This week’s episode of Girls, “All Adventurous Women Do,” was exponentially better than the last two. There were jokes! I had forgotten that Girls is a comedy, having been distracted by 1,000 articles about how Dunham is doing it wrong. But a strong beginning (Charlie references The Craft!) gave way to a solid half an hour about a young woman trying—and mostly failing—to make it in the big city.
Poor, beautiful Marnie—too nice boyfriend Charlie shaved his head and she absolutely hates how it looks! An artist we are informed is successful says something lewd about fucking her and she immediately runs to the bathroom to masturbate! Ignoring the artist’s actual behavior (strutting, general showing off and talking about “when” he would fuck her), what kind of stuck-up workaholic perfectionist masturbates in a public bathroom at a work event? I thought she was reaching into her tights to grab a Xanax or a lighter for a cigarette, and the eventual payoff (feigned pleasure) feels false and filtered through the male gaze. This girl is so turned on by this dangerous artist that she can’t contain herself! I am clutching my pearls.
Meanwhile, Jessa is babysitting in a sheer maxi! The mother of her charges is the savvy campaign manager from Parks and Recreation (Kathryn Hahn) who is making a documentary about homeless former-rich people. The children are novel-writing, mosaic-making Tenenbaum prodigies. The dad is, predictably, a Cool Dad who comes home late from the Bowery Ballroom to smoke weed and flirt with Jessa. He also eats his daughter’s “school snacks” even though he is not in night school, a punishable offense. I wanted Jessa to have dirty laundry room/playroom sex with Cool Dad, but feel like we might have to wait a while for that particular thrill.
Zosia Mamet (sigh, Shoshanna) is busy curled up on her couch reminding us that she is a virgin. In case we forgot! Remember everyone; one of these girls is a virgin! That is her defining characteristic (apparently she also has IBS and cannot catch a break) and I am excited for next week when she looks like she has a real storyline. Congratulations Zosia!
Somewhere in Brooklyn, Hannah is grappling with the devastating news that she has HPV. Except, the show really lets us down by making it seem as if HPV is a devastating thing. Hello! HPV is like the common cold! Barring Republican candidates for public office and scornful school-employed nurse practitioners, I didn’t even know people were making a big deal about this anymore. This is where I felt my familiar sense of disappointment with Girls—here was a chance to use Hannah’s devastation with her diagnosis as a point for other characters to roll their eyes at. We could have seen all of her friends shrugging off the news because HPV really is no big deal; instead, Marnie acts as if Hannah has just heard she has six weeks to live. Jessa has it, but the show has already labeled Jessa as reckless so the company isn’t welcome in this scenario. I hate to ask TV to teach us things, but this was an opportunity to have a great teachable moment and instead we got stupid/awesome Adam pretending he already tested negatively for the virus.
I was glad that Hannah’s gay ex-boyfriend was smart enough to point out that duh, guys can’t be tested for HPV. I like that Elijah kid. I think he’s a smart cookie.
But just when I was ready to throw my hands up in frustration, Hannah went home to existentially twitter to 26 followers about her horrible, no good, very bad day. I loved hearing her turn on Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” to help her out of a funk, and I loved seeing Marnie come home and join her. On a show that tries very, very hard to be about reality, this little moment was as real as they’ve gotten—just two best friends dancing on their own.