Want To Be Functional? Don’t ‘Get Ideas’ From These Characters
In this episode of Girls, Hannah sucks. Even more than usual. She’s petty and defensive, and she refuses to take responsibility for her actions. But, you know, she doesn’t get naked once in the episode’s whole thirty-minute span, so maybe that’s why she’s acting out.
The second episode of the new season opens with Elijah and his older boyfriend George in the midst of a heated argument. Elijah has confessed to George that he had sex with Marnie at his recent housewarming party, and George is furious. George seems less upset about the infidelity than he does about the fact that Elijah was with a woman; he takes Elijah’s “confusion” over his sexuality as a sign of his youth and immaturity. (There’s some definite discrimination against bisexuals going on here — and Elijah isn’t even a bisexual, really.) Despite Elijah’s defense that his heterosexual tryst only lasted “like, two pumps!” George breaks up with him.
This leaves Elijah with plenty of time to hang out with Hannah and bitch about men — although he’s keeping the real reason for his break-up a secret from her, afraid she’ll be hurt by the fact that in a moment of woman-loving lust, he chose to sleep with Marnie rather than her. Hannah’s currently in crisis herself because Adam has been emailing her shadowy webcam recordings of him playing creepy songs about their break-up. “I always said he was murdery in a sexy way, but what if he’s actually murdery in, like, a murder way?” she wonders. But Elijah is more concerned about the fact that Hannah’s new boyfriend, Sandy, is a Republican (so that explains what Sandy’s doing with a copy of The Fountainhead!) — though she insists this doesn’t bother her … for now.
Marnie, meanwhile, is not faring much better than she was in the season premiere. A job interview at an art gallery concludes with outright rejection: the gallery owner informs Marnie that she doesn’t picture Marnie in the art world at all — or even in New York, for that matter. Left reeling, Marnie returns home to the apartment she’s now sharing with Shoshanna, only Shoshanna and Ray are cuddled up in bed, doing their bizarre version of pillow talk. (“I bet you’d be really great at bathing a pig,” Ray tells Shosh, beaming.) When Marnie informs them of her professional woes, they advise her to get a “pretty person job” — but, no, that doesn’t mean modeling. Shoshanna calls up a friend who works as a hostess for a club in an effort to get Marnie hired.
Jessa, on the other hand, has no need to worry about trivialities like jobs and money. Post-honeymoon, she’s living in a state of domestic bliss in Thomas-John’s palatial apartment — and she’s more or less a kept woman. When Hannah drops by to visit, Jessa’s in the middle of painting a portrait of a shirtless and fedora-donning Thomas-John, amid mutual declarations of love. Before rushing off to work, Thomas-John takes a moment to call Hannah by the wrong name and leave Jessa with a surprise present of three squirming puppies. Hannah and Jessa spend the afternoon catching up and playing with the puppies while discussing their respective relationships.
Jessa insists that she’s never been happier and more content than she is with Thomas-John, and she proceeds to give Hannah advice about her budding relationship with Sandy. Jessa says that it doesn’t bother her that Sandy is a Republican; Hannah should be more concerned about the fact that Sandy has claimed to be too busy to read an essay of Hannah’s that she asked him to look at.
Hannah decides to confront Sandy about why he hasn’t read her essay. When he hedges and starts to present another excuse about being too busy with school, she informs him that his refusal to make reading her writing a priority makes her feel like he doesn’t care about her. (This was the first point where I was just like, ugh, Hannah, shut up already.) Sandy confesses that he actually has read her essay, but he was trying to avoid having a conversation about it. Hannah persists, insisting she can handle criticism. Sandy informs her that though her piece was “very well-written,” it just wasn’t for him — nothing happened, it was too self-indulgent, it wasn’t his style. Hannah is clearly offended, despite her fake enthusiasm for his honest criticism, and she quickly veers the conversation into an attack on his political beliefs, concluding that the two of them are too different and should just be friends. He (understandably!) does not respond well to this, and introduces race into the conversation. When Hannah begins making ridiculous claims that she never once thought of or even noticed the fact that Sandy is black, he asks her to leave. At the end of this break-up, I was totally on Sandy’s side — and I doubt I was the only one.
When Hannah gets home, Marnie and Elijah are mid-argument — Marnie wants to tell Hannah about how the two of them slept together, while Elijah wants to continue to keep it a secret. Marnie agrees to drop it, and instead presents Hannah with news: she got a job as a hostess at a club, and she’ll be making 400 dollars a day (while wearing a very skimpy uniform)! Hannah is unimpressed, sneering at Marnie that she could totally get a “pretty person” job too, but she prefers to keep her money “clean” and unsexualized. (Ugh, Hannah, seriously?! What is your deal these days?!)
The episode concludes on a dark note — late at night, while Hannah is in bed, she gets a text message from Adam informing her that he’s downstairs. Rather than answer, she shuts off all the lights in her bedroom to seem as if she’s asleep. His response is to text again: “I saw you shut your lights off.” Recalling his mildly disturbing videos and history of instability, she’s nervous. Suddenly, Adam breaks into her apartment, using a spare key that Hannah had given him for emergency use. Despite her repeated requests for him to leave, Adam lingers, manically demanding a glass of milk. While she’s pouring the milk, Hannah dials 911 on her cell phone, then thinks twice and hangs up just as the call starts to go through. Adam drinks the milk, plants a kiss on her cheek, and tells Hannah that he’ll see her tomorrow. She begins yelling at him that he shouldn’t come back the next day because she really wants him to just go away. Adam thinks she’s joking and chases her around the kitchen, but tensions escalate, with Hannah shoving Adam towards the door and repeatedly yelling “Go away! Go away!” Adam finally gets that Hannah is not kidding around and begins to leave, but Hannah experiences a moment of remorse and calls Adam back — just as two police officers arrive, responding to the 911 call that Hannah made a few minutes earlier. Hannah tries to tell the officers that nothing is wrong, but Adam’s outraged reaction to the fact that she called the police alarms the officers. They consult their phones and discover that Adam has two unpaid parking tickets and an unanswered summons for public urination. This is enough to warrant his arrest — they read Adam his rights while taking him away in cuffs, with Hannah shouting half-hearted, unheard apologies after him.
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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.