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'Girls' Recap 2: The Girls 'Get Ideas,' But What Do They Want?

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood January 20, 2013 at 9:30PM

In the epic Hannah vs. Marnie blowout last season, Marnie snaps at Hannah, “I like to be around people who know what they want!” This line is particularly relevant in Sunday night’s all-new episode, “I Get Ideas”: Do the young women of “Girls” know what they want?
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Lena Dunham in "Girls"
Lena Dunham in "Girls"

In the epic Hannah vs. Marnie blowout last season, Marnie snaps at Hannah, “I like to be around people who know what they want!” This line is particularly relevant in Sunday night’s all-new episode, “I Get Ideas”: Do the young women of “Girls” know what they want?

Marnie, newly downsized, takes a job interview at an art gallery. Upon realizing she won’t get the position, and upon being told by the high-maintenance gallery owner (played by Lena Dunham's mom, Laurie Simmons) that the art world may not be a good fit, Marnie, crestfallen, manages to squeak out, “Where do you see me?” Poor, pretty Marnie, all dressed up in her age-inappropriate Ann Taylor dress suit, has no clue where she sees herself -- career-wise, relationship-wise or friend-wise.

This recalls another line from Season One. In the finale episode, Hannah giggles that she’s glad “all of Marnie’s weird grown-up stuff” has been vacated from the apartment. Marnie surrounds herself with this weird grown-up stuff, her blue suit included, to ward off the feeling that she’s lost and without direction. Interestingly, the “pretty person” job she secures by the end of this new episode -- a hostess at a club, which is presumably even farther from her personal goals -- requires a skimpy, infantilized jumpsuit as its uniform. As Elijah notes, “You look like a slutty Von Trapp child.”

Elijah is unsure of what he wants, too. He flounders when boyfriend George (Billy Morrissette) breaks up with him, claiming he wants to stay together. Which of course begs the question: Why did he sleep with Marnie? Meanwhile, Jessa is so self-righteously confident in her newlywed life that it raises a few red flags. “This is what it’s like when the hunt is over,” she intones to Hannah in her Brit-Buddha voice. When Hannah hints at Jessa’s alarming whirlwind engagement and marriage to Thomas-John, Jessa interrupts quickly, “You tend to overthink things, and that’s an issue for you.”

Girls Donald Glover
Hannah, true to form, shows the most wildly fluctuating indecision. She tells Elijah that she wants a “kind, sexy, responsible boyfriend,” unlike creepy Adam who sends her emo-zombie videos with depressing songs he’s written. But she has a few hang-ups about current-boyfriend Sandy’s Republicanism. This comes to a head in the episode's strongest scene when Hannah, in a terribly misguided attempt to topple Sandy’s political beliefs, mentions the statistic that two out of three men on Death Row are black. It’s a brilliant acting moment for Dunham, whose face registers “Gotcha!” and then “Oh, shit” within the course of a few seconds.

Sandy, obviously annoyed, retorts that, yes, it’s tough being a minority, but then gets to the root of the problem: “All you white girls move to Brooklyn, with your fixed-gear bikes, and you’re like, ‘I’m gonna date a black guy!’” When young women, possibly like Hannah, realize that Republican Sandy doesn’t perfectly fit into the hip, multi-ethnic vision they have for themselves, problems arise. Donald Glover is terrific during this scene, communicating Sandy’s frustration in a funny way, but also a comfortable confidence in what he believes. Sandy’s a Republican, and he doesn’t need to argue loudly about it.

Hannah and Sandy break up, which leaves her still uncertain about Adam. When Adam shows up in (not at, in) Hannah’s apartment unannounced, her first response is to dial 911. She quickly hangs up, and then proceeds to tell him emphatically to leave. Yet as he’s leaving, she hesitates, suddenly unsure whether she really wants to banish him from her life. The cops arrive, making a routine visit on a 911-hangup call, which gives Hannah’s indecision a blatant, ludicrous form: Is Adam still a romantic interest, or is he a newfound emergency?

Bits and pieces:

  • This episode is directed by Lena Dunham, and co-written by Dunham and Jennifer Konner. Its title, "I Get Ideas," is also the title of the M. Ward song that plays over the closing credits.
  • Shoshanna and Ray are enjoying a snuggly relationship, doing all the gushy things new couples do -- lounging in bed for hours, making eyes at each other, bonding over the tactile experience of touching a pig. The usual.
  • Best line goes to Hannah: “Maybe you think of us as just one white, blobby mass with stupid ideas that you can’t deal with, so why don’t you lay this thing down, flip it and reverse it.” And then Sandy: “You just said a Missy Elliot lyric.”

This article is related to: Television, TV Reviews, HBO, Girls, Lena Dunham, Lena Dunham, Lena Dunham


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.