Girls: What can these characters possibly figure out? (Besides that they're abhorrent.)

He said, she said: talking points on season 2, episode 9

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

Episode summary:

Hannah is anxious over her ebook deadline–and the fact that her editor has encouraged her to ‘make stuff up’ in order to make the project more sexy. Her OCD flares up and ends up landing her in the emergency room, with no pants on. Adam does his best to keep his behaviour in check to impress his new girlfriend. But after he sees Hannah on the street, old habits return. Shoshannah is filled with guilt after making out with a door man. Marnie sings what is supposed to be a celebratory song at a party Charlie is throwing at his new company. Charlie is annoyed, but ends up having relations with Marnie in his office.

She said: In my mind, there were three unwatchable scenes in this episode–maybe four. First, when Hannah sticks the Q-Tip into her ear; second, Marnie singing; third, Adam having sex; and fourth; Hannah sticking a Q-Tip into the other ear.

He said: God that was gross. Just disgusting.

She said: Very disturbing. I feel disturbed. Do you think Adam is purposefully trying to push his new girlfriend away, after seeing Hannah?

He said: I think maybe for Adam not being himself isn’t working out as well as he had hoped.

She said: He certainly did try, though–to be normal and to be a good, supportive boyfriend: I mean, he went to see a Sandra Bullock movie. But then it just all comes out, doesn’t it? All his carnal urges. Like a caged animal who has been paraded about for his good behaviour. And then seeing Hannah–and drinking alcohol–unleashed his inner animal nature, like a cave man or something.

He said: To be honest, I’m getting a little tired in this season with the way they keep trying to make the main characters look better by contrasting them with ‘conventional’ and ‘boring’ people. I don’t know, but there’s just something about the last couple of episodes where they’ve been so dark and it’s just like, ‘Well, they’re not conventional people but they’re f–king boring.’ And they’re just awful people.

She said: Are you less sympathetic then, basically?

He said: Yeah, I think so.

She said: You’re right, though–the way they contrast the main characters with 21st century twentysomething plebs–girls who want to get engaged and have weddings.

He said: And who wear headbands and ride bicycles.

She said: And guys who watch sports on TV.

He said: Or work at a successful APP company. It seems like the only way they’ve been able to build characters or create moments of sympathy this season is by making this contrast. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it was just this episode where it really seemed noticeable.

She said: No, I think you’re right. I mean, this episode in particular really drove it home, though. There’s nothing wrong with Adam’s new girlfriend, except that she–and her friends–are pretty average. The show has a habit of making  ‘normal’ people seem like uninspired people.

He said: It was obviously a study in the excruciating. Everything about this episode was just excruciating.

She said: It reminded me of that movie. What’s it called? You know the one. It’s based on a book.

He said: [Silence]

She said: You know? Stanley Kubrick directed it.

He said: The Shining?

She said: No! You know where the guys are dressed up? Clockwork Orange!

He said: Interesting. Maybe because of the outfits.

She said: But you’re right. We both couldn’t watch so many of those scenes. And if we could watch them, our faces were scrunched up.

He said: It was all just so dark. How many episodes are there in the this season? Because if this is one of the last ones, then what can happen? Jessa is going to return?  Deus ex machina?

She said: Yeah. [Pause] What’s that?

He said: When God comes down to sort something out. What I mean to say is there’s no logical outcome. What do you want for these characters?

She said: That is a very good question. What do you want for these characters?

He said: To be honest? At this point, I just want to stop watching them.

She said: Really?

He said: Yup. there’s only so far you can go with this.

She said: Do you think we need to see these characters redeem themselves in some way?

He said: They don’t have to redeem themselves. But I think part of watching something is wanting stuff to happen.

She said: Uh, yeah.

He said: And there’s a certain anxiety that I get when I don’t want anything to happen to the characters because there is no conflict. Or, the conflict is so detestable. Basically the conflicts, the internal conflicts, are that the characters are bad people; so repulsive in their behaviour and self-obsession that there are things you just can’t write off to youth and being confused and being a girl and living in New York City. What can they figure out? That they are abhorrent? Becuase there are, in fact, people who have figured it out. The show thinks those people are f–k brains, mind you.

She said: That’s hilarious!

He said: Why? Why are we watching? It’s still moderately funny. But it’s very painful.

She said: And what would we want to see? Do we want to see Adam and Hannah get back together and be happy? Neither of them seems capable of that.

He said: Or Hannah, whose own selfish anxieties have made her deaf and Marnie has an abortion? And Shoshannah ends up with the good-looking doorman?

She said: And Charlie keeps on making money–and hits 40,000 MAUs [monthly average users] for his app.