Girls Recap: Everyone Is Really, Really Mean

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girls14_64Photo: HBO/Mark Schafer.


Oh good, Marnie is making plans. Nothing ever goes wrong when Marnie makes plans. Everything goes exactly as planned when Marnie makes plans, right? Can't see anyone getting upset here.

A couple of initial sartorial mentions, right off the bat. It is really wonderful that Hannah has gotten so into the spirit by wearing a beach hat on the bus to North Fork (which is, in case anyone is wondering, not The Hamptons, but a nice alternative for the J.Crew-soaked beaches that it offers). But, what are those grapes? Do we like the grape hat? I don't think I dislike it, per se, but I am not sure I like it either. It seems like it may be, perhaps, a little hard to manage.

Secondly, Shoshanna's bathing suit looks like a recipe for horrific tan lines, all crisscrossed and bandage-like. One would think someone as anal as Shosh would have planned that out....

"I can't go into open water unless I am menstruating."

According to Marnie, this is a weekend that is set up to do two things: Prove to Instagram that the four of them can have fun together and also have some scheduled and consensual healing over dinner. According to the way this show goes, this is a weekend that is set up to do neither of the aforementioned activities, especially since Elijah is back in the picture.

Bringing Elijah back was a smart idea because he along with his group of "theater" people provide an outside perspective and an externally, outwardly, and very sharp element of cruelty. In fact, the barbs thrown in this episode are so, so mean. The boys' extreme bitchiness (and I'm not even addressing the stereotype that — though grounded in reality is still unfair — of gay NYC men being sassy bitches) contrasted with the girls' seething resentment made parts of this episode near painful.

Which is, perhaps, why I liked it so much. Because these are mostly mean, mostly bad people, and it is as if the entire show has been working up to this moment.
girls14_61Photo: HBO/Mark Schafer.
"It's not like the four of us have had any fun together for the last two years."

Bingo. Take that, critics. This isn't supposed to be Happy Girls Time, The Show. This isn't supposed to be, See What Millennials Think. This is a show about people who aren't having fun during the "most fun time of their lives."

You have four people who have actual, real problems (well, kind of) that they just simply want addressed. That's all. We finally hear what happened with Charlie and the pizza grilling, and, to be completely fair to Marnie (something I rarely am), that actually does sound pretty darn traumatic. And, none of her friends seem to respect how much pain absolute heartbreak can wreak, and why a sense of loss might want to make her strive for perfection.

Similarly, the girls seem to treat Jessa's rehab as some sort of punchline. Of course, she herself treats it as such, but suddenly, or at least in this episode, Jessa is demonstrating some sort of understanding for the people around her(?).

Big reveal: Shoshanna is, surprisingly, a cruel drunk. I've said before that she stands in as the less ironically self-aware audience commentary, calling B.S. on the wishy-washy lifestyle of her friends. But, the biting remark from the third episode of the season comes back, full force, when Shoshanna, the seemingly well-adjusted gal in the foursome, spits out, "You guys never listen to me. You treat me like a f*cking cab driver."

And, it's true. Her problems, or even her feelings, seem to come as an afterthought to the other three.
girls14_68Photo: HBO/Mark Schafer.
"I really miss my boyfriend...who asks me for nothing, so I give him everything!"

Oh em gee. Hannah is such a liar. She lies knowingly ("The boys kind of invited themselves over") and, unknowingly, like in the above quote. Hannah is the endless asker — asking for forgiveness, understanding, and, most of all, the acceptance she rarely affords other people.

At the end, though, the ladies wake up to see the wreckage from the night before — emotional and wine glass induced — and pick themselves up to head back into the city. Theirs is the kind of pain that can only be fixed by choreographed dancing, which is perhaps one of the best affirmations of connectivity in the world. (This is a fact.)

Here is a question: Will these rifts be healed? And, more importantly, do we even want them to be?

(My answer? No, I think humor illustrated by female dysfunction is actually pretty compelling. I'll be honest: I'm into this season.)