‘Girls’ Talk: “She Said OK”
We’re joined by critics each week to discuss the latest episode of HBO’s hit series ‘Girls.’ On this week’s episode, Hannah celebrates her 25th birthday, while Marnie makes a cringe-worthy and unwitting YouTube debut. Meanwhile, Adam’s sister stops in for a surprise (and very unwelcome) visit, hopefully giving us a peek into his vague past, and Ray tries to be friendly with Shoshanna.
ScreenCrush editor Britt Hayes is joined this week by Allison Loring to discuss the latest episode, titled “She Said OK” (full review). Allison is a contributor for Film School Rejects and Fan Voice, and you can tweet her @allisonloring. You can tweet Britt @missbritthayes.
Britt: I think we should just address Marnie first and get her out of the way so we can get to what I think is some of the more interesting stuff in the episode. So, okay, that YouTube video! That was totally cringe-worthy stuff, and yet, somehow, I am not at all that surprised. And of course she shows it to her friends at Hannah’s birthday party, and of course she denies looking at the comments.
Allie: Oh Marnie… I kind of love the fact that this character is in a full on downward spiral and completely unaware of it. The way she shows the video to her friends (in the middle of a party for someone ELSE) and acts completely surprised Charlie would post it (while waiting for her friends to praise her for it anyway) shows just how desperate she is for attention. She flips out on the poor YouTube customer service rep when trying to get him to take it down, but then ends up trying to have a real conversation with him. She ignores Hannah’s request to not get on stage and sing together and even when Hannah leaves, Marnie just keeps on singing. While she and Hannah seem to be in a better, more honest place, Marnie is clearly starving for someone to really listen to her.
Britt: Here’s the thing: she acknowledges that she knew Charlie put it on YouTube in the first place. It’s not like she didn’t know this happened months ago. And she’s only just now angry about it. Shosh even points out her complicity in the making of the video. Why is she just now getting upset about it? I think you’re right. She needs to be the center of attention, but I think it’s also something more sad: she’s desperately holding onto this relationship and centering her life around someone who isn’t thinking of her at all. It’s like she has this whole pocket full of crap like this YouTube video that she’s saving up for when she starts running out of “moping about Charlie” steam. She even mentions how she’s sure he’s stalking her Instagram, but let’s get real here: she’s the one doing the cyberstalking. We’ve seen Marnie after a break-up with Charlie before.
Allie: Totally! It is incredibly sad to see someone who clearly has a ton going for them and is actually (surprisingly) working to get herself back to a stable place, but this breakup is constantly getting in her way because she just cannot accept it. Every conversation with Marnie so far this season loops back to Charlie and it is clear her friends have heard enough, and what is frightening is Marnie knows it, but has clearly saved up a reserve of things to roll out to keep this conversation going, even though there is nothing left to say about it.
Britt: So let’s talk about Caroline, shall we? Holy hell, what a cyclone of ferocity. Clearly she is suffering from some mental imbalance and instability, and I want to dig deeper into her past and her relationship with Adam to understand what makes her the way she is, the sort of life she’s had, and what she’s put Adam through. People like her don’t just act out for the sake of acting out, and Hannah’s mental issues are nothing in comparison to what is going on with Caroline. No wonder Adam likes Hannah so much.
Allie: Yes! I think the introduction of Caroline has started painting a much more interesting picture of Adam, who he is, why he is so drawn to Hannah, and why he so easily accepts her — flaws and all. I thought it was interesting during the road trip when Shoshanna praised Adam for “taking care of Hannah” and Adam shrugged it off like it was the natural thing to do, noting that Hannah also takes care of him. Last season Hannah was obviously suffering from some dark demons and Adam, who seemed to get spooked at any kind of real intimacy, literally ran to her in her lowest moment and was there for her, no questions asked. I never thought this may have stemmed from the fact that he has dealt with mental imbalance before and that is why he is so comfortable around it, and good at helping people through it. Caroline is definitely a force to be reckoned with and whatever Adam has tried to do for her in the past has never been reciprocated which makes the fact that Hannah is so loving towards him and appreciative of his support an interesting hint at why he loves her so much.
Britt: What I find really interesting in this first few batch of episodes is how little the focus is on Hannah: she seems to relatively have it together while her friends are all struggling a bit around her, and she’s relishing in this idea that for once she’s the one who is having an easy go of it. And why shouldn’t she? But what is sort of telling is the way she does this faux-maternal routine with Caroline. I know she must genuinely empathize on some level, but Caroline’s mental issues are beyond anything Hannah herself has dealt with, and I think Hannah underestimates what she’s signed up for. She’s unprepared and ill-equipped to handle the impending crap-storm Caroline is going to unleash, and I think rather than use Caroline as a learning opportunity, we’ll see more of the selfish, opportunistic Hannah as Caroline drives a wedge between the happy couple.
Allie: The moment when Hannah finds Caroline in the bathroom and Caroline breaks the glass in her hand, Hannah is physically taken aback and actually backs into the doorframe. I think this is the first subtle hint that Hannah is realizing she is in over her head and this girl is not someone like her or someone she can easily help. Hannah’s naiveté at the situation is clear when Caroline is revealing the remnants of her physical abuse and Hannah invites her to her birthday party or when they get Caroline bandaged up and Hannah tells her she just needs a good night’s sleep. I appreciate that Hannah has started to admit that she is drawn to these situations and people because she hopes it will give her fodder for her book, but I think this is definitely a potential story avenue she will regret going down, especially if it causes a rift between her and Adam. Hannah is definitely in the best place we have ever seen her, but it seems a lot of that stems from the good place she is with Adam and if she loses that, I fear what may happen. If it does cause Adam to leave, I just hope he takes all the q-tips with him.
Britt: You know, I feel kind of bad for Ray this week, although it did allow us more time with Hannah’s amazing editor, David. I love John Cameron Mitchell so much, and he was so hilariously snobby to Ray. “He asked me to call him Mixmaster General” had me snorting.
Allie: Haha that was amazing. I also felt bad for Ray this week — especially when he followed Shoshanna outside and started laundry-listing all his recent accomplishments and realized that wasn’t going to get her back and ended up just running away from her. Ray is building a really solid life for himself, but I truly hope he’s doing it to make himself happy, and not because he is trying to “fix” all the things Shosh listed as reasons they could no longer be together.