HBO/Girls

Last night’s episode of Girls was a refreshingly good episode, one where it didn’t feel like much happened, but oh wait, a lot did indeed happen. Hannah turns 25, and like any 25th birthday party, things more or less turn to shit. The girls kind of do a better job pretending to be altruistic friends while only pursuing their own interests. Oh, and we meet Adam’s sister.

The episode opens with some terrifying potential. Hannah is cutting Adam’s hair. Did she learn nothing? Did he learn nothing? Cue to a cringe-inducing couple of minutes before—wait for it—Hannah actually doesn’t ruin Adam’s hair or cut his ear off. No, instead, Adam gets a call from his sister, Caroline, played by Gaby Hoffman.

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Caroline was just dumped by her boyfriend, who left her on the side of the road. It’s immediately clear that Caroline and Adam are far from having a loving brother-sister relationship. Also, Caroline is not ok. Before we even meet her, based on Adam’s tone on the phone, you can tell that trouble is headed for him and Hannah. When we do finally meet Caroline, she’s probably more unstable than Hannah originally imagined.

Caroline serves as an interesting foil to Hannah’s mental illness and how Adam treated her. Where Hannah tried to hide her issues and Adam ran to her side, Caroline flaunts them, which causes Adam to shut her out completely. “She destroys everything in her way,” Adam says about his sister.

Immediately, Hannah tries to argue to let Caroline stay with them. They have a spare bedroom! Ok, seriously, how have they not rented that room out and collected an easy $1,100? Does Adam have a job now? How are they affording this apartment and only off of Hannah’s book advance and Adam’s grandmother’s money? Does Girls secretly take place in an alternate universe.

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Anyway, Hannah wants to let Caroline stay, probably for a few reasons: she genuinely feels bad for the girl, she feels some sort of connection with Caroline and, most importantly, she sees this as obvious memoir material. Lo and behold, Adam says no, forcing Hannah to make up the worst lie imaginable, telling Caroline she has “an old gymnastic friend” staying with her. It’s as if Hannah wanted Caroline to know this was a shitty, shitty lie.

We then catch up with Marnie, who’s the least boring she’s been in a while largely due to the fact that she's suffering. Marnie is featured in a horrible YouTube video, apparently one that Charlie posted in some twisted revenge porn kind of way.

We cut to Ray and his boss, who are have a conversation that reveals some actual emotion in their mentor relationship. Whatever, moving on.

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Back to Hannah’s birthday. Her parents show up, which is really confusing until you realize that they’re paying for it. Ok, sure. We’ll buy that because we have to.

Side note: what bar are they at that it’s so quiet? I've literally never been to a bar in Brooklyn where you could talk inside. I mean, actual talking and not scream-talking. Also, they can watch Marnie’s terrible YouTube video on their phone and you can actually hear the music.

Speaking once again of Marnie, her issues with the horrible YouTube video causes her to slip into full-on control bitch mode. She suggests that she and Hannah perform the song from RENT, the one they did on Hannah’s 21st birthday. Hannah knows that’s a terrible idea, Jessa and Shoshannah know that it’s a terrible idea, and even we know that it’s a terrible idea. But we also know that Marnie doesn’t know it’s a terrible idea. What in traditional sitcoms would have been a hard-cut to the two of them singing, the inevitable performance is painfully prolonged by a few scenes.

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Adam’s sister bites Ray, Ray sees Shoshannah outside and gives an awful Mumblecore speech about how he has his life together but oh wait he doesn’t want to be friends with Shoshannah. “Um, ok,” Shohannah says. I don’t know, I can’t bring myself to care about Ray in this episode. I appreciate what he’s going through and all, but it just feels a little forced.

Anyway, back to Marnie’s need to perform at this party. The song happens because of course it does, but guess what? Ray gets into a fight with Hannah’s book editor, David, who showed up even though he wasn’t invited. The two feud after David tells the DJ change Ray’s song request. “You can’t just end things in the middle!” Ray yells (yes, we’re clearly meant to see that he’s not just talking about the song, but also his relationship). As annoying and as sad as Ray’s plotline is this episode, it at least saves Hannah from singing with Marnie.

On the way home, Adam gives Hannah one of his baby teeth on a necklace. “It’s definitely my genetic material,” he says. How charming.

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Adam and Hannah go home with the tooth-necklace present and Hannah has to pee and walks to the bathroom. This perfectly fine urination plan is spoiled as Hannah opens the bathroom door and sees Caroline—looking haggard and distraught—wearing a T-shirt. Hannah screams and Caroline breaks a glass with her bare hand.

So yes, like any good 25th birthday, it was kind of a disaster.

Some Observances

  • Hannah’s hair and Adam’s hair are strangely similar. Research shows that couples who are happier tend to look alike, or take on similar psychical appearances. Another option could just be that Hannah only learned to successfully do one hair cut.
  • Laird, how did you not move away from Hannah?
  • Jessa’s plotline strangely fell off a cliff this week. The last episode was entirely dedicated to getting her out of rehab and now we literally just see her bob her head and make faces in a bar? Jessa doesn’t have a single line. Is this maybe a deliberate attempt to show that she’s still not really “back?”
  • The tooth necklace could be Adam or Caroline’s tooth because they were both in the same box that Adam took the tooth from. So, yes, don’t think that Adam and Caroline are incredibly different, as Adam wants everyone to believe. They have different issues, sure, but they both have these really serious issues rooted in the same family baby-tooth box that’s kept them from fully functioning in society. As an English major and a writer you’d think that Hannah would be able to spot a metaphor when she sees one.
  • Speaking of Adam’s sister, pubes. Lena Dunham was apparently ahead of both Cameron Diaz and American Apparel. Also, is 2014 going to be the year of the return of the pubes?
  • One final thought on Adam’s sister. Caroline is a really fascinating character played with impressive depth by Hoffman. Really interested to see where her story will go, how she will push Adam to reveal whatever twisted past the two of them have, and what it will mean for Hannah and Adam.