow. What proceeds is a farcical confrontation. Hannah manically berates Marnie for being a bad friend — “What makes you a bad friend is intentionally doing something that you know will hurt another person!” — and Marnie tearfully admits that Hannah is right: she is not a good friend. I was squirming at the hypocrisy of this. Hannah has done plenty of things over the course of the show that have been totally inconsiderate of Marnie’s feelings, so you’d think she’d be willing to cut Marnie some slack for one drunken mistake. But call it immaturity or call it being high on cocaine — this is Hannah’s turn to be mad at everyone. She tells Elijah that she’s going to make him move out of her apartment, and then she turns on her heel and storms out with Laird as an escort.
Hannah drops Laird off in front of his apartment door. He’s about to head inside when she jumps him and starts kissing him. It’s really painful to watch. Laird asks for permission before kissing her back — Hannah tells him that it’s just for tonight, and just “for work.” The episode fades to black with Hannah and Laird awkwardly kissing, Laird moaning “Oh my god, oh my god” over and over.
I hope we’ll be seeing less of Hannah and more of Jessa next week. I miss her.
Emma Miller is a writer and radio producer currently based in Durham, NC. Clearly eager to obtain practical, marketable skills, she studied Cultural Anthropology and Documentary Studies at Duke University. In the past, she has written about pop culture and documentaries for NPR.org, WNYC’s ‘Studio 360’ and ‘POV’ on PBS.