TV Talk: GIRLS 2.03 “Bad Friend”

Hannah triumphs over her weird nasal passages to embark on a coke-fueled creative journey in this week's episode of GIRLS.

Sarah asked last week whether anyone on this show, and in particular Hannah, will learn how to be a friend this season. While I continue to have hope that she will, I'm afraid that this week's episode "Bad Friend" lives up to its title. 

This episode is the first of the season that didn't work for me. "Bad Friend" had some big laughs, but they butted up against a really depressing storyline for Marnie, and I found the two plots too tonally incongruous. What could have been a slight, silly episode or a serious episode is somehow both, making "Bad Friend" feel insignificant and dour. 

I loved the opening, however, as Hannah interviews at a website called jazzhate, and somehow that URL has yet to be claimed, so get on that, opportunity-seekers. Her dead-eyed prospective employer Jame points to a circle on the wall outside a framed print that says "Your Comfort Zone." The circle says "where the magic happens." Get it? Hannah does, so she somehow finds herself agreeing to do cocaine for the first time so she can chronicle it for jazzhate

A two-minute scene between all four of the girls follows, as Marnie and Shosh, helping Jessa sell some clothes (and is that a painting of Shoshanna?), suggest that Hannah track down the junkie who lives downstairs. The scene is so fleeting, and it reminds me of a better version of this show, one where all four of the talented and hilarious women of Girls get something to do. I miss you, Jessa. Shosh, you are underused. Ladies, please spend more time together. Lena Dunham, take advantage of your cast. 

Hannah takes their advice and makes a tourist stop downstairs at former junkie Laird's place. He's clean now, but Hannah assures him he doesn't look it (so rude), and he agrees to get some coke for her because he seems to have a pretty serious crush on her. So Hannah and Elijah get high together, leading to an actually delightful sequence of events as the two make their mark by writing their goals on the wall of their apartment (Elijah's: to raise show dogs. Hannah's: a wedding cake tasting.) and enjoy a frenzied dance party at a club iPod DJ'd by brand consultants Andrew Andrew. It's a fairly adorable scene, and it's a solid set-up for the inevitable: Elijah admitting that he fucked Marnie. 

All of this worked for me, honestly. It's fun and frivolous, furthering the plot just enough to make it matter. But then we have Marnie... 

Did we ever think Booth Jonathan was hot? Remind me how that's so. He runs into Marnie during her hosting gig and pulls the same shit he pulled last year. Last year, it was cute. It's getting old now. "Oh, I think you're a person who's about to have sex with me." He brings Marnie back to his creepy house and shows off all his Damien Hirst rip-off art installations, including one that blares Duncan Sheik's "I Am Barely Breathing," for goddsakes. She has underwhelming sex with him while staring at his sad doll, and then she laughs uproariously afterward. It's all pretty fucking bleak and makes me wonder if Girls hates Marnie. Does it? I certainly don't. Poor fucking Marnie. 

Things just get worse when Hannah, Elijah and Laird (who's been following Hannah around to make sure the coke he procured for her doesn't ruin her life) show up at Booth's house so Hannah can berate Marnie for having sex with Elijah. "You're the bad friend," she repeats over and over. Hannah calls Marnie a bad friend. And poor fucking Marnie agrees. Goddammit, this shit is depressing. 

Marnie's had a terrible time of it for the past several months. She's lost her job, her boyfriend and her apartment, and Hannah's been nowhere to be found. Marnie's last two sexual encounters are two of the saddest sex scenes I've ever watched on television. Marnie needs a win, and this show just continues to punish her to increasingly mortifying degrees. 

I'm ready for Marnie to get her groove back. I'm ready for Hannah to stop being such an asshole to her and for these two to act the way real friends do. You know - talk to each other and maybe hang out sometimes? Is that so much to ask? I'm also ready to see Shosh and Jessa for more than seconds at a time. I'm ready for this show to be something more than the "Wacky Lena Dunham Variety Show." And while I'm making demands: more Elijah. We can never have too much Elijah. I will be so bummed if Hannah makes good on her promise to kick him out. 

So no, overall this episode wasn't for me. But even the worst Girls episode is packed with fantastic lines. "It's called power clashing." "You're so fucking talented." "When did you eat jerky?" "That is not any concern of yours." 

Sarah, are you feeling as terrible for Marnie as I am? What is it going to take for this woman to get her shit back together?