Girls: Hannah Grows Ever More ‘Dead Inside’ In Death-Centric Episode

By  · Published on January 27th, 2014

After last week’s game-changing new episode of Lena Dunham’s Girls, it seemed as if things were finally moving into a fun new direction for the girls, the boys, and all those tangled interpersonal relationships that hold them together. And then came death. Just, like, a lot of death.

Hannah’s nutso editor, David Pressler-Goings (John Cameron Mitchell) showed up dead (as Hannah shared, Gawker even posted about his Hudson River-bound death under the amazing and horrifying title “Goings Goings Gone”), and Hannah reacted in typical Hannah fashion – she made it about her. Specifically, she turned it into a series of long-winded worries about what will happen to her still-gestating e-book. Elsewhere, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) mused on the death of her close friend Season to very surprising results, Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) literally just stood around folding bandanas, Marnie (Allison Williams) continued to feel the fallout from her YouTube fame, and Caroline (Gaby Hoffmann) danced on some graves. No, really. Death is all around! And so is regression!

As ever, your own Rob Hunter and I are here to discuss, deconstruct, and just plain yammer about the latest episode of Girls.

Kate: Looks like death is all around in this week’s episode! We’ve long wondered if Hannah’s e-book was going to happen and now it seems like it’s actually kaput – and due to no fault of her own! With the death of her editor, Hannah has no idea what will become of her opus, a problem she has no issue vocalizing, once again making a terrible event all about her, but this time, Adam calls her out on her behavior – is this the beginning of the end?

Rob: I can’t say as I’m surprised that her e-book is dead, but I didn’t expect a person’s death to be the cause. Either way, it led to this season’s best exchange so far as Adam stands up for common decency by pointing out Hannah’s selfish behavior. The fact that he’s able to combine that slam with a statement of his love for her is even better. “If you died the world would blur. I wouldn’t know what trees were.” This is fantastic stuff, and it once again highlights how well written of a character Adam actually is. I’ve always questioned what exactly he sees in her and settled on the fact that she accepts him fully, but now I have to wonder if that’s going to be enough going forward.

Kate: While last week’s episode finally convinced me that Adam truly loves Hannah, this week really drove that home. But why? Good God, why? Hannah didn’t seem especially moved by Adam’s incredibly sweet “if you died” love profession. Imagine if he had said this in the first season! Hannah seems settled in the relationship now, which is understandable, but there’s a difference between being used to someone and not appreciating someone, and I fear that Hannah is going to learn that difference quite quickly.

Rob: Right? Welcome to my world for the past two seasons. I’m torn though because while I’d like Adam to come to his senses and dump the soul-sucker I know that he’s onscreen less when they’re not dating/living together. And seeing as he’s my favorite character that would be bad news for my appreciation of the show. Maybe he’ll start dating Marnie…?

Speaking of Marnie, what’s going on with that workout routine? Running, chin-ups, rapid fire punching, coconut water smoothies? Is she branching out from her music video to shoot a Tae Bo workout tape? She’s the last of the four who “needs” to get in shape, so maybe this is more about psychological comfort than physical? Her reaction to finding Ray and Colin(?) watching her music video in the office confirms she’s pretty fragile emotionally speaking at the moment.

Kate: If Adam started dating Marnie, that would be eighteen shades of fucked up!

It seems as if Marnie is going literal with her workout routine – she’s running from something, she’s trying to get stronger for something, she’s drinking smoothies…because, well, why not? – and it seems to be an amalgam of all the bad stuff weighing down on her. What does she really have? A tiny apartment and a shitty coffee shop job and Internet notoriety that doesn’t seem to be fading (Hermie is just seeing this thing? What is the half-life on this puppy?). She can yell and scream about famous people wanting to work with her, but we all know that’s not true. It seems like Charlie has messed her up more than we initially thought possible, and I fear what insane thing she’ll do next to act out. Singing showtunes on the subway? Making her own Internet video of old Charlie bits? Dating Ray? Wait…dating Ray? Could it? Would it?

Rob: Oh, it could and it would happen, but the question is…should it?

As goofy as Marnie’s acting these days I still prefer her new found zaniness to the artificial-feeling mess that is Caroline. Seriously, what’s the deal with that cemetery jaunt? I just can’t accept Caroline as a real person, and while I don’t know if the issue is the writing or Gaby Hoffman’s performance I do know that it feels exaggerated to the point that I just tune out from her. It’s not that the rest of the show is hyper-realistic, but Caroline is just so fake, uninteresting, and unappealing. Plus, she litters right before entering the cemetery! I hate her.

Kate: That cemetery gag was horrifying. Yes, we get that Hannah can’t feel appropriately about death, but literally dancing on people’s graves? Come the fuck on. Caroline freaks me out, and while I think that’s a good thing for the audience, it’s not good for Hannah, as I’m worried just how much further she’s falling under her sway. Repeating that story about the fake dead cousin to Adam is not a good step, and I half expected him to call her out on it, as if Caroline had tried this lie out before and he’s wise to it. Caroline is a cautionary tale – this is what Hannah could be and might be and soon.

Though Laird crying was pretty great.

Rob: Poor, poor Laird.

Yeah, I also expected Adam to call her on the dead cousin story, either having heard it before or because it actually was true after all, but sadly that wasn’t to be. It continues to not bode well for them though. Lies are never good, obviously, but her ass is going to get caught in such elaborate fabrications. Caroline’s a cautionary tale of sorts, but I don’t really see Hannah heading down that path… if only because she doesn’t have nearly enough energy to keep up with her new furry friend.

Unrelated, but how great was that picture of Tom Hanks on the bedroom wall…in a show co-starring Peter Scolari. Love it.

Kate: This week has been quite Bosom Buddies heavy (top heavy?) what with this and the new Greatest Event in Television History. Good on them!

I suppose it’s time we move to the Jessa portion of the death storyline, as she discovers that her once “favorite friend” literally faked her death to get away from Jessa and her troublesome ways. I can’t say I saw this one coming.

Rob: We had no reason to see it coming, but, if we’re being honest, are we surprised that someone would go to such lengths to remove Jessa from their life? Her attitude and reaction to the revelation seals my opinion that she’s mean above all else. Regardless of the reason, mean is mean. I know you cut her more slack than I do, but she’s a zero-sum persona when it comes to friendships which makes it difficult to see why anyone would willingly put themselves in her path.

She needs a good talking to from Adam. He’s dealt truth bombs to Hannah, Marnie, and Shosh recently, so it seems it should be her turn right?

Kate: What was most striking about the “yeah, I faked my death to extract myself from your presence” truth bomb was that Jessa’s other friends willing participated in the rouse. This wasn’t just Season – this was everyone. Jessa didn’t even seem that taken aback, at least later when she was walking home. What was that little smile? Why did this not rock her world? What?

I think Adam just needs to get the hell away from these people – he can only do so much.

Rob: Perhaps he can get away to his own show…Boys. (I will not stop pushing the idea of a spinoff featuring Adam and Ray as roommates in a new city.)

Regarding Jessa’s indifference to her own cruelty, something she shares with Hannah, I’m wondering if there’s a mandate at HBO that requires its “comedy” shows feature total pricks as lead characters. Curb Your Enthusiasm, Extras, Veep, Eastbound & Down, Hello Ladies, Life’s Too Short, Arliss, Hung… It’s not a bad thing necessarily, but there’s a curious through line of this character type on the network.

Let me ask this though, even though I already know the answer…which of the four main characters, as of right now, would you be most okay with leaving the show? Which one is bringing the least to the narrative or is the least valuable for you? For me it’s Jessa, no contest.

Kate: I have to go with Shosh because, honestly, what is up with her? She seems to be growing dumber by the week. Jessa at least has fabulous nightgowns to recommend her. Shosh has totally lost her spark.

Rob: You and your nightgowns make a compelling argument, but no, Shosh at least offers some laughs.

Kate: But where is she going to go from here?

Rob: Well, nowhere, obviously, but it’s a path she and Jessa share. Only Hannah and Marnie seem to have forward-thinking character arcs, and the other two are just along for the ride. That’s fine in theory, but as the lesser of the leads Jessa and Shosh should be providing entertainment in between the dramatic turns the other two face, and if they can’t do that then what are they doing here?

Kate: Teaching us how to fold bandanas and alienate people? They either need to be beefed up or cut altogether – they’re not adding much right now, and both are providing seriously diminishing returns.

Rob: And just like that we’re in a rare moment of agreement. We should probably end this week on our shared desire for either Jessa or Shosh to be killed off this season in spectacular fashion…

Kate: I vote Shosh, in a Sanrio store, with a bandana, by Jessa.

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