A Girl on “Girls”: Tiny Navajos, Cool Dad Hang, and Taxi Rides (S1/E7 “Welcome to Bushwick a.k.a. The Crackcident”)

A massive party is a fine setting for a lot of important reveals in a small amount of time—Can’t Hardly Wait, Clueless, and The Rules of Attraction use the same device—and that is why we find the girls of Girls in Bushwick this week.  “Welcome to Bushwick a.k.a. The Crackcident” gives the audience a look at Hannah, Jessa, Marnie and Shoshanna outside the parameters of their normal, everyday lives, which is why we finally get to meet more realized versions of some of these characters.

Marnie shows up to the party dressed like a stewardess, which is trouble enough if the party wasn’t in Bushwick to begin with.  Questionable Goods is playing (they sound great, with more members than just Charlie and Ray) and she feels compelled to say hello to new ex-boyfriend Charlie even though we are immediately sure this is a bad idea.  The two interact cordially, but are interrupted by Charlie’s new girlfriend, Bare Midriff.  Marnie is horrified—she immediately reports to the girls: “I just saw Charlie get climbed like a gym class rope by a tiny Navajo.” But the real kicker is that she spends the rest of the party desperate to find a sympathetic ear, culminating in a conversation with Elijah (remember Hannah’s gay ex-boyfriend?) where he accuses her of being selfish.  We’ve been faced with the idea that Marnie is selfish before, mainly in how she treated Charlie when they were still together; now, the lens has widened and Marnie is confronted with the possibility that other people think she is selfish too.

Meanwhile, Jessa arrives wearing a fabulous outfit topped with a feather collar.  Ray jokes, “Does everybody in the Age of Innocence fan club get one of these or is it just the gold members?” — a jab that is also a bright nod to the parallels between these girls and Edith Wharton’s 19th-century Upper East Side.  Jessa responds to texts from an unknown number looking to hang, and where we know it is definitely Cool Dad, Jessa is appropriately surprised when he shows up to the party looking like Legolas’ seen-better-days older brother.  His half ponytail and bottle of wine are wildly out of place in Bushwick, and when Jessa starts a fight with a couple of crust punks (dialogue win: “You’re going to reduce us to a subculture and then not accurately name the subculture?”) it is Cool Dad that pays the price.

The crust punks kick his ass and Jessa and Cool Dad end up in the emergency room, where Cool Dad cries into Jessa’s lap and turns into a total dick when she refuses to go home with him.  Like many a straight dude rejected before him, he accuses Jessa of being a tease.  When she asks that they just stay friends, he spits back that they were never friends in the first place.  Beyond seeing Cool Dad’s true colors, Jessa’s realization that she can’t just go sleeping with the married father of the kids she babysits is an important marker in the evolution of her character—Jessa is learning that that her actions have consequences, and that what feels good now might not feel right after the fact.

But Jessa isn’t all grown up just yet.  When Zosia Mamet accidentally smokes crack (her immediate response is “Don’t tell my mom!”) in the bathroom line, Jessa briefly swears to be her “crack spirit guide” before passing the job off to Ray.  All she wants is for Ray to make sure that “she doesn’t jump off a roof or get fingered by a beat boxer,” two of the most horrible fates that could befall any Bushwick party-goer.  I know we are being set up to root for Zosia Mamet and Ray as a couple, and that worked for me especially as Zosia Mamet ran skirtless through the wide streets of Bushwick with Ray dutifully trailing after her.  The Shoshanna plot line is probably the most superficial this week (though we do learn about her internal struggle to get to the front of kickboxing class), but it is shot beautifully and continues to amuse, so I won’t judge the fluff too harshly.

But Hannah—our selfish, dowdy Hannah—is a whole different story.  She is barely at the party for twenty minutes before spotting Adam, who we are informed hasn’t made contact since she was in Michigan two weeks prior.  Adam is wearing a shirt!  Hannah has never seen Adam outside of his apartment!  Adam is the kind of guy who hangs out with lesbians.  His dear friend Tako (definitely not Taco) reveals that Adam is a member of AA, a major surprise to Hannah.  From there we realize that we’ve only been privy to the parts of Adam that Hannah has been willing to see—the sex, the posturing, the avoidance—instead of the Adam that is a person with feelings and a past and apparently a wardrobe consisting of pants AND shirts.

We know Hannah is selfish and interested mostly in her own internal processes and experience, but it isn’t until this moment that the show lets us in on this secret: Hannah isn’t being slighted by Adam, she’s just essentially been using him for sex and wrongly blaming him for her inability to engage in an adult relationship.  After falling off of his bike on the way to go “scrapping,” Hannah confronts Adam about AA, acting as if his not mentioning this detail is some huge misstep, despite the “Anonymous” part of the whole AA thing.  Adam counters with a pained “You don’t want to know me!” which pulls the curtain back on his end of the relationship.  Here is a girl that just shows up unannounced looking to get her needs met, deigning to occasionally ask if something feels good but not if something feels right (cough, cough, Jessa) and as a result has no real understanding of the person she has been pining for.

Marnie, looking for some sort of evidence that she isn’t the selfish girl Elijah accused her of being, sets out to rescue Hannah from Adam, even though Hannah doesn’t need to be rescued; instead, Hannah is finally processing that her failure to really be with Adam has been her fault all along.  Adam is screaming at Hannah, asking if she wants him to be her boyfriend right when Marnie arrives looking to save the day.  We never get Hannah’s response, but if her smile in the taxi ride on the way home—flanked by Marnie and Adam—is any indication, it seems as if her answer was yes.

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