Monday, March 18

girlsGIRLSgirls: Sense and Lack of Sensibility

Nope! NOPE. People: the gauntlet hath been slammed the fuck down. I’ve stuck up for this spit-shone gem for weeks on end, and I just can’t get behind what was thrown up onto the teevee screen last night. That episode was disappointing, unsurprising, and an inappropriate place to end every plot point that’s been dragged out this season. I feel just like Ray bein’ pushed out of his child girlfriend’s frilly apartment over it, because I wanted this shit to work, and it let me down hard.

(Let’s also acknowledge the irony that I wrote most of this in my parents’ house down the hall from my own childhood bedroom, so this puppy hits close to home. Because I’m not at my regular computer and instead plunking this out on a toy computer called a Chromebook, there won’t be any fun GIFs, no matter how much amazing iPhone-sweaty-jog potential there was. Apologies in advance.)

I have a big, obese Biggest Loser contestant-sized problem with the season finale, and that problem is this: the underlying theme of that half-hour of television was that women can treat their men however they like, because they’ll always get what they want anyway. Which is, ahem, so many lasagna layers of fucked up that I do not even know where to begin.

Just like Hannah's ol’ hacky sack-slinging downstairs genius Laird said rather metaphorically, she’s the most self-involved, presumptuous person he’s ever met, and her friends’ own rotten insides are just as cold and dead. (When the beanie-in-the-summer wearing burnout living in the garden apartment with a fridge full of expensive purple drink tells you you’re fucked, you’re fucked.)

Between Shoshanna, Hannah and Marnie, all three girls exhibited this mentality that low-grade manipulation of men will get you everything you want in life, even if you have to wait for it. I mean, think about it: the episode ended with Marnie hand-in-hand with her cast off college love dragging his sad ass through the fucking Meatpacking District, Hannah in the arms of a guy who she’d pushed away incessantly except for the one time when she had no one left to turn to (parental figures included), and Shoshanna ditching a man who loved her and was willing to work his ass off to make her happy for a Dutch import at a shitty bar who will never text her back after he has her fill of her.

The thing that kills more than anything is how Nora Ephron-inspired this entire finale was, yet how it was done in the worst way possible. Mindy Kaling, Hollywood's other Ephron-a-holic, pays her tribute to notable romantic moments with this gauzy layer of dreamy innocence that dignifies an over-the-top, insane love for the late Renaissance woman. Lena Dunham, another Nora disciple, does the same thing but to a fault. Instead of clutching onto iconic movies’ romantic moments and rooting her scripts in this pie-in-the-sky, knowingly unrealistic versions of looooove, Lena instead carries on the tradition of Ephron’s only major flaw: her habit of turning the other cheek to loved ones’ wrongdoings in exchange for an everything’s-solved happy ending. You’ve Got Mail ended in a blossoming relationship that dissolved the entire notion that Tom Hanks was single handedly destroying Meg Ryan’s life morals and livelihood; When Harry Met Sally saw Sally’s future love of her life treating her like shit all along the way, until he caved and ran after her at the very last second possible.

(Sound familiar? Of course, this time, there was no iPhone in hand. More on that fuckery in a bit.)

Every character chose to gloss over their wrongdoings in favor of a happy ending, but that’s not the way shit works. I have a lot to say about everything from Robertas garden parties to implausable FaceTime jogs, so let’s break this down by couple, and then hit all the important not-so-fun facts:

The Make Up - Marnie + Charlie

I don’t think these homies quite understand the difference between “unconventional love” and “going back to someone who is terrible for you.”
Do you remember Charlie in season one? The shaved-head doofery, the overindulgent, overbearing sad sackness? Take a fucking look. Loser status. Now? He’s in Free People videos and totally fuckable. Her ex went from lame and losery to hot and rich as shit, and now she wants to sliiiide right back in because she feels like she called dibs and this she deserves him back. And what about Charlie? What does he deserve? “Everything good I try to do I do it because of you” -- you mean walking around like a sleepless zombie, never expressing emotion? Or do you mean haplessly running a tech startup with employees who wear cat ear headbands that you could give two less shits about? What in god's name are you even talking about?

This isn’t romantic, it’s pathetic.

Charlie’s right -- he is a goddamn an idiot for continuing to go back to her. He tried to get away and kept coming back because she’s been negging him for four years and now, finally, he got what he’s been denied for an entire collegiate length of time. That's not love, that’s accomplishment.

She hasn’t realized she missed out on you; she realized shit isn’t going to get any better than what she had, that no one else will be there for her like that, and she’s panicking. She is, still, settling, and cheerfully walking on cobblestone streets towards a vapid fancy life only she is interested in iis going to lead to a hands-thrown-up, “How did I get here?! I can’t do this” explosive argument in a gorgeous glass apartment in approximately five months, when she turns on the engagement pressure and uses that wispy body to her advantage yet again. White bread and women are the devil, and Marnie has a pitchfork glued to her hand.

And in terms of female empowerment -- I know someone is going to call me out for this, but fuck it. It’s a very feminist move to show Charlie solely eating out Marnie in terms of them having “casual sex”, and that’s a fantastic thing, but it’s not the right place or time for it. She doesn’t deserve to be the proud recipient of pee-kissing. Think about this episode if the sexual roles were reversed. How would it look if a girl who’s been constantly mistreated and mishandled by her shitty douche ex-boyfriend suddenly got really fit, figured out how to straighten her hair and also got an unbelievably powerful, high-ranking job? What if then and only then the dude came running back to her, desperately in love, and the second time we see them together she’s on her knees blowing the shit out of him. That would read as kind of degrading, right? Right. Female empowerment should be just that, power to women, not degradation to men. And Charlie, throughout the duration of this entire show, has been treated like shit.

The Break Up -- Ray and Shoshanna

Oye vey. Like some other plot points in this episode (Adam’s human cross-fit bed lift challenge, Marnie's brunch bonanza) this turn simply makes no sense, except for dramatic construct. Shoshanna does have a point in thinking that Ray’s stifling her in more ways than one, but to cut him loose to get her wiles out? Ish don’t think so. Shosh would have waited about two years before coming to that conclusion, since for someone who thinks Princess Leia side buns are a good look, she could not accurately assess her relationship and the construct of love so god damn quickly. (Also: you don’t profess love and disappear within the period of approximately twenty days. That’s just not how life goes down.)

This one breaks my heart, not because Ray’s all alone, but because Shoshanna has no idea what she’s got. Ray is a good man. Ray is the kind of man women pass by in their twenties for “being too safe”, and wonder where all the good guys are when shit hits the fan at 32 and they’re still single. He's re-routing his life on avenues from college to coffee promotions in order to please Shoshanna, and it’s not enough for her. He's actually absolutely right -- Shoshanna is part of the problem, too.

I know, I hate to bring down our perfect little flower, but just like the rest of these girls, she gets what she wants, whenever she wants. This bitch was doing fucking sage-lit mantras to try to get him back, and now that she's got him, she wants to run after Klaus or whoever the fuck she's making out with in that bar post-breakup. People are forgetting that in Brooklyn, being in charge of a famous coffee shop is a big deal. That’s why LA Colombe baristas are so mindblowingly hot and Starbucks employees look like plain-faces you went to high school with -- coffee is liquid gold in the two boroughs that matter (sorry, Queens), and Ray is pretty much cold-brewed royalty. Homie’s right -- Brooklyn Heights is fucking classy, and if he’s in line to run the Grumpy empire, it’s a lucrative job that he can start building his career upon now. With this promotion, he’s not just a loser slinging dark roast, he’s entrepreneur-adjacent. Where’s her appreciation of him going out and getting a bigger, better job, solely because she asked for it? Where’s Shoshanna appreciation for him sclepping all the way from Greenpoint to her NYU mini-Anthropologie of an apartment to be with her? To paraphrase a great man I know by the name of O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson: bitch better check herself for she wreck herself. And she gone wrecked herself, big time.

The Shake Up -- Hannah + Adam

Before we get into this shitshow, let me just say this: no man leaves that hot piece of ass for someone that my dad lovingly questioned "Why is she so hideously ugly? She's gross” about at the top of the show. (Yes, I had the pleasure of watching the first five minutes and only the first five minutes of this episode with my father. Lucky me.) No one throws the Rainbow Fish back into the sea. Now, let’s get to business.

Because many of you are probably feeling a low-grade level of warm fuzzies after last night’s finale, allow me to shut that shit down. I, too, choked up during the Adam portion, but only because I have a vagina and it’s impossible to not choke up when a man is busting down a door for you and it’s not in an “I’m gonna kill you!” rapey way. And...because that was essentially a dramatic version of my daily life, which consists of sitting at home alone desperately trying to get words down on a page, and being saved at the end of the day by a different handsome man with facial hair. But, shirtless hunks notwithstanding, everything about this bit was all wrong.

First off, Adam would never have an iPhone. EVER. I literally finished writing that down as Hannah begun saying it, because even I and my hypothetical writer compadre know it’s just a non-starter.

Even if Adam did have a fucking iPhone, he wouldn’t have a new one. As it’s been brought to my attention after angrily being floored by the plot hole of him being able to FaceTime the whole way to Hannah’s apartment without WiFi, the iPhone 4s and iPhone 5 are indeed capable of doing FaceTime over cell service, not internet. But, let’s take that a step further. For Adam to have a brand-new iPhone -- a newer iPhone than me, who worked not so long ago as a full-time social media person -- it would have required the jolly green giant to enter an Apple store, walk up to someone in a blue shirt and haggardly say something along the lines of “Uhhhh, I’d like one of those things, those phone things, those me phones,” which would never, EVER fucking happen.

He’d refer to their store as a “glass cage of people just trying to whittle their lives down to nothingness to make themselves feel bigger”, not walk in and drop $400 bones on a mini-computer while listening to all the apps you can download to better your telephone experience. Can you imagine Adam learning about backing up his files to the Cloud? Or signing a Verizon contract?!?! No fucking way this Jesus carpenter weirdo is signing a Verizon contract nad paying $110 a month to easily access Facebook on the go. Also: they didn’t live a train ride apart, they were practically neighbors.

So, no, I don’t buy it, I don’t buy the idea of him running all the way there on FaceTime (because hi, the train?!?!), and I don’t get behind the happy note that the season needed to end on, despite how much Hannah did not deserve to be saved by him. It leaves the show on this note that the selfish bitch always wins, and she doesn’t. She shouldn’t. She wouldn’t. But, just like the other two, it does’t matter what’s right or wrong. All that matters is that they get what they want, by any means necessary. And how ultimately selfish, to think you deserve someone back because shit’s been bad for you. (No surprise, then, that Marnie’s rekindling happened the exact same way.)

Everything Else:

The Message Board Thing: Health forums are used for one thing and one thing only: for finding nonsensical answers to your questions that reassure you you’ll stay alive, not for seeking out actual help. Homie needs a fucking nap and a walk outside, and I dole that advice out having been given off-putting assignments while similarly holding a passport to procrastination nation.

The Robertas Thing: Because, of course they would shoot at Roberta's, the spot that’s as indicative of Brooklyn as the show is of its personas. (It also happens to be the only restaurant in the universe that wouldn’t race out after them for dining and dashing.) More interesting, though? Marnie's inability to know when people are her boyfriend or not. Party hosting and orange juice do not a relationship make, son.

The Haircut Thing: Jesus Christ. Judd Apatow fucking co-wrote this episode, and they couldn’t have gotten better fake hair funding for that straight-as-shit bang patch? Don’t you know that’s how you win awards? Didn’t you learn anything from the Anne Hathaway media circus?! I don’t even fully understand what weaves are or how they work and I could see that fake hair business from three miles away. Inexcusable!

The Psychotic Not-Writing-The-Book-Thing: I’m infurated by her lack of being able to get any pinchlet of work done, though I’m not gonna rag on a girl for going to town on Cool Whip. That shit is zero Weight Watchers points per serving, which means you can play mind games with yourself and convince yourself the entire tub is zero calories. It’s a lie, but it’s a white lie. Literally, it’s a white pool of creamy heaven. I’m ok with this.

That College Friendship Laptop Quote Thing: Really, with this? Really?!? We’re not watching Ghostwriter, we can handle a plot line.

The Colin Quinn Cameo Thing: Darling, you can talk to me about Parisian bread products any day. I’m ashamed to admit that not only do I like bread-shaped bags, the purse I use is actually a photograph of a pile of baguettes. It does double-duty as an unintentionally ironic gym bag. If I could carry around an actual loaf of French bread all day without it ending up in my esophagus, I’d use that to carry my keys and phone and credit card I continuously forget. Can you lacquer one in plastic and use it as a bag?! I may have to inquire to the DIY blog gods about this one.

That Whole People Not Thinking Adam Is Hot Thing: Ya got it through your thick skulls now that he’s bootiful, right? Sigh. That took almost as long as Charlie to torture himself to a shell of a man.

Earlier Ladyshow Nonsense:
Girls Season 2, Episode 9: On All Fours
Girls Season 2, Episode 8: It's Back
Girls Season 2, Episode 7: Video Games
Girls Season 2, Episode 6: Boys
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


Connie said...

Carlye--you and I disagree on most everything about this episode, and yet, I love this so much. When are we going to secret Japanese meat spot?

Carlye Wisel said...

Whaaaaaaat! You're blinded by post-vacation love, methinks.

And as for secret meat, WHENEVER WHEREVER HOWEVER. Gotta book a month in advance, though. Lets figgure it out!

JazN said...

I just wholeheartedly agree with ALL OF THE ABOVE.
And yet, every Sunday (without fail), I have been watching this trainwreck.

And she's won awards for this?!
When will it end?

J. said...

You can actually order an iPhone online. I got mine without having to make contact with any human being.

Jenny Lester said...

Perfect recap. Favorite line, though, cause this is every nice jewish girls' reality:

"There's nobody else, especially not an adult, male, know me better than that!" -Shosh to Ray.


Carlye Wisel said...

JazN - I hear ya. I actually love the show for so many reasons — the cinematography, the dialogue, that fact that something so polarizing has to be worthwhile — but I draw the line at fake bangs!

J. — I know, i know, but can you imagine Adam sitting on that slumped-in couch charging hundreds of buckaroos to card, if he even has one? Or logging in with an Apple ID? I call foul! :)

Jenny — WORD. Can't believe she did at the end, either. And here I thought I knew her better, too.

Chelsea said...


Carlye Wisel said...

Thanks Chelsea!! Wasn't sure how you'd take my Adam anger, but I'm glad you're on my siiiiiide

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