TV Recap: GIRLS, ‘I Saw You’

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“I Saw You” continues last week’s build to some inevitable emotional disaster, as Hannah’s descent into madness reaches free fall status. The episode features the gang making bad decisions and hearkens back to a time in the series when a cringe-worthy scenario was waiting around every corner. But whereas those moments once actually made my skin crawl, it seems they’ve lost most of that visceral power, as Dunham leads Hannah and the rest of the cast through territory that is at once very familiar and and bit too unrealistic in context. Let’s get into it.

HANNAH IS LOSING IT

As Adam declared to Hannah in last week’s dramatic final scene, he is now living with Ray. And to demonstrate the new dynamic in their relationship, this episode opens up with Adam loudly reaching orgasm like a caveman on top of Hannah and then immediately rolling over, snapping the condom off, and leaving the bed to get dressed and go. All without a word to Hannah. So yeah, it looks pretty insensitive.

Part of me is thinking, “Damn, dude. Couldn’t you time this shit better? Like, factor in a little post-coitus cuddle and conversation for her mental and emotional well-being?” But then again, I think it’s safe to assume that Hannah has brought this upon herself.

Although she claims to want to support Adam and his Broadway debut, she is having a very difficult time doing so. In part, this is easy to understand given Hannah’s track record. Despite any and all personal growth her character has experienced over the last three seasons, Hannah is and will always be at her core a selfish only child. Her capacity for compassion is severely underdeveloped. And make no mistake: there is an element of jealously here. It would be hard enough for Hannah to be selfless and supportive if Adam had merely started working overnights at a factory. But he is rehearsing for a Broadway show – a prestigious, highly-coveted dream job. Meanwhile, Hannah is still recovering from losing her book, and continuing to struggle with maintaining her identity in the cubicles of advertorial at GQ.

I get it Hannah. But seriously – grow the fuck up. You are pushing away the only man on Earth who understands you and loves you for the maniac you are.

But the part that irks me the most is Hannah’s irrational fear that Adam is going to leave her. Yes, Adam has left the apartment, but this is an explicitly temporary arrangement. And for that matter, it is an arrangement Hannah inspired by her own ridiculous behavior. She even shows up unexpectedly at Ray’s apartment later that night, much to Adam’s chagrin, possessed by the notion of their imminent break up, and blind to her own relentless efforts at self-fulfilling prophecy. But what the hell is going on here? Have they lost the ability to communicate? Adam has repeatedly assured her he is not going to leave her, but to no avail. Has Hannah simply lost all trust in Adam based on Patty LaPone’s dire warnings? Both seem rather unrealistic. But assuming this is, in fact, the case, they are doomed. How long can Adam be expected to put up with this insane bullshit? Not much longer, methinks.

THE CHRONICLES OF MARNIA

Okay. First of all, feel free to send me all sorts of fan mail for that section heading. I literally just came up with it. Just this very second.

But seriously, folks: Marnie’s story arc is rather compelling this week, and much more realistic and less annoying than Hannah’s. She has been searching for direction and fulfillment this season, and things haven’t been working out quite as she’s imagined they would. After a chance meeting with Soojin, Marnie has taken a job as her personal assistant, a humbling position that is beneath her talents, but puts her back in the art world nonetheless.

In a conversation with Bedelia – a middle-aged, wheelchair-bound photographer preparing a show at Soojin’s gallery, Marnie gets a stark glance at a potential future: Even a working artist pursuing her dreams can end up old, empty, and alone – a shell of her former self.

But recently, Marnie has something new and exciting going on: a musical collaboration with Adam’s cast mate Desi. They’ve been singing and writing together, and in this episode, they’re preparing for a performance at an open mic.

All former examples of Marnie’s vocal performances on this show have been pretty damn bad. And as we approach the performance, we are reminded of this, as Hannah and Elijah have a good laugh about her “too stiff and too hopeful” technique. Even the ever-encouraging Desi seems to be concerned as he casually instructs her to be loose and natural. But guess what? She nails it, to the genuine surprise of her friends. And spelling out what is completely obvious, Shoshanna takes a break from her rapt viewing of Marnie and Desi’s performance to ask Hannah if she’s going to be okay.

“Like okay how?” Hannah responds.

Shosh explains: “I mean, like, Adam’s about to be on Broadway, and, like, Marnie’s clearly about to be a pop star, and, I don’t know, you were, like, supposed to be the famous artist in this group, but now you’re just working in advertising…”

Really though? In what fucking universe would anyone ever say that? ARRRRGH.

After the performance, Marnie is feeling great, graciously and humbly receiving many compliments. Her “palpable chemistry” with Desi has hit a new high. And just as she’s probably falling in love with him, we meet his girlfriend Clementine who is beautiful and sexy and swiftly breaks the spell, reminding Marnie of her place in Desi’s world.

Reacting to this, Marnie returns to a place of power and dominance: Ray’s apartment. She shows up without warning, and despite Ray’s minor protests, quickly seduces him. Pretty hot stuff, I must admit. But was this what she wanted? Not really.

HANNAH IS LOSING IT (PART 2)

Later on, Adam brings Hannah back to the apartment where she hears some telltale moaning from Ray’s bedroom. Recognizing Marnie’s voice, Hannah boldly busts through the door, creating shock and horror on all sides. “You will never judge me again,” Hannah declares with a shudder. But who’s judging who, Hannah? I, for one, am judging you as a certified psychopath.

Sure, Marnie’s former bedfellows have been an issue for Hannah. But Hannah needs to get off her damned high horse. She is in a committed relationship (that, incidentally, she seems hell-bent on fucking up), and Marnie is still searching. Who she’s sleeping with is A) none of Hannah’s business and B) NOT ABOUT HER. But, as Hannah says explicitly on her approach to Ray’s bedroom, “Everything’s my business.” WTF?

PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM PATTY LAPONE

Earlier in the episode Hannah, has a second meeting with Patty LaPone to complete her interview for GQ. Despite her better judgement (LOL), Hannah agrees to let Elijah tag along. Hilarity ensues as he drives the visit off course, and turns what Hannah wanted to be a simple visit into an hours long dinner party, complete with smoking, drinking and personal revelations. Along the way, Hannah makes an unsettling discovery: Mr. LaPone is a former writer. And – get this – he gave up his passions to support his spouse’s acting career!!!! Could the parallels be any clearer???

The very next day, Hannah has a meltdown at GQ, directly and aggressively calling out her soon-to-be-former co-workers for their lack of passion. For selling out their dreams! For being inauthentic! She may be speaking the truth, but this would have been a more appropriate conversation after hours, in private, and not in front of their boss, Janice, who graciously suggests breaking for lunch, assumably so that Hannah could calm the fuck down. But no. She continues beating the drum, and makes herself look like a naive asshole in the process.

“I just expect more from life,” she asserts. “Seriously, it’s like, I want everyday to be exciting, and scary, and a rollercoaster of creative experience, as if i’m making a new life for myself in France.”

Huh? Thankfully, Janice fires her. She pulls the whole “you can’t fire me because I quit” routine, and Joe actually tries to stop her from leaving! Then she insults him one last time before walking out, and encouraging everyone to consider quitting as well.

I get the sense that Dunham was trying to frame this as a brave and inspired moment for Hannah, but I see it as a particularly unrealistic example of her rash, childish behavior. I know she’s clueless, but to run your mouth like that to an entire table of co-workers and your boss? It looks like madness to me. Guess it’s back to Grumpy’s, eh? Surely, this decision will have a grave financial impact on her life. But it’s cool, right? Stand up for your creative integrity!

HANNAH IS LOSING IT (PART 3)

In another scene, Hannah finds herself at a bar, sitting with Adam, Desi, Clementine and a group of Major Barbara cast mates. Some unnamed girl is busy telling a story about the stage, and it’s meant to sound obnoxious to non-theater folks like Hannah. So Hannah is doing that familiar thing where she’s subtlety rolling her eyes with disinterest, and generally wishing she was somewhere else, while the rest of the crew listens attentively. We’ve seen this before.

Finding a break in the conversation, Hannah makes an announcement, “I got fired from my job today,” with a near blank expression on her face, grinding the mood to an unexpected halt. At this point, she hadn’t even told Adam yet. Does that seem like the proper protocol for someone in a committed relationship?

Clarifying her actions to the table, she explains that she “wanted to get fired,” and she “succeeded with flying colors.” “Why did you want to get fired?” Adam asks.

“I got fired so I could receive my unemployment, because mama is going to need that unemployment,” she answers inexplicably, receiving uncomfortably awkward stares from everyone, in perhaps the biggest WTF moment of the night.

The idea that Adam then later on took her back to Ray’s place with the intention to have sex is weird to me. Personally, I would have been screaming at her on a street corner, desperately trying break through and get to the bottom of her major malfunction. Adam, however, is a better boyfriend than I.

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In conclusion, this week I must admit I found all of Hannah’s antics very tiresome, and more bonkers than ever. At least last season, she had the excuse of an OCD relapse to justify her insanity. Now, she’s simply acting insufferable. If Adam confirms her fears and leaves her next week, she will have certainly earned it.

That said, I’m not interested in a Girls without a prominent Adam Sackler. And I’m not sure if I’m interested in another dramatic breakup and subsequent dramatic reunion, either. Frankly, I don’t know what I want or expect from this show right now. It’s looking a bit rocky as we move into the season finale next week. But I’ll give Dunham a pass for now, and see if she can pull it off. She hasn’t let me down yet.

Tune back in next week for more expert analysis and witty commentary.

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