Now that Jessa is temporarily out of the picture on Girls, space has been freed up to get to know some of the other characters again (or get to know them in a new light), as well as introduce some new ones.
The focus on Hannah has never shifted out of view on the show, but we've also never seen her deal with her OCD. The series has made mention of it before, and we've even seen small traces of it, but we've never witnessed it actually play out. Triggered by the stress of Adam still calling her, her looming book deadline, and her parents visiting (if Girls has taught us anything over the past two weeks, it's that our parents drive us bonkers, even when they are delightfully played by Peter Scolari and Becky Ann Baker) Hannah slips back into her OCD, which includes obsessively counting her steps or the the times she opens her doors and repeating the same phrases.
There's been a lot of things that have broken my heart on Girls, but perhaps none more than this storyline. It was hard to watch Hannah face the terrible reality that mental disorders are a lifelong struggle, and that it not only has a major impact on those who suffer from it, but those who love them. (Hannah's softie of a father Tad so clearly wants to save or fix his daughter, but can't). Lena Dunham handled the issue marvelously (the actress/writer tweeted that she suffered from OCD as a child) and whether or not Hannah's OCD will stay at the surface, or become stagnant again, we know that she is not someone defined by her mental disorder. For someone desperately trying to find her place in the world, that's one thing she can be sure of.
If Hannah's bout with OCD made her a more compassionate character (her struggles through high school would make even the biggest Hannah hater have a heart), Marnie's story line this week did the exact opposite. Marnie has been a point of contention for even the biggest Girls defender, but her showing up at Charlie's office after she found out he was an overnight success for an app he created, ("Support from me or for me?" he quipped under his breath when she said she was there for support) then having the gall to complain that he's not broken enough, was unforgiveable. When Marnie confesses that her own dream is to be a singer, (we knew she was a musical theater kid, but where on Earth did this come from?) it's not that she's a mediocre crooner that leads me to believe this won't be a viable option, but her sh**ty attitude about what's "fair" in this world. Charlie had every right to create an app to tune her out, as a Girls fan I'm going to try and do the same.
While the show seemed hell bent on making Marnie insufferable, they did the exact opposite with Ray and Adam. While Ray has shown traces of being a decent human being before, I've never quite bought Adam's brutal honesty as charms. Also, he stole someone's dog and then abandoned Ray in Staten Island with said dog that he stole. He's a basket case. Yet, almost magically, Adam transformed into a sweet, charming, dreamboat after set up with the daughter of someone he met at AA (the beyond-great Carol Kane, who deserves her own show about a mother in AA who sets her daughter up on dates). While out with the attractive, equally charming Natalia (Shiri Appleby) Adam is funny, loose, and flirtatious (not in a sketchy way) — and he somehow resembles a sane, functioning adult.
Where has this guy been all along? Did he hide that guy from Hannah? H admitted during his AA speech that he didn't like her from the start, but she grew on him and he liked having her around, leading me to believe both of them liked the idea of each other more than each other. Has this all been an act? He's barely capable of any normal human interaction, yet he becomes a swoon-worthy first date? I have a feeling making him like this is just to set the table for a possible reunion with Hannah, but this is still someone who did some deeply troubling things to her during their relationship.
Speaking of flawed relationships, Shoshanna and Ray hit another roadblock that stems from their wildly different personalities and general outlook on the world. She, the bubbly eternal optimist, and he the smug, sarcastic realist, didn't go to a party together ("I'm a 33-year-old man," he argued after they were invited to a party from her friend Radhika, who guilted her for being missing in action all summer, "It's creepy for a college senior to go to a college party") and it set the stage for something terrible when she went to the party alone. Frustrated by her relationship and intrigued by a handsome stranger, our dear, sweet Shosh made out with a doorman. Now, her actions were inexcusable, but this relationship was doomed from the start, and this could be the thing that shifts her from naive twenty-something to adulthood. I hate to say it, but I like this new Shosh so much more.
Some of the other highlights and best lines from the latest episode of Girls, "It's Back":
- "Where is she? What is she wearing, is it linen? What language is she speaking?" - Shoshanna, wondering about Jessa.
- "You make me wanna cry, and I've never met you."- Ray, after Shoshanna's friend Radhika calls roller blades "vintage."
- Ray not liking how Shoshanna improperly uses air quotes, as a crutch to hide behind in conversations. (Hey, don't feel bad, Shosh, Joey on Friends did that, too!)
- Adam's perfectly charming phone call ("This is a f**king land line?!") to Natalia. Seriously, who is this guy? I've yet to meet him on this show.
- Judy Collins cameo! Between her and Carol Kane, this might be the best cameo-filled episode of Girls to date.
- "You can't dress like a magician's assistant forever"- Ray, to Marnie.
- Shoshanna's fake name that she gives the sexy doorman is... Shanna.
What did you think of last night's episode of Girls? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
[Photo credit: HBO]