Girls: ‘I Saw You’ and Other Adventures in Social Indecency

By  · Published on March 18th, 2014

In most cases, when one half of a seemingly happy couple moves out while still claiming to be dedicated to the relationship, it’s not a good sign – but “most cases” don’t appear to apply to the romance of Girls’ Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver). The duo have been through more ups and downs than your local Six Flags rollercoaster, and although our own Rob Hunter and myself have spent most of the show’s third season prepping for their inevitable demise, it sure is taking longer than we expected.

Not that Hannah is helping – amid cries from Adam for her to “relax!” and assuring her that his moving in with Ray (Alex Karpovsky, finally back) is just to get his head right for his Broadway debut, she’s still being overemotional and untrusting. Hey, girl, we get it, but that doesn’t account for the rest of her behavior in this week’s episode, “I Saw You,” which soon spirals out to see Hannah setting fire to every aspect of her life. Elsewhere, Marnie (Allison Williams) and Beardy McSingsalot (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) hit their first open mic night, Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) does something with her hair and her face that’s great, and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) gets a job. No, really. Patti LuPone also returns to drop some knowledge, and Elijah (Andrew Rannells) reacts spectacularly.

Also, Ray and Adam hang out together in a bathroom.

Kate: There’s no question that Girls has quite often consisted primarily of Hannah’s misadventures in bad behavior, but this week’s episode seemed particularly rife with mistakes and missteps on her part. To wit, she: 1) doesn’t honor Adam’s request and just shows up at Ray’s, 2) brings Elijah to a “professional engagement,” 3) mouths off at work to the extent that she gets fired, 4) inappropriately “woooos!” at Marnie’s show, 5) acts rude and weird in front of Adam’s friends, and 6) busts down Ray’s door while he’s engaging in a personal act.

This brings me to only one conclusion – Hannah has not matured at all. At all. Is this insane or brave or true or weird or what? And how long can this go on for? How long can we watch a protagonist who is not actuallly a protagonist by its very definition?

Rob: Welcome to the conclusion reached by many of the rest of us ages ago, Kate! Your list of incidents hits them all this episode, and that last one, barging in to someone’s room while he’s having sex – — in his own apartment – — that girl needs a common decency intervention. I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again. Hannah is exactly as she’s been designed in many ways, with the most relevant one being her match to the HBO comedy mandate of having a self-centered prick as the lead. But that aside, in the world of the show she’s definitely become a difficult protagonist to watch. And I think she still works as that in most ways. Now a likable protagonist…that’s a different story.

Kate: I’ve never been a fan of Hannah, but I felt as if she was making some progress – little moments, like her comment that maybe they took Jessa out of rehab too soon, or how sweet she can be to Adam, or even her rebuilding her relationship with Elijah, these all seemed like tiny steps forward.

Also, I’ll admit, hating her seemed kind of passe and expected to me, but everything she did last night was beyond the pale in a range of ways and styles. Sure, yelling “WOO!” at Marnie’s open mic isn’t on the same level as busting into Ray’s room while he’s getting down with Marnie but, as you put it, this is all an issue of “common decency.” She doesn’t have it. That’s insane to me, and that’s probably the least relatable thing to me about the show. Yes, I am coming to these conclusions later than other people, but I think I just gave both Girls and Hannah some room to change my mind – now they have, and probably not in the best way.

Rob: I’m poking fun, but you’re clearly the nicer of the two of us as I would have kicked Hannah (and half the others) to the curb a long time ago. You’re good people, Erbland.

This does make me wonder about a few things though. Has Hannah ever been a nice person? What drew these friends to her in the first place? And it seems to me that the kinds of stresses she’s currently facing – — relationship on the rocks, fired from her job, friends in disarray, no writing to show for her time – — shouldn’t these be the kinds of things to push her into another extreme OCD breakdown? If not, does that make last season’s finale seem like even more of an after thought?

Kate: I distinctly remember Marnie saying something once about Hannah being a better friend in college – perhaps back in their school days, she was nicer. It certainly seems like she might have also been less preoccupied with her “work,” which continues to make her insufferable.

I guess we are meant to believe that her drugs have helped her, as has her limited talk therapy. That seems pretty easy peasy, however, and I do think that – as of now – last season’s OCD breakdown was used for a big and shocking push. It hasn’t been an issue since, and that makes the whole thing look gross and exploitative.

That all said – Hannah and Adam are doomed, right?

Rob: Sounds about right all around.

As for Adam and Hannah splitting…they’ve seemingly been doomed for a while now, but every time I think they’re at the end he turns around at cuts her more slack. I’m biased as a member of Team Adam, but I think he’s gone above and beyond in accommodating her neediness during his actual time of need. The ep didn’t end with them on edge so I assume something final will have to happen in the finale. (I am a genius.) But I won’t be surprised if Hannah snaps in delayed reaction to Shosh’s stinging and too-true words. Adam’s heading to Broadway, Marnie is heading for pop stardom (not really, but the point remains), and there sit Hannah…creative little Hannah…bombing out of life.

Kate: The episode did, however, end with Hannah making Ray and Marnie’s whatevermance all about her – SHOCKING! – and unexpectedly sending us right into very messy friend territory. Strangely, I feel that the last thing on Hannah’s mind will be to tell Shosh about it, she’s so self-involved that she’s going to use this to stick it to Marnie and make her feel like a real asshole (cool friendship). And yet, this is Marnie’s second time screwing someone’s ex – hi, Elijah – so I wonder if Hannah will use that against Marnie. Either way, this friendship is in some serious trouble right now (and yes, that’s weird, because no, it has nothing to do with Hannah).

Rob: Interestingly, any of Hannah’s friendships/relationships that come to an end will only leave Hannah worse off. Adam will survive a break-up and go on to stage success. Marnie will survive losing Hannah as a friend and continue to focus on her new job and one-sided romance with Ray. If Hannah does tell Shosh I can see Shosh being more perturbed by Hannah’s tattle-tale nature than by Marnie’s actions.

In short, Hannah is the only one with anything to lose here.

Kate: And she doesn’t seem to realize it – she spent this entire episode burning shit down left and right without a care in the world. Screw this job! Fuck Adam’s requests! Who cares about these theater people! Woo! WOOOOO! It’s not a good look on anyone, and it’s definitely not a good look on Hannah. How much more can she possibly lose?

Rob: Elijah? He’s really all she has left at this point.

Kate: Thank God that Andrew Ranells is still hilarious at every turn. He even made that played-out Patti Lupone visit sing.

Rob: Ha, so true. He’s a genius at surface-level entertainment, and maybe surface-level is all Hannah deserves right now. Would it be so bad if everyone else walked out of her life and left her alone to figure things out? It’d probably be the best thing for her, and I say that knowing that she wouldn’t recognize the gift until well into the future.

Kate: Let’s go with this – what if this season ends with everyone walking out on Hannah except Elijah? Would that be so bad? (I vote no – except I’d miss Adam a lot.)
Rob: Well, everyone walking out on Hannah doesn’t mean they’re walking out on us, so I’m totally in favor of it. It would be interesting to end the season that way and then see where everyone picks up at the start of season four. I can easily see returning a few months later to everyone having moved on in life, love, and career, and then there’s Hannah. Sitting naked and alone on the couch.

Kate: I’d actually find that really compelling – Hannah having to deal with actual consequences for her behavior. What an idea!

So where does that leave everyone else? There’s no way this Marnie and Gruffy McSingypants thing is going anywhere good, Ray doesn’t have a shot, and elsewhere Shosh is still getting second string material and Jessa doesn’t show any signs of getting any help.

Rob: It would definitely be interesting, and it would force a move on Hannah’s part that could help define her character beyond the self-centered girl she is now.

As for everyone else, I imagine they’d get along fine without her and may actually find new success and focus in her absence. Marnie should let that John Mayer-wannabe go, but she’s already shown herself to be willfully ignorant of his strongly implied loyalty to his sweet Clementine. (Who, it turns out, is actually real!) So I fully expect her to keep pushing to the point that he gives up and ruins his relationship. Jessa’s drug addiction recovery may move beyond the dancing stage. Should Shosh be graduating soon? What year is she in anyway?

Kate: Well, if the preview for next week tells us anything, it’s that Jessa is not out of the drug game – she’s even more in!! – and Shosh might actually be flunking out.

Rob: I haven’t seen the preview, but there you go. Shake ups for everybody!

Kate: So we are praying for everyone to disavow the show’s lead on the season finale, right?

Rob: Well, it’s in her best interest after all.