'Girls' Talk: "It's a Shame About Ray"

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We're joined by two critics to discuss the latest installment of 'Girls,' titled "It's a Shame About Ray," but it's really a shame about Jessa, and Hannah, and Marnie, too.

ScreenCrush editor Britt Hayes is joined this week by Kate Erbland and Allison Loring to discuss this week’s episode, titled “Hannah’s Diary.” Kate is the Associate Editor at Film School Rejects and a contributing writer and critic for MSN Movies. You can tweet her @katerbland. Allison is a contributor for Film School Rejects and Reel Vixen. You can tweet her @allisonloring. You can tweet Britt @missbritthayes.

Britt: Guys, I have to start off this week by discussing Jessa. We've gotten so little of her in this first batch of episodes, but the payoff was ultimately worth it (in my opinion, at least). I could have easily watched an entire hour of the Jessa/Thomas John marriage imploding, but two things really stood out to me: first, the way Jessa cringed at dinner and went into passive-aggressive-overdrive mode when he spoke for her, saying she'd probably go into graphic design; and second, the way that everything they said about each other -- while cruel -- was accurate. They haven't known each other for very long, but when you live with someone, you learn so much about their insecurities and their habits that it becomes easy to lob the most vicious insults during a fight. We knew this was coming for a while now, but what did you guys think?

Allison: I think we all knew the writing was on the wall for Jessa and Thomas John, but I did not expect the utter showdown that started with Jessa flashing him her "good" boob to get him off the phone with his parents to the huge break up fight that ended their night. What surprised me most was the way Jessa genuinely broke down when she got in the tub with Hannah. I was really glad the show let us see her sad and upset over the end of her marriage rather than flashing forward to the next episode when she has seemingly moved on without a second thought (which would have been a very Jessa-esque thing to do.)

I also found it interesting that one of the last things Thomas John said to her was she ruined his life because she was "bored" -- something Jessa's former boss, Katherine Lavoyt, told her when she confronted her about flirting with her husband. Jessa's reaction to Katherine's confrontation was to marry Thomas John, but it looks like despite that marriage, not much has changed and Jessa is still distracting herself from becoming the woman she is meant to be. I think the question now is, why is Jessa so scared to find out who that person truly is?

Kate: Can we just take a minute to talk about what a fantastic crier Jemima Kirke is? Just great, great stuff there.

Yeah, I was also surprised at how quickly Jessa and Thomas John totally blew the F up after not seeing so much of them in the previous episodes. Their marriage-ending fight was phenomenal -- one of the best sequences to appear on the show yet. It was funny and true and really kind of sad, but as Britt says, everything they said was accurate. I nodded along the entire time. Jessa bored? Yup. Thomas John ridiculous? Yup. Dropping that Hummie? Hell yup. And then Jessa accepting money to get the hell out? Wrenching. But we all know she's probably done something like this before.

Britt: That was another thing that crept into my mind while watching them fight -- Jessa has done this before. There's no question about it. It never occurred to me how she was getting money to live because she seems resourceful and I thought that her parents must have been bank-rolling at least some of her life. And so I started thinking that clearly this is a habit for her (though maybe not the marriage part), and I was startled at how terrifying that thought is.

And yes, Jemima Kirke is absolutely fantastic this week. It's hard to believe that she wasn't a professional actress before 'Tiny Furniture.'

Kate: Same here. I always thought Jessa's life was coming care of her parents, but now it seems as if that's not the case at all. And while that's terrifying, it certainly adds some complexity to Jessa.

Allie: Jemima Kirke is a powerhouse. I agree with what you said to begin, Britt -- I could have easily watched the Jessa story line for the entire hour. I have missed her!

Britt: That final scene, where she crawls into the tub with Hannah, has become an instant favorite. I think Hannah really redeems herself this week. She's still playing pretend-grown-up with her Pad Thai and Nothing Bundt Trouble cake, but she is a good friend -- she defends Marnie to Charlie because if anyone is going to call Marnie out, it's going to be Hannah, not her ex-boyfriend, and she's there for Jessa in such a sweet way, cheering her up by being grossed out by her snot rockets in the tub. (Also, real talk: I too have never met a shower I haven't peed in.)

Allie: I agree that Hannah definitely redeemed herself this week. She is still going to make mistakes and she is still pretending to be more grown-up than she actually is, but her actions this week were actually rooted in being a good friend rather than saying she is one.

Kate: Oh, oh, I have to object on your thoughts about Hannah redeeming herself. While I do think that she does right by standing up for Marnie to Charlie and she's great with Jessa, she's just horrible before that. I don't understand why she thinks it's okay or cool or acceptable to invite Charlie and Audrey over and talk mad, mad sh-- about Marnie when she shows up, having accepted her invitation to come, how insane! Yes, she finally says something to Charlie, but not until she's sold Marnie up and down the river. I even wrote in my notes something about how Hannah's true life crisis might be figuring out how to be a serviceable friend, because she's overwhelmingly not right now.

Allie: This is a good point -- I was also thrown as to why Hannah would invite Marnie over considering the way they left things last week. And then to be shocked when Marnie showed up! That did feel like Hannah creating a dramatic situation simply for the drama to spice up her life and give her new material to write about (something we have seen her do, and be accused of, before).

Kate: Though I do find it interesting that Hannah has tossed out Elijah without a care, but Marnie still gets to be in her orbit.

Allie: I feel like that stemmed from him already being an ex-bf, something Hannah views as more disposable than a possible ex-friend?

Britt: I think it's indicative of Hannah knowing the value of friendship, as complicated and toxic as things between her and Marnie have become -- Elijah is an ex, Marnie has been a friend for a lot longer. You don't give the guy a free pass and kick your friend to the curb. You just don't. You forgive your friend and you tell that guy to get the hell out of your life.

And I agree that up until the end of the episode Hannah wasn't so great. But I related to the situation of being friends with people who have broken up, and you sort of tell little lies to make them feel better about certain sticky situations. That doesn't excuse it or make it okay, but I think it's relatable, just like I find it relatable that Hannah and Marnie aren't necessarily good friends to each other because how many of us were great friends for others in our early 20s? Again, not excusing it, but I delight in how much of myself I see in these situations only because I'm older now and can laugh at how out of touch these ladies are, knowing that one day they'll pull their heads out of their asses and feel stupid about how they've behaved here.

Kate: I think that I am still stinging from Hannah's declaration back in season 1 that she doesn't have time to be a good friend right now because, in my mind, NOT being a good friend or having good friends is something that will only make all the hard stuff they're going through so much worse and so much more intolerable. Why NOT just be there for the people who care about you? I'm just struggling with Hannah lately, I think.

Allie: I agree with you, Kate -- I definitely have a hate/love relationship with Hannah (hate getting top billing most of the time), but I did see some promise in her towards the end of this episode of simply being a good friend without doing it in a calculating way. She naturally reacted to defending Marnie and then naturally diffused the situation with Jessa because she had to comment on Jessa being gross -- things real friends naturally do for and with each other. But she definitely has a long, long way to go towards understanding this behavior is what makes a good friend, not having a list of expectations and waiting for people to either finally live up to them or fail so you can say they're the bad friend first.

Britt: Do we really think Marnie is dating Booth Jonathan? Either she is, or she's lying to keep Charlie away, or she just thinks she is. Some twisted part of me wants to spend more time in his weirdo post office house with his sad, creepy dolls.

Allie: My vote is that Marnie simply thinks they're dating, but I doubt Booth Jonathan would agree if he were asked.

Kate: That was the one thing about Marnie that stuck out this week -- is she just saying that? Is it true? Last week, after they did the doll-watched deed and she promptly burst out laughing, I thought for sure that Marnie was laughing at how terrible Booth Jonathan was and how terribly amusing it was that she had been dreaming of sex with that weird little Ewok all this time. But then... she seemed to be playing house, with the sexy wine-holding pose and the robe-wearing. Maybe they are dating. I certainly want to see more Booth.

Allie: I definitely want to see more Booth! But I also wanted to see his reaction to all of Marnie's friends showing up at his house, high on coke, then getting into a knock-down fight in his kitchen, screaming about how Marnie recently slept with Elijah (who was wandering around in the background?) -- I don't see Booth being interested in being around that kind of drama.

Britt: If anything, judging by the braggy text she sent Hannah while at Booth's house, Marnie is dating him for the trophy aspect.

Speaking of dating -- so apparently Ray lives with Shoshanna. These two continue to be the light of this show; amid how dark everything gets for everyone else, I can always count on Shosh and Ray to make things better. And this week when Shosh admitted she's falling for him and he responded with, "I f---ing love you," I'm pretty sure my heart exploded.

Kate: "I f---ing love you so much"! Charming.

Allie: I re-watched that about five times -- I was BEYOND charmed! Ray!

I just loved the way that scene played out to prove that Ray was not thrown about Shosh being in love with him -- he didn't think he deserved her love! And the way he revealed how much he loves her -- I think my face mirrored Shosh's in that moment, shocked and overjoyed.

Britt: Ray is such a great character. And I think that he gives guys someone to relate to when Adam isn't around, but I also relate to Ray. I think so much of what these characters go through can be universally relatable, but Ray's feelings of not being good enough, of feeling aimless and not knowing what to do with his life, of not having any real drive or long-term goals and feeling like a loser about it -- we've all been there! Poor Ray! And poor Shosh just wants him to find that thing that makes him happy and do it. This is a legit relationship, you guys.

Allie: Such a legit relationship and I love how honest they always are with each other -- never playing games. It's so refreshing.

Kate: They should bathe pigs together!

Also, uh, where is Adam?

Britt: I miss Adam and I want him back. Maybe he went to buy a butt plug.

Kate: Maybe he is in JAIL.

Allie: Adam still terrifies me so I fear he's going to show up in a dark corner of Hannah's room HOLDING a butt plug asking her if she wants to use it...

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