‘Girls’ Review: ‘Role Play’
On tonight’s all-new episode of ‘Girls,’ Hannah tries to spice up her sex life with Adam when she feels as though the two have grown a little too comfortable together, and the end result is a one-two punch of hilarity and heartbreak. Meanwhile, Shoshanna is fed up with Jessa and Jasper’s shenanigans and decides to do a little meddling, while Marnie continues to pursue her dreams or whatever.
There comes a point in every relationship where things start to settle and feel comfortable, and that comfortability has the danger of slipping so easily into complacency before you even realize it’s happening. It can be so incredibly hard to gauge what’s normal and good in a relationship at any given moment because we can’t be in someone else’s head and know their feelings, and you can ask if everything is okay and they can say it is, but those are just words. And when you have two people who are constantly evolving, what was once normal or good may not be good for one or both parties as time moves on. The bottom line is that when something doesn’t feel right in a relationship, we often regress back to the point when things last felt right, and we try to do the things we feel will make the other person happy, rummaging through the card catalog in our minds for what we need to do to re-establish happiness and order.
So when Hannah goes out with her work friends, gets sloppy drunk and winds up going home with her co-worker Joe (and gets just about as embarrassing as Hannah can get), and Adam doesn’t get upset about it at all, and then he doesn’t want to have sex with her later while he’s studying lines — yeah, that’s cause for concern. Hannah’s role play scheme involving a wig and a story about being a hedge fund manager’s wife, resulting in her screaming at Adam on the street and Adam getting punched by a stranger is ‘Girls’ hitting that cringe comedy sweet spot. By the time they get to Marnie’s apartment (I honestly cannot believe Marnie would agree to loan out her place for this, but I guess that’s really a sign of her evolution), things are full-blown: it’s equal parts awkward, hilarious, and, yeah, kind of sexy — mostly because there’s just a lot of honesty in what’s going on here. Sex, even between two people who’ve been doing it together for years, isn’t always a smooth operation, especially when kinky stuff is involved, and the entire situation is wonderfully awkward and feels incredibly voyeuristic from a viewer standpoint, which should have been our first tip-off that things were heading south.
Sex in a relationship can and does change over time, and as Adam explains to Hannah after she tries to switch role play narratives, the kinky weird sex they were having before was merely a way for him to replace his alcohol abuse. Instead of drinking all the time, Adam would hook up with lots of different girls and have kinky sex, trading one vice for another to keep himself occupied. Along with his weird carpentry projects and myriad other quirks, this makes a lot of sense. Addicts gotta keep busy. But once he fell in love with Hannah, his sexual dynamic with her changed; he didn’t feel the need to fill a void or use her to replace anything. He could be himself, kinky or not kinky, whenever or whatever he felt like, and she could be herself, and they could just meld their bodies together in whatever fashion felt natural and good.
But poor neurotic Hannah, scared that Adam is slipping from comfort into complacency, thinks that going back to mega kinky sex is going to fix something that doesn’t need fixing, when the truth is that sometimes people’s priorities shift and change — and the sad truth is that Adam is committed to this play right now, and his relationship with Hannah is not as much of a priority … which isn’t to say that it’s not a big priority and that he won’t come back to her, but that his focus needs to be on his work. If Hannah were to tell him she needed to leave to go somewhere and focus on her book, I wonder if Adam would respect and give her the space she needs, though. For now, Adam disses her with a triple punch: telling her that his life isn’t fodder for her “tweets or whatever,” saying that she is too much drama and a distraction from his work, and proclaiming his work more important and valid than her own. To top it all off, he’s leaving her to stay with Ray for a while until the play opens, but I wonder if he’ll come back, or if she’ll want him back at all. I knew their relationship was becoming too beautiful to be true.
Over in Marnie-Land, she’s playing music with Desi, who’s giving her some tough love and encouraging her to write more. Marnie is often over-confident, but she shies away and has all these self-deprecations about her musical ambitions and talent, and I can’t tell if that’s just in front of a cute guy or what — she never seemed to be this self-deprecating about her musical worth in front of Ray or her own friends. Maybe it’s that when she’s faced with real talent, she’s humbled. I hope it’s just that and not some ploy to get Desi in her bed with all those googly eyes she’s been making at him with that dumb beanie on her head. It’s also unclear if she took the job as Sue Jen’s assistant, but wouldn’t that be wonderfully horrible.
And finally, Shoshanna calls up Jasper’s daughter, who has bad allergies and stress-induced psoriasis and lives in New York, and misses her father terribly. There’s a great, horrible dinner scene where we’re granted a perspective from outside of the show, in this case from Dottie, Jasper’s daughter. Her father is a great man, when he’s not an addict, and from her POV, it’s women like Jessa who keep him weighted down. It’s unfortunately more complex than that, and it’s a bit sad for Jessa, who was doing pretty well until Jasper whirled back into her life and tempted her away from the banality of normal, healthy living. But Jessa is as much to blame here, and she allowed herself to be dragged into an unhealthy, co-dependent drug relationship with this man, in which they mutually used each other to feed their inner addicts. I can’t feel too bad for her, seeing her sitting alone outside her apartment, looking like a junkie (as Shosh notes apathetically) because she knew what she was getting into — but it is pretty pathetic and sad, and I wonder how many bottoms Jessa has to hit before she picks herself up.