Girls “Truth Or Dare” Recap: Lots Of Truths, No Dares

Who hasn't thought about their favorite utensil before? (For the record, I kind of agree with Adam, I am also on Team Fork.)
Last post, I mused that I wouldn't mind just a full season of Shoshanna talking while Adam grimaces. This episode, it was as if my truest wish was granted. Thank goodness Lena Dunham knows who her crowd favorites are, and lets them run the screen. In fact, this may have the best Quips Per Episode (QPE) of any Girls episode thus far. The quotables ran the gamut, from Hannah getting her head stuck next to the rocking chair that was crowding her because it wasn't allowing her to "express herself" to Shoshanna's "cum parade has paraded on by." (Related: Ew.)
In fact, this episode exemplifies the highest highs and the lowest lows of the Dunham brainchild. Seeing Shosh and Adam simply interact is slightly magical, even if Shoshanna is beginning to veer into the realm of a caricature of herself. In fact, I watched the show with a young fellow who hadn't seen anything other than the first season, and he turned to me and asked, "Wait. What is wrong with her? Is she sick? Does she have a disease or something?" And, the answer is, yes, she has the disease that Dunham would call the Fortune Of Still Being In College-Itis, where one is cocooned in a warm bubble of naiveté and can say things about women not being able to be presidents because of menstruation. (Ha ha Shosh, what a silly make-believe cartoon character you are.)
"What is wrong with people?"
It is strange to think that Hannah has never been on a road trip through the countryside before when she went to school in freaking rural Ohio. Her concern about her book seemed put-on, unnatural, and did two things. The first is that it reminded us that, yes, Hannah is on top of her ish this season and won't suffer another Q-Tip fiasco, and secondly, it exemplifies what I would like to call The Girls' Friendship Paradigm (or GFP). Other sites have written about the cruelty of Marnie's comment about not wanting to go to pick up Jessa, but not wanting anyone to go either — but herein exists the exact problem with all the female friendships on Girls. Everyone is a good friend on paper: Checking in on one another, having taco-dinner parties, going to pick each other up from rehab. But, none of these acts of friendship are for the right reason. Hannah heads out to get Jessa because she senses it might be book fodder. Jessa apologizes to Hannah because, well, she had to. And, Shoshanna just saw something shiny and was like, "Ooh! Road trip!" (We imagine.) The only person who was there with the purest intentions happened to be — welp — Adam.
girl2Photo: Courtesy of HBO

"That sounds really sad. But I think you remembered it wrong. It was probably you who was crying."

One of the more troubling aspects of the Hannah/Adam dynamic — which is, given their tumultuous past, probably at the best place we've ever seen it — is the voice that Hannah uses when she speaks with Adam. Lena Dunham herself does have an explanatory and slightly high-pitched tone, but when Hannah addresses Adam, she stops sounding assertive and narrative and puts on a baby voice. Is this just me? Are these just the way that couples normally address each other and I have just watched too much 30 Rock? I don't like that her tone change insinuates capable Hannah and then Hannah-with-Adam Hannah. Feels problematic.
But — but — there is just so much to unpack with the Shoshanna/Hannah post-coital conversation in the hallway. Firstly, there are only two ways to interpret Shoshanna's behavior towards Jessa. Either Shoshanna is so wildly off-base with her analysis of the clear addiction issues that Jessa is struggling with, or Shoshanna is clearly picking up on the performative nature of Jessa's self-destruction (what Hannah politely dubs, she's being a "life addict"). Both of these could be feasible because Lena Dunham has often let Shoshanna stand in as the innocent babe who speaks the truth to the masses. But, she also has allowed Shosh to be completely clueless and lacking intuition. The third option is that Shoshanna is from outer space, where she just floats around with Ryan Phillippe and blue Red Bull. She's currently delivering the best QPE, though Adam is in a close second.
Most importantly, however, why did Shoshanna buy Chex Mix if she was allergic?
Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 6.57.50 PMPhoto: Courtesy of HBO

"What does fraternizing mean?"
"It means I joined a frat."

The scene between Jessa and her Doctor Who friend was one that felt shoe-horned in and slightly jarring, and that may be a good thing. For Jessa's whole life, she has been able to flit about with very few consequences, consuming, fornicating, and reveling as she sees fit. Not only do her actions affect other people (and not always in the way that she wants them to), but this dark, deeply cynical view of things may eventually lead to a life of gulping down Vicodin and trying to seduce girls half her age while living in rehab. It's a dark moment, and hopefully one that will signify a change in Girls' most frustrating and tone-deaf character.
(Why did she ask for her weed back? That is, like, on an adolescent level of acting out, similar to when you made your prudish friends smell your sleeves after you had a cigarette during your lunch break. Come on, Jessa, even you aren't that dumb.)
Despite this episode being chocked full of laughs, it's clear what Dunham is setting up this season to be: a narrative of female friendship that is fulfilling, but self-fulfilling; that is present, but not always aware; girls who help each other not because it is right, but it is because it is easy. As Adam so awkwardly quotes, "You can't always get what you want...but if you try, sometimes, you get what you...need?" Except, for the Girls, they almost always get what they want, and rarely — if ever — get what they need.
Come back next week to see Shoshanna commune with more imaginary fairy creatures or watch Hannah stick other parts of her corpus inside of antiqued furniture.

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