New Show Recap: Girls, Episode 1.4, “Hannah’s Diary”

Hello, friends. Selena here, filling in for MJ. Much like MJ, I am a Lady of a Certain Age, but I can find a lot to like about this show. So let’s all pop a Werther’s and settle in under our afghans while we commiserate with Hannah and her sisters.

I spent much of this episode experiencing real empathy for Hannah, which surprised me quite a bit. I found myself cringing, like I do, but not because of issues of entitlement or obliviousness. I cringed because I recognized scenes from my own wild youth, and I cringed because it’s total shit that things aren’t different 20 years later.

Oh, Hannah, Part One

The episode opens with Hannah getting a dress-up dick pic from Adam, the pretentious tool. After sharing it with Marnie and her boyfriend Charlie, Adam texts again, this time apologizing (sort of) because he meant to send it to someone else. Hannah immediately goes into the deliberately ignorant zone, claiming that Adam never said there was another girl, so there’s no possible way that could be true. Oh, Hannah.

This scene also contains the funniest line of the entire series. When the familiar iPhone message indicator dings, Hannah says “It’s probably like his asshole wearing a friendship bracelet.”  That paints a picture.

This scene also confirmed for me that Lena Durham is more talented as an actor than I gave her credit for; her facial expressions and body language when she defends Adam the Pretentious Tool are perfect. Show of hands if you’ve had an Adam in your past. Mine was named Joe, my friends all hated him, and last I heard he was on his way to Stony Lonesome for not paying child support for his 10 offspring. Raise your hands a little higher if you were as obtuse as Hannah about your version of Adam. Yeah, me too. It’s a fairly universal human experience to be “smarter than this” and fuck it up anyway.

Charlie and Marnie head back to bed after giving Hannah advice either to ask who the pic was for (Charlie) or not respond at all (Marnie). Hannah, of course, picks option three and sends him a picture of herself topless with duck face. I totally yelled at the screen, “never put your face in a nudie shot!” Sadly, Hannah didn’t hear me, so she hit send.

Oh, Hannah, Part Two

Hannah has a job! Good for her! Oh, wait. While she’s trying to figure out the chart tool in Windows, her boss (played by veteran character actor Richard Masur) makes some witty banter and then proceeds to give her a massage, including her sternum.

Picture it: Indianapolis, 1995. A young woman just starting out gets a job as a data entry clerk with an exterminator for $4.75/hr. While she’s making her way and learning the different kinds of poisons that kill different kinds of vermin, the lead sales guy takes it upon himself to try to grab her tits every single day. As the only woman in the office, the young woman’s coworkers think it’s hilarious. That young woman was me, but I don’t think it’s a huge leap on my part to assume many of you have encountered the same exact thing.

In a later scene, Hannah goes to two of her female coworkers for advice. They tell her to put up with it, because the boss is really nice. Then they give her ridiculous eyebrows. This was an interesting moment, because we’ve seen Hannah ignore the advice her friends give her about Adam time and again, but she totally accepts the word of these women, who clearly do not have her best interests at heart. Even they tell her Adam is a jackass, however, but she doesn’t listen to them about that.

She goes to see Adam, who apparently doesn’t own any shirts. She tries to break up with him, but they end up having sex.

Oh, Hannah.

Oh, Shoshonna

Meanwhile, Sho runs into an old friend from camp, who compliments her on her bad ass kitchen raiding skills of yore. Sho strikes me as a little lonely and like she doesn’t consider herself to be as worldly or sophisticated as her friends. CampCreeper, as you might suspect, is a total douche.  Sho invites him over for a movie, he makes an excuse to show her his boner, she decides that today is as good a day as any to lose her virginity, he tells her he doesn’t sleep with virgins because they bleed, and then they get attached. Because they bleed. CampCreeper also “love[s] to eat pussy.” Good for you, dude, but no woman should ever let you near her ladybits until you figure a few more things out.

This seems like an interesting time to point out that every man except Charlie in this episode gave me the piss shivers. Charlie may not be perfect, but at least he seems to notice that other people exist.

Oh, Jessa

I really want to like Jessa. I don’t know that the show has given me any indication that I’m supposed to like her, but I feel compelled to try anyway. Jessa has her own set of issues, including the father of the kids she watches. Jessa seems charmed by him, even though his buddy refers to her by her body parts (“The face of Bridget Bardot and the ass of Rhianna,” ugh) and he himself clearly looks at her like he either wants to fuck her or wear her head as a hat. He also calls his daughter “honky.” Do with that what you will. Then again, Jessa calls the older one a “nazi” and  a “cunt,” so maybe in context it’s not that weird.

Jessa has a particular cringe-worthy moment when she tries to get her fellow nannies (note: her fellow nannies are all women of color and immigrants) to unionize. While she’s doing this, including commenting on how much more she’s paid than they are, she loses both of the girls she’s supposed to be watching. As it turns out, they were hiding from her because they hate her. I think that’s probably okay.

Oh, Charlie

Your bandmate is a dick, Charlie.

Charlie and his bandmate (we’ll call him Dick) are searching through Marnie and Hannah’s apartment. Dick finds Hannah’s vibrator, calls it a vagina massager and then gives it a big old sniff. To use the parlance of the day, vom. Dick then finds Hannah’s diary and plays a totally mature game of keep-away with Charlie.

Oh, Hannah, Part Three

Later, Charlie and Dick’s band (we’ll call them Hey, That’s My Bike) are performing while our heroines watch. They break into a new number, charmingly called “Hannah’s Diary.” Hannah wrote about how she thinks Charlie has a vagina (do I even need to add an “Oh, Hannah” here?) and now Charlie is singing about it with Dick. Everybody’s pissed and Hannah is mortified.

All in all, I laughed as much as I cringed, even though a lot of that laughter was of the uncomfortable kind. I know the show has many issues that can be framed as problematic, but it’s growing on me anyway. I think Dunham is a lot more self-aware as both a writer and a performer than many give her credit for. Personally, I can’t wait to hear the stories she’s going to have when she’s my age.

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[E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

6 thoughts on “New Show Recap: Girls, Episode 1.4, “Hannah’s Diary””

  1. I really liked where they were going with Marnie in the pilot but I feel like they dropped the ball after that.  It’s not often that the type-A neurotic with a stable job is portrayed as a sympathetic character for keeping her friends from falling apart.  Most media want us to romanticize girls like Jessa, who in reality take their friends for granted.

    And I like this take on Adam.  The way that relationship is criticized leads me to believe that a lot of people don’t understand that Lena is portraying something that’s really common but not endorsing it.  Lots of girls fall into sleeping with guys because they hope it’ll transition into a relationship.  There’s a lot of ambiguity out there about when it’s time to have sex with a guy.  Most couples have sex well before they’re solidly and exclusively dating.  Girls who want relationships are sadly sort of browbeaten into accepting that they’ll have to sleep with a few guys before they happen upon one who wants to keep sleeping with them and dating them by default.

    1. I can completely understand that, and it’s not all that much different than it was when I was in my late teens-early twenties. I remember that exact same pressure and browbeating. I think Lena does a great job portraying that, and it’s honestly what has endeared me to her character.

      Also agreed on Jessa, and aside from the Men of Girls, I find her the hardest to even try to like. She’s in a crystal bubble.

  2. I completely agree that the other guys on the show are far worse than Charlie, but I still had an “Oh, Charlie” moment for his having the gall to perform someone else’s private thoughts. Violating your girlfriend’s roommate’s privacy = bad. PERFORMING the fruits of your violation = BAD, bad. The sanctity of the roommate’s bedroom cannot be breached!

    And then, “Oh, Marnie” for misplacing her anger at Hannah, who of course has a right to write whatever she feels like writing in her own diary.

    I too cringe out of familiarity at way, WAY to many things in this show. It’s speaking to my experiences, doggoneit!

    1. I agree with the bit about Marnie! She spends most of her personal time with Hannah complaining about Charlie. It’s only natural that Hannah is going to take her side. Then, Marnie gets angry when Hannah’s very private thoughts are violated by Charlie and his d-bag friend?! Not cool.

      I’ll be honest, though. Something about Marnie’s smugness and judgmental attitude just rubs me the wrong way, especially after the episode when she was pissed at Jessa for “being late to her own abortion”, so I could just really want to not like her.

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