Episode 3.11— “I Saw You”
This season Girls has become more focused than ever on using subtly themed episodes to test its characters like lab rats. The biggest thematic thread (or piece of cheese, depending on which metaphor you go with here) has been the notion of settling.
The technological era, god bless it, has had a particularly harrowing effect on our power of choice. Having seemingly endless options at our disposal has made perfection seem deceptively attainable. When “Googling” has become a necessary life skill, it’s no wonder that finding something “good” but not “perfect” can get warped into a personal failing. Even worse, having too many options can complicate decision making to the point where the fear of choosing incorrectly leads to paralysis—hey, no choice is better than a bad choice, right?
In this episode, the show asked some tough questions: Are you actually content, or are you unknowingly giving up a piece of yourself? Are you deluded if you’re happy with something seemingly imperfect?
To the recap!
We start off the episode with a sex scene featuring Adam’s butt. Take note, Game of Thrones season four: People like man butt. No one will stop watching Game of Thrones because of equal opportunity nudity. If I can hat tip Khaleesi on her tunic dragons, a bro should be just as cool with hat tipping Jamie’s King’s Landing.
Sadly, Adam has yet to perfect the art of orgasming in Cockney, and thus needs to skedaddle and practice his vocal exercises at Ray’s. For some reason, Hannah is frustrated with her boyfriend’s refusal to discuss his unilateral decision to move out. I mean, sure this situation brings up the feelings of inadequacy from season one when he was just using her for sex, but he’s an artist, guys. Hannah totally doesn’t get it.
In order to avoid an argument, Hannah promises she’ll pretend like she’s not getting an emotional ulcer.
Hannah can’t contain herself and drops by Ray’s later that night under the guise of being worried about Adam’s potassium intake. Pressed, she confesses that her biggest fear is that he is slowly breaking up with her. When she asks to sleep on the couch for the night as a compromise, Adam refuses. “I see you and I think ‘play time’, and I need to be thinking ‘work time’”, he explains. Upon dropping Hannah off back home, Adam reasons that when Hannah has something major going on, she’ll understand why he needs this time alone. Yeah, Hannah. Two publishing deals and working at a national magazine? Lame. Call me back when something major happens to you.
While I understand Adam’s commitment to his art, I have to say this whole incident left a bad taste in my mouth. First of all, you’re in a relationship, bud. You can’t expect your partner to not be disconcerted by the fact that you’re so easily willing to prioritize your new project over her feelings.
While Hannah is herself at fault for acting needy and insecure, this was a wholly predictable scenario, making it frustrating to watch Adam disengage from his emotional responsibilities as a boyfriend. Adam knowingly entered into a relationship with a needy, insecure person. He knew this is who Hannah was and he chose to love her, warts and all. He also knowingly built himself up as an unhealthily dependable super-boyfriend. He cannot play the hapless victim card here.
“But Elena, Adam wants to have a healthier relationship where he’s less dependable and Hannah is more confident!” Why, that’s a great goal! But he can’t achieve it overnight without discussing it with his partner first. Adam could have easily let his distressed girlfriend sleep on the couch for the night. The next day he also could have laid out a timeline to move back in. He instead chose to act like a pretentious man-child. Which brings me to my second point!
Adam, stop being such a condescending bag of dicks.
The next morning, we find out that Marnie did indeed accept the job as Hipster Satan’s assistant. Later in the day, she meets up with Tall Lumberjack (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) to practice their music. As it turns out, the two are going to play an open mic night together! Ah… performing deeply personal songs in an intimate setting that requires you to stare deeply into each other’s eyes—something you should totally do with a taken man you want to bone!
After some vocal gymnastics, Tall Lumberjack mentions that he saw Marnie’s horrifyingly awkward YouTube video. In case you’ve forgotten about that masterpiece of white girl posturing (of course you didn’t), let’s revisit that bad boy quickly.
Trying to save face, Marnie lies that the video is just of another girl… who looks exactly like her… and who has the same name!! That’s plausible, right????
This strategy is not effective.
From their conversation we gather a few bits of information: 1) Charlie still hasn’t taken down the video (what a douchecanoe), and 2) Tall Lumberjack was TOTALLY creeping Marnie online! There is no way Marnie would have mentioned the video to him, and there’s also very little chance Adam would have brought up Marnie’s video during rehearsals. Ergo, heretofore, Tall Lumberjack, you are a creepy ass motherfucker just like the rest of us. I see your game now. No matter how cool you try to come off, I now know you’re one of us mole people.
At Shosh’s place, Jessa dances to “Bad Girl” by Lee Moses (fantastic song) and it’s basically like watching hair porn. I went to bed last night and dreamt about Jemima Kirke’s glorious mane. I think she might be a witch.
Shosh then comes home and complains about graduation caps in between telling Jessa that her drug use is destroying her pleasure centres. Shortly after her cousin goes on to put on a hair mask, Jessa crumples on the floor crying. This scene supports my theory that last episode’s Jasper intervention had more to do with Shoshanna’s wants and needs than Jessa’s. Saying “I love you” has little meaning when it doesn’t accompany actions displaying that affection.
Downtown, Hannah stops by Patti LuPone’s for a follow-up interview because Patti was a gabber and never gave GQ’s advertorial section a quote about the positive effects of anti-osteoporosis drugs. Along for the visit is Elijah, who has promised his friend to be quiet and not touch anything, especially not any Tony awards (or even men named Tony).
Shockingly, Elijah breaks this promise and indulges Patti in discussing anything but bone density. While haughtily smoking a cigar, Patti tells the two young’uns that she prides herself on never having tried out for the chorus of a play. She apparently had way too much self-esteem and confidence to ever go for such a job.
While I’m glad Patti knows her worth, she primarily came off as smug. Her view not only ignores the hierarchical realities of the theatre world (and the world at large, for that matter), but it also oddly equates an entry position with cowardice. Sorry lady, not all of us are privileged enough not to have bills to pay, skills to learn, and networks to build. While your logic might apply to people like Marnie, you’re painting with really wide brushstrokes here.
In case you haven’t noticed, I am huffy in this recap.
Not helping things is Patti’s husband, who cheerfully (Stockholm syndrome?) tells Hannah that Patti suffocated his artistic endeavours with her theatre career. Okay, that was a little heavy handed, Girls.
We then cut to Ray telling Adam the tale of rejecting a “girl” (cough cough Marnie cough cough) and being all “yeah, you heard me, sluuuut”. Okay, homeslice.
Ray goes on to say about how he doesn’t want to compromise in a relationship. He would rather be single than date someone who is not perfect.
At work, Hannah proves that her personal contentment cannot withstand everyone’s external expectations of her to be an “artist”. What I mean to say here is that bitches be crazy.
Hannah takes some of that Shoshanna truth juice and Patti Kool-Aid, and goes after her coworkers for working in a “sweatshop factory for puns” (are they hiring?) and for engaging in “squanderization of talent.” When Karen points that, hey Sylvia Plath, that’s not a word, Hannah dismisses her because she coined the term “pantsaholic”. The target is then aimed at bearded Kevin, who is attacked for calling himself a poet even though his biggest literary achievement lately has been rhyming “need” with “tweed”. Hannah then vomits out: “am I the only one who prides herself on being a truly authentic person? I want every day to be exciting, and scary, and a roller coaster of creative experiences as if I’m making a new life for myself in France.”
Karen’s face is worth a thousand words:
Bad bitch editor then hands Hannah the pink slip. Joe too gets pummeled when he tries to stop his friend from leaving: “What do you want from me? Does it make you feel good to have a chubby girl paying attention to you? I am not the right conquest.” (bye Michael Zegen </3).
While some viewers may have felt anger towards Hannah, I felt nothing but pity. The second-hand embarrassment I felt in this scene will last me a lifetime. Sorry, boss I just walked in on changing in their office because I didn’t knock, I’ve reached my humiliation quota!
This moment saw Hannah slip into the old, self-sabotaging personality which thought that “stability” and “artistry” are mutually exclusive. For the past few episodes Hannah’s been subtly, but consistently, put down for her choice to take on a more responsible, adult gig. It makes sense then that Hannah, being the insecure person that she is, reverts back to her immature “I’m and artist, I’m definitely not a sell-out” season one behaviour.
At Hipster Satan’s gallery, Marnie is helping to set up a show featuring an older artist named Bedelia (Louise Lasser). Once again displaying her paralysis, Marnie freezes when she’s asked for her opinion on one of the pieces; she stammers that she’s not qualified, despite the fact that she went to art school and works in the art world. Meanwhile, Jessa, who has swung by, steadfastly gives her opinion. Her confidence then lands her a job archiving Bedelia’s work. Score for Jessa. Awkward fist bump on the shoulder for Marnie.
An area where Marnie is decidedly more secure in is inappropriately confessing her feelings to men who have girlfriends. While Tall Lumberjack tells her that he has a girlfriend, he doesn’t exactly deny that he has feelings for Marnie (I smell conflict). The two then go on to blow everyone away with a charming and sweet performance at open mic night. Even Elijah’s impressed!
During the performance, Shoshanna asks Hannah in a patronizing tone: “Are you going to be okay? Adam’s about to be on Broadway and Marnie’s going to be a famous pop star, and you’re supposed to be the artist of the group and now you’re just working in advertising.”
This is verging on character assassination. Shoshanna’s officially gone from being my favourite character to the one I want to see fall off a cliff. I don’t know what’s happening, but I hate all of it.
After the show, we finally meet Tall Lumberjack’s girlfriend Clementine (Natalie Morales). Clementine thanks Marnie for being her boyfriend’s emotional lube while she’s been away—they’re totally going to use that when they have sex later.
Marnie then skips on drinks with the cast of Major Barbara and takes a detour to Ray’s. She completely ignores his need for boundaries and goes to his bedroom to undress. Saucy move, Michaels.
At the cast event, Hannah interrupts someone’s story to announce that she intentionally got fired. You know… for all that unemployment insurance everyone’s talking about! This impresses no one; things get hella awkward.
At the end of the night, Adam whisks Hannah away to Ray’s (instead of their own apartment… for some reason). There, Hannah uses echolocation to FINALLY find Marnie and Ray together! NAKED!
Favourite lines: ALL OF THEM. Seriously, this episode was a goldmine.
Elijah, pre-Marnie’s open mic night: “She sucks and she needs to stop.”
Tall Lumberjack on Manie’s video: “It was really uncomfortable.” Marnie: “Yeah, that’s the general reaction people have to it.”
Jessa: “Yes, yes I can alphabetize. Why? Did someone tell you otherwise?”
Rapper at open mic night: “Wink, wink, kissy face, pony on a pony/he’s textin’ mad emojis, what he really means is ‘blow me’.“
Elijah, shushing Hannah during open mic night: “Please stop talking, ma’am!”
Opinion: Three out of four adult children for being a bit heavy handed and for ruining Shoshanna.