Jessa volunteers to get Marnie out of her head, so they get gussied up and go out for martinis. A promising cutie (Chris O'Dowd of Bridesmaids) sends over another round—well, Marnie thinks he's promising; Jessa thinks he's boring—and invites them back to his place to show off his pricey red wine, expensively sterile furniture, and inept and painfully sincere DJ "skills." Marnie responds to her surroundings, for some reason, by starting to make out with Jessa; when the two of them don't let O'Dowd join in, then spill wine on his hideous shag carpet, O'Dowd goes off on a rant: Don't they know what it is to work for a living? Do they know how spoiled they are?
The scene goes on too long, and I don't know that I believe the girls would have kept sitting there while O'Dowd yelled at them for what felt like 15 minutes -- but it makes its points. This weirdo needs a girlfriend, to be impressed with his CB2-catalog apartment and taste in red wine, to help him feel less lonely in Brooklyn. And Marnie and Jessa need each other, to save each other from guys like O'Dowd when things get weird or scary. (Not that Jessa's intimidated, of course; while yanking Marnie out of O'Dowd's apartment, she sneers that she's going to go down on Marnie out on the sidewalk.) (…She isn't. I'd kind of love it if she did, just to mess with Marnie's head a little, Booth-Jonathan-style, but most intra-straight-girls make-outs have nothing to do with anything.)
The episode nails the giddy-get-to-know-you part of the New Relationship for the participants—viz. Hannah and Adam looking at his home movies, or the only-funny-to-them "she'll show you her tits for an ice-cream cone"/"just kidding, I have five dollars" exchange—but also how exasperating and saccharine it can be from the outside. Marnie doesn't even feign happiness for Hannah, just resents Hannah's contentment and failure to fulfill friendship duties. (Jessa finds it more annoying than hurtful; it's more about Hannah not being available to hang out than it is Hannah not listening.) It's not all that attractive on Marnie's part, but her "how could you go and get a boyfriend at a time like this?!" attitude is totally familiar. Still, it's nice to see the relationship between Marnie and Jessa move forward—at least for now.
But I think we're headed for an ugly Marnie/Hannah showdown; each of these weirdos needs her best girlfriend, and they've been like ships in the night the last few episodes. Things may come to a head next week when rent comes due once more…
Sarah D. Bunting co-founded TelevisionWithoutPity.com, and has written for Seventeen, New York Magazine, MSNBC.com, Salon, Yahoo!, and others. She's the chief cook and bottle-washer at TomatoNation.com.