Hey kids! Welcome to this week’s edition of GIRLS TYME aka Turkey Curry Buffet’s weekly recap of the HBO show GIRLS. This week’s episode opens with a shot of Hannah, Jessa and Marnie walking down a forlorn streetlamp-orange Brooklyn block in search of some remotely located warehouse party. Whoever does the costumes design for this show is a genius (was so tempted to type JEANius just then, because I have pun Tourette’s). There’s not much dialogue between the girls here; their clothes speak much more loudly about who they are and how they’re going to act at the party.
Hannah! Hannah, what the fuck are you wearing? Why has it been so cool to look so ugly, lately? There’s a certain vein of hipster fashion that channels plump midwestern grandmother and I love it and I hate it. I mean, I’m all for being weird and creative with clothes, and thrift-shopping, and not being matched to the hilt like a Chadwick’s of Boston model, but COME ON:
Image from TV Equals
Are you trying to look like shit? If the goal is to subvert women’s magazines everywhere by dressing to make yourself look heavier than you actually are, then yes, by all means, rock that deeply unflattering high-waisted skirt in the unfortunate stonewash with the tab-button waistband and the babyshit-yellow-colored cardigan and the black pleather purse even though you’re mostly wearing blue, but this is cool, now, see? It’s like an ironic version of pre-makeover Anne Hathaway in Devil Wears Prada, and you wonder if Hannah puts this stuff on and honestly think she looks good or sexy, or if she puts it on and congratulates herself on achieving the opposite, because it’s more hip to seem like you’re not trying to look good or sexy. You slap that Dress Barn ensemble on some schoolteacher living in Hannah’s Michigan hometown and there’s nothing ironic about it; it’s just mass-produced Bible Belt cotton sportswear at its worst. She’s a denim dropwaist away from being a Fundamentalist Mormon, for Warren Jeffs’ sake:
Image via luiginakorea
OMG PINTEREST-WORTHY IDEA: Wouldn’t it be amahz if you could bus a bunch of Fundamentalist Mormons to a Brooklyn warehouse party?
Then there is Marnie, who looks like a different kind of asshole. She’s wearing a fairly sexy, totally non-ironic backless lavender satin dress and heels, her hair actually “done” in a low side pony. If I were watching this episode with my mom, my mom would have said “What are they wearing? Is this what people wear? Well, I like that one in the purple dress. But it’s too tight across the stomach.” Marnie looks nice. Normal. Boring. It’s that sort of Kardashian-lite look worn en masse by rabid packs of bachelorette parties clomping ‘cross the streets of Vegas, like so many White Walkers from beyond the Wall come down to roam the moors of Westeros in search of carrion:
OMG PINTEREST WORTHY IDEA: Game of Thrones-themed Bachelorette parties. Minus the lesbian orgies. Plus Sharon Needles-style white colored contacts as party favors!
I think I watch too much TV.
And then there’s Jessa. J’adore this outfit, because, you know, feathers!:
My best friend Jess has this thing she calls “buy-me buttons”. Buy-me buttons are when a piece of clothing is decently cute and you’re kind of halfway thinking about trying it on and then all the sudden you notice it has an adorable little row of non-functional buttons on the shoulder or the pocket or wherever and you’re like OMG MUST HAVE (OR IF I CAN’T HAVE I WILL AT LEAST PIN ON PINTEREST). Those feathers? They’re buy-me buttons on steroids. They flounce as Jessa walks down the street. I want to climb into my television and mug her for that outfit. The other thing I love about Jessa’s look is her hair. It’s Gibson Girl hair!:
If y’all don’t know about Gibson Girls, y’all need to know. My darling friend Grace introduced me to Gibson Girls when we were in college. She had this dog-eared book of Charles Gibson illustrations and we poured over it, obsessed with the idea that we had been born in the wrong time, 100 years too late– we, of dark hair and ample bosom and dining-hall-fed stomachs in dire need of restrictive corsetry– we were MEANT to be Gibson Girls. Jessa’s throwback 1890s hair is even more inspiring than her feathers, because you could actually rock this look in real life. In fact, think I want to start dressing like Jessa: loose piled-up hair, flowing flower print palazzo pants, kimonos, stacks of mismatched necklaces. I.e. completely the opposite of how I do dress in real life, which is all five-year old skinny jeans and Old Navy t-shirts and flats. I basically constantly look like the “before” photo in an O! magazine “spice up my wardrobe” makeover feature. I WANT to dress like Jessa, I THINK I dress like Marnie, but I probably end up looking most like Hannah. Jessa’s outfit in this episode is sexy without being at all body conscious, Marnie’s outfit is sexy but rather less so because, like the hot girl who becomes less hot because she can’t stop staring at herself in the club mirror, it is quite body-conscious, while Hannah’s outfit is neither sexy nor body-conscious. Let’s see how this all works out for our GIRLS.
As they walk towards the party Jessa gets a text from an unknown number (on her flip phone, because she is a free spirit hipster nomad who does not have time for the middling plebian pleasures of cellphone upgrades) and, instead of ignoring it, she invites the unknown person to the party. Jessa, you’re dumb. And adventurous, like your outfit! But also dumb. Then the girls walk into the party clasping hands, which is one of the best things about being a girl and having girlfriends: that you get to hold hands when going into a big scary party or bar or club. I feel sad for guys, that they don’t get to do this.
Marnie begs Hannah not to leave her side at the party because it is big and huge and she knows her newly minted ex-boyfriend Charlie is there. Hannah says of course she won’t because she is a loser and who else is she going to hang out with? Marnie says “You’re actually not a loser– it’s some weird mythology you have about yourself.” Which made me think. Don’t we all have mythologies about ourselves? Ways of seeing ourselves, stories we tell about our lives that were once based in some aspect of reality, but which over time, as reality molts and changes, have become slightly delusional fairytales, yet still we cling to them because they are our creation myths. It made me think because someone recently said to me, “You made up a character of yourself and now you’re trying to act like that character.” And that made me sad, because maybe it’s true, and I want to be a good person, not a self-obsessed person trying to become some sort of preconceived character. Having a blog probably isn’t helping. Let’s all sign the Treaty of Turkey Curry Brest-Litovsk and agree to demolish our idiotic self-mythologies that make us call ourselves losers at parties, shall we?
Speaking of breasts, when the girls walk into the party there is a topless chick yelling “tits out for Christmas” like a drunk Game of Thrones extra who accidentally wandered onto the wrong HBO set. Then they find Shoshanna, who is my favorite character on this show. Her diction perfectly nails the superfast delivery of upper middle class Long Island-ese. Shoshanna, by the way, is wearing a hot pink top, a big black belt, and a silver sequined miniskirt and I think she has a Bump-It in her hair. It’s a total Bridge and Tunnel look except of course they are in Brooklyn and Shoshanna took the from her NYU dorm in Manhattan to get to this party. Like sands through the hourglass, so shifts the nexus of cool. Shoshanna announces that Charlie’s band is currently playing and Marnie gets all pissy and says “Well now I HAVE to say hi to him”. Actually no… no, you don’t. You are just looking for the flimsiest of excuses to throw yourself in his path and get an ego boost from his enduring sorrow over your breakup, you transparent bitch.
In case you can’t guess, I really started to hate Marnie Kardashian in this episode. It turns out she, not Hannah, might be the real asshole of the group. Marnie goes and watches the end of Charlie’s band’s set. I’ve never been a groupie type, but Charlie looks fucking hot playing the gee-tar, his shoulders rippling beneath his threadbare t-shirt. Why is it that guys always look hotter right after you break up with them? (Or this only part of my idiotic personal mythology of spoiled brat who only wants what she can’t have?) Marnie goes over and says hi and Charlie says “it’s good to see your face” and Marnie says “yeah, I though it might be.” MARNIE. YOU FUCKING SUCK. Then out of nowhere this little sprite woman in a crop top and a horizontal headband (that’s another thing I want to start wearing, headbands around the forehead, but I am all afeared I will look like some sort of Richard Simmons home video reject) jumps on Charlie and evidently this is his new girlfriend. Marnie is all like What the fuck? You got a new girlfriend and we’ve only been broken up for two weeks? Guess what folks? Charlie is a serial monogamist! Aren’t they the worst? Charlie’s new girlfriend has no idea who she is and then asks if she’s “one of those Real Housewives.” Awesome. And that line perfectly sums up Marnie’s outfit. Marnie calls Charlie a sociopath and storms off. This is not the most cutting of comebacks, since rapidly and foolishly rebounding with someone after a devastating heartbreak is possibly the fullest manifestation of the very human need for connection, which is the opposite of sociopathy.
Marnie spends the rest of the episode bitching about Charlie to whomever will listen, first to some non-responsive stranger who gets up and walks away from her when she is literally mid-sentence talking about how awesome she is and how it would be so hard for any guy to get over her, and then to Hannah’s now-gay ex-boyfriend, who tells Marnie she is completely self-absorbed and then slaps her in the face! As much as I enjoyed watching her comeuppance, I began, as the show played on, to feel sort of bad for her. If all the shitty things that happen to Marnie in this episode happened to me in one night, at one party, I probably would’ve thrown myself in front of a subway train on the way home.
Meanwhile, Hannah spots Adam dancing with a bunch of girls. Hannah announces this is the first time she’s seen Adam outside of his apartment and the first time she’s seen him with a shirt on and that he hasn’t responded to any of her texts in two weeks and so she’s not going to say hi to him. Somehow Jessa knows the girls he’s dancing with are “dykes”. Hannah sidles up to the corner of the room and peeks around it to watch Adam dancing. Someone on this show fucking LOVES Molly Ringwald movies because this shot of Hannah with her back up against a wall, sighing with longing for her not totally unrequited love, is a 21st century raver update of the dance scene in Sixteen Candles.
Jessa asks to no one in particular, “What the fuck does she think she’s doing?,” a bemused smile on her face, because this timid wallflower behavior is the one thing Jessa would never do. Adam spots Hannah and shouts her name, but Hannah ignores him and scampers away. Adam continues dancing with the lesbians and shouts at them, “YOU SCARED HER!” I laughed and laughed at this line. I thought it was adorable. Why am I liking Adam more and more? Because the writing on this show is good, folks, and by good I mean manipulative. Because just when you start to loathe the characters, they turn around and do something to TOTALLY REDEEM THEMSELVES.
Image via Lehigh Valley Musings
Some other stuff happens and then Jessa is talking to Ray, Charlie’s best friend. Ray so far on this show has been the gross vulgar sidekick broski character of the kind usually found in Joseph Gordon-Leavitt features with numbers in the title ((500) Days of Summer, 10 Things I Hate About You). In this episode I also begin to love Ray. He makes an awesome joke about Jessa’s outfit, asking if she got it through “the Age of Innocence Fan Club.” Then Shoshanna appears and begins talking to them with all the urgency of an automatic weapon. She rants:
“I just had this crazy realization? That I’m gonna share with you right now. I was thinking? You know, that I feel that– I believe that I could be much more awesome in kickboxing class, maybe I could even move towards the front, and people would follow me. So what it is about woman? That make certain people move toward the front? You know, like is it because of their Brazilian blowout, or they’re engaged? No. Those are material concerns that make you feel more confident to move toward the front but it’s not real. There are always two spaces at least towards the front and I work hard and I kick ass and I’m going towards the front! Is it so crazy hot in here?”
Apparently, Shoshanna has accidentally smoked crack. So her already high-speed line delivery is like an Alvin and the Chipmunks 45 record played at 78 rpms (This is something my brother and I loved to do when we were kids, and I just dated myself, didn’t I.) I love this rant about kickboxing because yes! Why are there always those women at the front of every gym class with their incomprehensibly flat abs and $78 dollar Lululemon stretch capris and perfect ponytails with no flyway wispys round the neck and giant sparkling engagement rocks flashing with every hoist of a deltoid and their BMW SUVs glinting in the sun out in the parking lot– those women who seem as if they were put on this earth to make other women feel weird and awkward and ungainly, who probably came out of the womb and made their own mother feel fat? And you’re two rows behind them in gym class feeling your backfat jiggle and knowing that they know, just by looking at your clumsy pantomime of their perfection in the classroom mirror, that you ate leftover seven-layer dip and three Pop Tarts for breakfast. WELL GUESS WHAT PERFECT LADY BITCH. The Shoshannas of the world are coming for you. Not only are they going to take your spot but they are also going to have more interesting stories to tell when they get there, like the one about that time they accidentally smoked crack.
I also identified with this part of the episode because I know a guy who accidentally smoked crack once. I don’t know if the story is apocryphal or exaggerated– I heard it third-hand, years ago, but apparently this guy was on a cruise, wandered away from port on some third-worldish Caribbean island, found himself suddenly lost among snarling wild dogs and stacks of burning tires and asked a group of prostitutes for directions. They offered to give him a ride back to port and proceeded to smoke crack with their pimp before piling into the car and so he, not wanting to be rude, also smoked crack when they passed the pipe to him. As the funniest girl I know once said, “Snowflakes may all be different but rich white kids are all the same.”
Jessa says she will take care of Shoshanna but then spots her middle aged boss creepin’ into the party (heartbreakingly, he has shown up to what is essentially a giant rave with a bottle of wine) and immediately abandons her to Ray’s care, insisting she just HAS to go talk to him, because he’s her boss. Actually no… no, you don’t. You just want to go flirt with this married man and get an ego boost from his enduring lust for your face, you transparent bitch. Shoshanna sprints away from Ray and Ray spends the rest of the episode chasing after her through the streets of Brooklyn, which is adorably loyal. Shoshanna thinks he is trying to rape her and finally stops running and lets him catch up and then knees him in the crotch. He collapses to the ground and explains who he is and Shoshanna remembers and feels bad and offers to non-sexually massage his groin. Methinks Shoshanna’s going to lose her v-card to Ray before the season’s out.
Also, by the end of the chase, she’s no longer wearing her skirt, which goes unremarked and unexplained. Presumably she took it off so she could run faster? But also, this means she’s been running in only her underwear and a t-shirt through Bushwick? I loved that little touch.
Meanwhile, back at the party, Hannah talks to Adam’s lesbian friend “Tako”. Tako reveals that Adam is in AA. Hannah is pissed that Adam’s never told her this. Hannah finally works up the nerve to say hi to Adam and they have an awkward over-loud-music party conversation and then Adam starts dancing with her. Their goofy uninhibited dancing styles fit perfectly together and Adam picks her up and spins her around and the look on her face and the music and the colors of this scene just absolutely capture the perfectness of dancing like crazy with a boy you like. Cut to Marnie, standing off to the side, watching everyone but her dance with a partner. Granted, Hannah is dancing with her toxic fuck-buddy, Jessa is dancing with her married boss, and Hannah’s ex-boyfriend is dancing with his new boyfriend, but still, you can practically see Marnie’s thoughts running across her forehead like a headlines on a Times Square news ticker: AP REPORTS I’M ALONE I DON’T HAVE ANYONE TO DANCE WITH WHY DID I DUMP HIM FUCK FUCK FUCK. Who hasn’t been that lonely girl at the edge of the dance floor, for whatever reason? In the words of Dooce, “It sucked and then I cried.”
Hannah and Adam get on his bike to go look for scrap metal for some kind of installation-art-boat-project thingy that Adam wants to build. It seems art boat thingies are all the rage at the mo. Hannah gets on the bike’s handlebars and then gets kind of scared because Adam is going so fast. So she asks for him to stop and he does, all of the sudden, and she flies off the handlebars and faceplants in the pavement. Is this GIRLS’ way of saying that when you ask for what you want, you only get hurt? Hannah is ma-aaa-aad at Adam, but she doesn’t seem to be angry about any possible physical pain she might be in– only the emotional pain of realizing she doesn’t know anything about Adam’s private life. Adam turns it back on her and says “You never asked!” On the one hand, Adam, eat my ass– Hannah’s supposed to ASK if you’re an alcoholic? Did you ever ASK HER out on a date that would require you to put on a shirt and leave your apartment and then turn down the waiter’s offer of alcohol and then maybe Hannah would be led toward wondering about such things? But on the other hand, Adam kind of has a point when he tells Hannah all she ever does ask him is “if I look cute in this skirt” and other such superficial, self-centered questions. I guess this is all meant to show that their dysfunctional non-relationship is in fact a two-way street in which Hannah is also quite complicit. And as someone who has participated in her fair share of dysfunctional non-relationships, I know for a fact that the best thing Hannah can do for herself, in fact the best thing that all of these girls can do for themselves, is assume responsibility for their choices and their choices’ consequences. “No one,” Eleanor Roosevelt murmurs from her grave, “can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Marnie calls and asks Hannah where she is and tells Hannah to send her a dropped pin on her iPhone. I didn’t know you could do this and I felt just like I did when I found out about Twitter: old and dusty and Luddite-y. Marnie shows up in a cab and and screams insults at Adam in a way that, very embarassingly for Hannah, I would imagine, reveals just how much private stuff Hannah has shared with Marnie about Adam. Adam says, Who are you? And Marnie shouts, all miffed-like, I’m her BEST friend!
Marnie is always talking about their BEST friendship in a very juvenile sort of way. I absolutely treasure my best friends, but I don’t go around brandishing them like a talisman in uncomfortable situations as if our unshakeable bonds can overcome all obstacles a la the Powderpuff Girls. There is a scene in the Sex and the City movie that I have always hated: the part when Big doesn’t show up for the wedding, and then he does, and Charlotte stands in between him and Carrie and refuses to let him talk to her. Like, no. After about the fifth grade, best friendship loses its trump card status; you don’t get to Marnie-style cockblock your best friend just because you think know what’s best for her. The vagina has its reasons that other vaginas cannot know. There’s a sort of rock-paper-scissors dynamic between you and your friends and their lovers, wherein, after a certain amount of defeats, you just have to let your friends make their own damn mistakes.
So finally Adam says to Hannah, “I don’t know what you want from me, kid. Do you want me to be your boyfriend? Is that it? Do you want me to be your fucking boyfriend?” I just don’t think that Adam, in real life, would ever ask this question. Assuming Adam is even remotely intelligent, he would already know, because it is painfully obvious, that this is what Hannah wants, and if he wanted to give it to her, he would have done so already. Hannah is silent, and I was afraid, for a moment, that she would return to timidity and not be able to say out loud what it is she desires from him. But in the next scene, which is the closing scene, we see Adam and Hannah and Marnie riding together in the back of a cab, all squashed in with Adam’s bike, a wildly joyful smile slowly spreading across Hannah’s face (and Marnie, meanwhile, scowling like the dickens). Evidently Hannah said yes, and so did Adam.
I hate to say this, but I think Hannah’s gonna go flying off those handlebars again.