Oh look, Hannah is taking out the garbage. Oops, no she's traveling! With her clothes wrapped in plastic like a bag lady. She's heading home to Michigan to see her parents, Loreen and Tad, on their anniversary weekend. We learn that Hannah hasn't told them that she lost her job (after propositioning and then threatening her boss I'm guessing she didn't score a letter of recommendation.)
Driving home from the airport in Michigan, Loreen "casually" mentions a job as a post-graduate fellow, causing Hannah to nix any further job-talk like a bratty teen. (Countdown to childhood regression in 5... 4... 3... )
An evening of "really fun Netflix" and rice pudding ensues, but remember: no texting during the movie! And no being treated like an adult! "Maybe she's hungry." (... AND IGNITION.)
We get to see Hanna's childhood room, still frozen in time and featuring a copy of Party Girl with Parker Posey. Marnie texts: "Did you ask them for the rent money yet?" and the trip's true purpose is revealed.
The next day Loreen wakes Hannah and asks her to fetch a prescription. Instead Hannah visits her friend Heather (who dresses like Parker Posey in Party Girl) catch up on the local gossip. She learns there's a benefit for the family of one of her high school classmates who died... or disappeared? and that Heather is moving to Hollywood to be a dancer. With absolutely no prospects and a suitcase full o' delusions.
Travel tip: If you're planning a visit East Lansing and want to sound like a local, end every sentence with "yo." You'll blend right in!
At the pharmacy Hannah reconnects with Eric, a high school acquaintance who impresses her by throwing in some free lube with her mother's hot flash meds. Once home, Hannah bails on her parents anniversary dinner (not sure how she resists the lure of a restaurant called "S'il Vous Plate" but whatever), in favor of a date with the pharmacist.
In her room, Hannah psyches herself up: "You are from New York, therefore you are just naturally interesting." At the benefit they enjoy a performance from Michigan's answer to the Solid Gold Dancers, which in New York could be an ironic burlesque act. Unfortunately Hannah is the only one who thinks so.
Meanwhile, at the anniversary dinner we learn that Tad does a passable Woody Allen impression! But despite all their cheery support to her face, Tad and Loreen's conversation about Hannah is a betrayal: "When is she going to realize the she's not going to be what she wants to be when she grows up?" Ouch.
Hannah and Eric are on the express train to sexytown when it becomes apparent that his tastes are a little more... vanilla than hers. Getting what she thought she wanted (an attentive gentleman) has its downside: His moves are strictly under the covers with no dirty talk.
But fear not! Tad and Loreen's sex life makes up for any damage to Lansing's rep as Sin City -- and I thought the crazy sex scenes were just for the young and fabulous! But of course, there can be no sex without humiliation so Tad falls heavily out of the shower and is out cold. Upon returning home, Hannah helps her concussed father into bed, narrating all the way: "That is fully your wet butt."
Her trip home affords Hannah a lot of time to think about where she is and where she could have ended up. But instead of spending time lamenting about a bigger apartment or a less cryptic love life, Hannah gains the perspective to count her blessings and ultimately scratch the plan to ask for a handout.
Later that night Adam calls and Hannah has the first non-awkward conversation of the episode. Their easy familiarity reveals that they actually have a lot in common. He misses her! They catch up: she tells him she'd be worried about him if he ever disappeared. Adam tells her what's outside his window.
This episode draws some very stark contrasts between New York and the Midwest. Happily it spends as much time mocking provinciality as it does rolling its eyes at urban arrogance. And though it's clear that Hannah is still shedding the remnants of her teenage self, she's slowly figuring out her place in the world.
Alexandra Gray is a NYC-based writer/ performer; one-third of the all-girl sketch trio Booby Hatch, on Twitter @AceofSix.
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