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'Girls': Lena Dunham's HBO Show Episode 5, Discussed In Gchat

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THE AFTERMATH

Margaret: "Girls" Episode Five. Go.
Lori F.: Overall this episode just made me sad. I started to tell a friend about it, and I was like, "Never mind -- it's just too much."
Lori L.: "Too much" how?
Lori F.: "Girls" is always a lot to recap, but it was a lot of depressing stuff and I didn't want to go into it at that moment -- as opposed last week when I basically recited Hannah's speech!
Emma: It made me sad too. I thought the overall theme was trying to fix things (often with sex) that can't be easily fixed.
Margaret: But I liked that it acknowledged that.
Emma: OK, so let's start from the beginning?
Margaret: Yes, let's.
Lori L.: "It's not a journal... it's a NOTEbook. Because it's notes for a book." Hanna was awful in this episode.
Emma: Oh god. The fact that Hannah made it about her -- I could not handle.
Emma: She has the right to write about whatever she wants in her journal, but she was so selfish during that scene.
Lori F.: Yes, when she asked what Marnie would think if it was just a piece of writing...
Margaret: I almost didn't believe that. Who would say that? In that moment?
Lori L.: No one. I didn't think it was believable.
Emma: I actually wrote down, "This is unbelievable."
Lori F.: She is oblivious in the way that bothers me about Jessa sometimes.
Margaret: They all have blind spots, right?
Emma: But this was so over the top.
Lori L.: The later flashback to college underscored Hannah's selfishness -- leaving Marnie when she was stuck to the pole showed us that Hannah is just as self-absorbed as she was in college.
Lori F.: Marnie wasn't much better with some of the stuff she said to Hannah in this episode, though.
Emma: Yeah, when Marnie said to Hannah, "You've never been loved this much," that was awful.
Lori L.: I thought that was mean, not self-absorbed.
Emma: Agreed, just mean.
Lori L.: But then Marnie declared her love for Hannah.
Emma: Yes, Marnie backtracked and said she loves Hannah "that much."
Margaret: To me they seemed to be getting along again too fast.
Lori F.: I agree -- it was solved too easily.
Margaret: Also, backing up a bit and as an aside, I kind of loved Charlie asserting that he deserved respect from the community ... of this apartment. It was so Charlie.
Emma: Me too! I found Charlie so awesome this episode.
Margaret: He built all of that stuff!
Lori L.: He was the best thing about this episode, the only marginally likable character, though I found his trashing of the apartment unbelievable.
Emma: I was so happy to see him finally stand up for himself and call Marnie and Hannah on their sh*t.
Margaret: Marnie did seem really pathetic this episode. "I'm going to put on my party dress and get him back." Fortunately, there is Ray to call her on it.

'I DECIDED ON YOU'

Emma: Ray is growing on me.
Lori L.: Really?
Margaret: The acting was pretty great in the coffee shop. I hate him, but he's great.
Lori F.: He is not growing on me. He was so mean to that girl with the bangs. Why?? I mean, I know he hates Marnie, but to everyone?
Emma: Oh yeah, that was awful. He's definitely pretty awful.
Margaret: But that was so him!
Lori L.: "I don't even want to hate-f*ck you."
Lori F.: I did like that he told Marnie he was more in love with Charlie than she was.
Margaret: I also liked his devotion to Charlie.
Emma: Same, that's why he's growing on me.
Lori F.: He needs to be nicer to more people before I am converted.
Emma: Why doesn't she know his address? That's INSANE.
Lori F.: We see just how self-absorbed Marnie is when she visits Charlie's apartment: a) She didn't know where it was. b) She says it would be so out of her way to go over there. He goes to her place every day!
Lori L.: She was pretty loathsome.
Lori F.: And when he says he watches porn, she's like, "Why don't you just think of us?"
Margaret: What is she talking about? Your boyfriend watches porn. Shocking.
Emma: Yeah, her surprise was weird. And Charlie's response that thinking about their sex life makes him sadder was pretty devastating.
Margaret: The only time I liked Marnie the whole episode was when she finally admitted she didn't want to be with him, and I think I only liked her then out of relief.
Emma: She's just so clearly out of love with him but is terrified to be alone, which just makes me really happy that she's now single.
Lori F.: Now she can sleep with Gallery Guy.
Lori L.: I want to talk about this idea of "I decided on you" and what that means.
Margaret: Yes!
Emma: Is that the same thing as settling? I didn't feel like I knew.
Margaret: I didn't know why he couldn't take that Marnie wasn't in love with him, but he was fine with the idea of having "decided on" her.
Emma: I think that people make these plans and have these ideas of how their lives are going to go. And he had planned his life around her.
Lori F.: I think he's saying he made a commitment to her.
Emma: He did, so 100 percent. So much that he stopped really living his own life.
Margaret: But didn't she make the same commitment to him? Didn't she decide on him in a way, which is why she's had so much trouble leaving him?
Emma: She more decided on keeping him around in her life.
Lori L.: I think he's still in love. He followed that statement by saying, "I love the smell of your hair and the sound of your voice...." It was actually deeply romantic, in a way.
Emma: That's true.
Lori F.: He seemed very mature in this episode.
Lori L.: Very.
Emma: He was so honest.
Lori L.: So much more than the girls. He's also self-sufficient in a way they're not (building his own furniture) and more in touch with his feelings.
Lori F.: And he didn't seem like a pushover either in this episode.
Margaret: I did not want him to get back together with her, and I was so afraid he would.
Emma: He did for a second!
Margaret: I know, and I was like, "No, you're free! Go! Go!"
Emma: I liked that he told Marnie she had to "treat me like my life is real." That was heartbreaking.
Margaret: YES.
Lori L.: Heartbreaking. Should we talk about Jessa's conquest?

UNSMOTEABLE

Emma: First, can I just say that I hated the way Jessa responded to Hannah telling her about the sexual harassment?
Margaret: I hate that Hannah takes Jessa's harebrained suggestions. How could she possibly give good advice?!
Lori F.: I am not very happy with Jessa lately, as you know.
Margaret: We know.
Emma: Me either. She's so enabling of all of Hannah's worst impulses. I'm just really waiting for her facade to be broken down a little.
Lori L.: I'm not hating on Jessa. She's interesting and complex, and Jemima Kirke is the best actress of the four, I think.
Margaret: I don't think she's necessarily more complex. I think we just know less about her. I do think the others are supposed to think she's more worldly and complex.
Lori L.: But she's unencumbered in a way the others aren't.
Emma: She is constantly trying to prove that she's not weak. It's never been more obvious that her manipulative revenge sex with her ex.
Lori L.: Couldn't she just like sex? And isn't revenge sex normal?
Lori F.: But there's more to it than enjoying sex.
Margaret: It's not just the sex.
Emma: I think she does like sex, but the point of having sex with her ex was to prove she couldn't be "smoted."
Lori L.: "Unsmoteable." Good word.
Margaret: Revenge sex is normal, sure, but think about her past behavior. Remember when she said in the first episode that Hannah seemed like "she's in a great place"? And unionizing the nannies last week?
Lori F.: It's like she's trying to live a certain kind of life, but it feels forced to me in a way.
Lori L.: Forced, maybe. But I do think she's freer than the others, and not necessarily in a bad way. She's less concerned with what people think. The others are obsessed with how they are seen.
Margaret: That is very helpful in your early 20s.
Lori F.: So, Shoshanna ...
Emma: I love her.
Margaret: She must have enjoyed that, right?
Lori L.: Watching the sex?
Lori F.: I don't know that she did. She was so uncomfortable ... right?
Lori L.: Shocked.
Emma: Definitely shocked. She had no words.
Lori F.: And then Jessa calls her a "dirty little girl" or whatever -- that just makes it more mortifying for her. Also, doesn't it remind her of her lack of experience? She and Jessa are worlds apart in that respect. And she's not sure how she should react to something like that. Not that she needs reminding, but it's rubbed in.
Emma: Yeah, I'd agree with that. Jessa is so comfortable with sex, and Shoshanna is so terrified that she'll never experience it.
Lori L.: I thought she was just titillated and maybe excited about it. Didn't necessarily think it raised issues for her about her own lack of experience.
Margaret: Right. Where else is she going to see this? It's not like Shoshanna watches porn. She's probably pretty curious. It's not like she'd be able to look away, though.
Emma: Who would be able to look away in that situation?
Margaret: So, Hannah's office.

COME ON

Emma: Biggest train wreck yet.
Lori L.: What the ??
Lori F.: I think this scene may have been my least favorite so far.
Emma: I wanted to gouge my eyes out.
Lori L.: So unrealistic. Are we really to believe that Hannah would try to seduce her boss -- just for the story? Especially a boss as lechy and old as her boss is? Is she that stupid/desperate/clueless?
Emma: I really hope not. It was insane.
Lori F.: I don't buy it. She's a smart girl -- she doesn't always make the best decisions, but I don't think she'd go that far.
Emma: I wonder if she's just trying to be self-destructive, because she's clearly so not into working in an office.
Lori F.: And then she tried to extort him?
Emma: Did anyone else find it interesting that Hannah seemed shocked when her boss didn't immediately fire her? Like she acknowledged how insane she was being?
Margaret: You know what else was unbelievable? When he said he wasn't firing her because "she has potential." In this economy, no employer says that.
Emma: She can't break down a box ...
Lori L.: "You're great. You don't know how to do anything, but you have so much potential."
Lori F: And that then she would tell him she would write about him one day! Using his REAL name.
Margaret: It was also unrealistic that she QUIT after he let her stay, although given the sexual harassment, she had legitimate grounds to quit before. It's all so twisted.
Emma: Exactly! It was a pretty toxic work environment, but you stop thinking about that because she was so crazy. It frustrated me that in the end he came off looking like the nice one, and she seemed so awful.
Margaret: I enjoy that there is someone named "Chastity" working in that office.
Lori F.: I'm glad she's out of there, but I wish it didn't go down like that. So then she goes to Adam's ...

'BECAUSE YOU WERE SAD'

Emma: Well, we knew that he was going to be weird with her after her speech -- I knew it couldn't just make him change overnight.
Lori F.: You know, I can completely see how she read it one way and how he would think differently.
Lori F.: Not that it's right, but his "because you were sad ... because we were kissing" seemed realistic to me.
Emma: I thought their exchange was realistic too. Which was a welcome relief after the office.
Lori L.: What do we think of the way she characterized what happened at work as being a "sex scandal"?
Emma: I kind of liked that Adam said, "Everything bad happens to you" because she does dramatize everything.
Margaret: When they're not having sex, he's pretty good at calling her on her sh*t and says some actually insightful things. But then, of course, they do have sex, or in this case, she wants it, he refuses and then has sex with himself.
Lori L.: I spent this whole episode cringing, and during this scene the most. I just want to grab Hannah and pull her away before she demeaned herself more. It was hard to watch.
Emma: I felt sad for Hannah in this scene. She was so convinced that he was her boyfriend.
Lori L.: ... and had just been telling Jessa that he was her boyfriend.
Lori F.: She's called him her boyfriend a few times, but I think this time she thought it might be real -- or getting there.
Emma: Yeah, she believed it more this time. Because she had spoken up.
Lori L.: Her face when she was sitting on the toilet was crushing.
Margaret: Lena Dunham did well there.
Lori F.: I have been really impressed with her facial expressions in general -- she did a little quiver thing when she made her speech last week that was spot-on.
Lori L.: That moment made me think, "Okay, she gets it now and she's going to leave with some of her dignity intact." But then, of course, she stays.
Margaret: Of course. She's dignity-resistant.
Emma: I thought it was interesting that Adam seems most into Hannah when she's being really assertive in some way. Their role-playing completely switched halfway through that scene.
Margaret: I liked that during the role-playing she got to say things she might actually have felt: "You're lazy and disgusting."
Emma: Same! I thought she actually felt somewhat empowered. I think by the end she was expressing her frustrations with him somewhat. Not fully, but somewhat.
Margaret: But I didn't like that he had to prompt her to it. When will she start taking her own cues?
Lori L.: You could argue that the role-playing allowed her to save face in some way.
Margaret: I agree with that, but he was sort of letting her save face, which I didn't love.
Lori L.: At least she could "act" empowered.
Emma: Parts of that sequence were really funny, though. When she asked for cab money? "30 because I also want pizza and gum." Also, I thought that this scene related to what Lena Dunham said on her Fresh Air interview. She said that all of this awkward sex was a "means to an end ... these girls are learning what they want and how to express that."
Lori F.: But when she pulled her skirt up, he told her quickly that that was not "what this is."
Margaret: I don't feel like she got to express what she wanted.
Lori L.: Right, he got what he wanted. I don't think anything he does sexually has ANYTHING to do with her. It is all about him -- his needs, his desires, his fantasies. She is a means to an end.
Lori F.: She was still playing by his rules. He told her it was "for the story" for her, but it was for him.
Emma: I thought it was telling - and satisfying -- that she kept making him say "I'm sorry."
Lori F.: It's sad that that's the bright side.
Emma: This whole episode was all of the girls just being total messes, honestly.
Lori F.: I did love seeing Andrew Rannells again. "Scissor Sisters!" (He's going to be on a new TV show , by the way.)
Emma: I'll give Lena credit for a hilarious flashback. And making her ex-boyfriend so obviously gay.
Lori L.: I could watch Andrew Rannells all day, but I found myself mad at Lena last night, like, "You can do better!"
Lori F.: I know, I didn't like this episode -- not because it was bad, just because it was so frustrating.
Emma: I thought that the last line was kind of perfect. Honestly summed up my feelings about a lot of the episode: "Are you f-ing kidding me?"
Lori L.: The End.

Read HuffPost Women's previous "Girls" Gchats:

Episode 4: I Just Want Someone Who Thinks I'm The Best Person In The World

Episode 3: Are We Hearing Ourselves?

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

Episode 1: Unimpressed -- When We Were Cheering

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Slide 1: Caryn James, New York Times, 1999
Slide 3: Emily Nussbaum, New York Magazine, 2012
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