Girls has been edging up some sort of big reveal for a few episodes now – not a reveal about any of our girls, because why would we want anything big to happen to them? that might make them actually grow! who would want that for the characters they’ve been watching for four seasons?! – hinting that there’s something deeply amiss in the Horvath family household. There is, and “Tad & Loreen & Avi & Shanaz” didn’t keep us on pins and needles for any longer than necessary, outing Hannah’s father Tad (Peter Scolari) to her aghast mother (Becky Ann Baker). It’s a callback to an early season, when Elijah (Andrew Rannells) finally confessed his sexual desires to Hannah, outing her dad along the way.
But that’s not the only shock the episode had to offer, as we soon got to see Hannah herself (Lena Dunham) engaging in some bad behavior (shocking!) with a young student, attempting to win back a befuddled Fran (Jake Lacy), and basically continuing to fuck up in every possible way. Elsewhere, Shosh (Zosia Mamet) helped campaign for a romantically confused Ray (Alex Karpovsky) before going on a sexually charged date with the darling Jason Ritter, and Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) and Marnie (Allison Williams) decided the best way to get over a terrible fight was to get engaged. Congratulations?
As ever, your own Rob Hunter and myself are here to bemoan a series that seems categorically adverse to evolution.
Kate: Well, we’ve got a lot to unpack here, but at least everything seems to fall under the same umbrella: “relationships are hard” (and also “Hannah needs to grow up,” but that’s a constant). Let’s start at the top: Hannah’s dad is gay. We’ve long wondered what’s going on with the Horvath parents, and this is a hell of a bomb to drop on them. It’s interesting that we actually get the confession after they’ve come out of a marriage counseling session – it seems as if they were being proactive and trying to fix things and that might have happened, in the most unexpected way possible. Why can’t everyone on the show be willing to talk through their issues in a real way?
Rob: I’m torn on Hannah’s parents. On one hand why are we seeing so much of them here, and why do no happy couples exist in this world? On the other hand… nope, never mind. Not as torn as I thought. They’re fine as fringe characters, but they have no place here as a main storyline. This is especially the case if it’s just going to be more people arguing and yelling at each other. The show’s already overflowing with that particular aspect.
But hey, at least Marnie’s excited to be engaged to a ridiculous man mere hours after he called her a fucking bitch.
Kate: They seem content to drop the Horvaths in at total random. I can’t find the pattern here. And are we expected to contend with her mother maybe getting a new beau? I suspect this might mean we are due for another Hannah visit home, wherein she tries to do something insane and offensive like convince her father he is not actually gay. Fingers not crossed for that.
Marnie! Why? I’ve been totally fine with her dating Desi in order to hold on to some sense that she’s capable of getting what she wants, but this can’t possibly be what she wants, right? Still, the idea of Marnie becoming a bridezilla is extremely intriguing to me. Can you even imagine what drama Hannah will stir up?
Rob: Instead of a visit home I see Hannah’s dad visiting the big, bad New York City to explore his new desires. Honestly, the only thing that makes this story line remotely interesting to me is the promise of Hannah’s dad getting a tour of NYC from Elijah’s perspective. It will probably be my favorite episode.
How in the everloving hell does the idea of a bridezilla Marnie appeal to you? That sounds like a nightmare scenario of awful to me. But beyond that horrific image, can we talk about Marnie and Desi as a couple? We’ve only ever seen them fighting, fucking, or mangling music – this is not the basis of a strong relationship, and it provides no reason for us to believe they’re a match let alone a couple we should care about. Desi is an ass who clearly puts his music before Marnie. Is it too much to ask that the show give us a couple we actually believe could and should succeed?
Kate: Noted: this episode was entirely devoid of Elijah and that is not okay.
Rob, I’m in it FOR the pain. I want it to terrible and gut-wrenching and soul-twisting. Work with me here. Here’s an interesting note on their relationship: when Desi showed up to propose to Marnie, I was convinced he was going to tell her he was going back to Clementine. Convinced of it. That’s not good.
Again, I echo your sentiment: why is it impossible for this show to have just one stable couple? Yes, these girls are going through a tumultuous time in their lives, but it seems deeply unrelatable to me that there is not one person in this friend group who has real relationship. It’s notable at this point, and it’s a problem. I’m not asking for the show to speak to all things and all people, but this just makes everyone look damaged and gross. I don’t find much to enjoy about that. At this point, we have to go back to hanging our hearts on Shosh and Ray, and clearly that’s screwed up in its own way.
Rob: My guess is Clementine won’t reappear until Marnie catches Desi cleaning out her trunk with his tongue the day before their wedding. He and Marnie make for a terrifically terrible couple, so the sooner they split the better. Shosh and Ray, by contrast, are a fun, believable couple that could and should make it.
But enough about how the show can’t grasp the concept of actual relationships.
Can we talk about Hannah and the frenulum incident? Why is this teenager her friend, and why would she continue to be after this piercing betrayal?
Kate: Am I surprised that Hannah doesn’t understand professional limits and how to behave around children? Of course not. Am I surprised that what looks to be a fun, normal teen would hook her wagon to Hannah’s star? Kinda. Kids like weird things, and young Chloe might be the type to think that palling up to an “adult” is cool, but even she should have run lisping-screaming away after this piercing incident. What sort of school is this?!? I was locked on campus as a kid, and these two are just running willy nilly.
And Fran. Oh, Fran. Are we really supposed to believe that Hannah still has a genuine interest in him?
Rob: I just want to yell at Fran to run as fast and as far away as he can! He’s a smart guy, and I love that he called Hannah out on her lack of self-awareness, but I’m expecting him to somehow let her talk him into a second date. I fear for him.
Kate: Fran really nailed so much about Hannah. She just doesn’t know who she is, and the idea she has in her mind of what kind of person she is borders on deranged. When will this ever change? I don’t want to put this on sweet Fran, but my patience is wearing thin. GROW UP, HANNAH. That she called herself a child during this episode is all the more telling – she has no idea who she is or where she fits. I should be sad, but I am mainly just…tired?
Rob: Agreed, but I’m wondering if this is a problem with the HBO “sitcom” format that I’ve mentioned before. Basically, just as their hour-long shows are seemingly mandated to include female nudity, their sitcoms more often than not feature a rude and unrepentant jerk as the lead character – Curb Your Enthusiasm, Eastbound & Down, Hello Ladies, Veep, etc. Girls follows that prescription with its prickish and emotionally stunted main character, but the difference here is that where those shows are pure comedy (albeit dark) this wants to be something more dramatic and “real” at the same time. The latter requires a character to grow, but the former prevents it from happening.
Or maybe I’m just over-thinking things.
Kate: I don’t think you are overthinking things at all. This has become our chorus for this season: these people haven’t changed, and that is keeping the show from truly engaging both of us (and I suspect we are not alone in this). Hannah has to grow and she refuses to, which is keeping the show from growing, and thus keeping us from enjoying it.
Rob: True. They need that Boys spin-off sooner rather than later.
Kate: It’s shocking to me that we are now on the fourth season of this series and no one has made any kind of marked change. Is this a trick?
Rob: No girls have made a real marked change anyway. Adam has become an actor, something he’s managed to apparently be good at. Ray is running for a political position, and we have every reason to believe he could actually do it and again, do it well. Elijah is fabulous. Charlie is dead or something.
The girls of Girls have a long way to go to catch up.
Kate: At what point do we give up on them? I’m serious.
Rob: Probably immediately after FSR asks us to stop writing these recap conversations.
Kate: Anyway, go Ray’s political career. Woo hoo.
Rob: Hopefully his political ambitions have more staying power than Hannah’s game-changing OCD revelation did.
We have two episodes left this season – where do we see these people ending up? Will Hannah still be “teaching?” Will Ray get elected? Will Shosh find happiness with Jason Ritter? Will Marnie’s inevitable heartache necessitate a return to Ray’s bed? Will Hannah’s dad start dating Pal?!?
Kate: Yeah, what the hell happened to Hannah having OCD? Don’t tell me that has been put into manageable check by medication and therapy. Don’t even try to pull that over my eyes.
I suspect we’ll see something with the election, as that seems like a reasonable enough end point. I also think we’re due for some other kind of shocking revelation involving one of the girls. My bet? Adam comes back to Hannah or Marnie suddenly gets dumped.
Rob: I’ll take those bets – I see Marnie getting cheated on as opposed to getting dumped, and I don’t think Adam will revert backwards like that. What if Marnie’s wedding is misdirection and instead the season ends with a surprise reveal that Shosh and Jason Ritter’s character have eloped? Sounds like something she’d do.
All of our wishful thinking aside, though, I would like to see more growth. Period.
Related Topics: Girls