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Review: Is It Some Kind Of Solstice? 'Girls' Finds Hannah & Marnie's Sex Lives Turned Upside Down

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist April 29, 2012 at 11:00PM

"Try and give less of a shit," guest star Jorma Taccone says during the third episode of "Girls" and it's advice Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Marnie (Allison Williams) eventually learn to take to heart. But not without seeing some major changes that re-orient their respective sex lives.
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Girls, HBO, episode 3
Season 1, Episode 3: "All Adventurous Women Do"

"Try and give less of a shit," guest star Jorma Taccone says during the third episode of "Girls," and it's advice Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Marnie (Allison Williams) eventually learn to take to heart. But not without seeing some major changes re-orient their respective sex lives first.

While "All Adventurous Women Do" zeroes in on Hannah and Marnie, it does so by rather inelegantly pushing Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) to the sidelines. The former goes off on a babysitting gig for a child belonging to Kathryn Hahn, who is utterly wasted in a cameo playing a documentary filmmaker, making a picture about the homeless. It's kind of a bummer to see someone so funny and talented who isn't given much to do. Jessa arrives dressed to work, essentially, in her underwear, a gag that is set up and then pretty much goes nowhere. Meanwhile, Shoshanna spends the show on her couch watching "Baggage," her favorite program on The Game Show Network, which features a concept so shockingly absurd that it's made even more hilarious by the fact that it's real (we had to look it up). But ultimately both plot threads are dead ends (at the moment, but perhaps Jessa's is left slightly open) and after both featured so prominently in previous episodes, it's a bit of a shift to see them relegated to secondary status.

With that minor complaint out of the way, the extra room given to Hannah and Marnie once again allows Dunham and co. to spin another remarkably funny, refreshing and honest episode that continues to deftly toe the line between awkward and hilarious. As the show opens, Marnie's sensitive boyfriend Charlie (Christopher Abbott) continues to respulse her even if it's for a good cause. Showing up with a newly shaven head, Marnie states without hesitation that she hates it, saying that he looks like "Mickey Mouse without ears." A little deflated, Charlie reveals he did it as a sign of a solidarity with a female co-worker who started chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. Even when he's trying his best, he still can't get it right with Marnie. Meanwhile, Hannah is back in the sack with Adam (Adam Driver), when she's interrupted by a phone call. The results of her doctor's exam is in -- she has an STD.

Lena Dunham, Girls, EP 3

Learning she has HPV, Hannah falls into a little bit of a spiral. Her first thought is that the unreliable and possibly unfaithful Adam has given it to her, which he denies (as you remember, in last week's episode he stated his previous partners never insisted on condoms). But after getting some advice from Shoshanna, she decides to track down her previous boyfriend Elijah (Andrew Rannells) to find out if he's the one who gave it to her/let him know he might be infected. "In the STD world, it's kind of courteous," the virginal Shoshanna shares. Meanwhile, Marnie heads off to an opening at the art gallery where she works -- looking utterly gorgeous -- where her eccentric boss puts her in the path of the artist Jonathan (Taccone), with a not-unsubtle suggestion that they should fuck. Marnie retreats to her usually embarrassed mode of self defense, when Jonathan both shocks her and defuses the situation by stating the aforementioned line of advice, and returns to drinking his beer. Marnie is immediately intrigued by this man who is in every way possible, the total opposite of the considerate Charlie.

Meeting Elijah at a bar, he drops a bombshell on Hannah: he's gay. Denying that he infected Hannah (and reminding her that it's not routinely looked for in general tests for men, putting Adam back into candidacy), he reveals he was already aware of his homosexuality while they were dating, and of course, Hannah is devastated. As for Marnie, intrigued by Jonathan, she ditches the gallery with him and heads to the High Line, but feels compelled to tell him that because she has a boyfriend, she won't be kissing him. But Jonathan knows exactly what he's doing, and stepping to her, drops a helluva goodbye line that will be repeated by every douchebag in America for the next few weeks: "But I want you to know, the first time I fuck you, I might scare you, because I'm a man, and I know how to do things." Is it any wonder that Marnie races back to the gallery, finds a bathroom and masturbates?

Reconvening back home, the episode ends on a pitch perfect note. It's not easy to pull off the dancing-my-problems-away scene and have it feel real, but the combination of the right song choice and the tone established make it work perfectly. With the music rising, Marnie returns to the apartment to find Hannah already dancing in her room, where she tells her that Elijah is gay. That infomation, combined with the news of an STD have made a helluva a day for Hannah, and with Marnie left to contemplate her sexual relationship with Charlie...what else is there to do at that moment but "give less of a shit" and let loose to Robyn's "Dancing On My Own"? [B]

Songs featured in this episode: Vex Ruffin "Would You Take It"; LCD Soundsystem "I Can Change"; Mayer Hawthorne "Just Ain't Gonna Work Out"; Best Coast "Our Deal"; Gang Gang Dance "Mindkilla"; Yung Humma "Lemme Smang It"; Benny Sings "Little Donna"; Sarabeth Tucek "Get Well Soon"; Robyn "Dancing On My Own"

This article is related to: TV Reviews, Television, Girls


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