Girls Season 4, Episode 5: “Sit-in”
Hello, readers, and welcome to your mid-season recap of Girls! I hope you appreciate this article, because I wrote it all while fighting my body’s natural urge to hibernate underneath a mountain of blankets with nothing but pizza and podcasts to sooth me. I also hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day! Is there a better way to spend this holiday than watching a depressing HBO episode about dysfunctional people and their crumbling lives? HAHA, breakups are hilarious!
But seriously though, this episode was pretty funny. To the recap!
Let me start off by saying that I empathize with what Adam’s going through. He was in love with someone, then one day he stopped. Now he’s found someone that makes him so happy that he wants to move in with her. I get it. And I want to believe that he was planning on telling Hannah about all of this soon enough. But dude. DUUUUUUUDE. This all happened within the course of a month? A month? I know you’re quirky and you’ve got that “I’m a brooding artist who once attempted to sustain himself by selling dream catchers” vibe going for you but Jesus. A MONTH? What are you, a Disney character from their pre-feminist era? What’s next, are you going to troll the hallways of your local hospital kissing comatose women in hopes that one of them will be your true fairy hipster princess? Because I can tell you right now that’s assault.
In the wake of Mimi Rose’s reveal, Adam circles a catatonic Hannah and attempts to placate her with tea. Wrong fucking strategy! At a moment like this the only reasonable thing to do is approach the injured party with a blanket, swaddle them into submission and rock them gently until their rage and sadness slowly decreases to non-murder levels.
For some reason, Adam thinks that telling Hannah “it’s not about you” will make her feel better. Yeah, jackass, it’s pretty obvious you didn’t consider Hannah when you unilaterally decided to break up with her and get a new girlfriend.
In protest, Hannah decides “fuck this noise and my dignity, I’m going to squat in my motherfucking apartment until I process this.” Power to you, sister.
The Not That Super, But Still Pretty Loving Crisis Team is then deployed, with each member attempting to help Hannah in his or her own style.
First up is Shosh, who brings to the table the powers of a teenage Tumblr user. Like any decent friend, Shosh suggests they look up everything on the new chick in hopes that they’ll find out terrible things about her (“She once confused ‘they’re’ and ‘their’ on Twitter! What a stupid bitch who is undeserving of love!”). Sadly, the Internet search reveals that Mimi Rose is cool and interesting, which forces Shosh to abort the mission. When Hannah shuts down, Shosh offers to bring tea. Doesn’t she know that will only fill Hannah’s bladder and force her to leave the bedroom? Friends bring their friends catheters.
Recognizing Shosh’s stupidity, Hannah pushes her friend away with her feet like a toddler. Lovely.
The second person up for the challenge is Jessa, the psychopathic demon from hell. Like her typical flippant self, Jessa casually drops a “oh, I’m pretty sure I mentioned that your boyfriend has a live-in girlfriend?” line and I want to kick her in the box. What is even happening here? Is she gaslighting Hannah? Is she secretly feeling guilty for doing something shitty and trying convince herself she did tell Hannah about Adam? Did Jessa just read about Facebook’s social experiments and decide that would be a fun hobby to try?
Although Jessa is a borderline psychopath, I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and propose that she’s just being self-destructive. From what we’ve seen in the past four seasons, Jessa reacts badly to being hurt. When her family didn’t give her the love and attention she thought she deserved, she disappeared on them. When her husband’s parents (hey, remember when that happened?) judged her past drug use, she brought up her most disturbing stories in an attempt to show them how scary she can really be. When her rehab counselor told her she had issues, she did everything she could to get herself kicked out.
Instead of sharing her feelings in a grown up way, Jessa seems to manipulate and burn everything around her in hopes that the flames will at least make her memorable. So maybe… just maybe… setting Adam up with “MRH” (ugh) is Jessa’s way of punishing Hannah for abandoning her. The fact that I don’t know her true motivation, however, speaks volumes about how poorly this character is constructed.
Much like us, Hannah is fed up with Jessa and hits her, albeit in the most unsatisfying way possible. You went for the arm? The ARM? Her face is right there, waiting to be slapped! You could record that sweet, juicy sound and use it to cheer you up for months, Hannah! Bah, what a lost opportunity.
Later that evening, Hannah pisses in a bucket. So glad that happened.
Getting nowhere, Adam invites Laird and Caroline stand guard in the apartment. The Laird/Caroline scene was one of my favourites in the episode, with the cast maximizing the comedic potential of the dialogue through subtle physical comedy and fantastic delivery. In retrospect I really wish Hannah had taken the couple up on the offer of a threesome because that scenario has the potential to be one of funniest in Girls history.
The next day Ray drops by and rants with Hannah, a strategy that is helpful at first before it devolves into a conversation about traffic lights.
At some point, Hannah burns herself with what seems to be bacon grease.
As Ray patches our heroine up, we learn how much he truly cares about Marnie. Although the crush seems a bit out of the blue, his actions make more sense once we combine his rejection of Marnie last season with his confession to Hannah.
Fact 1: Ray ended his friends-with-benefits relationship with Marnie because he wanted a girlfriend and not just a fuck buddy.
Fact 2: We now know that Ray doesn’t think he’s the type of person Marnie will actually end up with.
1 + 2 = Ray broke it off with Marnie because deep down he is insecure and didn’t think she would ever consider him boyfriend-material. Classic “I am going to ruin this before you get a chance to end it”.
The last of the misfit visitors is Marnie, who lures her friend out of the bedroom with the promise of food. While the two girls have been on their separate paths this season, Marnie is the only person who is able to give Hannah the sound and brutally honest advice she needs. Much like the others, Marnie reiterates how happy Adam is in the new relationship. She, however, uses this tidbit to talk about Hannah the consequences she will face if she doesn’t move on. Marnie here is saying what we all wish we could say to our friends in obviously unhappy relationships: “break the fuck up already”.
The scene then ends with one of most touching moments in the girls’ friendship history:
Hannah: “So I guess [Adam and I are] not like some great artistic love story.”
Marnie: “Maybe we are.”
Hannah: “You and me?” Sigh. “I’ll take it.”
Later that evening, Adam and Hannah finally have the conversation they should have had months ago. As I first mused in my recap of episode one, Adam was relieved to have Hannah leave. In a way, the departure did the dirty work for him, the distance slowly killing the relationship without a trigger needing to be pulled.
During the conversation, Adam gets Hannah to admit that despite trying their best, their romance just became too difficult. Slowly, Hannah comes to understand that no one here is to blame. She is not a victim, and Adam is not a perpetrator. With no target for her heartbroken emotions to aim at, the aftermath of this breakup will be particularly difficult.
The episode ends with Hannah nestling among her things in the storage locker, the newness of their arrangement suggesting a fresh start.
Overall opinion: Despite its issues with Shosh and Jessa, the Girls writers sure know how to write a realistic break-up. Although each relationship on the show has its moments of insanity and comedic contrivance, the emotions at the core of the break-ups always feel authentic to the characters they are written for and the experiences they are trying to portray.
Break ups fucking blow. Break ups are particularly horrible, however, when one part of the couple is still in love. Hannah here highlighted the most painful aspect of this experience, which is trying to understand how the other partner fell out of love. Throughout the episode Hannah voices her confusion, noting that she hasn’t changed. If she’s the same person she always was, how could Adam stop loving her?
What Hannah misses here is that she isn’t the same, and neither is Adam. Back in season one Hannah had accomplished very little and was obsessed with getting Adam’s approval and attention. Adam became similarly focused on his partner due to his aimlessness and lack of friends. Although their personalities never did a one eighty, the characters evolved into two people who no longer need one another. Hopefully in time Hannah will realize that she too has outgrown the relationship.
Much like relationships, friendships ebb and flow in intensity. I loved that the distance between Marnie and Hannah allowed the women enough growth to realize they needed to find their way back to one another.
Lastly, Gaby Hoffman deserves a gold star for delivering crushing lines like “[Adam] is really at his best when he’s nurturing the poor, the lost, the profoundly damaged, which is why you were so perfect for him!” with so much charm that you can’t help but still like her. Interestingly, both Caroline and Jessa seem to be oblivious of the pain their casual insults inflict. Jessa comes off as extremely unlikable, however, which makes me wonder whether Jemima Kirke’s acting style is part of the problem with her character.
Adam: “Her name is Mimi Rose Howard.” / Hannah: “That’s not a name. That’s just a woman’s name and a man’s name stuck together with a flower in the middle of it.”
Laird: “What kind of tea would you like me to stop creaming the mother of my unborn child’s feet for and make for you, Hannah?”
Jessa: “Are you here on furlow?”
Ray: “Does Adam have a first aid kit in his workshop or is it just a bunch of doll heads?”
Marnie: “This is not one of your more convincing fake showers.”
Hannah: “I guess I just thought you would wait for me or at the very least never meet anyone that could possibly replace me.”