‘Girls’ Talk: “Bad Friend”
Hannah goes on drug-fueled adventure that leads her to realize that she’s the good friend and Marnie’s the bad friend — but is it that simple? We’ll discuss this and more in this week’s ‘Girls‘ Talk!
ScreenCrush editor Britt Hayes is joined this week by Meredith Borders to discuss the latest episode of the HBO series ‘Girls.’ Meredith is the managing editor for Badass Digest, Alamo Drafthouse, and Fantastic Fest and you can tweet her @xymarla.
Britt: I want to jump right in to the heart of the matter, when a coked-up Hannah says she is the good friend and Marnie is the bad friend. It’s one of the most honest moments we’ve seen from Hannah (coke will do that), and I think there’s a nugget of truth there — at least in terms of Hannah being honest with herself and with her friend, even if the situation is much more gray than that. Yes, Marnie did a bad thing, and yes, Hannah is right in saying that being a good friend isn’t about doing superficial things you don’t want to do just to make someone else happy. What do you think?
Meredith: I think Hannah’s a terrible friend, honestly. They’re both bad friends, unfortunately, but Marnie’s the one in need right now. She’s had a miserable few months, and Hannah’s just disappeared on her. I think sleeping with Elijah was a selfish thing to do, something Marnie knew would hurt Hannah, but I also think we’re allowed to make mistakes when we’re desperately unhappy and the universe has been sh—ing on us for months at a time. Marnie’s been feeling lonely and insecure and having sex with Elijah was about trying to make herself feel wanted and to have a connection with someone. But as Elijah predicted, Hannah made it all about her, when it actually had nothing to do with Hannah. I wish both of these girls were better friends to each other, but right now I’m only mad at Hannah. I just feel awful for Marnie.
Britt: I think I definitely empathize with both of them — I’ve been like Marnie, who is lost and has no idea what she wants or where she belongs, and that sort of feeling can make you do selfish things in the quest for something that makes you feel anything. And I’ve been like Hannah, who thinks she has it together (at least in comparison to Marnie, which is good enough for Hannah), and behaves selfishly and kind of holier-than-thou. But while I believe Marnie thought that sex with Elijah would feel good, I’m constantly struck by how Marnie never seems to enjoy sex. She always looks disconnected and bored.
Meredith: Yeah, we learned in the premiere that Marnie can live at least eight months without sex, and it certainly doesn’t seem to be a priority for her. I think it’s really interesting and realistic that ‘Girls’ built up how great sex with Booth would be — Marnie masturbated in the bathroom at a work party just thinking about it — and when it finally happens, she looks no more into it than she did with Charlie or Elijah.
Britt: I was talking to my boyfriend about this because I’ve heard people speculating that Marnie is gay and might have feelings for Hannah but she just doesn’t know it yet, and he made a fair point: maybe Marnie just hasn’t had sex with anyone she truly cares about yet. Some people have a hard time getting off if there’s no real connection there, and Marnie just might be a little traditional in that sense. Then again, I’m not sure I could enjoy sex if Booth Jonathan were awkwardly humping on me and making me describe the feelings of a creepy doll next to his bed.
Meredith: Sad doll. The doll is sad, Britt.
I think Marnie’s more the type of person who can’t enjoy sex unless she’s in a really good place, and we’ve never seen her in a really good place. Sex is just one more thing going wrong for Marnie right now, and until she feels better about herself and her life, I don’t know if she’s going to be able to get to the sort of thought-free, unself-conscious place you have to be to really dig sex. (Agreed — there are no circumstances in which anyone should enjoy sex with Booth Jonathan.)
Britt: I was so disappointed with how Booth Jonathan turned out! That nightmarish TV installation with Duncan Sheik blaring on a loop (I’ve had that song in my head for 24 hours straight), that stupid dollhouse that could have been made by a 13 year old girl, and dude, he still has AOL. He uses AOL. Who even uses AOL besides, like, parents?
But I think that’s the point. He’s all swagger and no dagger. That’s a phrase I just made up, right now.
Meredith: Oh man, that’s a really good phrase. I think part of what depressed me about Marnie’s storyline this week is that she f—ing nailed Booth when she said he’s a Damien Hirst rip-off con artist… and then she goes back to his house, has sex with him and tells him how f—ing talented he is and how much she loves that dollhouse. No way does she love that dollhouse. Or the Duncan Sheik installation. Or having sex with a man who uses AOL. Just stick to your guns, Marnie. Sure, have sex with him — you’ve been fantasizing about that long enough, and you’d have to do it to get it out of your system — but don’t backtrack on your honest criticism by placating his ego.
Britt: I think it’s just indicative of how dishonest she is and her need to please others. She has something inside of her that’s very submissive. She responded strongly to Booth’s dominant come-on last season, and when he leads her out of the club by her hand in this episode, she’s so willing to let someone else just take the lead for her because she’s absolutely lost and it’s just easier to give up control — or the idea of control that she has.
And that’s one of two themes I’m seeing in this season so far. The first is that these women aren’t living their lives — they’re living an idea of a life they think they want. And the second thing I’m noticing is that they’re all sort of trying on these different life-hats. Hannah tries coke to be a better writer (HA) or tries to play the stern card with Adam, Jessa tries on the wifey hat, and Marnie is just frantically throwing hats around trying to find one that seems even semi-appealing or comfortable. Shoshanna is probably the only person who has a real grip on herself.
Meredith: Yeah, it’s definitely tourist season on ‘Girls’ this year, and I think that’s a very interesting theme. Hannah’s having sex with black guys, Republicans, junkies, et al. just for the experience of it, and Marnie’s trying everything she can to find something that works for her. And I think you’re right, there is a part of Marnie that’s very submissive, and I think that’s why she agreed so readily to Hannah’s accusation that she’s a bad friend, when a more confident person would surely defend herself.
Thank God for Shosh, right? That girl has a good head on her shoulders.
Britt: But this week wasn’t all about Marnie! I loved Hannah’s visit to “jazzhate” and the editor’s stupid wall inspiration, and I loved watching her and Elijah on coke because it was incredibly authentic and hilarious. Something that struck me: when Hannah and Elijah discuss their dreams, and Elijah tells her to write them on the wall, she writes down Elijah’s dream first instead of her own. It’s a nice little nod to the way Hannah uses everyone else’s lives as fuel for the drama that will inspire her writing.
Meredith: jazzhate! Right, and while neither of their dreams was particularly inspiring, the fact that Hannah’s is to wear a veil to her wedding and try 15 wedding cakes makes it clear that, professionally, Hannah’s not really sure what she wants. And personally, her dreams are more traditional than we might have suspected.
But yeah, I could watch those two dance together for hours. And I want Elijah to always dress Hannah. She really rocks the power-clash.
Britt: I kind of feel the most sorry for Laird this week. Even though we just met him, Jon Glaser does such a great job with making him hilariously sympathetic. His horrible knit hat, that pet turtle he seems to almost resent, and his fridge full of POM juice — I might have ended up making out with him, too. I just worry that Hannah’s going to write about sleeping with him in her story. That guy seems like he’s just a sigh away from jumping off a building.
Meredith: Oh she’s going to write about it, no doubt about that. “It’s just for tonight…for work,” she muttered in between his pitiful exclamations of “Oh my god!” Poor, poor Laird. I doubt we’ll see him again, but I certainly wouldn’t mind if we do.
Britt: Well I think that about wraps it up for this week — was there anything else that stood out to you, or anything that you’re sort of hoping to see in the coming weeks?
Meredith: The fleeting scene of all four girls on the doorstep, selling Jessa’s wares, made me yearn for a show where all four of these women are adequately used. The chemistry between all of them is so great, and we almost never get to see it. I miss Jessa and Shosh. I don’t want this to become “The Hannah and Marnie Show.”
Britt: I so completely agree. I understand that Jemima Kirke’s pregnancy may have kept her from being more involved in season two, but that doesn’t excuse the lack of Shosh!