‘Girls’ Talk: “Flo”
Welcome back to 'Girls' Talk, where we at ScreenCrush are joined each week by critics to discuss the latest episode of the hit series. On this week's episode, Hannah has to take a trip to visit her ailing grandma Flo, played by 'Nebraska' star June Squibb, and while she leaves the drama of her friends behind in the city, she finds plenty of drama happening with her family.
ScreenCrush editor Britt Hayes is joined this week by Meredith Borders to discuss the latest episode, "Flo" (full review here). Meredith is the managing editor for Badass Digest, Alamo Drafthouse and Fantastic Fest, and you can tweet her @xymarla. You can tweet Britt @missbritthayes.
Britt: I really love these bottle episodes where Hannah heads off to visit family and ditches the drama of her friends only to find that drama exists wherever she goes. And what perfect casting to have June Squibb as her Grandma Flo (aka Flo-Job -- best nickname ever). It really tackles the ideas of how we view our parents, our complex relationships with them, and how our children will never perceive them or understand those relationships the same way -- thank goodness.
Meredith: I thought that was really interesting, too, when Hannah tells her mom that she doesn't understand how Flo was such a bad mom -- a person could easily say that to Hannah about Mrs. Horvath, but Hannah certainly has her complaints. I think this episode revealed a lot of great things about who Hannah is, and why she can be so self-centered. Compared to her aunts and her mom and her cousin, Hannah's actually astonishingly grounded and considerate.
Britt: There is seriously nothing like going home and being around family to make you feel -- and look -- totally sane. I think we get a better picture of who Hannah is through her mom, who is awfully proud of how well adjusted she is in comparison to her sisters, which reflects where Hannah is in her life right now. She certainly has things together better than her friends for once, but unlike her mom, she's not tooting her own horn about it and rubbing it in their faces. I think Hannah's mom is a cautionary tale for Hannah, like all parents often are for us. And is it just me, or was Loreen asking Hannah to lie about being engaged to Adam more of a selfish maneuver on Loreen's part to further make herself look like the better sibling?
Meredith: I think it was absolutely a selfish move on Loreen's part. She wanted the ring for Hannah because "she's practically engaged already," and Loreen and her sister (Rhonda Pearlman!) definitely have a rivalry when it comes to whose daughter is better adjusted, happier, more successful and better behaved.
Britt: Speaking of daughters, holy crap, where has Rebecca been hiding this whole time? She is hilariously awful! I think she would really hit it off with Shoshanna. I now understand why Hannah is able to be friends with Shosh because I think she sees a bit of Rebecca in her.
Meredith: Rebecca is an amazing asshole! I really loved her. I definitely see some of Shosh's drive and unnerving bluntness in Rebecca, and I very much enjoyed the way Hannah dealt with her. She was very forthright but undramatic about Rebecca's rudeness, and Rebecca responded comparatively well to it (compared, that is, to how terrible she is the rest of the time).
Britt: I'm just so proud of Hannah in general lately -- when Patti LuPone planted seeds of doubt in her mind, she acted a bit neurotic, but she talked it out with Adam like a grown-up. And then she goes to visit her sick grandma, and when her cousin is rude and weird, she confronts that like a grown-up, too. I did also really enjoy her talk on the phone with Adam about whether he wants to get married (and I think waiting until you have a pool in your living room is a good goal), and how she didn't give into melodrama about it like, say, Marnie probably would have. It's definitely not an incredibly deep episode this week, but it's super great to see how Hannah handles herself in this situation versus when David died. It's a nice bookend.
Meredith: I was thinking the same thing -- Hannah feels like she's grown a lot in this episode from the episode with David's death. I loved the way she handled the phone conversation with Adam, realizing that she stumbled into the role of the stereotypical "where do you see this going" girlfriend conversation and quickly shutting that down. And speaking of planting seeds of doubt, when Loreen tells Hannah she doesn't see Adam as good enough for her longterm, Hannah is so calm about it, and defends Adam in a very reasonable and thoughtful way.
Britt: I love that scene so much! You know, Loreen has always been very critical of Hannah, but when it comes to her boyfriend, all of a sudden Hannah is perfect and too good for Adam? In that moment we understand Loreen's own issues with her mother, but it's also reflective of parent-child relationships in general. Parents are always so hyper-critical of us, but as soon as dating is involved, we're such perfect little angels and we deserve only the best the world has to offer. Also, I'd love a retro episode that shows us young Loreen and Tad. I'd kill to see a young, awkward Peter Scolari dating young Becky Ann Baker.
Meredith: Especially after Hannah's Aunt Margot had some THINGS to say about poor Tad. It's especially interesting to me that Loreen said that about Adam in this matter-of-fact way, and then seemed surprised at Hannah's reaction, like she assumed Hannah would automatically agree with her. He hauled ass to the hospital to take care of Hannah, even beating Loreen and Margot there, and he was very polite and relatively normal and went along with Loreen's scheme for Flo's benefit. Only a mother could see all of that and still assume that her daughter is thinking the same thing she is: that he's good for now, but not husband material.
Britt: Ridiculous! I think Adam is, or at least could be, husband material. They have such a great relationship and they complement each other really beautifully. I'm at the point now where Hannah and Adam breaking up would totally crush me, and I'm pretty sure that's exactly where this show wants us to be, which worries me horribly. Any additional thoughts on this week's episode and the charming Flo-job?
Meredith: I think the most surprising thing this season is how completely I'm rooting for Adam and Hannah. The beginning of the season felt like it was setting them up to be an unhealthy couple, but they've really become great for each other. We'll just have to comfort each other when the probably inevitable happens.
I ate one cheese sandwich and I'd like another. Yay!!!
Britt: Cheese sandwiches for everyone!