Girls 1.06 – “The Return”
Finally, the episode of Girls that Lena Dunham has been dying for us to see: An episode devoted entirely to Hannah and her struggles. Barely any mention of Marnie and her relationship troubles with Charlie. No Jessa and her relationship with the Geico caveman. And (sadly) no Shoshana, although I wouldn’t be surprised if she was stowed away in Hannah’s luggage. Instead, we got a deeper look inside of Hannah’s mind, heart, and motivations.
“The Return” ships Hannah off to her parent’s house for their anniversary weekend. Right before Hannah leaves, Marnie says one of her two pre-programmed lines- “Hey Hannah, rent’s due soon”, which Hannah robotically replies “I got it taken care of”. Even though she has no job and is completely cut off from her parents, she has it taken care of. Maybe she’ll find a guy in her hometown whose dick she can yell at for money. That’s what I’d do.
Hannah arrives in her hometown with a broken trashbag full of clothing and a dour look on her face, just as she usually arrives to any location. After spending the evening with her parents watching Netflix, she binge eats all of the food in the fridge before falling asleep. Girls has hinted at Hannah’s weight and food troubles a bit, and I really hope that it explores this issue more in the future, because anorexia is not the only eating disorder needing to be explored. As much as unwanted pregnancies and abortions are important to explore and talk about, In Treatment beat Girls to the punch in that plot line.
Hannah, even though she’s there to spend time with her parents, decides to explore the town she left in a rush after high school. She meets a girl at the local cafe who plans on dropping everything to pursue a career in dance out in LA. Hannah proceeds to blow off her parents in order to go on a one-off date with the pharmacist she met earlier. When on the date, she airs her concern with the girl she met’s decision to move to LA. Hannah’s afraid that she’ll get sucked up in the vacuum that is Hollywood. This girl will lose her innocence in the big city. She doesn’t want her to end up like Hannah: another girl who had dreams, only to be crushed by everyone else’s.
So naturally, Hannah’s immediate course of action after this real moment of self-reflection – she has sex with this man in what is probably my favorite humorous sex scene since the opening of Bridesmaids (favorite sex sex scene is still Renly/Loras in the second season of Game of Thrones. Umph.) Lena Dunham obviously saved all of her comedy ammunition for this one two-minute long scene. Everything flows so perfectly; it’s tight like a baby.
Meanwhile, Hannah’s parents decide to spice things up now that Hannah is out of their night plans, and have sex in the shower, which leads to her dad falling and bumping his head. Even though he’s okay, the viewer gets permanent brain damage after seeing his sad unconscious penis, in a scene just as sad and embarrassing as it is hilarious. The apple obviously doesn’t fall too far from the tree in regards to humiliating sex mishaps. Hannah and her mother then have a conversation where her mom offers to help Hannah out financially for a little longer, but being the character she is, Hannah declines. Because she has HPV and is adventurous, I guess.
At this point, if the episode ended, I would have rated it a solid 4. But what gave the final push was Hannah’s phone call to Adam. She knows that she could do better, even telling him so in an amazingly brutal monologue a few episodes back, yet she can’t bear to leave him. Most of us have been in these relationships where we’re too fragile to leave, yet strong enough to know what we’re doing is wrong. And when Hannah asked Adam to look out the window to tell her what he sees, she’s trying to make a romantic, non-sexual moment for them. She looks past his reluctance to get out of bed to see that they’re finally acting like what she thinks adults in relationships do. Small talk is good enough for her, even though it kills her that she knows this is as far as this relationship will go.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you make an episode of Girls.
Girls 1.07 – “Welcome to Bushwick AKA The Crackcident”
Hannah is back with the gang this week! That means we get to see Hannah’s “relationship”, Marnie’s destroyed relationship, Jessa destroying a relationship, and Shoshanna doing something wacky for another week. Instead of the usual backdrop of static New York bedrooms and cafe, we get invited to the biggest party that apparently ever happened in the history of Brooklyn.
In an episode reminiscent to the final episode of Seinfeld, almost every boyfriend of anyone introduced in Girls so far made an appearance: Hannah’s ex-beard/boyfriend, Charlie and his band of assholes, and Adam, in full day-glo body paint. Charlie band got better since we last saw them in “Hannah’s Diary”, and apparently more famous, because even though they’ve been broken up for two weeks, he’s already gotten himself a girlfriend ripped right from an Urban Outfitters ad. And of course, Marnie is not happy at all, and proceeds to spend the rest of the episode complaining to Hannah’s ex-boyfriend and generally being a buzzkill.
Jessa on the other hand, meets up with the father of the children she’s been babysitting, and finally nuts up and tells him that they should just be friends, which he doesn’t take too lightly. Probably because she had gotten him punched in the face by two skinheads at whom she threw a bottle of wine. However, I’m finally starting to like Jessa, or at least not be totally irritated by her.
Hannah tries to hide from Adam because she sees him with another girl. And finally that scene from the commercials where she falls off of the bike happens. And that’s about it.
Oh yeah, Shoshanna smokes crack.
While I applaud the show for taking some risks with setting, the characters didn’t grow at all this week. For a party so grand and massive, the lives of the people attending were rather boring.
Dylan Garsee is a freelance writer/bingo enthusiast currently living i
n Austin, TX. He is studying sociology, and when he's not winning trivia nights at pork-themed restaurants, writing a collection of essays on the gay perspective in geek culture. An avid record collector, Dylan can mostly be seen at Waterloo Records, holding that one God Speed You! Black Emperor record he can't afford and crying. You can follow him on twitter @garseed.