Last night's episode of Girls was one of the funniest and most relatable episodes this season. In it, Hannah becomes a high school substitute teacher and takes another teacher from the school to her ex-boyfriend's (Adam) new girlfriend's (Mimi Rose) art show.
Desi, Marnie's crazed music partner and bedfellow, makes what might be an astute observation if Hannah's ulterior motives weren't so clear, "I think it's beautiful that you're here… not contributing to this pervasive, toxic culture of women in the arts just cutting each other down, maligning each other."
This was clearly how Hannah rationalized her own attendance with herself.
Hannah had ulterior motives, though. She kept saying how much the art show was going to suck and obviously wanted to stalk Adam's new love interest. After an extreme-yet-brief confrontation with Adam, her date (who seemed kind of perfect for her, actually) bailed. But Mimi-Rose, not shaken by Hannah's obvious overstepping, asked to share a cab to an after party — without Adam.
What is both intriguing and grating about Mimi-Rose is that she forced the issue, even when she was in the power position. After all, there's very little for her to gain by playing patty-cake with Hannah. But she asked to spend time with her. She asked her opinion on the art show ("I have nothing to criticize, it was Beyoncé to me"). She opened up about not being prepared enough for the show because she's working on a book that wouldn't be as good as Hannah's ("I'm not a real writer, like you"). She tried so hard to forge a friendship where one had no explicable reason to exist.
Not everyone was buying it. Mimi-Rose's ex boyfriend Ace shares a cab with Adam and asks if he's clued into her whole, "sweet weirdo girl from Maine with the bitten up lips and the Aspergers" thing… But maybe it isn't an act. Either way, it's a show of sisterhood solidarity. Of caring about the pain of another woman, even when it benefits her in no way to do so.
Finally, in the deli after a few missteps (the cab driver hit an old lady with his car) Mimi-Rose asks Hannah straight up, "Do you resent me for dating Adam?" and Hannah gives the incredibly bullshitty response, "What?! Uh…no. I don't resent you. I would never resent another woman for that and place blame on her. That's not how I roll. If I was going to place blame on anyone I would resent him, I don't resent you."
But the truth comes out. She does resent Mimi-Rose. Like, a lot. And once she gets it out in the open at a laundromat (they needed a pee break), they realize that their fears are really very similar. They're nervous about one another because of what they each represent: Everything that Adam was before he met Mimi-Rose, and everything Adam may become after leaving Hannah. It's an all-too-relatable story about relationships and dating, but we never really get to see a world in which those two people (old girlfriend and new) actually do get to know each other and do start to empathize.
It's a sort of chicken vs. egg scenario: Do women hate women because society and media portray that so heavily, or does society portray women hating women because that's the reality? We can't know for sure, but this was a strong representation of how nice it would be in a world where we cut through the bullshit and tried to understand one another before blindly hating each other.
Is it unrealistic? Is it incredibly unlikely in the real world that two people who have no reason to like one another can find some common ground? Is it possible to move on from your ex by befriending his new girlfriend?
Who knows? But this episode was a wonderful glimpse of a world where it was all possible.
Unfortunately we later find out that Jessa isn't into this idea of female solidarity when she reveals that she's the one who set Mimi-Rose and Adam up while Hannah was away at graduate school because she wants to date Mimi-Rose's ex boyfriend, Ace.
Images via HBO.
Akilah Hughes is a comedian, YouTuber, and staff writer and producer for Fusion's culture section. You can almost always find her waxing poetic about memes and using too many emojis. 🍕