TV Talk: GIRLS 1.04 “Hannah’s Diary”

We get a shift in tone, a job for Hannah and some kick-ass eyebrows in this week's episode of GIRLS.

Sorry for the delay in Girls talk this week, but I did a podcast yesterday about the men of Girls, and you should listen to it! I guest-chatted on the Boys Who Watch Girls podcast with hosts Robert Carroll and Brian Spaeth, and it was super fun! It's only twelve minutes, so check it out - and be nice, because it was my first podcast ever. 

The tone of this week's episode of Girls was markedly different from the previous three episodes, all of which were directed by Lena Dunham. "Hannah's Diary" was directed by Richard Shepard, and he gave it a more specifically television vibe instead of the indie film sensibility Dunham brings to the project. As I said on the podcast, I'm all about changing things up, but I hope the show finds a more cohesive tone between varying directors in the future, because the distinction really shouldn't be so noticeable. I liked the bigger laughs in the episode - I almost wish it had been called "Hannah's Eyebrows" because they were hands down my favorite part of the ep - but I wasn't sold on the direction. 

Let's take the girls lady by lady, shall we? Hannah had a fun week. She found a job, made some new friends and stood up to Adam. Of course she's getting rather used to her boss fondling her at her job and she instantly negated her confrontation with Adam by sleeping with him, but we're taking baby steps here. First, at work: Hannah's boss (played by the great Richard Masur) touches her inappropriately and extensively, and her new coworkers assure her that, while it's creepy, it's the norm. He also showers them with gifts, and they promise her that she'll get used to it. After the boss brings up the touching, insincerely telling her that he'll stop if she says it makes her uncomfortable, she realizes she's already getting used to it. Hannah's in desperate need of a job and she's in a terrible position here. The show plays it for laughs, but it's a bleak scenario any of us fear to find ourselves in. 

Hannah also deals with inappropriate behavior from Adam in the form of a texted pic of his fur-wrapped penis. No, the sexting isn't inappropriate, but the fact that he hastens to assure her the sext was meant for someone else is a problem. Hannah replies immediately with a picture of her breasts, but after Hannah's new friends at work tell her how hella wrong Adam is, she finally listens. Marnie should be annoyed, as she's been making that claim to Hannah for ages, but sometimes it takes the wisdom of near strangers. Hannah marches over to Adam's apartment to break up with him, and she does a great job of it at first: 

"I just want someone who wants to hang out all of the time, who thinks I'm the best person in the world and wants to have sex with only me. And it makes me feel very stupid to tell you this because it makes me sound like a girl who wants to, like, go to brunch. And I really don't want to go to brunch, and I don't want you to sit on the couch while I shop or even meet my friends."

Hannah. WHY DON'T YOU WANT TO GO TO BRUNCH? Let's leave brunch out of this, okay? Brunch didn't do shit to you.

But after Adam finds Hannah's newfound self-respect irresistible, she falls right back into his creepy arms. That's fine. She did well this week, and I'm proud of her. I think she'll take slightly less disrespect from Adam in the future, and that's an important step.

Shoshanna has the other big storyline this week as she comes maddeningly close to losing her burdensome virginity. She runs into a former camp counseling colleague who admires her plucky brand of efficiency, and after a very little foreplay, they fall into bed together. Shoshanna looks so relieved, and then so hilariously uncomfortable when he starts going down on her. This week's episode is all about baby steps, and I don't know many total virgins (remember, she hasn't even given a blowj yet) who would feel instantly cozy with cunnilingus. Shoshanna asks him if he wants to have sex with her "instead" (Zosia Mamet kills it on this show!), and then bravely and with no fanfare admits that she's a virgin. The camp counselor behaves just about as badly as she could ever fear - he recoils and declares that's not his thing. Despite Shoshanna's eager proclamation that she's not a "clingy bleeder," the dude decides to go counsel some other woman's campground. 

Shoshanna, trooper that she is, dusts herself off admirably, and she and Jessa share a nice moment later about it. "Would you have sex with a virgin?" "Depends on the virgin." "...Me?" Jessa replies sweetly, "Oh, Shosh. If I had a cock, that's all I'd do." Buck up, little camper! I honestly adore Shoshanna. She's so honest and brave and responsible despite her quirky, perky facade. The girl rules, frankly.

Beyond Jessa's wonderful moment with Shoshanna, she also attempts to start up a union with other babysitters before realizing that she's lost Beatrix and Lola and that she's probably already getting paid more than she deserves. She also shares some more intense eye contact with Kathryn Hahn's husband, and I really wish she'd stop that.

Finally, we have Marnie, who doesn't do much for most of the episode other than insist that Hannah not respond to Adam's wayward sext. But after Ray and Charlie go through the girls' belongings and read Hannah's diary, and then sing a song at their band's (albeit, mostly empty) gig of Hannah's private words about how unhappy Marnie is with Charlie, Marnie gets the big, melodramatic exit. 

The ending of the episode is what I liked least about the new tone. It ended on that abrupt, darkly comedic, Seinfeld/Curb note that I don't think fits the atmosphere of the show. First, Ray and Charlie suck. I was beginning to feel much more sympathetic to Charlie as he confided in Ray, because it turns out he's less clueless than he initially appeared. And he did urge Ray not to read the diary at first, but the way he handled that information is despicable. A public gig? Talk to your girlfriend, you idiot.

And Marnie shouldn't and I honestly think wouldn't be angry with Hannah for writing that. It's nothing Hannah hasn't said to Marnie a dozen times, and anyway, people are allowed to write whatever they want in their journals. No one should ever be held accountable for something they scribbled in the privacy of their own thoughts. If you read someone else's secret diary, then you're a bad person. And if you get angry at them for what they wrote, then you're a really bad person.

So when Marnie threw her drink and called Hannah a bitch, Girls garnered the first major eye-roll from me. In a show where people eat cupcakes in bathtubs and the need for an abortion miraculously vanishes, I thought Marnie's reaction was the least earned and least believable moment on this show. The Marnie I know - the one who confides everything in Hannah and hears all of her confessions in turn, the one who is practical and not given to extreme displays of emotion - would be angry with Charlie and mortified for Hannah. 

But anyway, it's just one scene. I still really enjoyed the episode and can't wait for next week. Let's give Jessa a real storyline next, okay? One that does not include sleeping with Kathryn Hahn's husband.