Girls S2, Ep6: Boys

Posted: February 21, 2013 in TV
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ray and Adam with dog“Boys”, the sixth episode of Girls Season Two, primarily follows two of the male characters, Adam and Ray, as they make a trek to Staten Island to return a stolen psychotic dog.  In a great running gag about the book Little Women, Ray ends up befriending Adam when he visits him to find his missing copy of Louisa May Alcott’s famous novel.  In true Adam fashion, Ray finds a mad dog locked in Adam’s bathroom and when he discovers that Adam stole the dog from its owner, who was yelling at it, he pontificates that dogs are like family members and you can’t steal them.  Adam agrees to return the dog but only if Ray accompanies him.  What follows is Girls first look into the minds of males and their interpersonal relationships.

Going to Staten Island from Brooklyn is like Odysseus’ trip in the Odyssey.  It involves a ferry, and that can feel like ten years.  This gives the men, or boys as the episode is titled, time to talk about women, relationships, and their fears.  Adam attempts to convince Ray that he is over Hannah by using one of the best analogies I’ve ever heard.  He compares Hannah to the inflatable Tweetie Bird you win at a carnival by tossing three rings into a bucket.  It seems easy, but in reality it’s really rigged to torment you.  Then, when you finally win, you’re stuck carrying a big yellow blow up plastic toy around for the rest of the evening.  Ray agrees and makes a disparaging comment about Hannah, and Adam becomes angry, defends Hannah and yells at Ray.  He storms off leaving Ray all by himself with the muzzled dog.

Ray and Adam on Ferry

Ray continues his trek to return the dog and he encounters a Staten Island girl, on her way to work at Webster Hall, who turns out to be the daughter of the dog’s owner.  She tells him she hates the dog and doesn’t want it back.  She then hurls a slur of racial and homophobic insults at Ray and stomps off.  Ray is dumbfounded and he finds the nearest bench and breaks down crying.  His tears aren’t because the uneducated girl from Staten Island called him a “kike” and a “fag”.  They’re because he feels lost.  He’s 33 years old, works at a coffee shop and his longest relationship is the four-week long one he currently has with Shoshanna.  Earlier that morning, Shoshanna tried to convince him to take a class at the Learning Annex where Donald Trump would be speaking.  He asked her why he’d want to do that and she explained because obviously he doesn’t want to work at a coffee shop forever.  It’s not that Ray wants to serve coffee for the rest of his life, but he also doesn’t have the hang-ups that 23-year old Shoshanna has.  During their pilgrimage to that “other island”, Ray tells Adam that Shoshanna doesn’t understand.  She’s at the age when she still thinks her life will turn out exactly the way she planned.  She hasn’t experienced all the letdowns and disappointment that someone in his thirties has lived through.  Ray speaks as though he is okay with not having a perfect life, but his breakdown, later that day, shows that he is bothered by his current life status.  However, he makes some accurate points and one can see the delineation between a Millennial and a Gen Xer.

Ray and dog on bench

The B Story of this episode concentrates on Hannah and Marnie and what is going on in each of their lives.  Hannah attempts to write her first eBook, while Marnie is excited to host her first party with her new boyfriend, Booth Jonathan (Jorma Taccone).  Each girl wants the other to be happy for her, but when they try to share their world with one another, the only thing that results is failure.  Hannah attends Booth’s party to support Marnie, but she finds herself uncomfortable with Marnie’s posh artist friends and leaves after only a few minutes.  It’s not that she’s jealous of Marnie’s new life, but she isn’t sure where she fits into the puzzle.  She wants to understand Marnie and what she is experiencing, but all she really wants to do is go home and work on her eBook.

Hannah and Marnie at Booths party

If Hannah stayed longer, she would have witnessed a fight between Marnie and Booth, where Marnie realizes that Booth only wanted her for sex and to carry out personal assistant duties.  Like many naive young women, she thought that Booth was her boyfriend.  Booth gets Marnie to admit that she really only likes the idea of him, but doesn’t really like Booth himself for who he really is.  Booth has a temper-tantrum, like a two-year old who wants his mommy, and breaks several bottles of expensive wine from his wine cellar.  Marnie leaves crying, but her mood perks up when she receives a call from Hannah, who’s experiencing a serious case of first-time writer’s block.

Marnie crying in subway

The short telephone conversation concludes the episode, but it leaves the viewer with chills.  Both women are desperate for the other one’s care and understanding, but they gloss over their predicaments and lie to one another.  Hannah fibs that her writing is going extremely well, while Marnie tells Hannah how amazing the party was.  Marnie has tears in her eyes and Hannah reflects the pain she feels in her soulful expression and balled up fist.  It is at this point in the episode that Girls does a tremendous job of pinning down the intricacies of female friendships.  What is important is what Hannah and Marnie are not saying to one another.  There is an eerie uneasiness lurking just beneath their conversation, like an invisible mysterious power threatening to incinerate their friendship.  Both girls can feel it, but they can’t reach out and stop it from seeping into their relationship.  Friendships among women are often similar to male-female love relationships, in that they can often carry the same deep emotional connection despite being strictly platonic.  Many friendships are simply elements of location and time, and friends often grow up and apart.  Most women can probably remember the exact point at which they felt the divide between themselves and their best friend begin.  It’s an ugly feeling when a chasm develops and when one realizes that a person they’ve had a deep connection with may be drifting away from them.  It’s like watching someone float away on a raft and you have no ability to throw them a life saver.  You know it’s happening, but there’s no simple fix.

Any writer will tell you that it’s quite a feat to write from the point of view of the opposite sex.  So it’s not surprising that this sixth episode of Girls was co-written by male writer, Murray Miller.  He and Lena Dunham, both do an excellent job at exploring male to male bonding and female to female drifting.  Actor Alex Karpovsky, who plays Ray Ploshansky, also shines in this episode and we get to see him stretch from delivering one-liners to Hannah to almost carrying an entire episode.  I enjoyed seeing him peel off a few layers of sarcasm and show us his deeper side.  Although, he delivers the funniest line of the episode when he quips, “Whenever somebody says they want to be a writer, they really don’t want to do anything.  Except, you know, eat and masturbate.”

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