Well, holy WOW, right? That was a fuckin' doozy if I've ever seen one. While I've spent a fair amount of time ruminating over sick, sad hospital trips and Allison Williams' real-life boyfriend's ridiculously nepotistic cameo for our recap over at Refinery29, we've still got about nine thousand things to discuss. Primarily: how do you shoot fake jizz? And what is it made out of? I'd feel bad for Shiri Appleby for having to partake in a cumshot scene over and over while being topless around a million people if she wasn't engaged to one of the geniuses behind LA snout-to-tail restaurant Animal, so I don't feel as bad that she had to crawl on nails. exTrEmE aCtiNg!
But, nails and semen aside: is anyone steering this ship?! It feels almost as though the writer's room fell asleep and woke up three hours before a final, and are scrambling to get it all down. Girls has gotten really dark all the sudden, and I'm not sure how we got this depressive place. Remember when half an episode would consist of Jessa babysitting? or Shoshanna like, putzing around her apartment and eating treats from Dylan's Candy Bar? Now, everything feels extendedly and unnecessarily dramatic, and the show's time frame is completely nonsensical. Hannah's lost her mind in the length of two weeks? Adam asked a girl to define a relationship within a matter of days?! That heavy, wood-working, goateed cro-magnon of a man would never ask someone to be his girlfriend after three dates and a movie; he'd instead say "he doesn't believe in the paradox of loving freely and committing it to solely one person", or that "the sanctity of marriage is as decrepit as most human souls", not making kissy-face over shitty bodega deli coffee with a hot piece of ass like that.
I was actually shocked to see Lena Dunham's name roll through the credits as director, since everything felt so disjointed and out of place, particularly in the sense of why these characters doing these things. But, hey, bonus points for being able to direct yourself into an oversized camping t-shirt and a hair scrunchie, because I'd rather die and let my eggs shrivel up than be seen by the world in sick hospital mode.
This was the week of unbalanced relationships and near-crashes, which is why I've chosen to focus on Adam-Talya and Marn-Char and leave Shosh-ay out of it. I don't think the true emotional fallout of Shoshanna cheating on Ray because she feels suffocated and held back from her youth has surfaced yet, so I'll wait 'til that volatile topic works itself out in the finale. But, sexual conquests with less condom use than the porn industry and mild humiliation across the board? Fair fuckin' game.
Now, let's get on to it, couple-by-couple style:
Adam and Natalia. Oh, you guys are so fucked.
Granted, Girls never excelled in the art of foreshadowing — two meek references to Hannah's soon-to-be debilitating OCD? Really? — but if Amy Schumer as your girlfriend's best friend is a sign of anything, it's that your relationship is about to massively implode.
It's hard to see clearly when someone's dumbfoundingly attractive, but this girl is so incredibly wrong for him. First off, you never let an alcoholic drink, especially in a scenario where he's clearly nervous, uncomfortable and out of his element. (True, she doesn't know he bumped into his stress-inducing ex-girlfriend, but he could have easily been drawn to the bottle just by being in a room full of obnoxious Manhattanites and their sports-obsessive boyfriends.) Secondly, she steps eleven feet into his apartment and already is nit-picking about what needs to be cleaned like a shitty suburban wife.
But worst of all? There's no magic; it's vanilla, it's non-volatile. He says that he likes how she lays down the ground rules at the beginning, but when the tables are turned and he tells her what he wants her to do, she takes to it like a seedy, low-grade rape. If a couple's sexual relationship is a direct reflection of their actual one, this one's dead on arrival and totally fucked up. (And not just because both of them sat on her bed with their shoes on, which is horrifying. I mean, have you SEEN what happens on New York City streets?! That's like taking a nap face-down on Canal Street. It's just wrong.) She offers up sex like she's flicking him a token of appreciation based on time and gentlemanliness — "You've been really nice all week" — and immediately closes the realm of possibility by bossily telling him what he can and cannot do with her, as though she's a high end call girl and these are the pre-ordained rules. It's a tough topic, because some may say "Female empowerment! She should be open and honest in the bedroom!", but like an improv sketch, starting the entire scene off with a "No!" instead of a "Yes!" drives it directly downward, and squashes any sense of openness or fluidity.
Now, unlike a lot of people who will probably review the show, I'm not going to say anything Adam does in the bedroom is wrong or weird, because there are a lot of Savage Love podcasts that have recently gone to my head, and I think Hannah genuinely enjoyed him pushing the sexual boundaries with her. But, Adam gave Natalya a little crack of a glimpse toward what he actually likes, who he actually is, and she's gonna want no part of it. Deep down, he knows she'll discover it soon, and just wants to get the bandaid-ripping breakup part over with as soon as possible.
Here's why: While Adam's trying to be the best version of himself, the problem is that he's doing it for her, not for him. He's in AA for him. He lives his life the way he leads it for him. Yet, when he takes that first drink, it's for her. He's putting this broad before himself, and all that crazy fucking afterwards is his way of expressing that he knows he can't keep this facade up and that it's only a matter of time before he disappoints her and lets her down, and thinks throwing all his crazy her way is the simplest way out.
And then there's the bar run-in. The real Adam is one who relishes practicality; who adores Hannah's aloofness and realistic sense of self. Natalya worries about the minute calories in a sugar packet; Hannah can't even be concerned with putting on pants. When he was with Hannah, he had an almost father-like sense of needing to show her the way, teach her things and in general, care for her. (She is, after all, the only person he calls "kid".) Now, with Natalya, he's quickly trying to scrub out the manic, angry areas of his personality, like the ones that cause him to steal animals and abandon other people on different boroughs, and it's just not erasing as quickly as he needs it to.
It's the type of relationship he thinks he's supposed to have, one with a proper girl with proper friends and a proper job and proper fucking — but it's one that fits who he really is. It's like the saying goes: Beauty often seduces us on the road to truth, and Adam, unfortunately, is nearing its stoplight.
Oh, Marnie, you weird little spritely creature. While no one has yet to ask ,"What is your crazy bitch ex-girlfriend doing here all the time?", there's another question that keeps repeating itself to me over and over and over again: Why does Marnie want to see Charlie now? What does she want with him?
Last week, she waltzed into his office like a disaster, appalled at his world and disgusted by the tone he's taken, and now she's saddened and offended to hear he's capable of forgetting their lunch plans? It's like the pieces are out of order in their relationship, and the gentle closure of what they once had has come months beyond the point it should have.
Though the story arc is bound to be misdiagnosed as him being successful and her just wanting a piece of it, I don't think that's what it is. Marnie actually seems happier than she has in weeks, despite making no sense as a human at the moment. It doesn't take one halfway helpful suggestion from a 30-something-year-old barista to make you switch your career path on a dime and posses the power to do what's forever scared you, but she seems refreshed in this unbelievable new way. Letting go of your uptight demeanor and giving singing a chance should mean braving an open mic night with Shoshanna an Ray in tow while white-knuckling the microphone stand, not sonically crashing a ex-boyfriend's party with a freaky rendition of Kanye West.
Marnie suddenly possesses this other-worldly sense of confidence — one which caused Lena Dunham to describe her as the show's own Michael Scott, in the sense that she has no idea of how she's percieved by those around her — but even that's not the biggest deal here. With all the singing and the shift dresses (despite being effectively unemployed), I'm actually not as interested in what's going on in Marnie's headspace, because I don't think it's Marnie that's losing it — I think it's Charlie who's actually the floundering one.
I touched on this during our Refinery29 roundtable, but there's fucking nothing behind those sad, dead puppy eyes. Nothing. He's totally spaced out, and the least affected by his success out of anyone. Shoshanna's proud, Marnie's shocked, and while Ray's berating of the crappy party and shitty beer is clearly rooted in jealous, jealousy is still a feeling, a human reaction. And Charlie, whether he's discussing dating with co-workers or explaining user activity to Marnie just looks, feels and seems so numb.
And maybe he should. Really, what has his life come to? Even more than Marnie may need someone to save her, he needs someone to save. He needs something to care about. Think about it. He had that same sad stare throughout his relationship with Audrey, during which he played upstairs-downstairs at Hannah's dinner party and chose his ex over his clutch job-holding, artesian mustard-making sexy Navajo girlfriend. Now, when work's overwhelming him, he's drawn right back to Marnie yet again. He's the one who keeps making moves, he's the one who keeps approaching her in dark corners and under nighttime skies, and he's the one who keeps giving her opportunities to be pulled back in, even after promising that she "won't get any more of this" weeks ago.
Charlie doesn't give a fuck about his app, his company, or anything that's going on in that Barry Diller-reminiscent skyscraper overlooking the Hudson. If his office were to burn down and the funding fell through, he'd likely feel relief; a burden lifted off his shoulders. The way he acts about that business and the crying girl, boob job-filled party, despite being completely overwhelemed, is with a couldn't-give-a-shit attitude, which doesn't fit. Do you know why Twitter has been so annoying these past few days? Do you know why San Francisco is full of lame-bots? It's because techy people are obsessed with sense of self, by way of self-promotion and networking and Twitter-befriending. Any other tech-oriented CEO would be out there schmoozing, desperate to make a connection with the next great investment-worthy idea or poachable software engineer, not sticking it to their exes bareback in the blue-green glow of a computer monitor.
This company, this building was never his idea of happiness or even his goal...but what was? Performing with the band? Doing what Marnie's now doing? An indie band with Charlie and Marnie doing She & Him-style songs would be the cutest outcome of this odd no-longer-mismatched pairing, but I can't believe we'll have to wait 'til next week to see how this dangerous game of casual sex ends.
(Guess he no longer feels like a creepy uncle's touch, huh.)
Girls Season 2, Episode 9: On All Fours
Best Line: A tie between Ray's "I've been known to dabble in the Macintosh arts" and my personal hilarious favorite, "He has the face of an old-timey criminal." Amy Schumer, you are a godsend.
Best Mate: Charlie. I'm not going to look into it much this week personality or choices-wise, but Charlie got really fucking hot and he needs to be commended for it. I'm all with Shosh on this one.
What Kind Of A-Hole Was Hannah This Week?: A Depressive One. She's no longer being shitty to anyone else...but herself, and it's dark, and it's sad, and it's scary. Sitting on that bathtub edge contemplating self-harm for a second time is terrifying and stressful to see. This book is slowly killing her, and we can't be the only ones who see it.
I Give This... 3 out of 4 bathtub snax. I don't know where this shit is going, but I'm already excited to find out. Now matter how infuriating Marnie's personality transplant or Hannah's out-of-nowhere OCD are, a television show that can captivate you from the second its episode ends and makes you nervously excited for the following week's is worth its weight.
Earlier Ladyshow Nonsense:
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
(Photo 1 by Jessica Miglio, Bloody Q-tip Photoshopping by yours truly)