Hannah's outfits didn't give us the cringies in "It's Back" -- everything was too short, kind of, but her hair looked really cute -- but we did feel somewhat uncomfortable about Hannah's OCD. It felt like an attempt to get the audience back on the character's side, a manufactured reason to pity her, but unfortunately, the compulsion to count things and line them up is played for laughs for most of the episode. The concern, and exasperation, of her visiting parents (Peter Scolari and Becky Ann Baker, brilliant as usual) feels very real, but the idea that Hannah battled the condition in high school, and that its seriousness made her parents question whether she could lead "a normal life," seems tacked-on and weird -- a rare misstep for a show that does give its characters organic traits even if they're unattractive ones.
And it doesn't help that Hannah's her customary snotty self to her parents about it; "I'm the one who has to experience it, not you!" she says, before pointing out that it's a genetic condition, and therefore their fault.
Elsewhere in Cluelessville, Marnie finds out that Charlie sold an app for big bucks, and now has a corner office and a staff in Chelsea. This plot didn't quite work either; it's like the writers wanted to parody a start-up culture, a Googloid paradigm of ping-pong tables and office-wide Improv Everywhere stunts, that hasn't existed since 2008. Even the app itself, Forbid, is a bit dated, a take-off on Gmail's Goggles, which keeps users from drunk-emailing exes and loathed bosses. At the same time, it had us cringing for Marnie, because we've all felt that envy of the ex who made good -- better than we did -- and the sting of knowing that, even though we dumped them, they're the ones who were able to move on in fine style. Christopher Abbott as Charlie is wonderful in his near-impatience with Marnie's inability to cope. (He asks at one point if she's there because she needs money. Ouch.)
Even a broken clock etc.
When she comes home to complain to Ray that she'd "budgeted six years of brokenness" for Charlie and he's not broken at all, then, it's myopic and condescending…and totally relatable…and ripe for puncturing by Ray, who snarks, "Marnie learned another life lesson, how adorable. Want a gummi frog?" Ray then points out, "You're mad because you want what he has. So stop thinking and start doing that." It's good advice, despite coming from a man who's living in a studio with his college-age girlfriend and her cousin's frenemy and has no discernible ambitions of his own. Marnie wants to sing, it turns out, and infuriatingly, Allison Williams's voice is as pretty as the rest of her. Heh. Ray advises her to start going after her dream now, because "you'll never look this good again."
Marnie is a terrible person and I sincerely want her to step on a lego and stumble into the street and get hit by a bus. #Girls— Lauren DeStefano (@LaurenDeStefano) March 4, 2013
Still looking good: Shiri Appleby of "Roswell," who's on a blind date with Adam that her mother (Carol Kane) set up when Adam had an impressive share at his AA meeting. (A share, it should be noted, that was prompted by the meeting chair whining about always having to bring the cookies each week. It was entirely about Hannah, of course, and showed some insight on Adam's part about expecting "love" to feel like something else -- "gradually it started to feel better when she was there" -- but he does agree to take on cookie duty.) Shiri and Adam's date is sweet, but not terribly interesting, so we wonder where that, and the Adam character for that matter, is going.
And Shoshanna doesn't know where Jessa is, and she can't stop thinking about it, wondering where she is, what she's wearing, "is it linen?" She's also concerned that her friends -- including Radhika, who's having "an impromptu night" and should therefore not be a tastemaker in anyone's life -- think she got a boyfriend and disappeared. Ray refuses to go to a college party, so Shosh goes by herself, bores Radhika with relationship talk, then ends up making out with the foxy doorman when she's tipsy. As you do.
A few good lines
Ray, during his argument with Shoshanna about the party: "You know I don't like it when you use air quotes.
When Hannah is late, her dad busts out a classic parents-trying-too-hard "no fears, bro."
Hannah is at a Judy Collins concert with her parents when the OCD gets really bad and she has to leave -- and Judy Collins actually asks mid-song where Hannah is going. Later, her parents take her to a shrink, played by Bob Balaban, and Hannah snots that she doesn't think he would understand any of her problems. For once, she's nailed it; she finally admits that she's stressed about the book deadline, and Dr. Rifkin reveals that he's written books -- about a boy and his bionic dog. Which sold 2.5 million copies.
Watch Lena Dunham on "The View" in 2012:
"Girls" airs Sundays at 9 PM on HBO.