Posts Tagged ‘Hannah’

Girls“Together”, the tenth episode of Girls Season Two and the season finale, took a surprising twist that evoked emotion and left the audience satisfied.  For the first time, Lena Dunham gave the viewers their happy ending.  The way she accomplished this continues to show how fearless and brilliant she is.  She did it in the vein of David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook, where boy gets girl in the end, but a sophisticated audience forgives the happy ending, because it’s done so gracefully.

The episode opens on Shoshanna doing something that typically takes more nerve and maturity than her character has shown in the past.  She breaks up with Ray, rather than continue to lead him on and, ultimately, cheat on him.  Ray is devastated, but deep down he must realize that his relationship with Shoshanna would never have worked.  With a ten-year age difference, the two are in completely different places in their lives.  Ray is also a victim of Shoshanna’s lack of experience.  Now that she has had her first relationship, she realizes she wants to explore and that there are so many other men in the world for her to meet.  In essence, Shoshanna needs to sow her oats, and Ray has become an obstacle to her being able to do so.   This scene also allowed for some evolution in Shoshanna’s character.  By ending her relationship with Ray, she has allowed herself more freedom and is less uptight.

Ray gets dumped

The next part of the episode focuses on Charlie and Marnie.  Over a late morning brunch, Marnie says that she thinks she and Charlie are now dating.  Charlie falls silent and Marnie thinks that Charlie’s lack of agreement infers he is only interested in sleeping with her.  She storms out of the restaurant and Charlie follows her.  Realizing that she has nothing left to lose, Marnie tells Charlie, “I want you. I know I’m a mess, but I want you. I want to see you every morning. I want to make you a snack every night and, eventually, I want to have your little brown babies and, eventually I want to watch you die.”  As a viewer, I found Charlie’s response to Marnie’s candor quite unexpected.  He tells her that’s all he ever wanted to hear.  He also tells her he’s always loved her and he keeps coming back because he loves her.  It’s a beautiful moment and a satisfying one.  All season Marnie needed to figure out what she truly wanted.  Once she realized that what she really needed was already right in front of her, she was able to let her guard down and be honest for once.  What resulted was a reconciliation between two people who most audience members had been rooting for all season.

Marnie and Charlie

The primary storyline of the season finale revolves around Hannah and her continuing breakdown.  Her EBook deadline looms, but she’s unable to write anything and sees her golden opportunity slipping away.  As I predicted last week, Marnie finally decides to reach out to Hannah and, when she comes to check on her, Hannah hides.  Whether it’s because she is too embarrassed for anyone to see her in her current state or because she’s still angry with Marnie is unclear.  But the result is that the reunion between Hannah and Marnie never happens and the season closes with their friendship still in jeopardy.  As a writer, Dunham needed to leave one of her storylines hanging in the balance.  Otherwise, there’d be nothing for the viewer to be anxious about in the opening of Season Three.

When Hannah begins to feel all is lost, she places a desperate, last-minute call to Jessa and tells her she needs her.  Realizing she will not hear back from Jessa, at least not anytime in the near future, she then dials Adam.  It is a moment of utter despair.  Adam picks up and they somehow end up on Apple FaceTime where he can see Hannah twitching.  Adam realizes Hannah is suffering from her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and he tells her not to move and that he’s coming.  Hannah ignores her instincts to hang up and stays on the line with Adam, watching him as he travels to her.  Then in one of the most romantic gestures I’ve seen, Adam, who is not even wearing a shirt, runs down the sidewalks of Brooklyn and down the stairs into the subway.  He finally reaches Hannah’s apartment and breaks down the door and then sweeps her into his arms.  The entire sequence, from Adam running through the streets while still looking at his phone and then busting her door down is unbelievably poetic.

Adam picks up Hannah

In an interview about her show Girls, Dunham has said that her Executive Producer, Judd Apatow, often gives her notes that read do not be afraid of emotion in your writing.  Dunham doesn’t shy away from emotion in her Season Two finale.  In fact she embraces it, and she creates a new cultural icon of the romantic gesture.  No moment like this has been shown in recent cinema or television.  It is a send up of the classic scene from the 1989 film, Say Anything, where John Cusack’s character, Lloyd Dobler, stands in the rain with a boom box over his head and plays a song for his girlfriend.  I’m not surprised that the person who creates a scene that outshines one of the 1980’s most memorable moments is Lena Dunham.  She just gave the Millennial Generation its own moment in pop culture history and cemented her place in the television medium.  It is no wonder, Girls is coming back for a third season.  Simply stated, it’s just that good.

Say Anything 2

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Hannah at office“On All Fours”, the ninth episode of Girls Season Two, had a dark undertone that seemed to sweep the characters further into their destructive behaviors.  With only one episode left of the current season, it seems unlikely that any of the three remaining girls will get her act together or even fully hit rock-bottom.

Hannah continues on her downward spiral and still suffers from her latest attack of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  For the first time this season, Lena Dunham has her character, Hannah, barely speak.  What the viewer does get to witness is her sad state and her general withdrawal from her friends.  She spends the entire episode alone and struggles with a Q-tip that she lodges too far into her ear canal.  It is the best reenactment ever done of someone trying to clean their ears.  As usual, Dunham is a master of observation and she puts a trivial grooming technique into her episode and ,somehow, turns it into a metaphor for Hannah’s current emotional and mental state.  When Hannah ends up in the ER, she acts like a scared little girl, and the viewer is invited to see just how fragile and vulnerable she is, underneath all of her witty sarcasm.  On her walk home from the hospital, she conveniently (a tactic usually reserved for network sitcoms) runs into Adam.  At this point, she craves any type of human compassion and she tries to reach out to him in her own way.  Adam tells her he is out with his new girlfriend, and then leaves her on the sidewalk alone.

Hannah runs into Adam

As predicted in my review last week, Adam is actually more scarred by this run-in than Hannah.  He masks his hurt feelings by diving head first back into a bottle of Jack Daniels.  After a night of heavy drinking and dancing, he treats his girlfriend like a cheap porn star and the viewer witnesses how disturbed Adam has become.

Adam in bed

Shoshanna, Marnie, and Ray attend a party at Charlie’s new bourgeois smart phone App Company.  Shoshanna, still feeling guilty from her tryst with a doorman, tries to avoid Ray most of the night.  Ray detects that something is off and presses her to explain why she is acting so strangely.  Shoshanna admits she held hands with a doorman, and Ray seems to not care.  For a person who usually says exactly what she is thinking, this is Shoshanna’s first attempt at deceit and manipulation.  I’m expecting it to blow-up in her face in the season finale.  Her character is still quite innocent, and her indiscretion is more about being inexperienced and naive, rather than being a female player.

Marnie sings a song at the party against a new track she laid down the previous night, and completely embarrasses herself in front of Charlie and all of his coworkers.  Charlie takes her aside to tell her that her current behavior is not cute anymore.  But, apparently, he loves her anyway because the two hook up at the end of the night.  This has been teased all season and Marnie is infatuated with Charlie and his recent success.  This might be her rock-bottom, where she will finally have to figure out what she really wants.

Marnie sings at Party

The episode concludes with Hannah lying on the floor making a distressed phone call to her parents for help.  She recognizes that her current mental state is off, and she reaches out to the two people who will not judge her.  I’m expecting her to show her stronger side again in the season finale next week, because I don’t  want to see this season end with Hannah’s destruction.  Perhaps, Hannah and Marnie will spend some time together and help one another.   Although, that is the type of happy ending that typically doesn’t happen in Cable dramedies.

Hannah on phone upset

Grumpys argumentThe fifth episode of Girls Season Two, “One Man’s Trash”, is a departure from the regular formula that Girls follows.  The episode focuses solely on Hannah and plays like a half-hour drama, instead of the single-camera half-hour comedy ensemble show it usually is.  The episode is well-written and Hannah shares screen time with Patrick Wilson, who plays new character, Joshua.  I didn’t necessarily miss the other three characters, because I was drawn into the strange trip that Hannah takes.

Joshua comes into Grumpy’s Coffee Shop and complains that the store has been using his private trash cans.  After an argument with Ray, the coffee shop manager, the man leaves disgruntled but Hannah follows him to his private brownstone.  She innocently knocks on his door and he invites her in.  This is the only moment in this episode where I felt like I had to take a leap of blind faith.  I didn’t understand what Wilson’s character’s motivation was to invite a strange girl into his apartment.  On the other hand, Hannah blindly going into his brownstone, against her better judgment, is quite fitting with her character.

After a glass of lemonade, Hannah admits to Joshua that she is the one who has been dumping the coffee shop’s garbage into his trash cans.  Her excuse is rather convoluted, but Joshua seems to accept her explanation.  Hannah then makes a pass at Joshua and they end up in bed together.  After sleeping with the handsome 42 year-old Joshua, Hannah attempts to make a sexit.  Joshua asks her why she is leaving, and she responds that she wants to give him space.  This response by Hannah is a window into her soul.  She has become so accustomed to immature men treating her like garbage; she doesn’t feel comfortable over staying her welcome.  But Joshua begs her to stay and she does.

Patrick Wilson reading paperThe next morning, Hannah and Joshua act like any other yuppie middle-aged Brooklyn brownstone-dwelling couple, by reading the New York Times in his solarium over coffee and toast with jam.  For most people, this is an ordinary moment, perhaps even a dull moment in the life of a stable couple.  But for Hannah, this entire experience is surreal.  She looks at Joshua as he reads the paper, and one can see a calmness wash over her face.  Is Hannah finally at peace?

Joshua calls into work sick and Hannah agrees to stay for another day and evening.  At one point she decides to take a shower, and she goes into Joshua’s beautifully remodeled bathroom, and stands inside it mystified by the multiple shower heads and steam settings.  To her, this is a world she has never seen before.  Perhaps she’s caught a glimpse of it in a television show or in a trendy magazine, but she’s never lived it.  Her life involves living in a tiny apartment, rotating out insane roommates every other month, and working at a hipster coffee shop.  She never would have imagined she’d be spending a lost weekend with a good-looking, wealthy doctor, who is kind and nurturing.

Dunham breaks downAfter Hannah passes out from too much steam in the shower, Joshua consoles her and she begins crying.  When Joshua asks her what’s wrong, she delivers a monologue.  In her speech, she explains that this life that he has, that she has pretended to have for the last two days, is something she thought she’d never have.  She further details, that she has spent her entire life being an unhappy person that is against societal norms and tries to live outside the box.  But being with Joshua, in his brownstone, has made her realize that she is just like everybody else.  She too wants the beautiful home, great husband, and stable relationship.  This very fact scares her to the core, because she now questions everything she thought she knew about herself.  It is an epiphany moment for Hannah, and she may have matured in a way that previously would have been impossible.

Unfortunately for her, this bold, but honest speech makes Joshua’s eyes glaze over.  Like most men, he liked Hannah when she was sweet and in awe of him.  But as soon as she shows her vulnerable side and explains to him how she feels, he loses interest.  Hannah sees it in his demeanor and, when he tells her he needs to get to bed because he has to get up early for work.  Ultimately, Joshua may have disappointed Hannah, and their short-lived rendezvous may be over.  But, he served as a spark for Hannah’s inner-emotional journey.  It is one that she needed to take and that the viewer needed to take with her.

In an insider’s look into the episode, creator Lena Dunham explains that the idea for this episode started out as a dream that Hannah would have, but then Dunham decided to morph it into reality.  It is interesting that she remarks on this, because the tone of the episode does have a dream like quality, and, although it really happened, the way in which the events unfold is quite allegorical.  I highly respect Dunham for going in a different direction with this episode and really exploring her character.  It has elements of HBO’s other half-hour comedy show, Enlightened.  Perhaps Dunham is a fan and wanted to explore how her character, Hannah, becomes enlightened.  Overall, it was a risk that paid off.

Sweater costs more then my rentI love the series Girls for its ensemble cast and uncanny way of making the most ridiculous and disgusting things hysterically funny.  I think the series works best when all four young women have screen time and there is humor involved.  But, a strange departure now and then is what makes certain television series remind their viewers that the writers are full of novel ideas.