So I was trying to figure out the song that played over the closing credits of tonight’s episode of Girls when I noticed that the writing credit went to someone named Murray Miller. Since I didn’t recognize Murray Miller as the writer of any previous Girls episodes, I performed a cursory Google search in the hope of mapping yet another strange node in the vast web of Girls writers, actors, producers, and directors who are all either besties or blood relatives. My search came up with this Daily Beast story written by Miller, which seems to be as likely an origin story for the character of Booth Jonathan as anything else. In fact, the general sensibility behind Girls’s depiction of the contemporary art world—from jazzhate to tonight’s Pumped Magazine writer to Booth Jonathan’s oeuvre—is perfectly encapsulated in the article. I’m going to go ahead and label it a companion piece to this review.
What Murray addresses in both his article and “Boys” is a sort of emperor’s-new-clothes delusion that can often plague entire communities of people—usually creative types, but it more generally applies to all sensitive, insecure souls—to the point of absurdity. The most obvious example is another insufferably hip art installation by one of Booth Jonathan’s friends (protégés?) in which everyone is either listening to Booth’s bullshit story about how he once had a rare cry at the MOMA (with a hilarious picture commemorating the moment projected on the wall behind him) or pretending to be best pals with the other attendees, as in Marnie’s glad-handing of every nicknamed weirdo in the room or the Wayne Coyne wannabe pretending to recognize Hannah while he waits to use the bathroom. Marnie comes to the event under the impression that she’s welcoming guests to her new boyfriend’s party, which is a completely stupid assumption given what she knows about Booth. It backfires predictably, and there’s a fight, because there’s always a fight, and I just don’t want to talk about it right now because there are more interesting thoughts about this episode than another breakdown of who yelled at whom.
There’s also Hannah’s pretense that her new e-book assignment is an exciting opportunity for her when she really knows that she’s in way over her head. The glimpse of her mostly blank Word document made me laugh hysterically, as both the title of the first chapter (“Room for Cream?”) and her botched opening line (“Her name was Murjashihaway.”) reveal just how unprepared she is to write an entire book. I find the master thread of Hannah’s writing career fascinating—perhaps because, as a young person who writes, I understand Ray’s assertion that “usually when people say they want to be a writer, they don’t want to really do anything besides, you know, eat and masturbate”—so I always get a kick out of any glimpse we get into her “creative” “process.”
I’m also thinking of the wildly different delusions held by Ray and Adam regarding their relationships with Shoshanna and Hannah. Again, these revelations are teased out during a shouting match, which I don’t want to get into, but it is nice to hear honest banter between the show’s two “honest men,” as Ray describes them. Adam’s right that Ray doesn’t seem to have a clue about what’s going to happen with Shoshanna besides the fact that it will eventually fail, and Ray correctly identifies the reasons that Adam should be over Hannah as well as the fact that, despite his insistence to the contrary, he isn’t even close to done with her.
These two characters are my favorite people on the show, and not just because they’re dudes and I am a dude. There’s something about Ray’s neuroses playing off of Adam’s deranged confidence that made their scenes together a delight. I think it might be the fact that these two characters and their worldviews are so concretely defined at this point, which is a trait that stands in stark contrast to the other twentysomethings grasping at new identities every new week. With Ray and Adam I can expect a clash of wills, two men on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of romantic experience, self-image, and ambition. Their meltdown felt less whiny and melodramatic than, say, Booth’s sobfest in the wine cellar or Jessa’s mopey putdowns as she storms through Hannah’s apartment, but I was still sad to see them argue. Everyone be arguing.
Of course, the assumption is that eventually one of these shoutfests will result in one party on this show getting through to another, at which point they will see their sorry drain-circling for what it is. Unlike many of the show’s critics, I don’t demand that all of the characters catch on to silliness of their self-mythologizing and friend-sniping. I just want one of them to figure it out at some point. I’ve got my money on Ray at the moment, if for no other reason than the fact that he’s on the clock. He’s thirty-three and he’s in the longest relationship of his life (four weeks, seven since they first slept together). He’s had a bummer of a season so far, but he’s also the most prone to self-examination of all the leads. He could be honest with himself about his future with Shoshanna. He could attend Donald Trump’s event and learn the keys to success.
Or he could find himself on a park bench on Staten Island, talking to someone else’s dog and sobbing as he gazes across the Upper Bay like a gutless Gatsby and a lovely Tegan and Sara cover of “Fool to Cry” soundtracks his desperation.
John Bender is a Twitter anarchist with questionable opinions about celebrity lifestyles and the Lost finale. He edits erotic novels by day and works tirelessly by night to improve upon his personal record of 41.06 in the Mecha Marathon minigame in Mario Party 2. He also plays in Fitness.