Girls, Episode 8
The commentary that just keeps on giving
There was only one text message predating a series of rapid-fire e-mails about last night’s episode of Girls between resident man repeller, Mattie Kahn and myself this morning. It read, “I loved that episode and I swear when Ray was telling Marni that the clay is dry, (see also: “you cannot dress like a magician’s assistant for much longer”), I felt like I was reading the penultimate sentence in a Cathy Horyn review marking the return of, like, velvet angora that features faux-rabbit fur.” If you’d believe it, I punctuated and everything. But that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Below, our e-mail correspondence.
DID YOU WATCH? My heart hurts for Hannah
On Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 8:56 AM, Leandra Medine wrote:
I TEXTED YOU THE MOMENT I WOKE UP
Let’s talk about it at length. Highs? Lows? I really enjoy that Hannah is becoming this really fickle, inconsistent character. It mimics not-made-for-TV human nature. She’s indispensable some episodes (see: go away, Adam, I’m dating Donald Glover, see also: I called the cops on you, I wasn’t expecting that they would come and I’d totally come down to the precinct with you but like, maybe later? and/or tender moments like her calling her parents to say thanks and that she loves them while simultaneously allowing her facial expression to reveal everything about what is really important: her battling a UTI with no remorse). Last night was actually, I believe, the first time I’ve ever seen her really, really, REALLY vulnerable and struggling with herself.
Her conceding to the hardships of being a 20-something feels like it’s been painted with a small stroke of artificial because of the overwhelming self-deprecation. But the vulnerability in her disorder–that’s pure cinematographic magic and that rests only in her refusal to admit she has a problem. If she were capable of talking about the OCD and making light of it the way she does everything else (see: “I am an undiagnosed hypoglycemic”), it wouldn’t feel as raw, real, pungent.
I’m also really into Shoshana’s affair and think Marni is officially the skid-mark of decency, care of her grossly conspicuous social-climbing antics. As Abie [ed. note: my permanent partner in sex] put it last night, “I’ve known all along that Charlie is the man.” Kate made a really smart point about her wanting to be a singer as reflective of Charlie having been in a band–you just can’t help but imagine Marni having smugly attended the shows, thinking she’s a better musician, but she’s got a ‘real job’ and her ‘life together.’
On Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 9:11 AM, Mattie Kahn wrote:
I KNOW! I felt loved. Obviously, I emailed you right after those little concluding notes trilled on HBO Go. SO:
I felt like this thing that could totally have become another feather in Hannah’s needy, self-obsessed cap, actually took on a scary and debilitating life of its own. Having OCD is not equivalent to her “being thirteen pounds overweight” and that being “horrible” for her for her whole life. Because it isn’t just “horrible for her.” It’s crushing. And this isn’t some life experience that she uses as ammunition against the people closest to her. Instead, she hides it.
I realized–when I was trying to parse exactly what was so wrenching about the whole ordeal–that Hannah spent basically the entire episode alone and/or with her parents. You could argue–and I would–that her loneliness was actually amplified in the presence of her parents. It’s just SO MILLENNIAL. More even than “the bottle episode” that she spent with Patrick Wilson, this is what it looks like when Hannah is fiercely, deeply alone. And it’s so, so sad.
Even Marnie, who has somehow become sympathetic despite her faux-pigtailed self-absorption, has Ray and Shoshanna. Even Adam has someone “easy to talk to.” Hannah, on the other hand, has eight potato chips and the bar at the Carlyle and pediatric specialists and a dad who has seen her in a bathing suit. And let’s all just take a moment and imagine what it would feel like to have our parents make all of our doctor appointments for us again. I do not want to get my teeth cleaned this week. And I don’t care that I should.
As for the fun parts:
Charlie needs to size up in his hipster, straight-cut button-downs.
Marnie’s pigtails and Juicy sweatpants merit a dedicated Twitter account over which I would be happy to preside. (Can we confirm that they are, in fact, Juicy sweatpants? This is very important to me.)
“The app is free but breaking your promise to yourself is not.” Oh Charlie. You just can’t escape yourself, can you?
Shoshanna’s attempts to grow up and Be An Adult make up some of the most honest moments of the show. But her braids are really not helping her cause. Nor is her spangled butterfly ornament.
I did not miss Jessa at all.
I really hate Hannah’s mom in ways I don’t have words for.
And the transformation of Adam from reckless, weirdo loser to multi-faceted, weirdo person is a triumph of Lena Dunham’s storytelling ability.
The best part of all of this? I streamed the episode to my computer in the library. And I didn’t feel bad about it.
On Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 9:23 AM, Leandra Medine wrote:
Also, re: Hannah’s mom, I think she is the way she is for a very calculated reason. If you take a look at the way in which Hannah interacts with her friends during tumultuous moments for them, it’s a little softer, yes, but it isn’t very different. Anyway, though, she lost me last week when she turned Hannah’s earnest moment into a joke. Hannah’s response to that, too, was kind of a nod to the fact that she is her mother’s daughter, though. She just kept, like, pushing, hoping that UTI would fall out of her vagina or something.
On Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 9:29 AM, Mattie Kahn wrote:
I know. And I admire Lena for not transforming every person into some candy-coated teddybear. But the kind of brash cruelty exhibited by the elder Horvath is downright despotic. She is the most disappointing brand of (fictional or otherwise) parent–just bad enough that her relationship with her daughter isn’t quite funny anymore, but not so bad that she actually necessitates estrangement.
Also: can we agree that we love our moms? Like, a lot.
Further also: my dad always hated those Jif Peanut Butter commercials that went, “Choosy Moms Choose JIF,” because he was like, “What about the choosy dads? I am a choosy dad!” So let’s agree that we love our dads too.
On Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 9:57 AM, Leandra Medine wrote:
Moments that make me take out my iPhone and type things down: Natalya’s (Adam’s hot ass date) mother calling him “cuter than a dimple on a bug’s ass.” Also–what the shit is up with his apartment and why are the enormous wooden planks that basically construct a really bare teepee in the middle of his “living room” completely overlooked in most Girls commentary?
ANOTHER REALLY IMPORTANT THING TO TALK ABOUT: The therapist. “I think it sold, ya, just about two and a half million copies.”
On Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 9:59 AM, Mattie Kahn wrote:
I imagined that that line would speak to you.
And not to diminish the importance of AA, but as a college student, I really appreciate that the meeting’s agenda centered on who would bring the cookies. Cookies are important! I’d also like to assure Adam that it’s okay if he brings really bad cookies. Everyone will still eat them. Cookie bringers are heroes.
But WAIT. Why aren’t we mad at Shoshanna? Should we be mad?
On Mar 4, 2013, at 12:06 PM, Leandra Medine wrote:
How could we possibly be mad at Shoshana? To watch a man take interest in her based only on the merit of Napolean Dynamite’s Deb style hairdo (and even in spite of comments like, “you’re like, a really hot doorman,”) is probably how it feels to watch your first born child take its first sequence of coherent steps. Sure, the kid starts doing annoying shit–like opening doors it shouldn’t be opening and dropping really fragile things because its arm mass is strong enough (side note: what does my referring to human babies as “it” mean about my potential to be a mother one day?) but in that tender moment that something you’ve created (or in Shoshana’s case, feel like you’ve been part of in a very significant way, at least,) is evolving right before your eyes, there’s nothing but the feeling of elation to speak for it.
On Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 12:09 PM, Mattie Kahn wrote:
Final thought exercise, because I’m sitting in class, and my professor is about to start talking about Norman Mailer:
Imagine Shoshanna taking Tenjune by storm in its heyday.
Sent from my iPhone
On Mar 4, 2013, at 12:09 PM, Leandra Medine wrote:
ZING. You win at kickers.
Alright, your turn. Thoughts on episode 8, please.