iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
GET UPDATES FROM Emma Gray
 
GET UPDATES FROM Lori Fradkin
 
GET UPDATES FROM Lori Leibovich
 
GET UPDATES FROM Margaret Wheeler Johnson
 

'Girls': Lena Dunham's HBO Show Episode 4, Discussed In Gchat

Posted: 05/06/2012 11:51 am

THE SEXTING

Margaret Wheeler Johnson: Episode 4 of "Girls": here we go. So we're almost to the anniversary of Anthony Weiner's special sexts. Good timing, "Girls."
Lori Fradkin: How sh*tty for Hannah to get that text from Adam, and then get, "Oops, wrong number."
Margaret: It didn't surprise me.
Lori Leibovich: What did we think of her response to the photo she received? I thought it was both ballsy and awesome and really stupid and sad. Discuss.
Lori F.: I was surprised when she took off her shirt. I thought she'd respond, but that caught me off guard.
Emma Gray: Me too! I was genuinely surprised that she sexted back.
Margaret: I think more stupid and sad. I guess I'm used to her being ballsy, or just unaware that she should be inhibited about certain things, like saying whatever she thinks.
Emma: I think it's more unaware than intentionally ballsy.
Margaret: Which I think Marnie underscored when she said, "Hannah, you're smarter than this." One of the major points Lena Dunham seems to be trying to make with the show is that being smart doesn't protect you from being totally oblivious or irrational.
Lori L.: You're right. The scene was just more proof that smart has nothing to do with it.
Emma: I think that she makes the point that being intellectually smart is way different than doing the "smart" thing when it comes to your love life.
Lori L.: As we all probably know from personal experience. Should we talk about Hannah's breasts? I liked it because it was another way that L.D. is saying f*ck you to all of our assumptions and ideals. Those were real breasts. We don't see real ones on screen very often anymore. Just another way she's "subverting the normative paradigm," as I might have said 20 years ago.
Margaret: Or Obama might have said in his undergrad days.
Emma: In a love letter.
Lori F.: I actually thought that scene was important almost as much for Marnie as for Hannah. It was the first time we actually saw Marnie and Charlie getting along.
Margaret: Barely. "You never send me dick pics."
Lori F.: But she didn't say that in a mean way. It was more kidding, as opposed to before when she was just laying into him.
Margaret: True.
Emma: I think it was a good setup for what came later.
Margaret: Okay, on to sexual harassment in the workplace?


THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Lori L.: Yes. I thought the whole thing was hilarious but unrealistic. Kind of the way Shoshanna is hilarious but unrealistic. It was so over-the-top.
Emma: I saw it coming, but it was still really cringe-inducing.
Lori F.: I thought it was another example of Hannah backing away from her very spot-on instincts. Like when her co-workers say, "You'll get used to it," and she actually accepts that.
Margaret: It did pretty much nail how in a new environment, you're vulnerable to absorbing the attitudes of the veterans, even when you sense that they're wrong. I did like how nice the women were to her, that they wanted to include her.
Lori F.: But only if she agreed with their views.
Margaret: I don't think that's true. I think they were actually welcoming
Emma: I agree. They were trying to prepare her. It was sweet, even when they drew insane eyebrows on her.
Lori F.: They were, but it was a weird vibe
Lori L.: The eyebrows may have been my favorite part of the episode.
Margaret: Yes! And she had them for so long! Didn't she show up at the concert in them?
Emma: I think they'd rubbed off by then. But she certainly goes to Adam's with them in full force.
Lori L.: We're skipping ahead!
Lori F.: What do you think about the co-workers' reaction to the dick pics? I thought it was interesting in contrast to their attitudes about the harassment?
Margaret: Again, didn't really surprise me.
Lori L.: Not at all.
Margaret: I think anyone who would work in that office would be capable of that doublethink.
Lori L.: Let's talk about Hannah's monologue to Adam.


THE MONOLOGUE

Emma: I LOVED it.
Lori F.: Me too. So much.
Lori L.: I agree. It was masterful.
Emma: I felt like it was such a long time coming, though ... even though it's only the fourth episode.
Lori F.: "I made you think that you don't have to explain." LOVE.
Margaret: "I sound like a girl who wants to go to brunch. I don't want to go to brunch."
Lori F.: "I just want someone who wants to hang out all the time and thinks I'm the best person in the world and wants to have sex with only me." (Can you tell I took notes?)
Emma: That was a great line.
Lori F.: "I really care about you and I don't want to anymore because it feels too sh*tty for me." She nailed it!
Lori L.: It's amazing that she can have that much insight -- and then completely ignore it. She said that and then immediately jumped him.
Margaret: Because that happens.
Lori L.: That is what I love about the show. That is what a real person would do.
Lori F.: You know what? I wasn't even mad at her for it.
Margaret: Me either! I was just proud of her for finally saying it.
Emma: Me too. At least it's out there.
Lori F.: And I really think he didn't get it before -- not that he'll be perfect going forward -- but still.
Margaret: When he says, "So be who you are," just that one second of validation was so great. You know it can't last.
Emma: No, but at least he was forced to hear how she feels. That inevitably changes something.
Margaret: And I actually don't think he was lying about that. I think he believes it.
Lori F.: I also liked how he was still kind of joking around when they started making out. Like he didn't totally change.
Lori L.: Do you think he really heard her though?
Lori F.: Do I think he'll be Prince Charming from now on? No. But I think it might help a little? Well, I want to think so.
Lori L.: Yeah, I want to think so too. But I am skeptical.
Margaret: I think he did hear her -- I just don't think he thinks it requires any action from him.
Emma: I think it was more liberating for her than anything. That was what mattered most -- even if he doesn't change at all.
Lori L.: Next up, Shoshanna.


REMEMBER THAT TIME, AT CAMP?

Emma: Camp Ramah meet-up?! I was laughing so hard.
Lori F.: I knew you would appreciate that.
Lori L.: I loved that line so much.
Margaret: I liked how confident she was when she was talking about the camp stuff. For once she wasn't self-doubting. She was triumphant!
Emma: I know.
Lori L.: I know!
Lori F.: She was really good at camp raids!
Emma: Which made her that much more of a real person.
Lori F.: This probably goes without saying, but the scene where he is going down on her -- it's another example of the guys not thinking about the girls at all.
Margaret: Exactly.
Lori F.: She is so clearly uncomfortable.
Emma: So uncomfortable. He doesn't even care about what she likes -- it's all about what he likes to do.
Emma: And he gets down to it so quickly ... literally.
Lori L.: I know. It was ALL about him.
Margaret: I was just thinking, That is not going to work, my friend.
Lori L.: So did you think she should have told him she was a virgin?
Lori F.: There was no way she wouldn't. She's so nervous-chatty.
Margaret: No way. She couldn't help herself.
Emma: Yeah, I knew she would.
Lori F.: Did you believe his reaction when she says he's a virgin? I kind of feel like that dude would have still had sex with her.
Margaret: I don't think he necessarily would have.
Lori L.: Me either. I wasn't surprised.
Margaret: But he wouldn't have stopped because he was turned off by the idea of having sex with a virgin. It would be a fear of responsibility
Emma: Some men definitely are freaked out about what they think virginity symbolizes for women. There's this fear that if they "take" someone's "V-card," she will suddenly be obsessed with them.
Margaret: Which is kind of how he expressed it.
Emma: Right -- and I found that believable
Lori L.: Me too
Lori F.: I think he would have gotten a little freaked out, but I'm not sure he ultimately would have turned it down.
Margaret: She would have had to be more convincing about not being the kind of woman who would obsess over him afterwards.
Lori F.: You don't think "I'm the least virgin-y virgin ever" is convincing? What a Shoshanna line.
Margaret: Hahaha.
Lori L.: Hilarious.
Margaret: Should we briefly mention Jessa unionizing the nannies when she sucks as a nanny?


JESSA, UNION BOSS

Lori L.: Yes. I loved her Norma Rae moment with the nannies.
Emma: But she was so self-righteous, saying she was just like them.
Lori F.: And she would take a pay cut
Lori L.: That did kind of make me hate her. And that scene is fodder for all of the critics who have lambasted the show for being elitist and out of touch.
Margaret: But doesn't the scene also mock her?
Lori L.: Yes, true.
Lori F.: I am not enjoying that story line as much. I really like Jemima Kirke, but I just can't get into this plot point. They could do more with her. She's a great actress.
Margaret: Me either. And she is, even though she's not even an actress first and foremost. She thinks she's an artist.
Lori L.: A natural.
Emma: Jessa has been the least compelling for me, too.
Lori F.: I feel like she's becoming a bit of a caricature. In the last scene, after the thing happens that we need to discuss, she's just like, "That was awesome." Really?
Lori L.: Well, it kind of was ... as in unbelievable. But the comment shows her selfishness and cluelessness.
Margaret: I think she likes to look at her life in scenes as though she's outside them, and life is happening for her entertainment.
Emma: I'm hoping we're going to see the breakdown of her bravado as the season goes on. It's interesting that Jemima Kirke is the only one of the four lead actresses who actually has kids of the four. And she's losing kids in the show.
Margaret: Do we think Jessa is going to sleep with the dad? Because that seems trite.
Lori L.: Ugh, I hope not.
Lori F.: It was weird how quickly he dismissed her losing the kids. Like, eh, it happens.
Margaret: I liked the little girl telling her father, "It's not like you have a job."
Emma: The dad just seems so pathetic to me
Lori L.: Maybe because I'm a mom, I loved that line in episode 3 when she's babysitting and says, "I'm loving this string cheese." Because I find myself eating kids' food all the time, and I'm always surprised at how delicious it is.
Margaret: I actually loved that line, too.
Lori F.: Me too -- she was good as a babysitter (when not losing children). Remember her complimenting the kid on that made-up name in the story?
Margaret: Which HBO then coerced everyone into tweeting to win some sort of badge.
Lori L.: We digress.
Margaret: Let's get to Hannah's diary.


HANNAH'S DIARY

Lori F.: I love that Keds song.
Margaret: Why didn't Charlie react when Ray was saying that stuff about wanting to tie Marnie up? I thought that at least would get a rise out of him.
Emma: I think they made an intentional choice not to have Charlie react, because he's so passive.
Lori L.: Yeah. It was kind of pathetic.
Margaret: Also, would men in their 20s really snoop around some girls' apartment? Would that really be interesting? Don't they have better things to do with your time?
Emma: It's kind of odd. But at the same time, there are so many shows that show a crazy woman snooping around a dude's apartment. So this kind of turned that around. But I'm not sure I buy it.
Lori L.: Me either.
Lori F.: Hate to bring up the SATC comparison, but Carrie did it when she was looking for "something freaky." Not that that means it's real.
Margaret: I hate Ray, but I think he's a good character.
Emma: I agree.
Lori L.: Agree.
Margaret: Obviously, we're supposed to hate him.
Lori L.: He's pretty loathsome. What is he from, Lori F.?
Lori F.: "Tiny Furniture." Alex Karpovsky -- he's the guy who moves in with her. But he's also a director.
Lori L.: Right right. Of course.
Margaret: I liked, "Just once I want to have sex with someone who looks like me."
Emma: He has some pretty choice dialogue.
Lori F.: Just no filter at all.
Emma: His best line was when he was talking about Hannah's "crotchless" panties and then realized they just had holes in them.
Lori L.: I had a hard time believing that there was an actual diary.
Emma: I would have believed it more if they had looked through her email that she had left up or something.
Margaret: True!
Lori L.: Exactly!
Lori F.: Yes! She is a Mac girl. But if she must have a real diary, why leave it on her bed? I mean, Hannah!
Margaret: Maybe it never occurred to her that someone would read it.
Lori L.: I didn't think they would read it.
Emma: I knew they would read it. I was just waiting for it.
Margaret: Do we think the Ray took the diary and wouldn't let Charlie have it because he was trying to arouse Charlie's interest or actually trying to protect him from the contents?
Lori L.: To protect him.
Emma: I think Ray genuinely cares about Charlie. He was messing around, being gross, but got really serious when he saw that.
Lori F.: I agree on that.
Margaret: I just realized that this episode felt especially young to me.
Lori L.: How so?
Margaret: Reading the diary, the camp thing, the "concert" in Bushwick, the band being so, so bad. Even though I thought Hannah's monologue was her most mature statement yet,
the rest felt very freshman-at-life to me.
Lori L.: In a bad way?
Margaret: More so than last week.
Emma: The diary thing felt young, but the Bushwick bar thing felt like the sort of thing that happens with people who are 24/25. Since I am, as we discussed before, that age.
Margaret: That is not a bad thing.
Lori F.: Question: How much time has passed from the snooping in the apartment to the bar? It's the same day, right? All the same day?
Margaret: Good question. I thiiiiink so.
Emma: So maybe that's why the song is so massively terrible?
Lori F.: Speaking of the bar scene...

"HANNAH'S DIARY"

Lori F.: "Hannah's Diary," the musical version.
Margaret: So we never see whose idea it was to turn the diary into a song?
Lori F.: Well, Ray is kind of the truth teller of the bunch -- I don't know if I realized that or read that somewhere, if I'm being honest. I'm not saying that the idea came from him, but he certainly didn't discourage it. He makes it very clear that he doesn't like Marnie.
Margaret: Nope, not a bit.
Emma: I think that he and Hannah both thought Marnie and Charlie's relationship was really unhealthy.
Lori F.: So do you guys believe Charlie would really perform that "song"?
Emma: Yeah, I do. I think he got so angry and that's what he needed to take action.
Lori L.: It was perfectly in line with him, I thought. Passive but aggressive. Did anyone think it was odd that Marnie threw a drink at Hannah?
Lori F.: I was just typing about that! At first I thought it was super cliche and it bothered me, but then I wondered if it's intended to show Marnie imitating behavior she's seen. I wondered if we're supposed to think she's taking cues from TV, etc. in her reaction. (I would still have preferred that it not happen.)
Lori L.: I thought it was misplaced somehow
Emma: Yeah, it was kind of misplaced, but at the same time I think it's realistic that she was angry at Hannah.
Lori L.: Do you think she was surprised that Hannah saw her relationship that way?
Lori F.: I think it's different to have the conversation with Hannah than to hear it in a judgmental way from the diary. When they talk, Hannah is on her team. That said, the part Charlie read was almost a transcription of Marnie and Hannah's past conversations. The whole "he has a vagina" thing -- they talked about that in the tub in episode 1.
Margaret: True.
Emma: I'm not sure if the contents surprised Marnie, but to hear that Hannah spent time writing about it ...
Lori L.: But that's Hannah's right. It's her diary!
Lori F.: I agree that it's Hannah's right, but that doesn't mean Marnie will see it that way.
Margaret: To have your best friend be the person who forces you to look at the truth you've been avoiding, even if she didn't intend to, that's tough.
Emma: Especially in a public forum where you're totally humiliated. The whole situation was just pretty terrible. It was like the perfect storm.
Lori F.: (Shoshanna: "Is this a love song?")
Lori L.: THAT was funny. But also: Is she really that clueless?
Lori F.: Right, it's a fine line.
Emma: I forgot about that line! So funny. I think they just needed her character to break up the scene with comedy.
Margaret: Can Hannah and Marnie recover from this?
Lori L.: I've been thinking about this a lot. Of course they will recover because they have a show to do, but in real life, I can see this ending a friendship -- easily.
Lori F.: Yes, I'm curious how they will bring them back together. It feels like such a big thing to move past.
Emma: Agreed. I think that even if they move past it, it will inevitably keep coming up. There's gotta be some latent anger there even if Marnie forgives Hannah.
Lori L.: Agree. Part of why Marnie loves Hannah is because she's caustic and funny and real. But those qualities have just been used against her.
Lori F.: And do you think this is it for Marnie and Charlie?
Lori L.: I hope so.
Margaret: Me too. Long overdue. Till next time?
Lori F.: Yes, lovely chatting with everyone as usual.

Read HuffPost Women's previous "Girls" Gchats:

Episode 3: Are We Hearing Ourselves?

Episode 2: Self-Sabotage Hurts The Way It's Supposed To

Episode 1: Unimpressed -- When We Were Cheering

RELATED ON HUFFPOST WOMEN:

QUIZ: Are These Quotes About "Sex and the City" Or "Girls"?
(Scroll down for attribution of each quote.)

Loading Slideshow...
  • "Their unheroic heroes, sophisticated social assumptions and high level of cynicism are essential to their wit and success."

  • Sex And The City

    <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1999/06/04/movies/tv-weekend-relationships-are-hard-but-easy-to-talk-about.html?ref=sexandthecity" target="_hplink">Caryn James, <em>New York Times</em>, 1999</a>

  • "[The] show takes as its subject women who are quite demographically specific -- cosseted white New Yorkers from educated backgrounds -- then mines their lives for the universal."

  • Girls

    <a href="http://nymag.com/arts/tv/features/girls-lena-dunham-2012-4/index1.html" target="_hplink">Emily Nussbaum, <em>New York Magazine</em>, 2012</a>

  • "Speaking to the very realistic approach the show takes to women's sexual relationships with men (i.e. emotionless, friends-with-benefits-esque arrangements with not-very-worthy guys) ..."

  • Girls

    <a href="http://hollywoodcrush.mtv.com/2012/03/13/lena-dunham-hbo-girls-sxsw/" target="_hplink">Kara Warner, MTV's "Hollywood Crush" Blog, 2012</a>

  • "Under their cynical facades, these women are endless optimists about ideal relationships, even as they settle for fleeting, imperfect ones. That hopefulness may be the series' secret weapon."

  • Sex And The City

    <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1999/06/04/movies/tv-weekend-relationships-are-hard-but-easy-to-talk-about.html?ref=sexandthecity" target="_hplink">Caryn James, <em>New York Times</em>, 1999</a>

  • "It's unlike anything else on TV"

  • Girls

    <a href="http://gawker.com/5896477/all-of-the-same-things-we-keep-hearing-about-girls-lena-dunhams-new-hbo-show" target="_hplink">Leah Beckmann, Gawker, 2012</a>

  • "People across America are getting a weekly glimpse at dysfunctional New Yorkers engaging in humanity's most brutal mating rituals."

  • Sex And The City

    <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1999/07/15/nyregion/the-big-city-tv-gives-sex-in-new-york-a-bad-name.html?ref=sexandthecity" target="_hplink">John Tierney, <em>New York Times</em>, 1999</a>

  • "It's a grotesque picture of New York, but it's funny because there's a certain emotional truth to it. Some critics -- New York men, for instance -- would argue that the local men aren't all such losers. But the dating pool often looks that way to women."

  • Sex And The City

    <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1999/07/15/nyregion/the-big-city-tv-gives-sex-in-new-york-a-bad-name.html?ref=sexandthecity" target="_hplink">John Tierney, <em>New York Times</em>, 1999</a>

  • "[The] new show ... is a realistic, ballsy, awkward, humiliating, intimate, honest take on what it is to be ... living in New York City dealing with STDs, abortion, financial woes, orgasms, body issues..."

  • Girls

    <a href="http://gawker.com/5896477/all-of-the-same-things-we-keep-hearing-about-girls-lena-dunhams-new-hbo-show" target="_hplink">Leah Beckmann, Gawker, 2012</a>

  • "It is about women who are both sympathetic and kind of awful"

  • Girls

    <a href="http://flavorwire.com/269272/dunham-and-apatow-on-girls-hbos-next-insanely-great-series" target="_hplink">Jason Bailey, Flavorwire, 2012</a>

  • "More social satire than sitcom, it looks openly at relationships steeped in ambivalence, fear, and the games people play."

  • Sex And The City

    <a href="http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-8481447.html" target="_hplink">Matthew Gilbert, <em>The Boston Globe</em>, 1998</a>

  • "What's especially wonderful about the show is how it depicts women sticking together and supporting each other -- something you rarely see onscreen nowadays. It's like, in Hollyworld, women never have girlfriends, never confide in other women, never trust other women."

  • Sex And The City

    <em>The Toronto Star</em>, 1998, "The Best Chickcom Since Ally McBeal"

  • "The sexual revolution has mostly been a boon for upper-middle-class women like them, who have been able to use its freedoms to delay marriage and to find mates they can stay with for the duration, while enjoying active sex lives in the meantime."

  • Girls

    <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2012/04/16/120416taco_talk_talbot#ixzz1rlWsXU9Y" target="_hplink">Margaret Talbot, <em>The New Yorker</em>, 2012</a>











Slide 1: Caryn James, New York Times, 1999
Slide 3: Emily Nussbaum, New York Magazine, 2012
Slide 5: Kara Warner, MTV's "Hollywood Crush" Blog, 2012
Slide 7: Caryn James, New York Times, 1999
Slide 9: Leah Beckmann, Gawker, 2012
Slide 11:John Tierney, New York Times, 1999
Slide 13: John Tierney, New York Times, 1999
Slide 15: Leah Beckmann, Gawker, 2012
Slide 17: Jason Bailey, Flavorwire, 2012
Slide 19: Matthew Gilbert, The Boston Globe, 1998
Slide 21: The Toronto Star, 1998, "The Best Chickcom Since Ally McBeal"
Slide 23: Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 2012

 

Follow Emma Gray on Twitter: www.twitter.com/emmaladyrose

FOLLOW WOMEN