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'Girls': Lena Dunham's HBO Show Episode 3, Discussed In Gchat

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Lori Fradkin: Hi! We should start by welcoming Emma Gray, who is joining us for the first time this week.
Margaret Wheeler Johnson: Welcome Emma!!!!
Emma Gray: Hi! Excited to talk 'Girls' Episode 3!
Lori: Before we get into the details, can I suggest a general theme?
Emma: Yes.
Margaret: Please do.

THE THEME

Lori: I feel like everything in this episode was about their concerns about saying the right thing, as we've talked about before, and backtracking because they're worried they misspoke and won't get approval.
Emma: And none of them ever seems to say the right thing.
Lori: I'm thinking of Hannah telling Adam she got HPV from him and then asking, "Are you mad at me?" You see it also when the guy at the gallery tells Marnie to "try and give less of a shit." And when Marnie says she likes to go to the High Line with friends and a book and then murmurs to herself, "That's lame."
Margaret: Maybe this is a too-earnest read, but I think it was also about having the guts to say the truthful thing, which may not be the "right" thing.
Emma: I think they want to be saying the right things but end up saying truthful things that are usually tactless.
Margaret: I'm thinking of Hannah meets with Elijah to tell him about the HPV. And we learn that Hannah was right to tell Adam that she thinks he's given her the STD.
Lori: Yes, he totally lied to her.
Margaret: I felt like that was pretty brave of her.
Emma: I agree -- and she had every right to question him about it.
Margaret: Then Marnie actually tells the gallery guy that she's not going to kiss him, that she just wants to put it out there. And he does indeed have every intention of doing that -- and more.
Emma: But I think all of these women are constantly afraid of how they're being perceived.
Lori: Okay, so we're saying they have the right instincts, but then they second-guess themselves.
Margaret: Yes.
Emma: Exactly. And that rang really true to me. I can pick out times when I've done the exact same thing -- said something and then been terrified of how someone would react to it.
Margaret: You are actually these women's age, after all, unlike Lori and me, the 29 club.
Emma: Truth. I am literally the target demographic.
Emma: I think they really drove the self-questioning home with the Twitter scene toward the end when she's editing her tweets, deciding how she wants to come off.
Lori: Honestly, I've done that.
Emma: So have I.
Margaret: Oh, all the time.
Lori: Mindy Kaling once said it shouldn't take you more than 45 seconds to compose a tweet. That is amazing to me.
Margaret: Often I give up on the tweet altogether.
Lori: So to go back to near the beginning for a second: Let's talk about the scene where Adam is literally playing with Hannah's stomach ... and saying it is funny!

THE STOMACH THING

Margaret: Every woman in America winced.
Emma: Yeah, I had a really strong reaction to that scene.
Margaret: It's almost worse than the "you're the 11-year-old I found in the street" thing last week.
Emma: I liked that she said, "Maybe I don't want my body to be funny."
Margaret: Which is more objection to his antics than she's voiced in the past.
Lori: Right, and she told him she had other concerns in her life.
Margaret: I loved that line.
Emma: I loved that, too!
Margaret: I think a lot of women do make that conscious decision: "This will consume my life if I let it, so I have to decide to think about other things." I think Hannah wouldn't keep a scale in her bathroom, and I like that.
Emma: Same. And I felt like that line was saying to the audience, "Why should she lose weight? There's no reason she should."
Lori: And yet even if she made that decision, it can't be easy for her to have him pointing out what he considers a flaw.
Margaret: No, definitely not. But do you think he considers it a flaw as much as she does?
Emma: I think she is more concerned by it than he is.
Margaret: I think she thinks it's a flaw, just chooses not to obsess. Or tries not to, except that's hard when someone GRABS YOUR STOMACH AND LAUGHS.
Emma: What's weird is that he treats her that way when he clearly finds her sexually attractive. She's by no means undesirable to him. He just doesn't respect her the way he should.
Margaret: I don't think he thinks he has to treat people he has sex with respectfully. Well, that's one option. Another is that he doesn't know what treating her respectfully would even look like.
Emma: He doesn't care enough to think about it. He's selfish, not vindictive.
Lori: So you think he is just oblivious to how much that kind of comment -- that her body is funny -- would hurt her?
Margaret: I don't think he thinks about how it would affect her, the way he doesn't think how sex affects her.
Lori: That's true -- it's so one-sided. It made it so sad when later she asks, "Will you still have sex with me?"
Emma: Another really true, human moment, I thought. She tried to stand up to him, but she's scared that if she objects to anything he does, she'll lose him completely. I think the whole scene made me anxious because I related to it.
Margaret: I think there are so, so many smart young women who do the same thing. Because being smart and creative and thoughtful doesn't make you more able to stand up for yourself in that situation. That's one of the big myths about the way women in their 20s now were raised. All of that '80s and early '90s self-esteem building somehow didn't make it to the bedroom.
Lori: (Can I just say that Adam Driver is excellent?)
Margaret: (Yes.)
Emma: Agreed! He's both awful and charming. That takes some skill.
Margaret: Speaking of over-enriched childhoods: Jessa's babysitting gig. Anyone?

BABYSITTING

Emma: SO MUCH PRIVILEGE.
Margaret: The show mocked it in the way I expected, though. There was nothing really new about it.
Lori: I didn't find the babysitting scene that interesting compared to the rest of the scenes. But I was SO HAPPY to see Kathryn Hahn.
Margaret: Of course you know her name. I was like, I should know that lady's name.
Lori: This episode had the guest-actor trifecta -- Hahn, Jorma Taccone who played the guy at the gallery, and Andrew Rannells.
Emma: Yeah, I loved them all.
Margaret: Who is Andrew Rannells?
Lori: He's in "Book of Mormon" on Broadway. He's excellent in that, but I love him here too. Before we get to that, though, should we talk about "Baggage"? Or Marnie and the gallery? So many options...
Margaret: "Baggage." Definitely "Baggage."

"BAGGAGE"

Emma: I thought this was an awesome Shoshanna moment.
Margaret: Agree. She was so real!
Emma: Finally! Although I feel like her character is becoming more human with each episode.
Lori: Yes, she was so great here. The way she said "I don't love my grandmother" so deadpan ...
Emma: Hilarious.
Margaret: I loved how she asked Hannah what her baggage would be, then immediately started listing her own. Zosia Mamet's timing is amazing.
Lori: I do have one complaint about this scene -- did Hannah really have to say she ate a cupcake in the bathroom? I mean, I love a good cupcake, but we get it.
Margaret: And she's already eaten one in a bathroom already.
Emma: Yeah, I agree. No one consistently eats cupcakes in her own bathroom -- let alone other people's.
Lori: Also, if she had 4 cupcakes, maybe she should have offered one to Shoshanna. Just sayin'.
Lori: But I liked how Hannah told Shoshanna her virginity wasn't really big baggage.
Emma: I like how compassionate and practical Shoshanna was when Hannah revealed her STD.
Margaret: She seemed almost ... wise here. Thoughtful. It was weird but good.
Lori: Yes, and she was the one who said Hannah had to tell Elijah.

ELIJAH

Margaret: I really liked this scene -- the escalation of their banter. I feel like "escalation of their banter" is a very Lena Dunham phrase, which is why I used it. Also, "Is this about the scarf?"
Lori: "Midnight Snack." I loved that title.
Margaret: After they've been talking about her weight.
Lori: Oh yeah! He compared her to a dumpling.
Emma: "You were soft and round ... like a dumpling." I think there was a common theme of men not getting how upsetting those comments can be. I just wanted to yell at him, "That's not helpful!"
Lori: And she said "thank you"!!!!
Margaret: At that point I kind of wanted to yell at her: No more thank-yous! No more apologies!
Emma: But we all saw the gay thing coming a mile away, right?
Margaret: Um, yes.
Emma: She always tries to do the right thing and then gets derailed.
Margaret: Also: "I am my authentic self! I am my authentic self!"
Lori: Yes!
Margaret: Which is, of course, a refrain for the show, second to, "I am a voice of a generation."
Emma: My favorite was, "This is just my inappropriate physical reaction to my total joy."
Lori: "It was nice to see you. Your dad is gay."
Margaret: "Are we hearing ourselves? I don't think we're hearing ourselves." (Which also sort of sums up the show -- and this episode -- thematically.)
Lori: I could honestly watch a whole episode of just Hannah and Elijah!
Emma: They were so funny together. I wanted them to be friends. With each other. Also with me.
Margaret: Me too. It's got to be a break-off series.
Lori: Yes, webisodes! Lena Dunham, if you are reading this: a) Thank you! b) More Andrew!
Margaret: Oh THAT's Andrew!
Emma: Yes, and he is amazing.
Margaret: Also, he said at the end that she looked like lesbian. He did that.
Emma: They were both dealing low blows by the end.
Lori: I hate to be the downer here, but can I say one sad thing?
Margaret: Yes. Say your sad thing.
Lori: It made me sad that she called Adam her boyfriend. I mean, I get it, but =(.
Margaret: Yeeeesss.
Emma: Yeah....
Margaret: Heartbreaking.
Emma: So heartbreaking!
Margaret: You could do so much better, Hannah!
Emma: But really ... what could she say to her ex? Who just came out to her? And has a lover?
Lori: No, exactly -- she was on the defensive.
Lori: But overall, I just want to watch the whole scene again.
Emma: So ... can we talk about the elephant in the episode? A.k.a. the gallery scene with Marnie?

THE ELEPHANT IN THE EPISODE

Margaret: I like that we met Marnie's boss. Cu-ckoo.
Emma: She's nuts! Do people actually do things like that?
Lori: Yes, yes, they do.
Margaret: In the art world, yes. So, the guy at the gallery.
Emma: I feel like that was the shocker.
Margaret: I didn't think it was shocking.
Lori: I didn't think it was that shocking either. I mean, Marnie clearly wants the anti-Charlie.
Emma: But I think it was supposed to be shocking to her. He's so straightforward, and most men she knows probably wouldn't dream of starting a sentence, "When i f**k you."
Lori: This might be a weird thing to say, but I like that he's kind of short.
Emma: I found him super appealing.
Lori: Like he is attractive, but it's also his confidence that's appealing.
Emma: Absolutely -- and that's what these women (minus Jessa's bravado) are lacking.
Margaret: So they're attracted to it in men, too.
Emma: Who isn't attracted to confidence?
Lori: How long do you think it will take till he makes good on his promise? Two episodes? Three?
Emma: Only a matter of time.
Margaret: Might be more toward the end of the season. It's a good one to keep in the writers' back pocket.
Lori: True...
Emma: It will definitely happen, though. She was clearly really taken aback but liked it.
Lori: Yes, she was clearly surprised, but also really turned on.
Margaret: Thus, her immediate trip to the bathroom.
Lori: Especially because Charlie never takes control. Because he's so worried about what she wants.
Margaret: Note: We are now officially in the "Fifty Shades of Grey" zone.
Emma: Yet another pop culture reference to women wanting to be "dominated" in some way. I think Charlie has the same confidence problem that the women do, but while they indulge it in themselves, they don't want those qualities in a partner.
Lori: Well, I actually don't know if I agree with that. With him, I'm not sure it's confidence -- it's more than she just wants to be challenged more. I don't find him backtracking in the same way
Emma: That's true. He doesn't backtrack, but I think he always aims to please. Which is definitely what Hannah does. This episode saved the best scene for last, though.

THE LAST SCENE

Emma: I could not have been happier watching Hannah and Marnie dance together (or Hannah jamming by herself).
Lori: It was such a fun scene -- great song, good girl time, etc. And how they're both like, "Yeah, Elijah was gay!"
Margaret: I wish I had done this (the dancing) when I had roommates. I'm not sure what we did instead, but it wasn't this much fun.
Emma: I've definitely had roomie dance parties. And solo ones. It always makes you feel better.
Margaret: Solo, definitely. It's why I live alone.
Emma: The whole scene, I wanted to be dancing along with them.

Read HuffPost Women's previous "Girls" Gchats:

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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