Episode 4: “Dead Inside”
Hello there folks! Your friendly neighbourhood Girls recapper is here to tell you all about what the gang has been up to this week. So let’s begin.
We start the episode off with Hannah tripping and spilling the entire contents of her purse, because she’s now either Carrie Bradshaw in that one Paris episode or every rom-com protagonist ever. She’s klutzy! She’s lovable! She’s Hannah Horvath!
Hannah is set to discuss the progress of her e-book with David, the delightful little sprite that crashed her birthday party last episode. Soon after Hannah sits down, however, people seem to go in crisis mode in the office, scurrying around like undergrads who just heard there was food at that one random club event. The building seems to be safe, but David sure isn’t because our new favourite gay publisher is deader than twerking.
Jessa’s take on David’s death? It’s just something that happens. Like jury duty. Or floods. Also, in case you didn’t know, time is not linear. Every moment has already happened. We just choose to live in this moment for some illusion of continuity. So we’ve already died, but also not yet been born. Super cool, Stephen Hawking. Maybe lay off the peyote.
Adam interrupts Jessa’s post-doctoral thesis presentation and asks her how her life of doing absolutely fucking nothing is going. Jessa counters by asking about Adam’s penis, which he says is doing great and might want a spot on Jessa’s shoulder. I then wonder whether Adam and Jessa (or the writer of this episode) listen to Aziz Ansari.
When Adam learns of David’s death he goes into full momma bird mode. The momma bird retracts the food into her gullet when it realizes that Hannah is much more concerned about her e-book than she is about David. Throughout the episode, Adam expresses his frustration with Hannah’s refusal to mourn and reflect on the importance of David’s life beyond just how it affects her.
When Hannah tries to glean details of David’s death from Gawker, Adam becomes very annoyed and comments on how such sites profit from our base desire to kick each other while we’re down (oops, better not let him know TMZ is a thing). Hannah retorts that Gawker is great as a media hub for “media-ists” such as herself. She adds that Gawker’s sister site Jezebel is a great place for feminists to go and support one another. HA! Did Lena Dunham write this episode from the future as some sort of ironic statement?
Adam’s annoyance with Hannah seems to stem from his own insecurity about how his girlfriend feels about him. When she takes an extra shift at Grumpy’s in anticipation of her book deal falling through, Adam asks Hannah whether she would deal with his death in such a practical manner. Would she be worried more about buying groceries than living without him? Hannah responds that if Adam died, she would be extremely sad and disoriented, but also anxious about how she’d get by day to day. She has apparently already written his eulogy in her head and has already mentioned the one summer he lived on a roof and drank rainwater. Contrastingly, Adam tells Hannah that if she died, “the world would blur. I wouldn’t know what a tree was.”
Despite Adam being ever so passionate (I heavy-sighed at the tree comment), I have to side with Hannah at this point in the episode. I understand that her practicality may seem callous and disconnected, especially in light of his insecurities. But while I could relate to Adam, I found his attempts to project meaning onto someone else’s experience unfair. As Hannah later tells Ray, there’s more than one way to feel something. It would be exhausting to have a deep emotional response to the death of every single person you knew. Additionally, while Adam’s passion is romantic, it’s also an indication of how disconnected he is from the unsexy reality of day-to-day life. Not everyone has the privilege to ignore bills and live off of papier-mâché (still waiting on an explanation on this front, Girls).
In other news, apparently Shoshanna has a prolific bandana collection. Funnily enough, this is the first time Shoshanna actually wears a bandana on the show. Oh Shoshanna… is this like the cowboy boot incident of 2004? You remember the one. Back when Hilary Duff and Jessica Simpson wore cowboy boots with stone-washed denim minis and you totally thought you’d look great in them, but then you realized how horribly wrong they were for your ankles and never wore them in public? Tooooootally didn’t happen to me, but I can imagine what that must have felt like.
While Shosh is folding her many bandanas, we find out that Jessa’s friend Season died. How? “She choked on vomit… or something.” Lovely.
When Jessa tries to visit Season’s grave, we find out that oops, Season is totes not dead. Season is very much alive, has a brownstone, a baby, and a cool-looking husband who looks like IT Crowd star Richard Ayoade.
Turns out Jessa was a shitty influence on former substance abuser Season (I am SHOCKED), so much so that at one point instead of taking Season to counseling, Jessa drove her to an Ayahuasca ceremony. If searching for what that means on Wikipedia is too much effort at the moment, all you need to know is that it’s very similar to that one episode of The Simpsons when Homer has a chili-induced hallucination involving a space coyote.
Although Jessa tries to stay cool and detached, she’s clearly hurt by the lengths Season has gone to leave her friend behind. As she walks out of Season’s home, Jessa smirks and says, “Don’t call me when your life is in shambles. None of this is going to work out for you by the way.” Very My So Called Life, much like Jessa’s floor-length sack dress. Despite being childish, I admired Jessa for resisting the urge to finger snap and flip her hair back as she left.
So you remember how I was on Team Hannah earlier in this recap? Well, scratch that, because Hannah loses my loyalty later on, when she tries to use David’s death to elicit sympathy from everyone that she meets. Listen, lady. It’s totally okay for you not to care about someone dying, but you can’t also call that person a “close personal friend” in an attempt to make yourself feel special. I’d like to give Hannah the same advice Ray gave:
“Why don’t you place just one crumb of basic human compassion on this fat free muffin of sociopathic detachment? See how it tastes.”
We then check in with Marnie. This episode she could be found running and listening to inspiration tapes. No Rita Wilson could be spotted anywhere in the episode. This made me sad.
Later on in the episode, Marnie quits her job at Ray’s Grumpy’s café after she catches Ray and another co-worker watching her horrible YouTube video (Sidenote—just going to call it Ray’s from now on, as explaining ownership of said café is growing more difficult). Although I dislike Marnie, I can empathize with the frustration of working at a job you are over-qualified for and that you can’t get any respect at. Here’s to hoping Marnie expands beyond being a modern day Rodney Dangerfield.
The 2014 Hannah Horvath Narcissism Tour (kind of like Lilith Fair, but with surprisingly more fringed vests) continues when Hannah runs into Caroline and Laird. Caroline is surprised that Hannah is not more curious about what Adam was like in school or what he called his penis when he was younger. It’s at this point that Laird chimes in to let us know that he named his little friend “Nickel the Pickle.” Bless you Laird.
After some frolicking in a cemetery (is this not what you do on a Friday afternoon?), the threesome sits down and Hannah shares her biggest insecurity about her relationship: “Adam’s going to figure out what I’m actually like and there’s no way he’s going to like it. He has a depth of feeling. Soon he’ll get bored and feel stifled.”
This revelation softened me a bit to Hannah. It suggests that she isn’t making a conscious choice not to feel something about David or Adam dying, but rather she just can’t feel that strongly. While I still find her use of David’s death as a tool to gain pity repulsive, I loved that Hannah was introspective enough to admit some of her shortcomings. As a writer, it can’t be easy to admit that you’re emotionally stunted.
In a weird move, Caroline tests Hannah’s emotions by making up a story about how Adam took care of his dying cousin Margaret. I won’t go into detail about the story, but you can rest assured knowing that it was hella depressing and Hannah missed the point entirely. Laird, meanwhile, passed the test with flying colours and said, “just because it’s fake doesn’t mean I don’t feel it.” Preach, Laird. Preach.
If I wanted to make Hannah cry, I would probably make her watch Danny and Annie, a six minute short film that has made everyone that I have showed it to bawl like a tiny, weak baby. I actually had one friend call me a witch for making her cry in a library after that video. If you can watch it without bawling, I would like to meet you, because one of my goals has always been to befriend a robot.
We then close the episode with Hannah meeting up with Adam on their stoop, seemingly after reflecting on how one day you can be walking around using your gay phone app and the next day you can be found face down in a ditch somewhere. Hannah then starts to tell Adam a story about her cousin Margaret… who was dying. Well, good to know Hannah is being honest with Adam and not trying to be someone she’s not. This can only end well!
Overall opinion: I liked this episode! It was great to have a theme and see how each character related to the topic of death.
Favourite line: Season’s husband upon getting home and seeing Season and Jessa together: “For a second I thought I had to pretend she was a ghost and I didn’t know if I could pull that off.”
Episode grade: Five adult children out of five.