Photo: Mark Schafer/HBO.
Call me unfair, but I almost don't believe that Dunham and co. meant for this arc to be so harmonious with the rest of the season. For a show that brings up and drops themes seemingly at random, the reoccurring consideration of death — and how it can both humble us and bring out our worst — has held season three together. In fact, that is what has made this season fascinating: What happens when people who are struggling to receive an "experience" actually get one, and it doesn't happen to be exactly what they want? Sometimes experience isn't fun or particularly interesting. People don't enjoy reading stories about grandparents in hospitals. Everyone has grandparents in hospitals.
"You definitely don't look like the two-rod type."
There are these episodes where Hannah stops being Bad Person Hannah and starts being a relatable, rational human being, and it makes it hard to reconcile her seemingly absurd reactions in other episodes. In fact, she is downright kind, unselfish, and sort of funny. (Despite what Rebecca says.) While I like this Hannah and can even relate to her, this is not the Hannah from David's funeral nor is it the one who steals snacks from her office. This is a Hannah that feels very close to Dunham, charming the people around her with a sense of aw-shucks honesty. On one hand, real people have plenty of sides and depth and issues, but as I've stated before, you can't have genuine reaction and emotion while simultaneously having characters who aren't good. Dunham can't have emotionally affecting assholes.
June Squibb appears as Hannah's grandma (and also on that other TV event tonight), and she plays the role with a hard-heartedness that feels like she could easily be related to Hannah.
Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/HBO.
"Don't only text me, 'car crash'!"
First off the bat, Hannah's aunt is the worst person in the world. She swears a lot and is cruel, and I don't like her one bit. The joy in which she sneers at Hannah's awkward Aunt Sissy is both rude and unnecessary, and I found her quite unpleasant.
Secondly, I have always been on the side of Lorraine Horvath, but in this episode, she fell down a few notches because of her sudden, inappropriate, inopportune cruelty toward Adam. It felt like that same biting snappiness that her and her sisters engaged in just moments before. And, that is what happens in families under stress — they snap at each other. They argue about things like how someone is driving or whether or not you are being judged because you don't have children.
What makes Girls teeter between a good show and a great show is the fact that it has those emotionally resonant moments, like Adam coming for Hannah or Hannah taking the subway with her cake, post-wedding, in season one. This time, as she steps off the train and receives the phone call that her grandma, who was vibrant and cheerful in the scene before, has passed, she doesn't know what to say. She says nothing, in fact, and the camera pans out. She is stuck in a crowd, alone and confused. It is as if she finally finds the feeling she was looking for so many episodes ago.