Connie: "Heavy episode this week, guys. I cried, actually."
Nathan: "You cried?!"
Connie: "I may be a sap, but there's something about relationships falling apart that really gets to me."
Annie: "So basically, this entire episode."
Connie: "Yes! Specifically Jessa's, Shoshanna's, and Marnie's stories. All three of them went through some pretty traumatic things in their romantic relationships (or past-romantic one, in Marnie's case), and there's a lot to hash out here. I mean, Jessa's marriage only made it through four episodes."
Nathan: "It was always doomed, and all things considered, I'm surprised it made it this long"
Connie: "The fact that their relationship dissolved so completely after Thomas realized his parents didn't like Jessa…I couldn't make too much sense of that. He must have known that would happen? I mean, to not have invited his parents to his own wedding, he probably shouldn't have expected her to act any differently"
Nathan: "One conversation shouldn't ruin a marriage, but there wasn't much of a marriage there to begin with."
Connie "Their argument was so hateful."
Nathan: "Contempt is probably the worst emotion in a relationship."
Annie: "But it made me believe their marriage for the first time, because they knew each other's trigger points. That fight was amazing. AMAZING. Jessa's points about being the brightest thing in his life were SPOT on, and good for her for letting it be known."
Nathan: "That being with her was his only way to rebel was what set him off — that she was the most interesting thing about him."
Connie "I thought his fedora was pretty interesting."
Nathan: "Or his apparent love of prostitutes."
Connie "Touché. And hers was that she was a whore with a bad work ethic, which says more about him than her, IMO. It's so uncreative."
Nathan: "Right. He's clearly awful, and she clearly has awful judgement. Just look at their very first interaction. He threw a fit because she spilled wine on his rug and wouldn't have a threesome."
Connie "But did you guys think that this was her plan all along? To get money out of it?"
Nathan: "I doubt she's that calculating."
Connie "But when he offered her money to leave him (which was just so despicable), she accepted it so quickly!"
Nathan: "I think she saw that it was over and took the out, but I don't think she expected that. Also, don't you think she could have gotten more? $11,500 feels like play money for a guy like that. But she didn't care about the money."
Connie: "I thought this fight between Jessa and Thomas was so interesting in light of the argument that Shoshanna and Ray were having, doing a similar thing, in a way."
Nathan: "They weren't trying to hurt each other though."
Connie "I know, that's what makes it different, but she was still listing the things that she knows he feels the most insecure about: his lack of passion, his shitty job, his lack of a home, his age, etc. But instead of coming from a place of vindication, it came out of concern. She was legitimately freaked out because the relationship had progressed without her realizing it. Moving in together is way advanced in a relationship, at least according to Shoshanna, and she was trying to work out how she could move in with him…but did she love him?…but she did love him, but how could she possibly love him when he didn't fit into her idea of the kind of guy she'd fall in love with? When he said that it was way too soon for her to say she loved him, and then she apologized. That's the part i cried in."
Annie: "THAT'S when you cried!?!"
Connie "WHAT. That part was SAD! Like, she felt so ashamed of her feelings, and was so ready to discount them, but he felt the same way! TEARS!"
Annie: "But…when Jessa goes over to Hannah's post-DIVORCE and is playing handsies naked in a tub with her long-time best friend who's ALWAYS THERE FOR HER despite her own failings? That didn't get you?"
Connie "I think the boogers threw me off."
Annie: "It's like a 5/10 on the gross scale."
Connie: "No way. 8/10, for sure."
Nathan: "I didn't feel particularly moved, but I did buy the conversation with Ray and Shoshanna in spite of myself. Earlier this season, I had a hard time going with this newly lovable Ray."
Connie "Do you have any relationship storyline triggers? Things that make you feel weepy?"
Annie: "Friends being friends really gets me, obviously."
Connie "Mine has always been feeling like you didn't deserve something when you actually do."
Nathan: "Are you asking me?"
Nathan: "If I have like 'emotional kryptonite'?"
Connie: "Yes, as a guy who watches Girls, what would have to happen to make you feel weepy?"
Nathan: "Usually in movies where I feel sad, it has to do with recognizing the inevitability of endings. The existential inevitability of death, that sort of thing. Like the end of Toy Story 3. That was pretty emotional for me. Also, Dancer In the Dark , Wong Kar-Wai's movies, Half Nelson."
Connie: "So if Hannah and Adam were caught in some sort of predicament, and had to accept death together."
Connie: "You would feel emotional."
Nathan: "Maybe. I'd have a hard time believing Hannah would be the type who'd be so zen. Like I said, I'd have to buy it."
Connie: "Did you buy Marnie and her Charlie?"
Annie: "Okay NO. These are grown-ups acting fine enough to call out their own awkwardness. If it's really awkward, you don't talk about it, you know? Like you don't say 'I didn't know you were both coming.' You don't call each other out at dinner. You give each other death glares and text friends that aren't in the room about how much the new girlfriend sucks."
Nathan: "What couple would have stayed in that situation though? There's no way. For however unlikeable either of them are though, I think their relationship is actually really realistic. It's a long-term first relationship that refuses to die. They aren't meant for each other, but they are still so co-dependent."
Annie: "Man, I have a few of those, let me tell you."
Nathan: "It's the college relationship that lingers way to long. Classic. I've always felt like a big problem with people talking about the show is that they judge how good it is based off how much they can identify with it, which I think is a pretty weird way of looking at something. Like, empathy is not a good criterion to judge media in general. BUT, watching this episode is proof that the show, at its best, really does hit these points, and all three of the relationships here felt real in a way that few other writers can pull off. The mark of a good show is not that the characters are exactly like you — it's that they are good characters. These people seem real to me now rather than an appeal to our own vanities."
Annie: "I agree in part. But I don't think that empathy should be a base line requirement. But it's the sophistication of that empathy that I think really makes a show good. Like, we all fight with our parents and have weird dates. But it's really about exploring those more complicated feelings that are much harder to represent in 30 minutes — that's what makes a show like Girls good. It's what separates Girls from Two and a Half Men."
Nathan: "That's a good benchmark to strive for. Be better than Two and a Half Men."
Over to you guys. Empathy or depth? What makes a show great to you? And maybe even more importantly, what's your emotional trigger point? Do tell, in the comments.