Episode 3.3 “She Said OK”
No stories about me being a woman-child this week. I was responsible and cleaned my house of Christmas before the end of January. I hear there is a medal for this? Now onto the Girls recap.
Right from the top we learn that—SURPRISE!—Adam has a sister named Caroline (played by Gaby Hoffmann of Now and Then fame). Said sister is not in a good place after being dumped and seeks emotional support at Chez Adam and Hannah (I tried Brangelina-ing their name, but neither Adannah nor Hannam sound good—so disappointing). Caroline is surprised by her break-up, stating, “He had so many pets, and he was so good to them. How can a man who loves animals with such a haunting totality just turn around and brutally rebuff me?” Additionally, this guy apparently also left Caroline on the side of the road, yelling “Go, I’m saving you from me!”
If Caroline was my friend I would tell her the following:
1) “So many pets” seems like a red flag and also like an odour hazard. The lack of specificity as to the type of pet makes me think that this was a lizard and bird scenario. Run girl. Don’t walk. Run.
2) “I’m saving you from me”? What is he, Edward from Twilight? What’s next, he’s going to tell you he can’t go to brunch because his complexion might blind the adjacent hipster trying to eat his eggs benny? Is he going to ask you, “What if I’m not the hero; what if I’m the bad guy?” right before he forbids you from seeing your underage, yet very buff Native American man friend? Caroline, sweetie, you’re better off alone.
Instead of spouting the wonderful advice above, Hannah contemplates letting Caroline crash in their spare room (side note: how can they afford this?). Adam is very much against this suggestion, explaining that Caroline is a destructive and unstable person without “the common courtesy to implode alone.” Caroline is then told that she can’t crash because “an old gymnastics friend” of Hannah’s is staying over soon. Great lie, Hannah. In an attempt to be kind, Hannah invites Caroline to her 25th birthday party happening the same night.
Next up, we find out that Marnie once covered the Edie Brickell & New Bohemians song “What I Am,” Charlie made a music video for it, and that said music video is now up on YouTube. If you haven’t watched the episode, trust me when I say that the video is the most painful thing to watch since that one awkward white girl from Rebecca Black’s Friday video existed. Throughout the episode, Marnie refuses to call Charlie and ask him to take the video down. Though a bit silly, I understand why Marnie is reluctant to do this. Calling Charlie would be an admission of humiliation. Avoiding reality by pretending to be happy without your ex on Instagram is much less embarrassing!
We then check in with Ray, who is running a new Grumpy’s coffee bar. The owner of Grumpy’s loves Ray like a bastard son and gives him some advice: “Don’t hit anyone. Don’t schtup anyone. Clean so the rats don’t get tempted.” Solid advice for any professional establishment.
Before we know it, it’s time to go to Hannah’s party, which has been co-organized by Marnie and Hannah’s adorable parents. When Hannah’s mom compliments her daughter, Marnie notes in her most condescending voice, “I tell her that she could look like this every day if she wanted.” This comment is not only rude, but it also speaks to the fragmented relationship that Marnie and Hannah have. As Lena Dunham notes in an HBO “Inside the Episode” segment, her character’s fashion is very deliberate. Hannah is aware that some of her clothes are odd and unflattering, but she doesn’t care. The clothing’s uniqueness, much like Adam’s weirdness, is part of why she is drawn to it. Marnie’s insult is then not just a dig at Hannah’s clothes, but also a dig at Hannah herself. In short, fuck you Marnie.
Later on, we learn that Hannah has a friend whose name sounds like Taco.
The ladies all drink up and Shosh expresses amazement at how little Jessa, Hannah, and Marnie have accomplished in the four years since college. Last recap I mentioned that Shoshanna is losing some brain cells on the show—but is she also now suffering from high functioning Aspergers? Rude.
At some point in the evening, Hannah acquires a Birthday Bitch hat. I want it.
Ray is not having a good night. Caroline not only bites him, but he also runs into Shosh’s conquest, Whatshisface. Apparently Whatshisface met Shosh while our gal was looking for pot and a warm body to take home for the night. Yep folks, this is no longer the same girl that had a panic attack when she accidentally smoked crack.
After the encounter with Whatshisface, Ray tries to chitchat with Shosh about his new place and new job but it all proves too much. Ray breaks down his façade and tells her “I’m sorry. I don’t think I want to be friends with you. I just don’t. I don’t want to be polite with you. I don’t want to have small talk.” It’s at this point that I want to take Ray home, wrap him in a snuggie, and girl-talk with him until 3 AM while eating Ben and Jerry’s (if you girl talk with a heartbroken friend with Breyers, you are an insensitive monster). There are few things sadder than seeing your “person” in front of you and knowing that you can’t have them.
Oh, who’s that Edward Norton-looking fella at the party? Why it’s Hannah’s e-book editor David (played by Shortbus director John Cameron Mitchell). “A little bitch” apparently stood him up, and he now has a thirst that only Grindr can quench. He instructs Adam to bring him a tall glass of still water and an internet-enabled cell phone of some kind to rectify his situation. Marnie, continuing on her streak of being insufferable, introduces herself as someone who has been prominently featured in many of Hannah’s e-book stories. Interesting description, seeing as Marnie hasn’t read Hannah’s book yet.
In between drinks, Marnie suggests that she and Hannah reenact that super awesome night when they were 21 and sang ‘Take Me or Leave Me” from Rent. While Marnie states that it was the happiest they’ve ever been, Hannah politely tells her, “bitch, it’s my birthday and I’m not doing karaoke; are you INSANE?” Marnie’s here to ensure that the birthday girl’s worst dreams come true, because she auto-corrects what Hannah said in her head to “OMG SOOOOOOO FUUUUN! LET’S DOOO EEET!”
When everyone is gathered in one room, Marnie drags Hannah up on stage against her wishes and forces her to sing. Marnie is the actual worst. I mean, I get it. You’re in a shitty spot, where nothing in your life makes you happy and you want to re-create something that made you feel warm and loved. But it’s her goddamn birthday and she told you she didn’t want to. Come on!
The only thing that tears people away from the car crash that is Marnie is the fight Ray and David, the poor man’s Anderson Cooper, seem to be having in the other room. The two get into the scuffle after the little silver elf bumps Ray’s song off of the DJ queue. I got the snuggie urge again after Ray shouts an apt metaphor for his relationship with Shosh: “It’s not fair to stop a song in the middle!”
After an exciting evening, Adam takes Hannah home and gives her a very sweet gift. No, it’s not drugs. It’s a necklace he made with his baby tooth on it! How very Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton of him. Hannah and Adam then get hot and heavy, only to have their coitus be interrupted by Caroline, who pulls a full Winnie the Pooh in the bathroom and breaks a glass in her hand. It’s a bad scene.
Overall opinion: I liked this episode! I very much enjoyed Gaby Hoffmann’s performance and I’m excited to see her stick around for the next few weeks. I’ll be especially interested to see what her character reveals about Adam.
This episode also focused quite a bit on Marnie being terrible. As you may have noticed in my previous two recaps, I am not a fan of her. I’ll quote Shosh when I say that at MOST I feel sorry for Marnie like I feel sorry for a monkey in an ugly cage. The problem that I have with Marnie is that there is nothing redeeming about her character yet. Before you jump to the “but she’s an anti-hero!” argument, let me stop you right there. As a fan of the show, I wholly understand that its purpose is not to feature characters that you would be friends with or even like (we have Leslie Knope and Mindy Lahiri for that). The show instead tries to place its characters in dark and amusing situations that make us reflect on our own terrible choices and awkward experiences.
At the end of the day, however, you can’t create a self-sustaining serial out of Young Adult and call it a day; a lack of character growth and self-awareness will exhaust even the most loyal fan. Dunham and Co. have realized this, transforming several of the supporting characters into surrogates for the viewer who confront the main characters about their behaviour. It’s why we have Laird telling Hannah in last year’s season finale that she’s the most presumptuous and self-involved person that he’s ever met. It’s also why we have had several people tell Jessa this season that her actions have consequences. The problem, however, is that Marnie doesn’t have a Laird; she’s been left free to be awful everywhere she goes for the past two seasons. Hopefully this episode’s focus on her means that a nice slap of reality is coming to the character.
Favourite line(s) of the episode:
Adam, speaking to Caroline: “I told you that you are never welcome to stay with me ever again after you tried to euthanize Grandma Helen.”
Hannah, speaking to Marnie: “Maybe Charlie’s [YouTube] password is ‘I shave my pubes into a neat box’”
Episode grade: four adult children out of five.