This season of Girls has been polarizing, and it has been more daring and creatively experimental than the first season. I often see comments about how Girls isn’t Sex and the City, and while I don’t think this show has *ever* wanted to be SATC, it has never been further from it. At this point, if you want a show about four gal-pals drinking cocktails and going on dates in New York, maybe turn on the CW. I’m sure they must have something.
Girls is so much more. The show has never been afraid to show its characters flaws, but the past several episodes have pushed that to the extreme. I completely understand why some people find it hard to watch, but I find it really interesting to watch.
This week, Jessa was MIA – the actress, Jemima Kirke, was pregnant during filming and her disappearance last week makes sense for the character (as Marnie said, it’s “classic Jessa”) but was also an out for the actress. This week focused on Shoshanna, Marnie and Hannah, all acting horribly in different ways.
*Adam was also featured in this week’s episode and provided some comedic relief, both at his AA meeting and his blind date.
The most horrible was Marnie, who still can’t believe that Charlie a) has stopped pining for her and b) is more successful than her. She’s dressed like a stripper hosting a circus and has no direction in life, and he sold an app and now has an important, grownup job. She told Ray that she really wants to sing, which is a development I have mixed feelings about. Is Marnie going to be a struggling musician now? It feels so different from the character we met, but I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve seen more. I can picture her awkwardly seeing at an open mic night and then quitting.
Shoshanna made a mistake, but I would argue that she wasn’t being horrible. She cheated on Ray – and yes, that’s not great. But she’s a 20 year-old inexperienced girl dating a 33 year-old grump of a man. He’s not even that nice to her. He’s a curmudgeon, he’s rather condescending, he’s defensive, and he’s bringing her down. I like Ray and Shosh together, but it was never a relationship that could work out. She’s too young. She was young, drunk and upset and made out with a doorman in a closet. Poor girl.
The most fascinating story this week though, was Hannah’s. Hannah’s life has not been going well. Her breakup with Ray and his crazy behavior has her on edge, her friendship with Marnie is strained, Jessa is gone and she’s writing a book. That’s a lot to handle. We’ve always known that Hannah has some emotional issues, and possibly some more serious anxiety issues as well. Now, we learned that she was previously diagnosed with OCD. The episode opened with Hannah showing weird ticks about the number eight, and as she visited with her parents we learned that this was familiar behavior to them.
It was interesting to see Hannah deny that her OCD was becoming a problem again, but it was even more interesting to watch her parents. Her dad was concerned, but her mother’s reaction fell more along the lines of frustrated. I think that’s a reaction that a lot of people can have when dealing with a loved one’s mental illness. It’s tiring. You want someone to stop being depressed or stop counting to eight, the same way you might want an alcoholic to just stop drinking. It’s hard to understand mental illness, and it can be hard for some people to understand why someone can’t just force themselves to snap out of it. Hannah’s parents treat her like a child, and that was never more awkward than this week when they insisted she see a pediatrician instead of a regular psychiatrist. It shone a new light on her phone call with them last week, after she witnessed Jessa’s brutal relationship with her father. Jessa’s dad never gave a crap about her and it messed her up. But I think the way Hannah’s parents chose to deal with this issue revealed a lot about them.
Episodes of Girls this season have been so isolated, I do wonder if we’ll revisit the OCD at all next week. Hannah has a prescription now (but she’d said the drugs she took in high school made her too groggy) and we don’t always know how much time has passed with each episode. It’s possible that we might just have to assume that, for now, her anxiety and OCD is somewhat under control. But it adds an interesting layer to the character.
I read online that much of this episode comes from Lena Dunham’s own childhood. She has anxiety and OCD, and was obsessed with the number eight as a child. The things Hannah says in the episode are things Lena dealt with. Lena and Hannah are not the same, but I think the fact that she often draws on her own experiences for the characters she writes is what makes the show great. I thought this was another really fascinating, innovative episode.