Girls Talk: The Only Answer To “Ask Me My Name” Is “Still More Regression”

By  · Published on March 2nd, 2015


Well, they did it. They made Hannah (Lena Dunham) a teacher. Not a very good teacher, mind you, but still one tasked with aiding the youth of America in learning things. After a tumultuous few weeks of new Girls episodes marked by major character and setting upheaval, the HBO series has now imagined a bright new future for Hannah, complete with a job and a new love interest (the adorable Jake Lacy). Everything is coming up Hannah!

Except it’s not, because this is Girls and that’s Hannah, and things just don’t shake out that way. After a mostly successful first half of a first date, Hannah drags Lacy’s Fran (“a man named Fran!”) to an art show where everyone is implored to ask everyone else around them to “ask me my name!” It’s about storytelling and experience and, oh my, God, it’s also about Mimi Rose (Gillian Jacobs) because it’s her art show and that’s why Hannah is there. And that’s also why Adam (Adam Driver) is there and you can see where this is going, can’t you? Straight into the worst first date ever – one with a twist, though, because as horrible as this set-up may be (it is), it also allowed us to get to know Mimi Rose in a real, kinda maybe okay sorta relatable way.

As ever, your own Rob Hunter and myself are here to ponder the mysteries of Girls.

Kate: This episode was a like a big, delicious marshmallow fluff sandwich smushed between two bricks. It started off with a rage blackout – that might have been me, though – as we see that Hannah (HANNNAH!) really is teaching the youth of America. Kind of. Sort of. And while she’s got a fun presence when chatting to her class, she’s still inappropriate, irresponsible, and embarrassing. It ended with another rage blackout – still me, maybe – with the reveal that Jessa set up Adam with Mimi Rose just to get with MR’s ex (Ace, a ludicrously weird and wonderful Zachary Quinto). You know what, Jessa? No. Fuck you. No. I am done with your shit.

Everything else was kind of wonderful, though.

Rob: Hmm, “kind of wonderful” feels a bit excessive. Starting with the positive, though, I did very much enjoy more time with Mimi Rose as I’m happy to finally be gaining insight into her character. I thought briefly that she was going to invite Hannah into a threesome with Adam, but instead I’m left wondering if she’ll actually commit to slowly letting Adam go. Obviously I’m a sucker for Gillian Jacobs already, but giving MR more dimensions than the supporting players usually get can only be good for the show.

I’m less enthralled with the background machinations of Jessa and the admittedly fun Ace. Jessa’s actions don’t surprise me though as it takes something we assumed was purely insensitive and confirms it was instead selfish.

And all I’ll say about Hannah’s teaching is that she misuses the phrase “begs the question” which leads me to believe that neither she nor the show’s writers know any better. Sums up the idea of Hannah as a teacher really well actually.

Kate: I did say only kind of wonderful. I was so – obviously – burnt out from last week, so to get an episode that included even an ounce of humanity and emotion, well, maybe I was in the bag for it. It was just nice to feel a little closeness to a character (in this case, Mimi Rose, who I felt so distant from last week) and to learn what appear to be genuine facts about them. Of course Mimi Rose is a fake! Of course she is! I should have known that when she first came on the scene with all her videos and big talk and bad relationship stuff. Still, it makes me like her more. At least she’s turning it into actual art (well, sort of, but art people go see) instead of poisoning the minds of our children.

And how fun is Ace!?! Where is that going to go?

Rob: Ultimately, Ace and Mimi Rose will end up back together. By all accounts the two of them share this cycle of understanding deception, and neither actor will become permanent fixtures here, so I expect they’ll reunite by season’s end.

That said, my hope is that someone – Hannah or Adam – will make an effort towards some kind of grand romantic gesture to win back the one they love. I know it’s cheesy if done wrong and more a part of big-screen rom-coms than TV, and I know the twentysomethings are probably too cynical for it, but I would love to see someone care enough here to make an epic fool of themselves. They can fail of course, and they probably should, but I want to see the effort.

Kate: This means that you want to see Hannah and Adam back together? I don’t think I agree, which is sort of silly because I think Driver is the best thing on the show and Hannah is at her most tolerable when she and Adam are on good terms. But their relationship remains toxic and untenable – yes, we’ve made some strides since the first season, when Adam lived in that canoe or whatever and was just terrible – but I have zero stake in their relationship anymore. Why not Fran? (Beyond the obvious answer of, “because he should run for the goddamn hills.”)

Rob: Oh, no, they can fail – and I’d prefer it if they fail – but I just want to see someone put their heart into a proclamation of love regardless of how uncool it may look. For as much as these characters talk about relationships its rare to ever actually see their feelings, especially in a positive light. I agree that Hannah and Adam probably shouldn’t reunite, but I’d like to see one of them want to with real, heartfelt conviction.

Yeah, Fran should bolt, but clearly his judgement is already suspect after asking Hannah out after less than a minute of conversation. I like him well enough that I wouldn’t mind more of him, but it shows something of a lack of confidence for him to return to Hannah after she used him at Mimi Rose’s “art” show. But all of that goes back to a previous conversation where we hoped the show would let Hannah go for several episodes without concerning herself with men. Clearly, that will have to remain a pipe dream.

Kate: Oh, Hannah, gosh, you’re bad at dating. Things were going so well with Fran, I almost didn’t recognize Hannah, who was able to put on a suitable adult outfit and have a suitable adult evening with, yes, A SUITABLE ADULT MAN. I didn’t realize what was going on with the art show until far too late – Fran, I relate to you – and then I just wanted to crawl under my couch and die. It didn’t help that no one else seemed to be looking out for Hannah, even Marnie was mean more than anything (GET FRIENDSHIP LESSONS, LADY). Adam’s disbelief at what was going on was palpable and the whole thing made me skin crawl. Why couldn’t Elijah pop up for some comedic relief?

Rob: I’d argue that the reason no one seemed to be looking out for Hannah was that they knew damn well what she was up to. Hannah went there with a date intentionally, knowing full well that Adam and Mimi Rose would be there. She’s the instigator! It’s one of her many character traits that makes it hard for be to understand why anyone would want to date her. I’d be her friend in a heartbeat as she’s a constant source of amusement, but actually date her? Oh, God no.

I don’t think it’s an intentional theme, but it strikes me that these people keep ending up in relationships where they’re settling for the other person. I know it’s not easy, and it would probably make for less compelling (and more difficult to write drama), but these folks deserve to wait and find the person who’s right for them instead of simply taking what they can get. Let them be single for a while! Marnie is settling for Mumford, Adam is settling for Mimi Rose…others have done the same throughout the show. We might not want Hannah and Adam to reunite, but at least they felt right together.

Kate: And that concept explains why we’ve had so many satisfying relationships taken from us – or at least the ones that had potential – like Shosh and Ray. How is it possible that there doesn’t appear to be ONE viable couple on this show? Again, something we talk about a lot, the show is too concerned with being a show, and has lost a lot of potential to feel real.

Rob: Yeah, that continues to be a real problem for the series, and I’m wondering if the writers are just trying too hard. The show is obviously Lena Dunham’s to guide so I’m curious what her directive to the writers is regarding Hannah’s character arc (or lack thereof). Do you think she has a plan for where she wants Hannah to end up? My guess is she’ll want Hannah to be left wandering, still looking for her place in the world, but I wouldn’t rule out Hannah penning a bestselling memoir!

Kate: That Hannah hasn’t shown any true growth over four seasons isn’t exactly heartening, but she has certainly tried a lot of stuff and made small gains. Then again, none of these girls has really evolved in a meaningful way, and I struggle to relate to that, simply because while I totally agree that the twenties are a time for fucking up, the majority of the decisions we’ve seen from these girls has been profoundly negative. I’d love for even one of them – especially Hannah! – to make solid decisions and genuinely move forward in a lasting way. They can’t fuck around forever, but that’s what we’ve been dealing with for four seasons now.

Rob: It’s very likely that by the end of the series one or more of the girls – probably Shosh and Marnie – will go out on top while Hannah is left struggling. Jessa will be dead by that point, of course.

Kate: At this point, I would just be happy for Jessa to disappear forever.

Rob: That’s been my dream since the first season, Kate. You know this.

Kate: We are finally getting on the same page, Rob!

Rob: Between this and being in agreement that we’d rather be watching a show about the boys I’m starting to think there’s hope for you yet Kate! In exchange I’ll consider coming around to liking Caroline (Gaby Hoffmann) as much as you.

Nope. Can’t do it.

Kate: One day, Rob, one day! (Maybe after she spawns!)

Rob: Quick subject change… what kind of school is Hannah teaching at anyway? I thought it was a high school, but then I saw a tiny kid high five her. Is it some kind of weird primary/high mash-up? Is this where you tell me that you went to a Catholic school where kids from first through twelfth grades mingled the same hallways?

Kate: I think it’s some kind of hippie-leaning school that caters to a small group, allowing all ages. Fran made some cracks about how you don’t need credentials to work there and how the classes the kids take aren’t very serious. It’s perfect for Hannah!

Rob: Oh, yeah. Silly saint-loving hippies. Ah, well, I look forward to Hannah’s further adventures as a sub acknowledging she hasn’t read the material in over a decade!

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