“Marnie this business is not for sissy bitches.” Girls, Season 4, Episode 1 Recap
When I first watched Girls in the summer after my first year of university, I felt really weird. Somehow I had nothing in common with these women who I was supposed to have everything in common with. And I hated every. Single. Character. But I loved Jessa’s style, and the writing was decent, so I kept watching, and now, here we are, at the beginning of season 4. (I have skipped seasons 2 and three because HBOGO is expensive).
The most important thing I learned from Girls is that there is immense pleasure in being a voyeur into the fictional lives of people you despise. Instead of giving the show the same attention I give The Mindy Project or New Girl, my viewing experience is similar to that of watching a well-written car crash with a great soundtrack. Or yet another episode of Say Yes to the Dress.
This is a recap of the first season of episode 4. I originally wrote it for a website, but they wanted someone who loves the show, and while I enjoy it, I definitely don’t LOVE it. So here we are, the first blog post in the “rejected articles” series. Because I still feel the same way. (Although I held back in the original post a bit, so congratulations, here you get to read my full vitriol.)
OBVIOUSLY, we need to address Marnie’s sex scene with Desi about 4 minutes into the episode. I PROBABLY could have gone without SEEING it, but I like her the best when she’s not talking, so win-lose. Many tweets confirm that the general reaction was gaping at the screen. Mine was just cringing. (Seriously though, WHAT ARE YOU DOING MARNIE YOU KNOW THIS WILL END SO BADLY… But I also hate you so eat your heart out… oh wait, you’re not the one doing the eating, are you?) I think it’s cool that we’re destigmatizing cunnilungus and female pleasure and all (that is SO important to me), but I just hate Marnie, okay?
Oh, and we should have a little chat about the JAZZ BRUNCH. I love jazz, I love brunch. Just don’t put those things together and add Marnie’s HORRIBLE folk songs, and you’re good. Shosh got it SO right, mentioning Marnie’s singing bringing back nightmares of listening to female folk singers in her parents’ car. (Side note: How cute is Ray? Can they just get back together? Also, I know the terrible sound of badly written folk songs all too well, this one hit home.) When Shosh told Ray, “Honestly you picked the best one of my friends to bone because I never really liked Marnie anyway,” I felt her speak to my very soul. And Marnie, your *furtive glances* to Desi really just say, ‘SOMEONE PLEASE REALIZE I’M SLEEPING WITH THIS GUY ALREADY.’ As mentioned before: this can only end badly.
Kudos to Elijah for semi-putting her in her place though. As with Adam’s freak out at his anti-depressant commercial, Marnie needs a SERIOUS reality check. Those bratty kids were right, the girl just can’t sing. I kind of love seeing the train wreck that is Marnie though.
Jessa’s goodbye with Beadie was fairly heartwarming, but everything about Natasha Lyonne’s character rings false, to me. From her outfit, to her accent, to her mere presence, she comes off as a clever little name drop. This scene showed growth in Jessa, which is immediately cancelled out by how she treats Hannah. JUST TELL HER YOU’LL MISS HER. I don’t identify with Girls characters, mostly because I do not find it difficult to tell my friends how I feel, and vice versa. In fact, we all talk so much that it’s ALL we do!
The main point of the episode, I guess, is the fact that Hannah is moving to Iowa. It drives me SO INSANE that her and Adam can’t just TALK. They just have cardboard, boring, useless sex and then they don’t even say goodbye, because neither CAN FACE THEIR FEELINGS. JUST BREAK UP OR SAY I LOVE YOU IT ISN’T THAT HARD. At brunch, Hannah asks Adam what he’s thinking about, and she throws out one of the most relatable quotes from the episode, “What are you thinking about? The maze of our future? ‘Cause that’s what I’m thinking about.”
I have plenty of qualms about Girls. I think the show needs a more diverse cast. It takes place in metropolitan 2012-2015. I think it falls into the category of lurid too easily. I think Marnie should be killed off. I think the sex scenes are usually pretty boring. At the end of the day, however, there are scenes that invoke a sense of self-awareness and facetiousness that redeem it. When Natasha Lyonne’s character goes on her rant about millennials, I see this, and it makes me wonder if all the qualms I have about it are intentional plot devices, and what make the show so brilliant?
There are moments from Girls I find relatable, and there are moments that make me want to throw up. I don’t think the characters are meant to be likeable, so when I watch it, I don’t consider that.I watch it like I would the Kardashians, maybe with a bit more critical thinking thrown in. I think it’s an often brilliant commentary on what it is to be a millennial. You don’t have to identify with Marnie, Shoshanna, Hannah, or Jessa to appreciate that. You don’t have to stop thinking critically to enjoy Girls.