Margaret Wheeler Johnson: "Girls" Episode 6. Who wants to begin?
VOYAGE TO THE MIDWEST
Lori Fradkin: This was the first episode that was really all about Hannah.
Emma Gray: I thought it was a really nice way of delving into her character a little more -- taking her out of the insanity that is New York City.
Lori Leibovich: Knowing as much as I know about L.D.'s background, and what a total NYC kid she is, I found it almost impossible to believe that Hannah would have been raised Lansing, Michigan. Anyone else have that problem?
Margaret: I didn't. I mean, I know she's from NYC, but it didn't bother me.
Lori F.: It didn't bother me -- even though I know she's a New Yorker in real life, I actually find it believable that Hannah is newish to the city. Did I believe she would carry her stuff in garbage bag? No.
Lori L.: Emma?
Emma: I'm with Lori F. on this one. Believed the Midwestern upbringing, not the half-ripped garbage bag. I don't even know what they'd say at the airport if you tried to check that.
Margaret: They would say no.
Lori L.: I just couldn't suspend disbelief. But clearly that's my issue. We can move on now.
Margaret: I have to say that I loved the music this episode. All '90s, all the time. It was basically my high school top 40s soundtrack.
Lori L.: Yes, I loved the music too.
Emma: I loved that she got off the plane and immediately reverted back to being 17.
Lori L.: The regression about returning home was so familiar. The first time my husband came home with me to meet my family, he took me aside at one point and was like, "Why are you acting like you're 14?"
Lori F.: Haha.
Emma: That's amazing.
Margaret: That's amazing.
Emma: I think everyone reverts a bit when they go back to their parents' house.
Lori F.: I thought it was interesting that she's actually very close with her mom. Not surprising, but good to see. You could see them whispering when they walked in the door and then change the subject around her dad.
Margaret: I was surprised that they were so close. Think about their interactions in episode 1.
Emma: I loved seeing the softer side of her relationship with her parents. In the first episode it was so combative, and I think this episode really humanized it.
Lori F.: Did you expect them to know about Adam? They ask about him in the car.
Lori L.: Yes, because she THINKS he's her boyfriend, so she probably told them about him.
Margaret: I agree. She would have told them as part of some phone call reporting How Great Everything Is Going In New York.
Emma: It surprised me, actually, maybe because I don't think I'd tell my parents about someone I was casually sleeping with. But I guess Hannah would, especially since she is deluded about the nature of their relationship. Did anyone else find it sad when she said, "I can't imagine getting someone to spend 30 years with me, 30 minutes even"?
Lori F.: I don't think she really believes that, honestly.
Margaret: I don't either.
Emma: Really? I think a lot of people feel that way. Maybe not the 30 minutes, but the 30 years.
Lori L.: Why do you think she doesn't believe it?
Lori F.: I don't think she's THAT low, even if she's sad. I think it's just a quip she makes to her parents.
Emma: Well, I guess she tends to say things that are overdramatic all the time. There's a hint of truth to them, but she exaggerates, like she did last episode with the "sex scandal."
Lori L.: The house was perfect.
Lori F.: I loved the panning-out shot. And her old computer.
Emma: Totally -- all of her old posters and photographs. Such a time portal.
Lori L.: Goo Goo Dolls! Let's talk about the fridge scene -- another example of L.D.'s honesty about women/eating/bodies.
Lori F.: It was too much for me.
Lori L.: "Too much" how?
Margaret: I didn't think it was too much.
Lori L.: Me either.
Lori F.: Would she get a snack? Sure. Would she pile all that stuff into her arms? That part seemed overdone.
Margaret: I found it totally believable, especially since she hadn't eaten earlier. She set herself up for a binge.
Lori L.: Me too -- especially on a trip home.
Emma: Yeah, when people go home it's so easy to just binge on food in a full fridge. You're bored and sitting in suburbia. I also think that there is this connection between going home and overindulging.
Margaret: You've been out in the world on your own, and this is an opportunity to gobble down as much nurturance as possible before you're thrown back to fend for yourself again.
Lori F.: I totally believe she would go to the fridge. She refused food before because she didn't want her mom to be right. It just felt a little exaggerated when she does go.
Lori L.: I was impressed that the scene existed -- that just like Dunham is breaking all sort of taboos about women's bodies, she's also telling the truth about how emotional food is for women.
Margaret: I feel like we do see women binge a lot on TV, though. People -- female people -- are always crying as they shovel down a pint of ice cream, although perhaps not as graphically as Hannah eats here.
Lori L.: No, and the usual scenes are done in such a cliché way.
Margaret: But remember Miranda eating that ENORMOUS cookie in "SATC"?
Lori L.: No.
Margaret: Does anyone remember? That guy wrote on the cookie that he loved her, and she didn't know what to do with the fact that she didn't quite feel the same, so she consumed it. She ate it away.
Emma: Yes! Miranda also has that episode where she eats a whole sheet cake.
Lori L.: I'm not saying it doesn't exist, but this was a bold view.
Margaret: I can't decide whether it's productive or not. Does it confirm a stereotype or tell the truth? I think it's a fine line.
Lori L.: I think it's a truth, but more about going home and feeling out of control and not knowing who you are and loving but hating your parents and reacting to all of that emotion by eating.
Emma: Can we talk about her old friends?
HEATHER AND CARRIE
Lori F.: I think she would have known about Carrie.
Emma: I agree, but I thought it was a way to comment on the fact that it is weird to go home when so many people have stayed. You do end up missing things that loom really largely in your old friends' lives, because you've moved away.
Margaret: I enjoyed how different she was from Heather.
Emma: Also that Heather defined individuality as "wearing two different color socks."
Margaret: Yes, though I was surprised that Heather listed an appreciation of individuality as Carrie's chief virtue (even if individuality was mismatched socks).
Lori F.: I wasn't -- I don't know if Heather really values diversity or not, but I think she would mention something like that.
Lori L.: Heather was such a caricature. I did not believe that they would really be good friends.
Lori F.: I don't want to jump ahead, but THAT DANCE.
Margaret: You totally wanted to jump ahead.
Lori L.: The Dance was freaking awesome.
Emma: They wore gold lamé. Out of control.
Lori L.: I didn't believe Hannah's delusion about "being a writer" and telling people that's what she did in NY.
Emma: That felt believable to me. I think there's a pressure to make yourself sound like you're doing something really cool, especially if you live in this big cosmopolitan city.
Margaret: I also thought it was believable.
Lori F: Me too.
Margaret: How do you explain to people who have real jobs in your hometown -- pharmacist, for instance -- that for all of your ambition, you don't have anything approaching that level of expertise or the security it affords? Answer: You lie. Or euphemize.
Lori L.: I thought it was kind of pathetic and sad.
Margaret: Pathetic and sad but very real.
Lori L.: OK, are we ready for the pharmacist?
Emma: Eric! Class of '06!
Margaret: Who, let's not forget, sold her hot flash medication and gave her free hose.
Lori F.: And lube for her mom.
Emma: That was so funny -- especially because she was listening to Jewel in the car. And singing along.
Lori F.: I loved that Jewel scene.
Emma: I LOVED that.
Lori L.: I loved that scene with them meeting because she seemed herself. She was flirty and expectant and witty but in a way that wasn't as desperate as it's been with Adam.
Emma: Anyone else catch that she used to write a column called "Holla at Hannah"?
Margaret: Hannah giving advice? Terrifying.
Lori L.: My brother's column in the high school newspaper was "On the Mark." (His name is Mark.)
Margaret: Her attempts at charm annoyed me a little.
Lori L.: Why? It was a first date with a cutie stranger!
Emma: I don't think she had to try that hard. I honestly think that because the stakes were lower, she didn't feel as anxious.
Margaret: Then why did she have to give herself that pep talk in the mirror?
Lori F.: I loved that pep talk.
Emma: Me too! "You are from New York, therefore you are naturally interesting."
Lori F.: It reminded me a little of Stuart Smalley from "SNL."
Margaret: Do we think Hannah would really have worn that dress? I mean ...
Emma: It was terrible.
Margaret: Wouldn't she just have worn jeans if that was the only option? I digress. It was interesting that he told her not to be so serious when he's the one with a real job.
Lori F.: And when she told him she's a writer, and he asked if that's how she makes money, and she said she has no money. It kind of echoed the conversation her parents were having about her.
Margaret: The parents' conversation was depressing. "What does a person like that turn into?" Putting that on my list of things I hope my parents never said.
Lori F.: Me too.
Margaret: It sounded to me like the sort of thing a lot of people in their 20s ask themselves in moments of anxiety: "What does a person like me turn into?"
Lori L.: If they are self-aware and honest.
Margaret: Hannah is pretty lacking in the self-awareness department.
Lori F.: Maybe I relate because I write too, but I think it played into a lot of things I've worried about. Like what if this doesn't work out? Then what?
Lori F.: Moving on ... I thought they did a good job with the sex scene.
THE SEX SCENE
Lori L.: Hannah was obviously acting on things that she had obviously seen in porn or on things that Adam liked. I keep wondering when in the world is she going to figure out what she likes and wants.
Emma: Yeah, I went back and forth between feeling like she was just acting out porn and feeling like she genuinely enjoys the role-playing.
Lori L.: I don't think she does.
Margaret: I don't either.
Lori L.: I think she doesn't know what else to do.
Lori F.: It started from when she asked if she should keep her boots on.
Emma: Yeah, that was weird. And then when he said "I don't want to pressure you," she responded with, "I like pressure" and immediately stripped.
Lori F.: I thought the scene was a good illustration of how she can't figure out how to act and doesn't realize she doesn't have to act a certain way.
Emma: I feel like they both had these preconceived notions about how a sexual encounter should play out instead of communicating about it. And I actually liked that she said, "You can tell me what you like."
Margaret: To me that statement sounded like another thing she thought she should say.
Lori L.: Yes. And I wish she would just say or think about what she likes. Maybe she doesn't know.
Lori F.: I wish she would, too, but I don't think she knows and also she is young.
Margaret: She won't let herself find out, though. Instead she keeps performing.
Lori F.: Yes, but that's because she hasn't realized she doesn't have to.
Emma: I think that's pretty common. And she hasn't been with anyone she can really feel comfortable and secure with.
Lori F.: She's had her gay boyfriend, she's had Adam ... She will find someone she can be herself with eventually.
Emma: I think it makes total sense that she hasn't found the right fit yet. People are at such different places in terms of sexual experience and comfort at 25.
Margaret: Did anyone expect her parents' sex life to be so much better than hers? (Granted, she hasn't set the bar very high.)
Emma: I LOVED that her parents' sex life was so much better. I thought it was a great contrast.
Lori L.: Yes, it broke another taboo by showing older naked people having sex.
Emma: "Parent sex" is usually so demonized as gross.
Margaret: I have to admit that I was a little bit weirded out by seeing Hannah's dad naked, even though I knew I shouldn't be. Only she should be. But I was. For some reason it was like seeing a friend's dad naked.
Lori L.: Hannah was so sweet in that scene. It brought out a side of her we never see.
Lori F.: What did we think of the conversation with her mom after?
Emma: I thought it showed that Hannah's mom knows her a lot better than Hannah would like to admit. She recognized that Pharmacist Guy was a little to "vanilla" for Hannah's tastes.
Lori F.: I agree. She knew Eric wasn't going to be right for Hannah, but she wanted her daughter to find out for herself.
Margaret: I liked the end of that conversation.
Lori L.: Me too.
Margaret: Since Hannah lied to her mom about her job, she actually does have to do it on her own. So in a way she learned.
Emma: Hannah finally took some responsibility!
Lori F.: So last but certainly not least: Adam.
THE PHONE CALL
Margaret: He calls her "kid." I do not like this.
Emma: Big does that to Carrie. Was this an intentional allusion?
Margaret: What would be the point? To compare Adam to Big? Or Hannah to Carrie, for that matter?
Lori F.: I liked that scene -- I know we're constantly debating real vs. not real, and that felt real to me.
Lori L.: Me too. I loved the look of it.
Margaret: Yes, Hannah out in the front yard ...
Lori L.: The suburban street-lamp-lit home ...
Margaret: There was something a little "My So-Called Life" about it, like we were back on Angela Chase's block for a sec.
Emma: I loved how Hannah said that she wanted to call Adam because she wanted to make sure he didn't disappear. That's so familiar to me -- people do seem to disappear in New York. And Adam finally showed some real affection, saying that he missed her.
Lori F.: The scene showed us that Adam really does care about Hannah, even if not the way she might want. It made her so happy.
Lori L.: I liked how she wanted to see what was out his window. It's so hard to be away from New York, no matter how crazy it makes you. There's always SOMETHING going on. And sure enough, there was! Whereas her street was silent....
Emma: That felt really genuine to me. I loved the affection mixed in with discussing the crack lady outside his apartment.
Margaret: ... and that it didn't disrupt the mood of the scene at all. The episode also ends before their conversation does, indicating that Adam is here for the long haul.
Lori F.: I think he'll be around for a while ...
Lori L.: The End.
Read HuffPost Women's previous "Girls" Gchats:
Episode 5: "Are You F-ing Kidding Me?"
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.)
"Their unheroic heroes, sophisticated social assumptions and high level of cynicism are essential to their wit and success."
Caryn James, New York Times, 1999
"[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."
Emily Nussbaum, New York Magazine, 2012
"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) ..."
Kara Warner, MTV's "Hollywood Crush" Blog, 2012
"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."
Caryn James, New York Times, 1999
"It's unlike anything else on TV"
Leah Beckmann, Gawker, 2012
"People across America are getting a weekly glimpse at dysfunctional New Yorkers engaging in humanity's most brutal mating rituals."
John Tierney, New York Times, 1999
"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."
John Tierney, New York Times, 1999
"[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..."
Leah Beckmann, Gawker, 2012
"It is about women who are both sympathetic and kind of awful"
Jason Bailey, Flavorwire, 2012
"More social satire than sitcom, it looks openly at relationships steeped in ambivalence, fear, and the games people play."
Matthew Gilbert, The Boston Globe, 1998
"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."
The Toronto Star, 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."
Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 2012
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
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