In Meredith's recap of last week's episode, she asked, "Would you like to see a Hannah-less Girls, or is that no Girls at all?" I can't imagine the show without Hannah, but I can dream of the show without Hannah. Especially after watching "It's Back."
We finally get an episode in which all of the characters experience some kind of conflict, and yet Hannah still manages to overshadow them all by suddenly revealing that she has OCD. Before I go on, I want to make it clear that I believe OCD can be an extremely serious and debilitating illness, and I am in no way making light of it. I know that Lena Dunham has OCD, and I'm sure that opening up about her own battle will help lots of folks out there. (Or at the very least increase public awareness.) But in the case of Hannah's character, this plot development is completely out of left field. I mean, did I miss something? Was there any indication in the previous episodes that Hannah had OCD? The fact that this has never come up before makes it seem ridiculously fabricated, and I can't help but feel like it's simply another ploy to keep Hannah in the spotlight.
Which is a shame, because there's some really great stuff going on with the other characters, particularly Adam. Oh Adam, it's great to see you acting sane! Well, as sane as you can be, anyway. Adam's scenes in this episode were positively sublime, especially his verbal outpouring at the AA meeting about his recent angst and his love for Hannah. "I just felt weird if I didn't know what she was up to or whatever." His character is shifting back to the glorious Adam we knew at the end of Season One, and Adam Driver's performance just keeps getting better and better. From his phone call to Natalia (and his chagrin immediately afterwards) to his loud, liberated laughter at the end of their date, Driver makes use of every second of his screen time to build Adam into a deeply human, utterly complex character. Thankfully, this episode gave him deserving costars: Carol Kane (!!!), who is delightfully cooky as Adam's new AA friend, and Shiri Appleby, who plays her daughter, Natalia. Sorry, Hannah, but Natalia is gorgeous, and she works for a private eye. Suck on THAT!
Shosh also got some appreciation in this episode, and by appreciation, I mean hooking up with a hot door guy! Holla! I love Ray, I really do, but damn, that door guy was fine, and I can't blame Shosh for tappin' that. Plus she and Ray have obviously hit some bumps in their relationship, although it does seem like just a week or two ago that they were admitting their love for each other. Their encounter with Shosh's friend Radhika made it obvious that in spite of being a couple, Ray and Shosh are living in different worlds, not to mention the fact that Ray is a lot older. (I cracked up after Radhika called her roller blades "vintage," and Ray exclaimed, "You're about to make me cry and I don't even know you.") Also, Ray, you should've gone to Radhika's party because White Castle and champers? Where do I RSVP?! But even though I'm glad that Shosh got some action, I do hope that the writers will keep her and Ray together. After all, someone's gotta be around to curb her air quotes.
As the Season Two punching bag, Marnie took another blow in this episode when she learned that Charlie sold an app and basically is running his own company. (Does it really happen that fast? And does asking that question make me old?) But the knowledge that Charlie is succeeding wasn't enough for sad sack Marnie. She had to go and make herself look even more pathetic by showing up at his office and then acting like a total weirdo. Seriously, what did Allison Williams do to the writers to deserve this? At least Marnie has the good sense to talk to Ray (sprawled out cutely on Shosh's bed and doing his best teenage girl impression), who offers her a gummy frog and asks, "What's your dream?" When Marnie responds, "I wanna sing!" it takes us all by surprise, including Ray, who follows with, "What's the second thing you wanna do?" It turns out that Marnie has a pretty nice voice, actually, and if even though I can't imagine her actually making it as a singer, I really hope the writers allow her to find some happiness in pursuing her passion. Plus, like Ray says, "You're never gonna look like this again. The clay is drying." Do it before the clay dries, honey!
I feel I need to explore Hannah's storyline a bit more, if just to celebrate the return of her parents and the appearance of Bob Ballaban as her doctor. (If Hannah has to show up in the next episode, please let it be in his office.) I did think that Lena Dunham's performance was solid, but the whole thing just irritated me, and then I felt bad for being irritated about a serious plot development. The thing is, though, that all of these characters are dealing with something serious-- painful break-ups, pursuit of self-worth, discovery of identity-- and the struggles of Marnie, Shosh and Jessa (not to mention Adam and Ray) just feel more compelling to me than any of Hannah's problems, which always get more screen time. So when the show adds yet another issue to Hannah's drama department, it strikes me not only as unnecessary, but also as a waste of season space.
So, Meredith, does hating on Hannah's OCD storyline make me a bad person? After watching this episode, do you care more for her as a character now? Also, will you bring the cookies next time?