He said, she said: Hannah is vile, but maybe that’s the point?

Talking points on Girls, Season 2, Episode 4

He said, she said is a discourse on the second season of Girls from two points of view. (Find previous conversations here.)

Episode recap:

Hannah kicks Elijah out of the apartment and she’s keeping all the furniture that George, Elijah’s ex-boyfriend, bought for him because George said she could. Elijah is not paying rent for the month, considering all the burritos he bought for Hannah, not to mention a butt plug. There are two dinners that don’t go according to plan: Jessa and Thomas-John’s dinner with Thomas-John’s parents and Hannah’s pad thai dinner with her friends, where Marnie ends up leaving after a confrontation with her ex-boyfriend Charlie and his current girlfriend. Shoshannah realizes that Ray might be living with her. And Jessa leaves Thomas-John and shows up at Hannah’s place, where they have a bath together.

Best lines:

  • Marnie, we need to get it together like this girl and start a mustard company because what have we ever done with our lives that is so good? (Hannah to Marnie) Nothing that great. Nothing with condiments. (Marnie to Hannah)
  • So where do you get your head bands? (Marnie to Charlie’s new girlfriend, Audrey.)
  • I hate this restaurant but I don’t even care because I’m so happy to meet you guys. (Jessa to Thomas-John’s parents)
  • Excuse me, but I am grown up: that’s why I cooked all of this food. (Hannah to Marnie)
  • [Heroin is] delicious. It’s amazing. But if it didn’t ruin your whole body and your whole life we’d  all be on it right now, practically cumming out of our eye sockets. (Jessa to Thomas-John’s dad)
  • That little Ewok in f–king capri pants? (Charlie to Marnie)
  • I wish there was a lord, but there isn’t.(Marnie to Thomas-John’s parents) And that is why we didn’t invite you to the wedding. (Thomas-John to his parents.)
  • I think I just really feel like everyone feels, which is that I have like three or four really good folk albums in me. (Hannah to Ray)

He said, she said:

She said: First thing first. This episode wasn’t as funny as the last one. Does Lena Dunham want us to hate Hannah because her character is utterly vile in this one. She double-crosses Marnie throughout the dinner party. She was vile to Elijah–and is it just me when I think that Elijah didn’t mess up that badly? He messed up, yeah, but–

He said: I don’t really think he did. It’s funny, because they all seem to know [him cheating and having sex with Marnie] wasn’t a transgression except Hannah: it was a transgression in her very limited world of consequences.

She said: I think she’s overreacted and why the hell did she invite Marnie to the dinner party with Charlie [her ex-boyfriend] and his new girlfriend? It’s maniacal! That’s playing with fire. But then she rises to Marnie’s defence when Charlie calls her the c-word. Maybe that’s the point though. I don’t know. Maybe you just want to please everybody. You don’t want anybody to dislike you, and in manipulating people not to dislike you, you end up digging these holes and you can’t get yourself out of them.

He said: Whoa. That sounded almost like a confessional on your part. I like how they also kept talking at the dinner party about how much fun they were having and how Hannah was embarking now on the best years of her life, with cooking a delicious meal–

She said: Organic pad thai.

He said: And none of it worked out. They had a terrible time.

She said: Exactly. Welcome to adulthood. And I really liked the Jessa storyline because she’s probably my favourite character. But then again, that was interesting because you’re sort of rooting for her at the dinner with Thomas-John’s conservative parents and you know it’s going to be a train wreck but when they get home, you start to wonder if all of Thomas-John’s mom’s suspicions about her aren’t true. Why did she marry him?

He said: It’s true. It’s a good question.

She said: Was it for the money? But she was so offended when he said, “How much will it take you to leave?”

He said: And it didn’t take her very long to come up with a figure. You remember the way that worked in the last season when she had that affair with the married man who’s kids she was babysitting and the man’s wife gave her a talk about being a grown-up and in response to the wife’s talk, she just went out and married this guy. This incredibly average guy that she and Marnie had had a horrible night with.

She said: That’s true. Her idea of being an adult is settling down and marrying…someone she fundamentally dislikes.

He said: It’s an incredibly stupid thing to do. That wife sort of gives her an injunction and scares her with a picture of what her life will be like in 20 years. And I think it’s funny because they’re so young these characters–but Jessa says, I’ve been living this life for 25 years. But she’s 25 years old.

She said: She’s coming to terms with those sort of negative impulses she has, like sleeping with married men, and saying that when she’s 30 she’s going to be fat and look 50 from all the living she’s done. And she’s accepting that you can make certain compromises today, for tomorrow. She’s obviously the character that lives for the moment. That sounds like an Oasis song.

He said: It does. Very Oasis.

She said: All of these characters are being shown in such a dark, harsh light.

He said: Very harsh. This episode reminded me a lot Sex and the City–that sort of excruciating feeling of watching people being so selfish. Remember those moments when all the girls would be at brunch and it would be like: Miranda: ‘I have cervical cancer.’ And then there would be a beat and they would start talking about Carrie and Big! It would be a transition like: Carrie: ‘I’m sorry I haven’t been there for you, but Big won’t sleep over’. It would drive me nuts! But the Girls creators have to be aware of the selfish light they’re casting the characters in.

She said: When you put it like that, I totally agree. ‘Oh, Miranda! We’re here for you sweetie. But let’s get back to Big.’ But it never occurred to me when I was watching the show.

He said: It occurred to me all the time. I mean, it’s a show about Carrie so I understand why they had to do that but it was sort of this monumental selfishness. And you see that here.

She said: Yes, between the girls, you do: mostly with Hannah’s treatment of Marnie and Elijah. But you see it outside of their foursome, too. Like Jessa’s behaviour to Thomas John.

He said: But at the end you see Hannah being a genuinely good friend to Jessa.

She said: She didn’t really have any other option though: she was taking a bath and Jessa climbed in!

He said: Well, she was a good friend in her own way. She was there for her. She was ready for her.

She said: I don’t agree. She had no other option but to be there. Still, we both agree that the Shoshanna and Ray storyline is sweet and they’re probably the two most likeable characters.

He said: They are the only characters who seem to be capable of genuine expression and real meaningful feelings.

She said: He’s the most genuine. He is genuinely in a low, dark place. He feels he’s a loser and he doesn’t want her to find out that he is a loser.

He said: His confession of love for her on the subway platform was the most poignant scene. And it’s funny–it’s very well drawn. What does he say? ‘My most valuable possession is a signed photo of Andy Kaufman.’?

She said: Yes! And in that line we know who he is. As much as we need to, at least, to have some sympathy for him. We knew he was a bit of a contrarian from the last season–he reminds me of you a little.

He said: I don’t think I’m like that.

She said: You don’t?

He said: I was being contrarian.

She said: Oh yeah. Anyway, I don’t know how many 20-year-olds know who Andy Kaufman is–

He said: It’s true. They might know the REM song though.

She said: Immediately, the Andy Kaufman reference makes me like him.

He said: Right away, you know his ambitions.

She said: His ambition is probably to find an ambition. He has no ambition, and he’s scared shitless because he’s becoming a cliche–a 33-year-old that doesn’t know what he’s doing in life. That I can relate to. But finding out that Marnie–the smart girl who made fun of Charlie’s headband-wearing, mustard-making new girlfriend–is actually dating Booth the artist and it wasn’t just a one-night stand? Disappointing!  You’re hoping that all of these characters are smarter. Why is Hannah so despicable to her friends? She hasn’t forgiven Marnie. Marnie should be forgiving her. Hannah even says that Marnie has had such a shitty year but Hannah isn’t doing a thing to make it easier. And you’re disappointed with Jessa because why did she marry average John-Thomas?

He said: It’s Thomas-John. Another funny little back-and-forth was between Jessa and Thomas-John’s dad. ‘You know, I love old movies where school girls fall in love’ and  ’It’s great that nothing happened to your face or to your body.’ after being addicted to heroin.

She said: And she likes him for his honesty. What does she say? That she loves his “way”.

He said: I think there is something about a personality type like that–like Thomas-John’s dad–where it brings out this acceptance in Jessa. Maybe that was her attraction to Thomas-John himself–his honesty, even though him being honest often meant him being portrayed in a poor light. But we hadn’t seen him being portrayed as such a profound creep before. I guess they alluded to it in the first season but then they really drag him through the mud with this stuff about the prostitutes, which I thought was a little over the top.

She said: Why?

He said: They couldn’t have found a more realistic way to vilify this guy?

She said: Do you think that was their intent? To make him look bad so that Jessa comes out on top, all shiny? Because I don’t think he was that bad. He even tried to stick up for her at dinner with his folks. His only fault is that he’s average and not that smart. Okay, and a bit of a sleeze.

He said: When I think of him wanting Jessa to be something other than what she is, I think that should be enough to vilify him in the audience’s eyes. Or his comment, ‘I’m the only person in finance who made a profit from the recession.’ Those things should be enough. No need to bring in the hookers.

She said: Yeah. I see what you mean.

He said: But that was a dark episode in the first season when Jessa and Marnie are at his place and he’s playing his mash-ups.

She said: And trying to make out with both of them!

He said: Yes. I loved it when he said that he overheard Jessa saying that night that she thought his place looked like the set of Gay Entourage.

She said: That is very funny. But it was not a funny episode. I don’t every episode needs to be, and I’m glad they took the focus away from Hannah and made it more about the others.

He said: There’s not much to say. We’re a quarter of the way through the season so they have to set up some long-term conflicts, which they are doing. And I think it’s also funny how Hannah’s apartment is just this revolving door for new roommates, where she’s going to end up, I’m guessing, living with Jessa. She goes through each one. Everyone except for “Shosh”.

[pause]

He said: I’m also happy to say that like Shoshannah, I didn’t understand what a butt plug was before this.

She said: Oh my goodness me too! I’m so glad that you don’t know either! That’s wonderful. Really, really wonderful. I didn’t know they were, like, so pedestrian. They make it sound like you can buy them two for a buck at Shoppers or something.

He said: I think there’s a 24-hour Shoppers open somewhere in this city, right now.





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