Monday, February 18

girlsGIRLSgirls: A Psych Ward Fiesta

After writing this, there was only one burning question I couldn't answer: Since when am I the serial optimist?

This week saw a handful of bonkers behavior — Adam being a full-fledged straightjacket candidate, Donald Trump slumming it at The Learning Center, twenty-somethings having way too many Louisa May Alcott descriptives at their disposal — but the one thing that seemed the above-all oddest is the supreme lack of confidence between Marnie, Hannah and Ray. I mean, doesn't it kinda feel like these three are prime candidates for a therapist's office roundtable? You just sorta want to shake them by the shoulders and let them know that they can make their art world dreams come true! Or they need to stop worrying about making their girlfriend fall in love with them! Or, actually, that they're going about everything so backwards.

They're all trying to define themselves with all the wrong things: Marnie in terms of a boyfriend, Hannah in terms of a book author, Ray in terms of being a man. The three are all embarrassed of their true selves and keep trying to seek this weird external validation, but there's a reason it's not working. You don't prove your worth by who's on your arm or what your direct deposit stub says; you prove it by believing in yourself.

For how introspective Ray is, he should realize that he's piling all of these problems onto himself. For how much Marnie over thinks everything from her wardrobe to Hannah's windbreaker, she should realize if she befriends everyone as Booth's girlfriend, they'll only think of her Booth's girlfriend. And, for how much Hannah was supposedly dying to be published, she should consider this essay collection to be an unbelievable opportunity, not one for prime social ridicule and takedown.

Each of them needs to take a breather and realize their own worth. And, frankly, maybe say a few mirror mantras. Heads up, homies. It's time to face your fuckin' problems head on:

Before we get into this disaster zone, I gotta preface it with this: is there any phase more cringeworthy than "...I'm your girlfriend?" OK, maybe "I bled all over your white couch and I'm so so sorry" or "I'm breaking up with you for your roommate", but it really doesn't get much worse than this. Seriously, two episodes of "Awkward" and one "Sex and the City" analogy from Shosh could have taught her to never, ever, ever, ever say that less than two weeks into a relationship. Yes, less than two weeks — if Ray's been dating Shosh for four, it's about half that time. Christ, woman, get it together.

She's convinced herself she's Booth's girlfriend because it makes her feel like it proves her worth, but her emotional maturity is completely stunted. Really, it seems kind of insane that she thought they were a couple after mere days, but then again, it wasn't so long ago she was dangling along a man she had no real interest in just because she didn't feel like severing ties.

In the end, she doesn't want Booth, she wants his life for herself. The age-old proven test is this: if you had no money, no belongings and no reputation, would you still be happy with person you're with? If the answer is no, you're headed towards disaster of epic Michael Bay proportions. Without the vintage doors, the creepy doll art and the posse of faux intellectuals, she'd give a lot less of a fuck about this creepy midge, and, actually, probably think he's a pedophile, since I personally am fairly convinced he is.

Most important than predators and Vampire Weekend guest spots, though, is how she never seems to think to make this art life her own instead of carbon-copying it from her psudo-significant other. She'll just keep shapeshifting her way towards becoming his other half, despite how gross and easy it is for her to instantly turn on her own friends, attempting to hide the embarrassment of the world she thinks is far behind her now:

Marnie: "What are you wearing?"
Hannah: "Oh, They said it was going to rain"

The hilarity of Hannah's response is adorable, if not for its inferable naivete. In a ninety second span, from hiding Hannah's coat under a pile to responding "Is that bad?" when Hannah asks if these are all her new friends, Marnie turns on any remnant of her "old" self and looks like a total jag. Because really Marnie, what the fuck are you wearing?

She swapped her closet of Ann Taylor shifts at Coach-inspired summer frocks for an urban Jetsons costume, and thinks Hannah's the one humiliating her. She's painting herself to be a canvas Booth Jonathan would find appropriate, but it's not going to work. No one falls in love with the idea of someone and finds happiness on either end. When he reduces her to "that hostess girl at the bar", it strangely cuts deep, but without him, that's exactly what she is. With no Booth on her arm, she's a nobody — and she knows it. Marnie's seeking validation in all the wrong places, and you can see her whole world crumble in front of her when dating her way to her goals doesn't work out. But hey, when your picture of happiness is sitting outside watching fireflies with a maniac who locked you inside a tower of old TVs and freely sleeps with his employees, you might want to change your life plan.

"Whether you write this book or not, it's not going to change anything. This book doesn't matter. That's the first thing you need to know. It's not going to matter to the people who read it, or to you."

...No. That's all Hannah had to say. Jessa came through as some sort of half-asleep falsified voice of reason in that moment, but really, the answer to the entire beginning of Hannah's miniature downward confidence spiral is a simple no. Anyone who knows their value or worth or place in society would disagree straight out, since really, this eBook means everything.

If there's one truth about New York, it's that everything is interconnected. It's how the intern you were shitty to years ago could one day be your boss, or how the guy you took to your high school's Sadie Hawkins dance could wind up being the delivery guy for one of your favorite restaurants. (Hi Matt!) Everyone knows everyone, opportunity can come from anywhere, and the creative job market is wholly rooted in who you know. Hannah may have gotten this gig blindly, but fucking it up and burning a bridge with this editor means a Butterfly Effect-style wave towards not reaching any of her aptly constructed goals in the future.

If there's anything I've learned by spending one sticky-hot summer categorizing lipsticks and retyping print articles for a publication's website (yes, that was an actual thing that happened not so long ago), it's that in the field of creativity, hard work always pays off. Experience is everything; this book is everything. It's her only gig on the table, not to mention her way to wave a physical (well, Kindle-displayed) manifestation of her efforts and struggles in any nay sayer's face. But, most importantly, above all? It's the perfect avenue to prove she can do it, and make life happen for herself.

It's not the eBook that defines her, it's the process. It's that she finally manned up and wrote something, that she actually motivated herself towards becoming the person she wants to be. While last week saw her realizing she's normal and reveling in the newfound need to be happy, this online compilation is her chance to prove she's not and can be. She invests her Red Bull and Grumpy-fueled energy into everything else — over-thinking every word, re-doing her apartment, sporting that perfectly detailed gel manicure she had all week — but by the end of the episode, can barely get a sentence out, thanks to naysayers. Hannah's convinced herself it's a pointless assignment because, what, a putz in overalls waiting to pee told her so? Because she got emasculated by a man who has to undo multiple shoulder straps in order to piss?

It doesn't matter if this isn't the neatly bound book she been dreaming of, or the best assignment she's ever received, or if anyone even sees it. She needs to be doing it for herself, not for anyone else.

And hell, at a minimum, it's probably a lot better than the work those clown-clad Booth group fucks are producing.

Oh, sweet beautiful Ray.

It's no secret that this snarl-lipped slice of heaven insecure about his position in his relationship. On one hand, he feels this heavy burden of responsibility akin to being Shoshanna's father, while also feeling like he's not good enough to be in that position of taking care of her. And that's where the problem is — he doesn't recognize how lucky he is to even have that feeling of concern.

Ray worries and frets and panics and stresses, but at no point does he take solace in the fact that Shoshanna loves him. She loves him! She loves whatever cloudy mess of a man he is, but Ray's still trying to pull ahead of the pack without realizing he already finished first. Like the opposite of Marnie's infatuation for Booth, Shoshanna doesn't care about his job or reputation or decapitated toys — she's already sold on Ray as the man, not the man he thinks he needs to be, and at no point does he hold that as significantly as he needs to.

Shoshanna may not understand his historical references or general over-the-top intellect yet, but that's not everything. His blissful attentiveness when she's quick-talking in bed about camp or friends or who the fuck knows, since she makes absolutely no sense — that's what matters. She can learn about Normandy, just like how he'll probably have to learn about everything from Magnolia's glass-case offerings to Kate Spade's diffusion line, but that's simple. That'll happen. He just needs to get the fuck out of his own way.

That's why Adam's rant about them just babies holding hands —the other piece of non-poignant advice in this episode — is baseless. The metaphor strikes true in the sense that they're both fresh and new at this and painfully cute about it, but like Hannah's purported Jessa retort, it's just not true. Ray wouldn't be working this hard, worrying this often, stressing this intensely about his life's purpose had he not fallen for Shoshanna. It's why Ray embarks on this ridiculous journey with Adam and his stolen dog in the first place: to try and prove his worth as a tiny hero. So far the most emotion we've seen Ray conjure is a baseless takedown of a neighbor over trash, and now, he's in a heap by the waterfront crying like these are the final chapters of Into The Wild. He's trying so hard to define himself as a man that he doesn't even notice he's already accomplished so much.

He's so worried about how to make his life better and become a man and improve himself, but the one thing Ray doesn't realize?

That he never even thought about any of it until Shoshannah came along.

Girls Season 2, Episode 6: Boys
Best Line: "Um, this is total bullshit, I'm sorry, I had a tiny scoop of your ice cream, I don't need this job. I dont know why ive been doing it this long, my boyfriend is doing lights for Carly Rae Jepsen and I should be on the bus with him, and I'm going to go do that now."
Best Mate: Ray. When a man cries over you in the middle of nowhere, he's a fucking keeper.
What Kind Of A-Hole Was Hannah This Week?: A Reformed One! Marnie was the mega-cunt this time around, and Hannah didn't even give her a "You're turning your back on me" speech like she easily would have a few weeks back. Silent but deadly, and totally badass.
I Give This... 3 out of 4 bathtub snax. It kinda feels like we're back on track, right? The dialogue is punchy, there are hilarious references to complete randemonium (Little Women, Staten Island kike-y name calling), and you had no idea where this one was gonna end up. Well, besides Marnie crying into a plastic Zenon-style dress on her ultimate walk of post-date shame. That was bound to happen.

Earlier Ladyshow Nonsense:
Girls Season 2, Episode 5: One Man's Trash
Girls Season 2, Episode 4: It's A Shame About Ray
Girls Season 2, Episode 3: Bad Friend
Girls Season 2, Episode 2: I Get Ideas
Girls Season 2, Episode 1: It's About Time


Elizabeth Benson said...

Ah, I love this show so much! Great recaps, I love your thoughts. Your blog is amazing, by the way. I found it on IFB. Definitely following now!


Carlye Wisel said...

Thanks so much Elizabeth! Will check yours out right now as well :)


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