Girls recap: We meet Tally, Hannah’s hot for teacher and Marnie’s not hot for Hannah (yikes!)
Well, last week Marnie finally got that girl-on-girl college experience she missed out on by dating Charlie. We’re grateful it was with Jessa, who didn’t let it become what the experience is usually about: a parlour trick for getting guys’ attention. Jessa may suck at being a Crack Spirit Guide, but Break-Up Spirit Guide is something at which she excels. In the throes of relationship bliss, Hannah risked rocking the boat by scolding Adam for his bad behaviour and was rewarded with genuine contriteness.
This week, the girls put on their party frocks and head to a book launch feting their former classmate, Hannah’s nemesis. Here we see the girls’ different outlooks on post-college success: Hannah is jealous (moreso because it’s in her field), Shoshanna is awestruck (though she is still a student so probably anyone with a nine-to-five job gives her the wows), Marnie is impressed and Jessa, as per usual, is bored. What the book really does though is prompt each girl to reevaluate where they are with their post-college goals and growth. So let’s see what those questions are…
Girls Problem: Your college frenemy is succeeding at that which you fail.
Maybe fail is too strong a word for what Hannah is doing—floundering would be better. In Hannah’s head we’re sure she’s imagining the worst about her own shortcomings (just like she says she does to Marnie later on) in light of Tally’s accomplishment. To Hannah’s credit, Tally is just as passive aggressive as she claims, saying to Hannah that her book “just poured out of her” and that it was like she “water-birthed her truth,” while making note of Hannah’s struggles to write and disguising it as a compliment to her dedication. (Barf.) Marnie, who is supposed to be Hannah’s rock, offers no words of encouragement and instead sings Tally’s praises. (Annoying.) Luckily, Hannah’s ex-prof is there to prop her up: he still remembers her essay about being grounded for wearing shorts. (How short would they have had to be to get her grounded?) Is it crazy that when Powell Goldman looks her up and down at the party we feel there’s some attraction? Marnie saw it too, so we don’t think we’re imagining it.
Ten Years From Now: Hannah will learn that there will always be people like Tally who walk this earth, and they unfortunately don’t get any kind of comeuppance like mean girls and slimeballs do in movies.
Girls Problem: Your roommate’s boyfriend weirds you out.
Adam is an oddball with necessary odd habits and a predilection for shirtlessness and sweatiness. Marnie is as straight as they come, and also looks like one of those girls who never sweats. His intrusion in the apartment would be less contentious if Hannah and Marnie were on equal ground, but because Marnie is paying the rent, she is even touchier about boundaries than ever. Though she may not realize it, paying all the bills is making her view Hannah as a guest in their home, and Adam as an uninvited one using up all the toilet paper and toothpaste she bought.
Ten Years From Now: In 10 years Marnie won’t have a roommate, but we could see Hannah still sharing space and eating other people’s yogurt. Just like Adam’s not one for shirts, she’s not one for boundaries.
Girls Problem: You want to impress your favourite professor.
Despite agreeing with Adam that readings are for people with poor taste in crackers, Hannah decides to do the reading Professor Powell (is it “Powell,” or do they just pronounce “Paul” really messed up on this show like “Stuart” on SNL’s The Californians?) suggests, agonizing over what “personal essay” she’ll read. Marnie is unsupportive of her initial choice, showing the limitations of how much she gets Hannah’s weirdness. At the coffee shop, Ray further intensifies Hannah’s self-doubt by recommending she talk about something with gravitas like death, the same goldmine Tally struck it rich plundering. At the reading, Hannah starts off disarming and charming, but makes the fatal insecure misstep of thinking “new” equals “better.” Professor Goldman, whose advice was a balm at the launch is now salt in her newly reopened wound of insecurity. She should’ve gone with her gut.
Ten Years From Now: Hannah will still struggle with self-doubt, though with some experience, she’ll be better at realizing when something is just plain old poorly conceived.
Girls Problem: You’re worried about life passing you by because of a book you read.
We’d love to be in a book club with someone as impressionable as Shoshanna, where every writer is a guru to be worshipped. Thanks to Tally’s thoughts on the fragility of life, Shoshanna joins a dating site that sounds like it’s filled with emoticons of meaning. She even got a message from someone named Bryce, who is a nice Jewish fellow who likes stuff. My understanding is that every college-age person is on some dating site or another, and that is how everyone social networks now?
Ten Years From Now: J-dating won’t be something Shoshanna does on a life-affirming whim, but something she does because either she’s a divorced mother of two or a busy “Miranda” who hasn’t found her “Steve” (as Shoshanna would put it).
Girls Problem: Your ex-boss who fired you shows up wanting to chat about your termination.
Running into an old boss is worse than running into an old boyfriend because looking good to your boss doesn’t affect them wanting you back. Or does it? Katherine shows up on Jessa’s door and tells her she gave Jeff the boot, asking Jessa to come back and help her and the girls through this tough transition. (Guilt trip much?) Katherine makes it sound like she chose Jessa over Jeff, which can’t be true. Katherine makes the break-up seem cut and dry, but with kids and after 15 years together we doubt it was that easy. Is she sounding so blasé out of pride, so Jessa doesn’t know the deep pain she’s caused her? Katherine accepts Jessa not wanting to come back, but won’t leave without giving a few opinions. Katherine’s observations about Jessa distracting herself with trivial dramas to put off her personal growth is another take on Adam’s recommendation to Marnie the previous week: happiness isn’t found in relationships or affairs, but in finding what we want from life and following our own interests.
Ten Years From Now: Jessa will have truly listened to Katherine’s advice. She’s tried rearranging the apartment in whatever the boho equivalent of feng shui would be, but it’s clear the furniture stands in for the problems she’s trying to rearrange in her brain. But self-actualization isn’t an easy road, and we’re sure there will be many setbacks along the way for Jessa, mostly because she’s also pretty selfish.
Girls Problem: Your best friend wants to break up.
I feel like every year some women’s magazine does a story on the female friendship breakup. I’ve gone through one or two, and they shake your confidence like no romantic breakup can. But friendships are often filled with a greater degree of taking for granted and higher expectations of acceptance than we put on any other relationship. At first it sounds like Marnie’s issues are typical roommate stuff (bills, you eat my yogurt), but it quickly devolves into larger friendship issues of selfishness and emotional dumping. Hannah thinks she should be free from judgment because she already criticizes herself to such a great degree, but this isn’t fair to Marnie, because the issues she has with Hannah are different than the ones Hannah has with herself. Hannah resents Marnie’s emphasis on success.
Ten Years From Now: While in college, there was the same yardstick for success (grades, professor approval, boyfriends), but in the real world success is either easily quantifiable (apartment size, clothes, spending habits) or extremely qualitative (happiness, esteem, pride). Marnie believes that to achieve the latter you need the former while Hannah is the opposite. This will always be a fundamental difference between the two, but as they both find success (and hopefully happiness) the difference may not matter so much. Until then, like Loretta Lynn sang, “success has made a failure of our home.”
Girls airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. on HBO Canada. Tune in for our recap of the Girls season finale next week, where we’re sure we’ll be discussing: Hannah paying Marnie back $7 a day with coffee shop tips; Marnie having a rebound with Booth Jonathan; Shoshanna losing her virginity to Adam’s friend Tako; and Jessa babysitting for a nice gay couple she still manages to seduce.