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Review: The 'Girls' Navigate Boyfriends, Threesomes & Art In Another Standout Episode

Television
by Kevin Jagernauth
June 3, 2012 11:00 PM
1 Comment
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Season 1, Episode 8: Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too

The season isn't even finished yet and we're already seeing best friends Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Marnie (Alison Williams) swap places in the boyfriend department. During the last episode out at a wild party in Bushwick, Marnie was forced to come to terms that not only is her split with Charlie very, very real, but he's moved on with a new girl, Audrey. As for Hannah, after a heated confrontation with Adam ("Do you want me to be your fucking boyfriend?") they've finally sorted out just where their relationship stands, and when "Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too" opens, the pair have very comfortably settled into coupledom. With used Magnum condom packages strewn on the floor and an open jar of Cinnamon Raisin Swirl peanut butter between them, Hannah and Adam lie in bed, watching his childhood home movies.

As for Marnie, she's deep in the depths of post-breakup malaise. She's spending her morning on Facebook, torturing herself by clicking through Charlie's pictures from his vacation in Rome with Audrey (while having the pleasure of listening to Hannah and Adam have sex in the next room). The three all meet up in the kitchen later in the day where Marnie begins to gripe about Charlie's trip, but leave it to Adam to not only cut right to the chase ("This is your ex-boyfriend? You still wanna tap that?") but oddly enough, be the voice of sympathy. "When I broke up with my girlfriend from college, so sad. I lost thirty pounds, I couldn't move, or talk, or get my dick hard," he shares. This is right before he answers his cell phone: "Hey skank, where you at? Getting your pussy pounded?" It's his sister on the line.

Hannah and Adam take off to a technical rehearsal of the play he's written and stars in. And true to form, it's pretty bizarre. From what we see, it's told the from perspective of a 6'3" boy in sixth grade who's just discovered masturbation (of course) and eyes a girl in class, who he reveals he'll fuck five years later in an alley. But even more strange, is that it's actually pretty good. However, it's the "canoe part" with his buddy Gavin where it falls part. Gavin's attempts to inject some comedy into what Adam has written -- complaining it's "all rejection and date rape," to which Adam counters is "real shit" -- falls flat and seems disjointed from the rest of the performance. Unsatisfied with the direction the play is taking, Adam up and quits, storms out of the rehearsal, and unleashes his rage "Midnight Cowboy"-style on a car that stops short in front of him at an intersection, all to Hannah's surprise and shock. Hannah tries to reason with him saying maybe he just needs to guide Gavin in the right direction, or maybe be willing to bend, but Adam is unequivocal: "Not on your art, that shouldn't be a compromise."

Meanwhile back at Hannah and Marnie's, Jessa has taken the role of Marnie's booster as she continues to click through Charlie's Facebook pictures ("You're a classic beauty, in the vein of Brooke Shields"). But Marnie is wary. As she notes, "We've known each other for six years, you've known my name for three." Jessa insists she cares for Marnie, and she does -- no one would endure someone else's self pity and try to raise their spirits if they didn't -- but she admits she finds her "uptight." And Marnie tries to explain she's aware she can come off -- and is -- that way, but not always by choice. "That isn't fun for me, do you realize that? Being the uptight girl, I hate it...Sometimes being inside my own head, makes me so exhausted it makes me want to cry."

So to get out of that headspace, Jessa and Marnie hit a bar, looking great as usual, and it isn't long before a suave gentleman (a smarmy Chris O'Dowd) is buying the girls drinks. Marnie is enjoying being hit on, and finds him hot as well, while Jessa is much more blasé and reserved about the whole thing. ("What is a venture capitalist? It sounds like some kind of explorer, but that can't be the case.") But regardless, she joins Marnie as they head back to his apartment to continue their evening. And what does a venture capitalist in Williamsburg do to let his hair down? He spins mashups of pop songs and field recordings, and hilariously, O'Dowd unveils something he calls "Field Nice": that's Len's one hit wonder "Steal My Sunshine" with the sound of children playing. It's amazingly awful.

And from art with no integrity to high integrity, Adam is still fuming about his play and is unsure where to put his roiling energy. When he returns to his apartment with Hannah, he first tries to turn to sex, but she decides to have a shower instead. Then, in another high watermark (forthcoming pun intended) of Lena Dunham's ability to be humliated on screen, Adam joins her in the shower where he pees on her as a joke, and she is rightfully and absolutely horrified. But once again, here is where the show really kicks in an astonishing maturity. After that terrible violation, Hannah stays and continues to encourage Adam to reconsider working on it, fully realizing that his emotional barometer at the moment might be out of whack. "I would rather do nothing for the rest of myself than attach my name to something mediocre. Your integrity is all that matters," he maintains. But Hannah's continued encouragement makes an impression. "Do you know how unusual it is to see someone doing something like that. Like what you were doing, that's so open and honest and weird and you're not making fun of them in your mind? It made me want to go meet you when you were fifteen and kiss you," she says.

But O'Dowd isn't getting anywhere near a kiss with either Jessa or Marnie. Try as she might to loosen up, Marnie just can't do it. When the three of them end up on the floor, O'Dowd makes his move on both of them, prompting Jessa to start making their exit, but in a last attempt to shed her uptight image, Marnie starts to make out with her. It's not so much that they she lusts for Jessa as it is a tacit acknowledgement of their newly rekindled friendship and trust. Thus when O'Dowd makes a move for Marnie's boob she promptly jumps back, spilling wine on his $10,000 rug. This causes O'Dowd to have a full on meltdown, ranting at the girls about Williamsburg trust fund kids who have everything and don't have to work for it. There's a childish sense of entitlement and cluelessness to his speech, and no surprise, he'll spend the night alone getting the red wine stain out.

But if the venture capitalist demands companionship for the work he does in the "real world," Adam is fully aware that no one owes him anything. He prompts Hannah to get out of bed in the middle of the night, leading her outside -- and in a tremendously moving moment -- reveals that he's spent the evening pasting the word "Sorry" all over the side of the building. He's strange, he's weird and he doesn't always communicate well, but this is the kind of heartfelt gesture that we've never seen from Adam and certainly nothing close to how he's treated Hannah in the past. And we're as moved by his apology as Hannah is, and he adds that he's decided to do the play after all. Why? "I'm going to do it, so you can watch it." If there was any doubt about Adam's feelings for Hannah, they have been put to rest here.

Our only minor complaint for this episode is that Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) is nowhere to be found, for no good reason, but then again, she hasn't been given much to do thus far and so her absence isn't really felt either. But overall, "Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too" is another high mark for the show, one that once again finds Dunham using the complexity, naivety and yes, quirkiness, of her characters to drive at real resonance. The underlying commentary about the creation of art -- contrasting those who can afford to indulge in it on a whim (mashups!) and those whose whole body and soul are on the line -- is something quite unique as well, even though it might open up Dunham (who has been unjustly accused of nepotism among many other things) for more criticism. And it's nice to see Marnie and Jessa not only get a subplot of their own, but one that actually advances their characters and relationship. Both heartfelt and tremendously funny, it's another top-notch effort from a show that is simply one of the best things on television right now. [A]

Songs in this episode: Demi Lovato "Skyscraper"; Life In Film "Get Closer"; Electric Guest "This Head I Hold"; Len "Steal My Sunshine"; Bryan Ferry "Slave To Love"; The Vaccines "Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra)"

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1 Comment

  • Steven Flores | June 3, 2012 11:21 PMReply

    That was a really funny episode. Despite the fact that there was no Shoshana in the episode, Adam peeing in the shower and Chris O'Dowd fucking losing it made up for it. Oh, and those mash-ups were fucking terrible. Ruined "Slave to Love" with animal sounds. Just ruins the mood.

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