Episode 3.1 “Females Only”
Welcome, one and all to Dork Shelf’s weekly recap of season three of Girls! My name is Elena and I am new on the Dork Shelf scene. These recaps will be called “A Girl on Girls” not just because alliteration is close personal friend, but also because I tried to type “A Woman on Girls” and realized that Britney Spears was right. I’m not a girl, but also not yet a woman. Let’s face it ladies and gents. There’s only so much immaturity owning a down-comforter can scrub away. It can’t erase the fact that I own a onesie with cat ears or a Shake Weight. So with that brief introduction out of the way, let’s see what our favourite narcissists have been up to!
We start off season three with a nice close-up on intertwined legs which I first thought were only Hannah’s. Ladies, I feel like we’re on the same wavelength here. And gentlemen, if you can’t relate, I direct you to this delightfully accurate image from BuzzFeed.
Last season left off with Hannah and Adam reuniting during Hannah’s OCD spiral, and since then, the pair has apparently moved in together. This move seems particularly important for the two. As you may remember, Adam’s offer to move in was rebuffed by Hannah in season one, leading to the pair’s breakup. So how did the couple get to this cuddly place? An explosive scene at Grumpy’s clues us in as to what happened between seasons.
With the help of Adam’s ex Natalia and a friend described by Ray as a “feisty shiksa” (the sworn enemy of Jewish mothers, played in this episode by the fantastic Amy Schumer), we learn that Adam told Natalia he loved her and then simply disappeared without an explanation. Yes, friends, we find out Adam is an abrupt fader (for reference, in dating, that’s one notch above a slow fader, although a couple of notches below “surprise racist”). Despite Adam contending that he merely hates confrontation, Natalia accuses Adam of being a “Neanderthal sex addict” and a “sociopath” in front of Hannah and Ray. She also accuses him of being a little too loose with his man juice, to which I really wished Hannah had said, “lady, that problem could have been avoided had you just worn a damn hair tie”. Notably, Hannah is silent throughout the incident.
Next, we peek into Marnie’s life, where our homegirl is in a bad place.
Many fans of the show had been concerned as to how Christopher Abbott’s departure would be handled in season three. I was personally upset by the news that Abbott had left because season two’s finale “brown babies” moment was goddamn adorable and I was looking forward to seeing what was in store for Charlie and Marnie. As the episode progresses, we find out that Charlie didn’t die from an infected “John Mayer is my homeboy” tattoo. Nope. He instead stomped on Marnie’s heart and broke up with her right after the two bought ingredients to make grilled pizzas. That bastard. Those pizzas deserved better.
As you might suspect, Marnie is not handling being dumped well. Despite declaring that she is totally fine, has friends, a new apartment, and a job where she’s respected, Marnie’s mom (played by Rita Wilson), isn’t buying any of it. As she points out, Marnie is moping over a guy who wasn’t even Chris Hemsworth and Ryan Gosling, and she needs to get her shit together instead of just saying it (fist bump, Marnie’s mom).
We then move on from Sad Sack Town into Jessa-land, a place which hasn’t been visited since Season 2, Episode 7, when Jessa disappeared after an emotionally wrought trip to visit her family. It seems Jessa-land has a new addition: A rehab centre! Although the rest of the characters make an effort in the facility, Jessa informs everyone that she does not give a tiny rat’s ass about being there.
Not even the tiniest rat. Just doesn’t give it. Jessa hoards all the rat asses.
While she states that she figured her shit out when she was five, Jessa’s defensiveness when pushed to show even one iota of emotional vulnerability indicates otherwise. Some of the episode’s biggest laughs come from Jessa’s hilariously cruel tirades, which feature many brilliant back-and-forths including this gem:
“Let’s talk about Mindy. Methface over here. Mindy enjoys wearing scrunchies. No one has addressed that.”
“Scrunchies? I’ve never worn a fucking scrunchie in my whole life.”
“But you want to wear them though…”
Along with Methface Mindy, patient Laura (played by Orange is the New Black’s Danielle Brooks) is also a victim of Jessa’s vitriol and is accused of wearing a vest that is a tad homosexual.
Laura insists that she does not shop at Lesbian Vest Barn and storms out after yelling “Fuck you, hairstyle!” at Jessa (probably what I would have yelled too). Laura becomes possibly my favourite character after I find out she owns one of these:
Although some are hurt by Jessa’s outbursts, others refuse to engage and call her out, Marnie’s mom-style. When she tries to pull a “I’m not being a bitch, I’m just being honest!” move, a fellow patient kindly informs Jessa that what she says is utter bullshit and that she has to learn “when honesty is righteous and when honesty is nothing more than a party trick”. I instantly want to pluck this man out and have him say this to every character on the E! network.
We then leave Jessa-land and visit no-longer-a-virgin Shosh, who is spending a lot of time in Penis-ville.
At a dinner party, she informs the gang that this is a very calculated decision—she is simply going to vacillate between nights of sexy, sexy “freedom” and nights of “academic focus” in order to come out of college a more mature woman. Hannah approves of her choice, calling it “smart, strong and feminist”. Marnie, meanwhile, not content simply being a sad sack, is trying out being a Debbie Downer as well, telling Shosh “that’s so smart; if you can avoid love and feelings and matters of the heart and soul, you’ll be so much better off.” I instantly disapprove of anyone who dares rain on Shosh’s penis parade.
Apparently people calling out the girls on their shit is a theme this episode, because Adam refuses to let Marnie wallow and instead shares this kernel of earnestness he learned from a past heartbreak:
“One day I realized something—I didn’t know her, she didn’t know me. Just because I tasted her cum and spit and could tell you her middle name, or what record she liked, that’s not a connection. Anyone can have that. Really knowing someone is something else. It’s a completely different thing. And when it happens, you won’t be able to miss it. You will be aware, and you won’t hurt or be afraid. Okay?”
I really liked this moment because it reminded me of the main lesson from 500 Days of Summer: mainly that just because someone likes the same bizarro crap that you do, that doesn’t make them your soul mate. This moment also leaves us wondering (ooh, look who thinks she’s Carrie Bradshaw!): do Adam and Hannah really know each other? Apparently Hannah shares this worry, because throughout the episode, we can sense the effect that Natalia’s words had on Hannah. She didn’t defend Adam during the argument, likely because on some level she’s afraid Natalia’s right. Maybe Adam is a sociopath. Maybe he isn’t just misunderstood. Maybe they’re just two weirdos who fulfill each other’s needs at the moment. This insecurity is clearest near the end of the episode when Hannah tries to reassure herself of their connection, joking “I really know you—no matter what your crazy ex-girlfriend says, I really know you”.
While we are unsure of what this season will bring for Hannah and Adam, we do know one thing for sure: Jessa got kicked out of rehab and well… she needs Hannah to pick her up.
Overall opinion: Great start to the season. Definitely left me wanting more.
Episode grade: five adult-children out of five.