Recap: Hannah Goes For 'Free Snacks' In 'Girls' Season 3, Episode 6

Television
by Kevin Jagernauth
February 9, 2014 10:30 PM
5 Comments
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Compromise. It's something that, as you get older, you learn to navigate with the pragmatism of being an adult. But when you're younger, it can be difficult to understand and exercise. In "Free Snacks," it finds Hannah (Lena Dunham), Marnie (Allison Williams) and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) all trading off grander aspirations for what they can realistically acquire at the moment, though it will be met with difficulty, pain or just cold indifference.

For Hannah, it seems that as one door has closed—with her e-book in legal purgatory—another has opened at GQ magazine. Quitting her job at the coffee shop, Ray (Alex Karpovsky) can't help but quip and ask her, "Did they need someone for a before picture in a makeover article?" Rather, Hannah reluctantly reveals she's been hired to write advertorial copy for a Neiman Marcus campaign, which Ray declares as "morally and creatively bankrupt." But it's a well-paid writing job in an arena where there are few to come by, so Hannah is eager to take it on.

Meanwhile, following his random hookup with Marnie in last week's "Only Child," Ray attempts to do the right thing and call. "I'm trying to follow the protocols of a gentleman and a squire," he declares to a cold Marnie, who doesn't tolerate the pleasantries. But Ray heads to her apartment anyway, trying to show that he does care about Marnie and her interests. As he soon tells her, he does know that she's going through a hard time, even if she doesn't want to admit it to herself. And so they settle in to watch reality TV—a new experience to Ray, with the closest he's gotten such programming being Ken Burns' "Jazz" documentary series. But he'll lower his standards to watch "The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills" with her, because, after all, they will fuck afterward. 

And they do, and follow their afternoon delight with some Chinese food, but it doesn't take long for them to start bickering, with the status of African aid serving as the keg that explodes between them. It's Ray who, as always, doesn't suffer who he perceives to be fools, and even calls Marnie dumb at her "spiritual core." But he apologizes for flying off the handle, and she decides to stay and they finish their meal together. The pair have forged an odd, secret union based on loneliness, sex and a curious opposites-attract allure. Nothing about it makes sense, and perhaps that's part of what makes it interesting to them. But both Ray and Marnie are smart enough to know that, for the moment, the rest of the gang doesn't need to know and wouldn't understand their arrangement. And they probably need to understand it themselves first.

And it seems Ray can't stop affecting the lives of those he's come in contact with, because after glimpsing him playing a game of pickup basketball on the street, it's the straw that breaks the camel's back for Shoshanna. With Ray's coffee shop newly profiled in a magazine, Shoshanna is feeling like she's being left behind while her ex moves on to bigger and better things. "Ray is being written about in popular surface publications and my life is a mess," she tells Jessa (Jemima Kirke). So she's going to do something about it. Her plan? Find a stable relationship immediately, and her choice is Parker, who is available, but isn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. "He's so stupid, I'm afraid our children wouldn't get into preschool," Shoshanna admits about her new mate. He may not be the best option at the moment, but it would seem he's better than nothing. And so she brokers a deal with Parker (who is down for whatever, to paraphrase)—with the details worked out as she's bent over and he's fucking her from behind—with the number of hang times and activities listed out almost like a contract.

As for Hannah, she takes to the job hand-in-glove. She makes fast friends with her coworkers, and her boss Janice (played by J. Crew creative director Jenna Lyons) seems to like her ideas. But after a great first day, Hannah's second brings with it a crashing wave of discouragement. She learns that her co-workers Joe, Kevin and Karen are actually writers too, but found themselves falling backward into a 9-to-5 job doing corporate advertising. And they're accomplished—having been featured in major publications (New Yorker, +1) and won awards (Yale poetry)—and immensely talented. Suddenly, Hannah has a horrible vision of her future. She tries to tell Janice she's not going to stick around for too long, to which her boss replies nonchalantly that there plenty of other people that would love her job. Hannah takes back her premature resignation but is reduced to tears at her cubicle. For the salary, free food (which she is utterly astonished by, hence the title of the episode) and perks, it's not worth her dreams being put on hold. But Joe manages to buoy her spirits, telling her that weekends and evenings are still all hers, and Hannah is slightly rejuvenated with a new focus.

She returns home to tell Adam (Adam Driver) her new plan—3 hours of writing each evening—but her boyfriend has his own news. He's been out at various auditions trying to land an acting gig, even though he hates the process entirely. So why does he do it? For the challenge. "I just like reading emotional cues from strangers in high pressure situations," he explained. But his unhurried attitude paid off as he received a callback for an audition he was almost too late for, and only had ten minutes to spare to read the sides. He's ecstatic, and so too is Hannah, so she settles on the couch to start writing...only to fall asleep, hugging her laptop.

You feel for Hannah, because for anyone who has entertained notions of an artistic career and seen it come against the cold reality of making a living for the first time, it can be a minor devastation. With plans to jam on weekends, write in the evenings, sketch during lunch breaks...they turn out to be promises that aren't easy to exercise. Or, like Hannah's co-workers, the dream is replaced by the comfort of a steady income and routine. How Hannah handles things next will be interesting to see—can she manage a steady job and her dream of writing her own work, or will one have to replace the other? As for Shoshanna and Marnie, both embarking on relationships to fill a void in their lives, perhaps they'd be well advised to take Adam's approach of simply not caring and winding up falling into something great. Life can be practical, but love simply can't. [B]

Songs in this episodeBig Black Delta "Betamax"; Duffy "Stepping Stone"; Wale ft. Tiara Thomas "Bad"; Hannah Georgas "Millions"

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5 Comments

  • sarah | February 16, 2014 12:03 AMReply

    that hannah georgas song rocked. thanks for posting it. that's about the only thing I've really enjoyed thus far!!! Not digging it but I've devoted this much so far I'd better continue. haha.

  • Germar D | February 14, 2014 1:18 PMReply

    Funny reading the comments below. I, and may of my friends and fellow analysts, hated the second season. This season, so far, is more mainstream I think. But mainstream is mainstream because it works. And I think it's mainstream while still being fairly progressive. It is interesting that Girls seems to be controlled by the guys in Girls - pun not intended, but works perfectly. I did 10 minutes, starting at about 20 minutes:
    looktothecookie.org/2014/02/incognito-walking-dead-girls-spoilers.html

  • Ms. D | February 11, 2014 3:44 PMReply

    Why is no one talking about the fact that Marnie and Ray's new relationship should pose an ethical dilemma as he is her friend's ex?? It seems obvious to me the reason they want to keep it "hush-hush" is because it will undoubtedly explode in their faces when Shosh (or Hannah or Jessa) discovers it. I personally think each season gets better as Lena Dunham consistently hits on cultural and generational truths - even while each character continues to make insanely ridiculous and self-destructive choices.

  • J | February 11, 2014 2:20 PMReply

    I was a fan of this show for the first two seasons and now it just seems lost to me. The dialogue, especially in the most recent episode, is obvious and uninteresting. Like True Blood, Girls seems to have bitten off more than it can chew, introducing superficial new characteristics instead of diving more deeply into the interesting characters it once developed. Adam has been turned into a driveling wimp instead of the feral maniac that once endeared viewers to the show. And the supposed rawness and candor that was also once a hallmark of the show has been lost on idiotic notions and myopic stereotypes about New York youth. It's a banal creation. Glad that True Detective and Looking exist to wipe the palate clean after stale bite after stale bite this season.

  • yer | February 9, 2014 10:46 PMReply

    Am I the only one who thinks this season is an absolute bore? First 2 were better.

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