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'Girls,' Lena Dunham's HBO Show, Season 2, Episode 9 Gchat: The Darkest Yet

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Lori: Hi everyone. OK, so whoa, I am still kind of stunned by this episode.
But before we begin, we need to introduce Jessica Samakow, HuffPost Parents associate editor and our first "Girls" chat guest. Margaret and Lori Leibovich are at SXSW, so Jess has kindly agreed to join us.
Jessica: Yes, happy to be here!
Lori: You joined for quite an episode.
Emma: Seriously! Tonight was really difficult to watch.
Jessica: This was intense.
Emma: I'd say that this was the darkest "Girls" has gone in its two seasons. We really saw a lot of the characters hit rock bottom (or on their way to hitting rock bottom) tonight.

THE HONEYMOON PHASE
Emma: Let's start with Adam, since he's the first one we see.
Lori: And because clearly we need to discuss his story ASAP.
Jessica: ASAP.
Emma: So we start off in the honeymoon/fairy-tale version of Adam and Natalia's relationship.
Jessica: The line that stuck out most for me in that first scene was when she said she was ready to have sex because he had been "really nice all week."
Emma: I think we started to see how different the two of them really are, but at this point they haven't had to confront those differences. Their first sex scene was sort of awkward, but she seemed very into it and into him and she was clear about what she wanted. Which was a big change from Hannah.
Lori: And he was so willing to do what SHE wants. So two things: 1) It makes you wonder how things would have been if Hannah had been more assertive about her needs and 2) It sets us up for the huge shift in dynamics we see later.
Emma: Right. And this honeymoon phase lasts long enough for Natalia to invite Adam to an engagement party -- not the sort of event you associate Adam with. One of the biggest themes of this episode was a lot of the characters giving into their weaknesses in one way or another. I think we saw that when Natalia asks Adam if it's OK if she drinks.
Jessica: I had a feeling, too, that he was going to drink. He definitely felt uncomfortable in the beginning, which is why he went outside.
Lori: Before we even get to the engagement party, I just want to note the line where he says, "I'd rather you be fat and healthy" in their discussion of artificial sweeteners.
Emma: Oh, I totally missed that line!
Jessica: I loved that. And she says "thanks."
Lori: I believe him on that, and I might not with other guys.
Emma: I absolutely believe him on that.
Jessica: I do too -- it reminded me of last season when he told Hannah that she doesn't know what problems are because she's 12 pounds overweight.
Lori: Right, that's a good point, Jess.

"THE FACE OF AN OLD-TIMEY CRIMINAL"
Lori: So at the engagement party... first of all, hello, Amy Schumer!
Emma: She was excellent.
Lori: You can see Adam's discomfort escalating. He's at an engagement party, his girlfriend is drinking, her friend is clearly unimpressed with him...
Emma: She thinks he "has the face of an old-timey criminal." Such a good line.
Lori: Oh, and she mentioned that his girlfriend blew her cousin. So there's that.
Jessica: "But that was a long time ago."
Emma: These are very obviously NOT Adam's people. He doesn't want to get wasted or talk about how pissed he is about missing the game.
Jessica: I laughed out loud at that "oh fuck" about the game.
Emma: So perfectly deadpan. Adam has a lot of traditionally masculine interests and qualities, but liking sports is not one of them.
Lori: And since he's surrounded by these people who are so foreign to him, running into Hannah just totally throws him. It's confusing.
Emma: Yeah, running into Hannah was obviously incredibly jarring for him.
Jessica: And her.

girls season 2 episode 9

THE PANTSLESS RUN-IN
Emma: Of COURSE she would run into Adam at that moment. It was a really difficult interaction to watch, and I thought that they both played that discomfort brilliantly. You could feel it boiling beneath their conversation.
Jessica: I was a little surprised by their interaction.
Emma: How so, Jess?
Jessica: Because Hannah is usually so self-absorbed and thinks Adam is still in love with her. So I'd expect her to be more like, "Oh... a girlfriend, I'm glad you're trying to get over me," the way Marnie is with Charlie. But she didn't make it about herself.
Lori: I don't think she would verbalize it like that. I think she was just sad about the loss of a relationship she cared about, especially when he calls her kid.
Emma: I agree, Lori. Their interaction felt pretty real to me. And the look on her face when she hears that he has a girlfriend says it all.
Jessica: That's true, I guess she didn't have to say it.
Lori: Especially since it's a girlfriend with a cool-girl name with friends getting engaged. Someone seemingly more sophisticated than her.
Jessica: Right, she feels like she is "losing" to him.
Emma: She also has lost a lot of her bravado over the last few weeks. She's exhausted, mentally and emotionally.
Lori: Yes, she's totally vulnerable.
Jessica: And defeated at that point, after the hospital.
Lori: Though I have to agree with Adam: Why isn't she wearing pants??
Emma: Because she's a complete and utter mess. She has gauze in her ear, no pants on and her hospital bracelet still on.
Lori: Yes, but she's walking around NYC. You would think she would throw on cotton shorts or something.
Jessica: Or something, exactly.
Emma: Well we know Hannah doesn't have a fashion filter. I mean... THAT MESH GREEN TOP.
Lori: Yellow? Or green?
Emma: Neon.
Jessica: I thought yellow. (Important.)
Emma: Well, regardless. If anyone would walk around New York pantsless, it would be Hannah.
Jessica: Should we move back to Adam?

"GET ON ALL FOURS"
Lori: The second Adam ordered the Jack and ginger, I said, "Oh no!" aloud.
Jessica: Me too! I cringed.
Emma: I gasped.
Lori: I said that a lot this episode, for so many different types of things. But this was so sad. He's been sober since like 17. I was surprised she went along with it. Her mother is in AA.
Emma: Also, I'm not sure I realized until that moment just how deeply Hannah affected him. But Natalia couldn't keep him from doing it. She has to trust that he knows himself.
Lori: She could have said something. She's obviously spent time around alcoholics.
Jessica: She seemed to embrace it, though. She wasn't concerned that he was getting a drink.
Emma: I was sort of surprised that he felt so thrown that he drank, whereas last week he seemed so self-assured.
Jessica: Right.
Lori: She was more interested in having him party with her rather than making sure he was taking care of himself.
Jessica: I thought it was sad that he said he wanted to drink so he could have fun with her.
Emma: Yeah, that's a serious red flag in that relationship.
Lori: I thought the scenes of them dancing were perfect, if incredibly sad. It really captured the euphoria you can feel when the alcohol is hitting just right.
Emma: I agree. Also how getting drunk and avoiding your issues and dancing makes things feel all better in that moment -- even if they feel worse later on.
Jessica: So then, back at his apartment...
Lori: Horrifying.
Emma: Absolutely horrifying... the whole thing.
Lori: I had my hand over my mouth the whole time.
Jessica: It took such a dramatic turn. He kissed her then just flipped a switch and told her to get on all fours. Which was horrendous -- but I was upset that Natalia listened.
Emma: It wasn't the dominant-submissive situation that bothered me in and of itself -- it was how clearly she didn't want to be involved.
Jessica: Right.
Emma: People can play out sexual fantasies like that one and it can be safe and loving and hot. But this was none of those things.
Jessica: Definitely not.
Lori: I wasn't upset at her. She was probably scared. He was creepy -- following her down the hall into the bedroom.
Emma: He was incredibly creepy in this.
Lori: She doesn't really even know this guy that well and she's at his weird apartment.
Emma: He was forcing her into a sexual situation that she wasn't comfortable with. It was disturbing to watch.
Jessica: I wasn't upset AT her, just upset that it happened. I was saying, "Stand up! Leave!"
Emma: And then she asks him not to cum on her dress... The whole thing just felt disgusting. And it was Adam giving into this side of himself that I don't even think he likes.
Jessica: I felt awful for her.
Emma: It's interesting because some of the Adam-Hannah sex scenes were uncomfortable and somewhat upsetting ... but they were never like this.
Lori: Right, this scene reminded me of the first sex scene with Hannah, but it was far more horrific.
Jessica: Yeah, I was thinking that, and trying to figure out why it was SO different. I think because Natalia was trying to say no.
Emma: Right. Hannah can get into Adam's kinky side.
Jessica: Even when she felt uncomfortable, she didn't seem violated. Whereas he completely violated Natalia.
Emma: Hannah was a much more willing, playful partner. And she and Adam knew each other much better. This was completely one-sided. And the fact that he was immediately horrified after means that he KNEW what he was doing was wrong and crossing the line. And he still gave into his worst instincts and did it.
Lori: It will be interesting to see where Lena takes his story line from here. He's no longer just a weird guy with rage issues. He fucked up in a big way.
Jessica: I think we can assume that's the end of Natalia. But what next with Adam?
Emma: I hope he gets himself back to AA....
Jessica: In a different meeting, not with her mom...
Lori: I honestly feel like I'm still processing this scene. The first thing I thought of was Joan's rape scene in "Mad Men" -- it seemed that pivotal.
Emma: Yeah, I actually thought about that scene too. I'm very curious to see how Lena will address the seriousness of how Adam acted... I think we all need more time to think about that scene. I don't feel like my thoughts are fully formed yet.
Lori: I just don't remember being that shaken by a TV scene in a long time.
Jessica: Me either, especially since Adam has always been a favorite of mine.
Emma: I think that's what was even more upsetting about it. Seeing a character we've gotten to know and sympathize with much more this season do something so awful.
Jessica: Exactly!

THE MOST UNCOMFORTABLE KANYE COVER
Emma: But since we can't talk about Adam forever, let's move on to someone who also embraced her weaknesses (albeit in a much less destructive way) -- Marnie.
Lori: I was horrified by her too -- but in such a different way. Embarrassed is more like it.
Emma: She's "following her dream" by bullying Ray into helping her "lay down a track." She is trying to do what she loves, but she's still flailing. This week felt very much in line with where Marnie was last week.
Jessica: I mean -- you can't just show up at your ex-boyfriend's "AMU" work party and take it upon yourself to perform a Kanye cover song.
Lori: By the way, I loved when Ray said, "I've been known to dabble in the Macintosh arts."
Jessica: Loved.
Emma: But before the party, Marnie shows up at Charlie's office ... AGAIN.
Lori: But it was his fault! They had plans.
Emma: I actually wrote "Marnie, WTF are you doing???" in my notes.
Jessica: They did have plans.
Emma: I know. But before we knew that. I was horrified.
Lori: Right, I had the same reaction.
Jessica: Same.
Emma: Charlie was sort of obnoxious with the whole "I'm so successful that I forgot our plans" thinking. And he obviously invited her to his app party out of guilt.
Jessica: Right, he feels bad for her. Which he says many times.

girls season 2 episode 9

Lori: So I'm sorry, but that song. First of all, it is not for Charlie. It is all about her. Also, a slowed-down version of "Stronger" -- WHAT? Charlie looked appalled.
Jessica: Those lyrics were not meant to be slowed down.
Emma: EVERYONE looked appalled.
Jessica: Except Ray. He knew what was coming.
Emma: I think my face looked like everyone's at that hip meatpacking app party.
Lori: Of all people, you would think Marnie would be better at social context.
Emma: You would. But she's been demonstrating a lack of judgment recently in that respect. Her dress at Booth's party, showing up at Charlie's office last week, etc. (Also side note: Mia Farrow feels our emotional pain about this episode.)
Lori: It was nice of Ray to cheer for her.
Jessica: I have a prediction: I think Ray and Marnie are going to hook up at some point. Just putting it out there.
Lori: I hope not. I don't want this to go all "Gossip Girl" on us. But I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility either, sadly.
Jessica: I hope not, too -- I just have a small feeling. Ray is going to be a mess when he finds out that Shosh cheated on him for real, and Marnie is right there.
Lori: So Charlie tells Marnie to get her shit together because she's flailing. And he's completely right.
Emma: He is right. But it sort of bothers me how cold he is.
Lori: And then she goes into therapy-speak with, "I'm on a journey."
Emma: She sounded sort of Hannah-like.
Jessica: "Sometimes being good all of the time doesn't feel good." That's a paraphrase, but that was DEEP, Marnie.
Emma: "I am OK."
Jessica: Thanks, Dr. Phil.
Emma: And his reaction to her rambling is just to make out with her. We knew they'd have a post-breakup hookup at some point.
Lori: That is Charlie's go-to reaction with Marnie.
Jessica: It still surprised me, though.
Lori: By the way, is Audrey out of the picture? Do we know?
Jessica: I was going to ask that! I think so... otherwise she would have been there.
Emma: I guess so? She was pretty angry at him when he ditched her for Marnie at Hannah's dinner party. Maybe we're supposed to assume that they broke up after that?
Jessica: Probably. I was a little surprised that they had sex, especially in his office. He seemed so genuinely horrified by her and embarrassed. I thought he was going to reprimand her and then storm out or something.
Lori: I wasn't surprised. He's feeling powerful and still has feelings for her. And she's attracted to his new power and is vulnerable. Like when he said he didn't care who saw -- this is a new Alpha Charlie.
Emma: Exactly! I think part of him really enjoys being on top now. Figuratively and literally, apparently.
Jessica: Yeah, it makes sense. I just thought maybe her Kanye stunt was the last straw.
Emma: This sex scene was in such contrast to their gentle sex during the first season.
Lori: And she's turned on by it, I think.
Jessica: Definitely. It's what was lacking from their relationship in the first place. The dominance and adventure.
Emma: He's successful and can have sex with Marnie in his office and be the sort of cold, hot, guy that he wasn't before. His "who gives a fuck" line was very telling.
Lori: Charlie's so on his game that he could even have sex with Shosh if he wants, as she tells him. So... should we talk about her and Ray?

"I HELD HANDS WITH THE DOORMAN"
Jessica: That line was amazing. And yes, we should. First, the peace-sign robe.
Emma: Ray is ROCKING that robe. It was pretty much the only happy part of this episode.

girls season 2 episode 9

Jessica: "Girls" Instagram posted a "Who wore it better?" split shot of Shosh wearing it last season and Ray in it this week. Brilliant.
Lori: So Shosh is obviously trying to make up for her guilt with her "geisha shit."
Emma: Yeah, this entire episode she's trying to deal with the fact that she made out with a doorman and cheated on Ray... and she's completely unsuccessful.
Jessica: She cannot hide it.
Emma: And Ray is sweeter than he's been in weeks.
Jessica: Which is adding to her guilt. He apologized!
Emma: I think the contrast between his behavior this week and the way he usually behaves was very intentional.
Lori: "You, like, don't apologize -- you're famous for it."
Emma: That was so Shosh. Also, her donut-style half-up sock bun? Even more outrageous than her side braid.
Jessica: But his Ray-ness came out at the party. "Do you want a shitty beer?"
Lori: Yes, his Ray-ness in that he's uncomfortable with success. In this case, Charlie's.
Emma: He's jealous. Charlie was always his equal, and now Charlie's much more successful. And throwing "bourgie" parties.
Jessica: And no longer singing "In Those Keds" together.
Lori: Hahaha. Now that is going to be stuck in my head.
Emma: A true classic.
Jessica: We can play it at the office soon? But back to Shosh.
Lori: I loved when she was talking to that guy at the party who said restaurants are his passion. Another nice touch
Jessica: Hahaha that was amazing, and she was so taken by that.
Emma: The whole party was such a wonderful parody of that kind of party. Everyone was in plaid even though they were partying in a hip minimalist office in Chelsea.
Jessica: Did you guys catch the crying girl in the beginning? When they panned the scene, there was a girl crying on the phone. Casually in the middle. Because obviously.
Emma: No, but I DID catch that the DJ was playing Santigold's "Girls" before Marnie went rogue and started singing.
Jessica: With her first-edition iPod.
Emma: I think that Shosh has lost interest in her relationship with Ray, hence the hitting on Charlie and the flirting with some plaid-clad boring guy.
Lori: I think it's a combination of being disillusioned with him and feeling guilty about what she did. So less time with him = better.
Emma: Agreed.
Jessica: Right, she's overwhelmed with guilt. (It's not that she thinks he's too tall because he's not even that tall.)
Emma: She's not really mature enough to deal with the issue head-on.
Lori: I think this is the first time we've seen Shosh be dishonest.
Jessica: Which is probably why Ray believed her when she said she "held hands" with the doorman.
Emma: Even after Ray gives her an easy way to confess. He calls her out on her behavior, and she still hedges. I was really disappointed in her.
Jessica: I get it, though. She's terrified to tell him.
Emma: I get it too. She's 21 and has never been in a real relationship before and she did something that she knows is not going to end well.
Lori: But when she lies, he thinks she's cute to be upset about that -- and doesn't realize she has a real reason to be upset.
Emma: I felt so bad for Ray. He really loves her so much.
Jessica: Me too. I think she's going to tell him next episode. She can't hold it in much longer.
Lori: He says, "I love you so much," and her response is, "Oh. Good." Not a good sign.
Jessica: Red flag.
Emma: Terrible. I think that we're going to see this relationship end next episode.

"IF YOU'RE NOT GETTING F**KED RIGHT NOW, MAKE IT UP"
Emma: So should we move on to Hannah?
Lori: Yes. Poor Hannah. Her scenes were so emotionally and physically painful.
Lori: Actually this whole episode was painful, in different senses of the word and to varying degrees.

Emma: I agree. But I love that Lena isn't just having a character's mental health issues go away in one week. This isn't a gimmick -- it's a serious reality for this character.
Lori: And she's really making us see them up close. So first her meeting with the publisher...
Emma: If anything could make her anxiety worse, it's this. He completely dismisses her work, which in essence, means that he's completely dismissing Hannah. Because to her, she is her work.

girls season 2 episode 9

Lori: "Did your hymen grow back?" He's so rude, telling her he didn't read her pages because he didn't want to.
Jessica: That was harsh.
Emma: And he completely dismissed her writing about friendship as though if you're not confessing your sexual misadventures, first-person writing isn't worthwhile.
Lori: Right, he's much more interested in her story of sex with a teenager.
Jessica: And he so casually suggests she should turn it into a novel as if that's like changing some punctuation.
Emma: "If you're not getting fucked right now, make it up. Can you make it a novel?"
Lori: By the way, the title he comes up with, "My Life on My Back," reminds me of Chelsea Handler's "My Horizontal Life."
Jessica: I was thinking that! Exactly like Chelsea Handler's book. I wondered if that was on purpose.

THE Q-TIP INCIDENT
Lori: So the hospital incident.
Emma: First she's on the floor, writing with no pants on, while eating olives and getting splinters in her butt.
Jessica: As soon as she started with the Q-tip, I knew what was going to happen. I had to look away.
Lori: We see immediately how alone she is. She calls her parents first, which makes sense because they'll understand, but then goes to hospital by herself. Only to face an unsympathetic doctor.
Emma: I think that the theme of Hannah's story line was loneliness. She has almost no other human interaction the whole episode.
Jessica: No positive human interaction, that is.
Emma: Right. I meant no other interaction with the main characters -- her best friends. No one calls her to check up on her!
Jessica: And she doesn't call them either. She tells her parents that she has 12 to 15 close friends. Which only made it more obvious that she has no one.
Lori: Also, when she tells the doctor, "I was just trying to clean myself out" and asks him to clean the other one, I felt terrible for her.
Jessica: I felt so bad for her.
Lori: I think the idea of trying to clean herself speaks to something more than just stress or OCD. It's like she's literally trying to purge imperfections from her body. Or imperfections generally, I guess.
Emma: She just wants all of her issues to go away. And I completely get that feeling. Anyone who's struggled with anxiety knows that you can feel it in your whole body, and all you want to do is get it out of your body. It made me incredibly anxious to watch her. And then she almost tries to use the doctor as her confessional sounding board, as someone to open up to. Which only highlighted her loneliness more.
Jessica: And he wasn't having it.
Emma: Do we think that her friends have no idea that she's struggling right now?
Lori: I don't think they do.
Jessica: I think they know that she is stressed, but I don't think they know about her OCD. So they probably think it's normal work stress. I don't think they know how severe it is.
Lori: It's kind of incredible how much we've shifted our view of Hannah this season.
Emma: I think the turning point was the Joshua episode.
Jessica: This was the first episode where at no point did I want to say, "Shut up, Hannah." She usually is so self-absorbed, and she says things that make me dislike her instead of sympathizing with her. Like when she tells her parents that they're "lucky" that she's not a drug addict.
Emma: Right, now she's stripped-down Hannah. Emotionally stripped down, to clarify.
Lori: Yeah, she's got my total sympathy whereas at the beginning of the season, she was really trying my patience. And then that last scene was especially heartbreaking.
Emma: When she went to "even out" her other ear, I almost closed my eyes it was so hard to watch.
Lori: When she puts the Q-tip in the other ear, I assume that's due to the OCD?
Emma: Yes.
Jessica: Yeah, she didn't feel right till she did that.
Emma: Exactly, she NEEDED to even out her ears. I just want someone to realize what she's going through.
Jessica: Me too -- I think that's the hardest part to swallow. She's so lonely.
Lori: Well, this was certainly the darkest, most emotionally draining episode we've seen. It makes me think "Girls" may take directions we wouldn't have predicted.
Jessica: Right, it's not just going to be about bad sex.
Emma: I appreciate how they're taking risks this season.
Lori: I'm going to leave you guys on this somewhat happier note: Ray loves Katy Perry.
Jessica: Haha! Yes.
Emma: He would.
Lori: The End?
Emma: Yes!
Jessica: Thanks for having me, guys.

Read HuffPost Women's Previous "Girls" Gchats:

SEASON 2

Episode 8: Who's Counting?

Episode 7: Where Jessas Come From

Episode 6: "Like A Man"

Episode 5: "I Want All The Things"

Episode 4: "We're Adults Here"

Episode 3: Where the Magic Happens

Episode 2: Sad Little Glowworm

Episode 1: "Are We Okay?"

SEASON 1
Episode 10: Surprise!

Episode 9: You Are The Wound

Episode 8: Pissed And Sad

Episode 7: The Best Party Ever

Episode 6: You Can Always Go Home Again

Episode 5: "Are You F-ing Kidding Me?"

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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