An Unexpected Character Came Out On Girls Last Night

Photo: Mark Schafer/HBO.

At a certain point on your journey to adulthood, you realize that your parents are people who are just trying to figure it out, too. As a kid, you may have kept them on a pedestal, alternating between lionizing and fearing them. Then, one day during season 1 of a television show based on your life, your friend Elijah insists that your father is gay as a final burn during a particularly heated fight. While it wasn't the right moment to say it — and it didn't even come up again until season 4 — it turns out that Elijah was absolutely right. 

Okay, so the above scenario is pretty specific to Hannah Horvath on Girls, but you get where we were going with it. It's not just one moment, but a series of moments, that demonstrate how vulnerable our parents are — and that part of growing up is recognizing that. Just as Hannah is constantly asserting her defining characteristics — she's actually in the midst of a rant about how undramatic she is when her mom decides to tell her that her father is gay — now, it's her dad's turn. 

"I feel there’s something that I want to share with you…I’ve been thinking lately that I’m…that I’m gay. And not lately, actually. For a while," Tad tells Hannah's mother, Loreen, after they leave what they both agreed to be a successful couple's counseling session. Why didn't he bring it up during the session? It felt too personal, and he doesn't trust their therapist with this type of information. 

Loreen has the rest of the episode to try to process what she's just learned, and she does so in a very similar fashion to how we've seen her daughter come to terms with things. "It's not not about me, Tad," she says. Then, even though they decide to wait to tell Hannah, Loreen blurts it out midway through Hannah ranting about how undramatic she is on the phone. 

This isn't the first time a loved one of Hannah's came out. Elijah, her college boyfriend who recognized that her father was gay, came out after they dated. Hannah's first response was anger, followed by acceptance years later. It will be interesting to see how Girls proceeds with this storyline. Will it send her into a tailspin, or will we see a new, more self-aware Hannah, who recognizes how hard it was for her father to reveal this part of himself that he's kept hidden for so long? 

The Horvaths are a tight-knit, three-person unit, but Hannah has always been the one doing the least to support the trio. Although she's still making poor, immature decisions in her own life, this could be her moment to become an equal in her family structure. It's also an important moment for the Girls audience, who are possibly going through similar realizations about their parents as they mature, too. 

We're going to see more and more stories like Tad Horvath's and Maura Pfefferman's on Transparent as storytellers like Lena Dunham and Jill Soloway experience them in their own lives. Parents are people, too, and no matter what the story, that's what all of these characters are realizing. In the process, they're helping viewers understand and come to terms with that fact as well.
Photo: Mark Schafer/HBO.

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