TV Talk: GIRLS 1.05 “Hard Being Easy”

Oh Hannah, child, no. 

FYI, I joined a discussion of Girls over at Screen Crush this week; take a look!

Let's just get this out of the way, shall we? Hannah hit a new low this week when she propositioned her boss, and then threatened to sue him, and then attempted to extort him. That scene was painful - but great. Lena Dunham reaches highs of hilarity whenever Hannah reaches depths of humiliation, and I love the way the scene was directed. This week's direction by Jesse Peretz is a nice, subtle medium between Dunham's for the first three episodes and last week's ep directed by Richard Sheperd.

What's interesting about the dynamic between Hannah and her boss is that her boss is clearly the villain: he sexually harasses his employees and attempts to buy them off with gifts and lax rules about punctuality and work performance. But Hannah manages to take a situation in which she is the clear victim and turn it around so that, suddenly, she's the villain. It's not quite as rewarding as it would be if she'd reversed the situation and become the hero, but I do admire the way she takes control. No, I misspoke: not the way in which she tries to take control, because her manner and approach are appalling, but the fact that she makes an attempt to take control at all. It's something, at least.

And she has a similar experience with Adam this week. After quitting in a blaze of indignation and general confusion, she heads over to Adam's apartment only to discover that he thinks they've broken up. Hannah believed they'd reached a new level of commitment after last week's emotional scene, but Adam decided that it isn't fun anymore. At first Hannah is devastated, but she rallies in that specifically Hannah way of doing so - embarrassing, awkward, questionably triumphant - when she berates him as he's masturbating to his utter delight. She takes a hundred dollar bill from him and leaves feeling pretty good about herself. While nothing about this relationship is even slightly healthy, I can't wait to see where it goes now that Hannah's made a cozy little sexually dominant niche for herself.

Last week I was pretty angry with the way Marnie, Charlie and Ray all handled the reading of Hannah's diary, and no one endears themselves to me on that score this week except Hannah herself. The episode opens with Charlie and Marnie fighting all around Hannah, and Marnie never points out to Charlie that it's despicable that he and Ray read Hannah's diary in the first place, and she continues to hold Hannah accountable for what she wrote in private. But I feel less enraged this week based solely on Hannah's reaction, because frankly, Hannah doesn't give a shit. She shrugs off what she wrote: "It's true," and she isn't slightly bothered by the drama unfolding around her. Although everyone is continuing to act like a jerk about the journal, if Hannah doesn't care, I guess I don't either. 

Marnie and Charlie have their big post-mortem at his apartment, which Marnie's never visited before in the years they've dated. That's selfish, true, but considering I did that exact thing to a boyfriend in college who deserved better, it rings true to me. Marnie screws up big time, but in a way I find totally understandable. When Charlie breaks up with her, she rebels emotionally because she can't imagine surrendering this relationship in which she's invested so much. She begs for him to stay with her in a way that is entirely uncomfortable, and I find my first shred of respect for Charlie as he holds his ground and handles himself as a mature adult. But Marnie eventually wins him back and they start to have sex. Charlie does his disagreeably intimate thing, and Marnie dumps him. It's so uncool, surely - she robs Charlie of the opportunity to exit this relationship in charge, and after years of abuse from her, clearly he deserves that big exit. But it wasn't intentional. She did want to make it work because she was stricken at the thought of being alone, but when Charlie went back to his overly sensitive, clingy ways, she realized this was her last chance to escape. Not cool of Marnie - but hopefully free of Charlie, we'll all get to see that she's actually a good person. And free of Marnie, Charlie is sure to be a cooler guy.

Their excruciating break-up did allow for one delightful moment of levity in the way of a flashback to their first meeting in 2007. Hannah and Elijah (!) are happily in love over their shared appreciation of the Scissor Sisters, and Charlie takes care of a kite-high and super paranoid Marnie. Their first meeting set the tone for the entire relationship - all Charlie ever wanted to do was take care of Marnie, but when Marnie's sober, she doesn't require much, if any, care-taking. She's a grown ass woman (whose parents still pay for her Blackberry, granted).

And our last little vignette shows Jessa getting tarted up (to Ponytail Dad's inappropriate pleasure) in order to seduce an ex-boyfriend who has ostensibly moved on. After boning the hell out of him in her apartment, she sends him on his merry little way and gleefully declares herself unsmoteable. It's a pretty triumphant moment, made more so by Shoshanna's dismayed/intrigued witnessing of the act behind some curtains. Oh Shoshanna - you got so little screentime this week, but you certainly made the most out of it.

I do wish the episodes were paced a bit better; it seems as if every episode leaves one of the four girls with hardly a storyline to be counted. But "Hard Being Easy' is a very strong episode that proves that Girls has well and truly gained its legs. If you didn't like this episode, it's probably time to throw in the towel: Girls just isn't for you.