Girls Recap: Arrested Developments

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Is it a good idea to call 911 when your ex-boyfriend “surprises” you by sneaking into your apartment? Do twentysomething friends just not get freaked out walking in on each other’s intimate moments? And should there be a license to own puppies?

These were some of the critical questions raised by the second episode of Season 2 of Girls. (And oh em gee, obvs the answers are “yes,” “apparently,” and “indeed”!)

Let’s review the goings-on in “I Get Ideas” for each of the four Girls (and their one guy pal/roommate/ex-bf) in question.

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MARNIE | I admit it,: I’m fascinated by Marnie’s “pretty girl” problems, and the struggle she’s having with being qualified for/interested in a kind of art-world job that might not even exist. Or, if it does exist, would require her to deal with a boss whose requests include things like “Can you grab Juice No. 5 from the fridge?” and who’d probably shout at her if her tea wasn’t made to vague-yet-exacting specifications. And thus, we found Marnie following Shoshanna’s advice to get a job that takes advantage of her looks — no, not as a model; she’s not that kind of pretty, everyone quickly/vehemently agreed — but rather as a hostess at the Wedgebrook Club (with its older-gent clientele). So what if she has to dress like “a slutty Von Trapp child” (Elijah’s description of her outfit)? She’ll make $400 a day and probably have ”fresh toenails all the time.” Hannah, of course, responded to the news with her typical brand of kneejerk judgment — “a hostess?” — and yet, really, how exactly is Hannah’s $40/day at Grumpy’s cleaner or more noble than Marnie’s gig? Hannah’s vow “not to cash in on my sexuality” would only be admirable if she was really striving to put her education and intelligence to good use in the world. She can’t handle honest critique about her essays, hasn’t read a newspaper in heaven knows how long, and still resents her parents for not footing her bills. At least Marnie can pay own her rent, right? That said, I hope we get to see Marnie try to navigate her new workspace — and the men who might be willing to provide a quick but not necessarily easy fix to her current aimlessness. And let’s hope, in those instances, her sensitivity and intellect will trump any feelings of insecurity and desperation, yes?

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JESSA | I’m not sure I believe Jessa is truly uncomplicated, and thereby blissfully living in the moment of being married to a (wealthy) relative stranger who allows her to spend her days painting and caring for puppies. Is it possible she’s just treading water, using pretty pastels to paint herself into his world while she figures out who she really is and what she really wants to do with her life? (It ain’t nannying.) I mean, Thomas-John’s casual remark to Hannah — “I’m impressed by what you do with what you’ve got” — was pretty appalling, any way you slice it. Does Jessa love that guy? I wonder, also, if his “gift” of a trio of puppies in a basket — aka Garbage, F****r and Hanukkah — will come to represent the kind of responsibility and anchoring that Jessa’s entire life seems to be a rebellion against. In other words, she and Thomas-John and their matching tiger tattoos can’t go on blissfully for the whole season, can they?

SHOSHANNA | Huzzah for crazy-happy Shosh and crazy-smitten Ray in bed, discussing the time she earned badges in both archery and waterskiing at camp. But isn’t it time the fourth-wheel in the Girls universe got a more fleshed-out story arc? Let’s see the optimistic, self-actualization junkie at school or work or perhaps as a volunteer among her fellow/rival go-getters? I’m so delighted by Zosia Mamet’s every moment on screen that it makes me yearn for more Shosh-centric episodes.

HANNAH | Yes, Hannah is a tremendous mess, but I fully cosign her initial instinct to dial 911 when Adam used his key to let himself into her apartment, scare her to death wearing a sequined mask, and demand milk from her fridge. Especially after sending her a mix-videotape of songs with lyrics like, “Standing outside/ Not making a sound/ Creeping around/ You destroyed my heart/ Thanks.” I mean, yes, Adam is a comic nightmare, but he is a nightmare nonetheless. (“It’s scary with all the tools behind him,” noted Elijah, in the best line of the night.) Even scarier to have the guy in your bedroom saying things like, “As a man living my man life, my desire for you cannot be suppressed,” then threatening to come back the next day. By the time Hannah shoved Adam into the door, shouting “Go away” again and again and again, she’d finally dispensed with the veil of irony, the toxic yearning to be truly wanted by someone/anyone, and the naughty inkling that their cat-and-mouse game might not be the best way to fill the holes/ennui in her life.

And yet as much as Hannah taking a stance showed some true character development, her response to the police showing up after her 911 hangup — “I can’t believe you guys come everytime somebody calls! I mean, that seems really alarmist. And crazy.” — made me want to throw my shoe at the screen (though, really, I was too busy howling with laughter). You can tell there’s part of Hannah who wants to hang on to Adam — the same part of her that when she has sex wants to pretend she doesn’t exist, which is a rarity — and yet her more evolved self has issues, too. She can’t cope with Sandy, the Republican black dude who makes her feel sexy and admires her freshly brushed teeth. The problem isn’t him being a Republican, though, it’s that Hannah is too lazy/self-absorbed to really research and defend her own positions. In other words, it’s easier for her to hold a bedpan for a murdery-sexy stalker than it is for her to deal with a guy who doesn’t just tell her her essays are brilliant. Which is frustrating, because she has some great points, like when she snapped, “Even though you spend all this time with me and my gay roommate, you don’t have any feeling that he should be allowed to have, like, a beautiful wedding like all the ones we saw eaelier on Say Yes to the Dress.” But then she devolves into quoting Missy Elliot’s “Work It,” then pretending she doesn’t know who Missy Elliot is, because she’d rather retreat from Sandy altogether than explore whether she’s informed enough to coexist with their differences. Which, again, doesn’t mean I didn’t crack up throughout the entire confrontation, or her query about whether Sandy might still want to have sex.

ELIJAH | Yes, it looks like Elijah and George are through. The former only gave it “two-and-a-half pumps, then I lost my boner” with Marnie, but the latter doesn’t want to date someone who’s bisexual, which apparently is just the cop-out used by “certain 25-year-old boys say when their mothers are from Boulder Springs.”

Anyhow, with that I turn things over to you. What did you think of this week’s Girls? Which story arcs and characters are you enjoying most? And am I the only one who would’ve gotten a wee bit skittish walking in on Shosh and Ray in bed, or even shirtless Thomas-John getting painted by Jessa? Sound off below!


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