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Girls Season 3 Episode 8, “Incidentals”: Sponsored Interview

February 24, 2014

It seems a little bit strange to be back in the city, and back to everyone’s real lives, after last week.

But whereas last week we were at an all-too-familiar full day party, this week we went to an also eerily familiar summer night get together, the kind that’s in one uncomfortable room and reeks of an almost indiscernible desperation. This kind of party is exhausting.

There’s good news for Adam this week: he got a part! Also, it’s on Broadway, which seems slightly unrealistic given that it’s the first part he’s had in years and he doesn’t have an agent, but ah well. The part is his, and I felt happy for him because against all odds, I’m starting to like Adam a huge amount.

Hannah’s job is going well too — she gets to interview Patti Lupone, stay for free at the Gramercy hotel, and bring home enough money to fund spur-of-the-moment dress purchases. But has she fulfilled her dreams? Elijah says that he never thought Adam would be the first to do that, and Hannah responds that they’ve all “fulfilled their dreams in various ways.”

Maybe it’s about adjusting the dream. Not long ago, Hannah had a book deal, but no money and no boyfriend.  Now, she’s writing an article called “16 Reasons We Want To Stay At The Gramercy,” but she has a boyfriend and a great new dress and more than enough money for rent. And she is technically writing, so maybe this is a new version of her dream.

That said, her “writing” was the funniest part of the episode. It begins by looking fancy and exciting — an interview with Patti Lupone at an upscale Williamsburg cafe! But soon it’s revealed to be a fake, sponsored interview, which needs to revolve around Patti’s pretend osteoporosis so as to please the sponsor: a bone density drug. So now we’re all wrapped up in the “art” world and where it intersects with the shitty commercial world, both for Hannah and for Patti. They sit together and create a fake dog that Patti has fake walked which has helped her deal with her fake osteoporosis. They don’t talk at all about Patti’s career, nor is Hannah’s “career” mentioned. Don’t you imagine that the former Hannah, the Hannah we knew before the corporate job, would have bombarded Patti with questions about how she made it big and told her about her writing dreams?

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This settling-for-a-lesser-dream stuff is something that Ray is very familiar with, but as far as love goes, he doesn’t want to settle. He wants to meet a girl and “learn about her family on a park bench in the middle of the night.” (By the way, this is the most romantic description I’ve ever heard, and it gives me goosebumps and makes me wish I was 17 in July.) So Marnie’s dumped, and she’s really sad about it. It’s not clear now if she’s sad about losing Ray, the person, or if she’s just sad about losing A person; a person who will be around to eat a pizza on a summer night and then have some physical contact with. In New York City at age 25, that’s a considerable loss.

Plus, she doesn’t have anything together — which she’s reminded of when she runs into Soojin. It took me a minute to figure out who Soojin was, but then I remembered that she was Booth Jonathan’s old assistant/fuck buddy, that girl who’d been fired over taking a bite of Booth’s rosemary ice cream. Soojin is opening her own gallery, and feels super old, and is as fake as Patti Lupone’s bulldog. Seeing Marnie deal with her actually made me like Marnie — in fact, I like Marnie more in this episode than I think I’ve ever liked her. I think it’s because I can see her starting to realize how awful she could become, and that she actually wants someone like Ray, AKA someone GENUINE, for once. Even though she acts bitchy when Ray dumps her, I still liked her, and was sad for her.

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And then there’s Jessa, who is driven off the wagon by pure boredom (and by Jasper, her old rehab buddy). Her scenes with Jasper are uproarious and funny, which makes it hard to see how sad it is; but it is, of course.

The question here seems to be: how do we cope with reality? Jessa can’t do it, and takes her first chance to get away from it. Shoshanna sees her reality as “The Truman Show but really it’s a walking American Apparel ad and I don’t even know it.” In other words, she’s completely confused about how the world sees her and where she fits. Elijah basically ignores reality; he tells Adam that he’s “really trying to break out of the contemporary dance world,” and it all sounds so completely ridiculous. Actually, Elijah and Sun Jin share a deluded awful-ness; they seem to exist completely in a fake reality, one built on meaningless NYC/”artist” hierarchy.

Shockingly, the people who are most in touch with what’s real, and most able to deal with it, are Hannah and Adam. Adam doesn’t want to be part of any scene; he just wants to be in the play. Hannah just wants to keep her life with him, the only person she has ever loved. They are sweet together and respectful of each other. They seem OK with where they are.

Patti Lupone warns that Broadway will change Adam, that it will pull him away from Hannah and turn him into an asshole star. I don’t believe it, given what we know about Adam so far, but we’ll see.

There was no talk of last week’s blowout in this episode, and it seemed to be business as usual as far as the friend group. But maybe Hannah has shifted a bit; she seems more aware of what matters (Adam) and less bothered by what doesn’t (the behavior of her friends). As for everyone else, they each in turn seemed more alone.

Stray Observations:

– The dress that Hannah buys really does look great on her.

– The FRONT BUN has returned on Shoshanna’s head. Is this a metaphor for how lonely she’s feeling?

– Why doesn’t Hannah know her salary before taking her job? And why does she get a paper check?

– Desi, Adam’s new castmate, was friendly and nice but also so… ugh. So “guy at the party with a guitar”. Is he supposed to show us what Adam might become?

– Shoshanna is graduating in three weeks. I wonder if we’ll get to see more of her as she enters the same world as the rest of the girls.

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