Some combination of Hannah’s OCD and her innate laziness has caused her ebook deal to crash and burn. She’s written practically nothing, and Pumpt Magazine editor David (John Cameron Mitchell), reminding Hannah of her already-received advance hanging in the balance, threatens to sue her if she doesn’t produce a manuscript by the day’s end. Hannah, disconnected from reality, opts to spend her make-or-break moment tending to her ruptured eardrum, flipping through glossies and giving herself a “short n’ gorgeous” haircut that goes awry. Neighbor Laird (Jon Glaser) cleans it up for her, and also gives her the wake-up call that most “Girls” viewers have been waiting for: “You know what, Hannah? You are the most self-involved, presumptuous person I have ever met. Ever.”
This would be a more relish-worthy retort if it didn’t come crammed in the middle of one of the worst episodes in the series’ history. After her slow and soulful rendition of Kanye West’s “Stronger” followed by desk sex with Charlie in his office, Marnie is still in Crazy Town, and for some reason Charlie is willing to be her escort. Marnie almost has a Booth Jonathan repeat incident, thinking Charlie is sleeping with her casually. But after she shouts at him over brunch, berating him for not wanting to “settle down” at the tender age of 25, he blandly admits his love for her.
This episode suffered from a distinct pressure to wrap up storylines, or at least to have a Big Event occur in each storyline (except for dear Jessa, who is still MIA and only present via her coolly dismissive voicemail greeting). I was intrigued to see Adam and Natalia giving it the old college try after their highly uncomfortable sexual encounter from last week’s episode. Here, Natalia seems willing to work on things with Adam, particularly his romantic/sexual control issues that have come to the fore. “I can like your cock and not be a whore,” she asserts, while he pumps away on top of her.
But, deep down, Adam wants someone to like his cock and accept his male-narrated slut-calling. This is an interesting thread to be gleaned from his ultimate return to Hannah, who as we remember from the first season had (mostly) no problem playing along with his sexual preferences. (She also “acted like [he] was teaching her everything,” as Adam admitted during his AA meeting.) Yet Hannah and Adam’s reunion at this episode’s end plays more like a Ross-and-Rachel sitcom moment, with a dewy and shirtless Adam hightailing it through the streets and subways of Brooklyn to sadsack Hannah, breaking down her door and then cradling her in his arms. What could have been a shrewd comment on Adam and Hannah’s power dynamic instead turns into a forced, glossed-over denouement to a fairly strong season.
And so the one couple I like from the series breaks up, while two other couples awkwardly and phonily get back together. It will be interesting to see how these developments progress (or devolve) in Season Three. The problem with the series’ recent focus on its strong male characters -- the guys of “Girls” -- is that a narrative obligation arises to keep them in the picture. If only that obligation didn’t manifest in such woefully typical ways.
Bits and pieces: