What I Watched Last Night: HBO’s “Girls”

The unthinkable happened this week on Girls… I felt a pang of affection for Adam. Help! How do I make it go away!

Hannah with her parents
Doesn't this look like a fun family moment?

This episode reminded me a bit of an O/S fanfic I wrote a week or so ago. It was deliberately rather mean-spirited and directed at a character I dislike and had nothing at all to do with this particular show, but what it had in common was a moment when someone returns to a place she left behind and finds that everything has changed, that life has moved on without her. Hannah, in this instance, returns to her home in Lansing, Michigan to celebrate with her parents their 30th wedding anniversary. What she finds is that even though she’s now “from New York and automatically more interesting,” she still ends up listening to her parents tell her to stop texting during a movie and standing in front of the fridge after midnight binge-eating. The more things change…

The B-plot for this episode was a strange story about an old high school friend, Carrie, who is either missing or dead (never specified) and the benefit being held for her – or her parents, depending on who you ask. Hannah seems to be mildly concerned about Carrie, but she’s more upset with the cheesy, sexually-tinged dance Heather (the other HS friend) performs at the benefit and the fact that Heather intends to run off to LA to be a dancer without a support system in place. There’s more than a little bit of wisdom behind the superior-than-thou “She’s gonna go to L.A., and, like, live in some shitty apartment, and feel, like, scared and sad and lonely and weird all the time” description she offers up as sympathy/amazement/something.

Hannah and her mother help her father after his shower sex accident
Who knew shower sex was so dangerous?

I said on Twitter while watching this episode that I connected more with Hannah’s parents than Hannah; unfortunately for me, I said that right before a frisky bout of anniversary shower sex led to Dad (Peter Scolari) falling and putting his back out. For the record, that’s totally not what I meant – in my world, shower sex has never led to any injuries…at least not yet. But I love Hannah’s ma and pa and I want to see more of them, especially Mom (Becky Ann Baker), who proves that 59 is still hot and sexy.

Which brings me to Adam, who is obviously still running Hannah’s love/sex life, even if she refers to him as an “ex” and even if she can at least speak with clarity about their dysfunctional relationship (and I use the word relationship very elastically). You know what I want for Hannah? I want her to discover and act on what SHE wants out of sex and relationships instead of donning the mantle of what her partner wants. The sex with Eric the Pharmacist is a perfect example. When the intimacy begins she immediately goes into hyper-aggressive sexual vamp mode, sticking her finger in his ass and asking him if she feels “tight as a baby” – all tricks she’s learned from/with Adam. She doesn’t take the time to feel her way with Eric and there’s no indication she’s getting any pleasure out of all that aggression, either. In fact, I’m not sure if she’s had fun in any sexual encounter she’s had so far in the whole series. It makes me wonder about the bisexual relationship she alluded to in a conversation with Marnie. I wonder if she’s trying so hard to please the men in her life because sex with men isn’t really who she is.

Hannah and Eric
Who knew offering vaginal lube was a good pickup line?

But in the end it doesn’t matter, because Adam finally notices all the times she’s called and hung up and calls her back and despite the “he treats my heart like monkey meat“ acknowledgement, that’s all it takes to put her right back under his spell. He is New York and New York is home and she’s a fish out of water in Lansing now. It was a sweet moment, actually, and watching it made me wonder if Adam actually did have a soft spot for her.

God help me, Adam is growing on me. This cannot happen.

So, what are your thoughts? Did Hannah’s experiences going home ring true to you? Is there a soft, sentimental side to Adam?

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MJ

48/DWF. "I don't entirely approve of some of the things I have done or am or have been. But I'm me. God knows, I'm me." Elizabeth Taylor

6 thoughts on “What I Watched Last Night: HBO’s “Girls””

  1. I thought it was interesting that Hannah’s critique of Heather’s performance was that it sucked and she shouldn’t move to LA instead of that it was wildly inappropriate for a benefit for a lost/missing/dead person. I haven’t gathered any indication, nor have her parents it sounds like, that she’s a good writer so she could have very well been describing her own circumstances…I think the episode did a great job of capturing the feeling of going home home. For me, it has always been a good test of whether I feel I’m in the right place in life.

    1. I got a little squeamish when she talked about being a writer, but not one who made money at it.  In juxtaposition with her father’s question about how she’d react when she found out she couldn’t be what she wanted to be “when she grew up,” I cringed a bit.

      Writing feels like a dream Hannah has that will stay just that, a dream.

  2. I don’t think Adam’s a bad person necessarily.  There’s this weird thing going on with guys in their mid/late 20s where they adamantly DON’T want girlfriends, and that feeling doesn’t go away even if they find a girl they end up liking.  Guys pressure each other to stay single.

    The unspoken question in discussions about the Adam/Hannah relationship is why Hannah doesn’t just find a real boyfriend.  The answer is that it’s not that easy.  Relationships like Adam’s and Hannah’s are what a lot of girls fall into when they’re so lonely they can’t stand it and the guys who want relationships already have them with other girls.

    I get up in arms about this because the way people talk about it is so fucking insulting.  There are so many perfect, wonderful, amazing girls out there who desperately want to know what it’s like to have a boyfriend, but there’s nothing they can do to make willing guys spring into existence in front of them.  Calling Hannah a loser doesn’t fix what is starting to turn into a major social issue in this age group.

    1. I agree, Adam is growing on me, too. He does seem like he’s about 90% posturing most of the time, and maybe the dickish persona he’s tried so hard to create doesn’t resemble the actual dude underneath it at all. I also think he really likes Hannah, but like you said, whatever outside pressure is keeping him from just f’ing saying so.

      I don’t think Hannah is a loser, but I do think she’s an asshole.  I haven’t seen this episode yet, my DVR is being testy, but I’m curious to see if she comes off as poorly in the show as she has in several of the recaps I read.

       

    2. I’m just not sure I totally buy into the “it’s just how guys in their 20s are.”  I’m eight weeks or so from turning 47 and I can tell you that there are a hell of a lot of men in their late 30s through their early 50s (my particular dating pool) who are the same way and women in my age group have those same complaints.

      I think that saying “I’m so lonely, I have to date someone” when it comes to men with those kind of attitudes is really just trading one kind of loneliness for a different one, and for me that’s the question to ask.  Is the trade worth it?

       

      1. Well I’ve never really bought into that “empowering” logic of demanding to be treated the way you deserve, as if the universe will give you what you want once you’ve proven yourself to the proper degree.  The fact remains that it doesn’t matter what you want; someone else still has to decide that he wants the relationship too.  I do think the problem is a little more dire (and therefore sociologically interesting) among people in their late 20s.  The guys don’t want to be in relationships until the women have started aging out of fertility so the guys go for younger girls and abandon the ones their own age.  There are far more adult female virgins than there used to be because there’s no guarantee of a follow-up date or phone call.  If I’d waited to lose my virginity to someone who was willing to even take me on a single date I’d still be a virgin and I’m approaching 30.

        One thing I’ve noticed is that people of older generations really don’t have an understanding of how hard it is to date right now.  Seriously.  Maybe they don’t want to admit that they’ve raised these boys.  But we’re coming up on a generation of women who won’t be getting married or having kids because their male peers dicked around for way too long.

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