Television

Girls Recap: The Girls Cope with Death

From left: Lena Dunham, Jon Glaser and Gaby Hoffman Craig Blankenhorn

Season 3, Episode 4: Dead Inside

After three episodes of Hannah and Adam playing house, I began to wonder how the writers were going to break them up. It’s inevitable. Television shows are infinitely more interesting when the main couple is apart or having problems, not together and happy. There’s a reason Rachel and Ross were broken up more than they were together on Friends; same with Marissa and Ryan on The O.C., Carrie and Big in Sex and the City, Jim and Pam on The Office — dramatically speaking, apart is better than together.

But the writers, of course, will have to find a way to keep breakout fan-favorite Adam on the show even if things go south in his relationship with Hannah. That’s always a difficult task — just ask the writers on Homeland who desperately scrambled for plot devices to keep Brody in play long after he should have been killed off.

After last week’s episode of Girls, I thought Adam’s sister might be the person who wedges herself between the two. (This potential plot twist was a prospect I wasn’t looking forward to: there are only so many characters with major metal health problems one show can juggle.) But it turns out Caroline will only assist in the couple’s separation. Really, it’s all David’s fault.

That’s because David is dead.

The passing of Hannah’s ebook editor forces the entire cast to grapple with death. It turns out, the girls are not very good with deep emotions — a problem that really disturbs the men on the show.

Hannah doesn’t shed a tear after David dies but does worry about what’s going to happen to her ebook. Adam rationally points out that this isn’t really the time to think about her ebook since someone she knows is dead. The tension only builds when Hannah reads about David’s death on Gawker. Adam, again with the rational point of view (when did he become the moral compass of this show?): “When you die, how would you feel if a bunch of judgmental creeps, celibate against their will, snarkily reported on every f***ing detail of your body decomposing?”

It’s unclear why Hannah and the other girls have such a tough time grappling with death. Perhaps it’s their youth; more likely, they’re just self absorbed. When Jessa asks Shoshanna if a friend of hers has ever died, Shoshanna admits she was somewhat relieved when her close friend Kelly died in high school so she could take her place in the friend group — “we were always meant to be a five-some, not a six-some.” Jessa then becomes absorbed in talking about her friend that died of a drug overdose, completely forgetting the story Shoshanna just told.

“You need to grieve it out,” Shoshanna advises Jessa. “Like when Kelly died I wrote a book of poems about her.”

“Who’s Kelly?” Jessa asks.

“My friend in high school who died.”

“You had a friend who died?”

“We literally just had this conversation.”

With each episode, these characters get more selfish. At some point writing dialogue for the show will be impossible because the characters simply don’t respond to what people around them are saying.

Meanwhile, Marnie works out and makes the most terrible looking smoothie ever. (I think Charlie’s departure left the writers scrambling to figure out a plot for Marnie. Poor Allison Williams has been left out of most story lines so far this season.)

As for the rest of the gang? The boys seem to have a better handle on mourning. “If you died, the world would blur. I wouldn’t know what a tree was,” Adam tells Hannah. Hannah responds by telling Adam she thinks about him dying all the time and what she would say at his funeral. Though this was probably a sincere attempt on Hannah’s part to prove her depth, again her thoughts are completely selfish (what stories she — the great ebook writer — will share at his funeral).

Ray, too, lays into Hannah for her inability to grieve. “Why don’t you place just one crumb of basic human compassion on this fat free muffin of sociopathic detachment? See how it tastes,” he says. And this is coming from a guy who got punched by David in the last episode.

Cut to Jessa, who after taking Shoshanna’s advice, attempts to visit the grave of her friend, Season, who died only to find out that Season faked her own funeral. When Jessa tracks Season down to a brownstone (fully equipped with adorable baby and hipster husband), Season explains that Jessa enabled her drug problem so she had to lead Jessa to believe she had died. They sent Jessa an invitation to the funeral knowing she wouldn’t come. Jessa storms out but not before informing her old friend that her new perfect life will eventually fall apart.

The Jessa who berates her now-sober friend doesn’t seem much older, wiser or kinder than the Jessa who didn’t show up to that same friend’s fake funeral.

A pause before we go back to Hannah’s storyline to check in on Ray, Marnie and the gang at Grumpy’s. Marnie catches Ray and their boss watching her YouTube video in the office. (Yes! Awesome. Please just play more clips from this video all season long. In fact, post the actual full video on YouTube. Clearly, you shot the whole video, so why not let the world enjoy it? Thank you.) Marnie, thinking they’re making fun of her life’s ambition, quits her job. Ray half-heartedly runs after her.

I didn’t notice until just now but Ray is sporting some awful facial hair this week. Is that a soul patch? I guess guys do this sort of thing after breakups. The same excuse cannot be made for Shoshanna’s bizarre hairstyles. Those have been around since the beginning.

Hannah comes home to find Laird with a dead pet turtle in a jar. As Hannah explains her emotional numbness to Laird, Caroline comes down the stairs. The three decide to take a stroll together that ends up with them skipping and cartwheeling through a graveyard.

As they sit by a grave, Caroline tells Hannah a story about Adam: Adam and Caroline’s cousin died at 12 of a lifelong, debilitating condition. He used to go over to her house every single day to play with her and cheer her up. Her one dream was to go to a school dance, so his senior year Adam used all his money to buy her a tiny dress and take her to the school dance. She died a week later clutching the corsage he gave her that night.

Hannah, unmoved, fixates on the detail of the tiny dress. Did the disease make her tiny? Hannah is officially heartless.

It’s at this point that Caroline reveals she made the whole story up. So Caroline’s heartless too. I’m beginning to wonder whether the two are actually trying to out-crazy each other.

Here’s why this is the beginning of the end for Adam and Hannah. Last episode, Adam said of his sister, “She’s mean in her heart, Hannah. She’s the opposite of you. She’s mean inside.” But is that an accurate way to describe Hannah? She’s certainly not a Disney princess. She’s not the opposite of mean.

Hannah frets throughout the episode that Adam is going to find out the person she really is and that she’ll fall short of his enthusiastic compassion. She tells Caroline, “Adam’s going to figure out what I’m actually like, and there’s no way he’s going to like it because he has such a depth of feeling. No one can even rival that. I definitely can’t, and soon he’s going to get bored and feel stifled by someone who can’t match his strength of emotion.”

So maybe that’s why she steals Caroline’s story to tell as her own to Adam.

That’s right, she actually lies to Adam and tells him she had a cousin who died, whom she cared for, and brought to prom. This relationship is now doomed to fail.

Choice quotes:

Hannah:

“We had a meeting, and then he had to reschedule the meeting because he was dead.”

Marnie:

“Do you have any idea what kind of work I’m qualified to do out in the world? What kind of people want me? Fancy people want to work with me, so I’m going to give them that pleasure and go work with them.”

Shoshanna:

“I feel like my bandana collection is, like, my most developed collection. My array of bandanas is insane.”

Jessa:

On the phone with someone she hasn’t spoken too in a long time: “Yeah, I know it’s been a very long time. [Pause] I know, I can’t believe I’m still alive either.”

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