iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
GET UPDATES FROM Margaret Wheeler Johnson
 
GET UPDATES FROM Emma Gray
 
GET UPDATES FROM Lori Fradkin
 
GET UPDATES FROM Lori Leibovich
 

'Girls,' Lena Dunham's HBO Show, Season 2, Episode 3 Gchat: Where The Magic Happens

Posted: 01/27/2013 10:31 am

"YOU DON'T SEEM THAT FANCY"
Lori Leibovich: So I thought the opening scene of this episode was one of the most realistic depictions of online journalism that I've ever seen.
Emma Gray: It definitely got to the sort of ridiculous core of a lot of our confessional writing culture -- telling her to "have a threesome with people on Craigslist" and "just do a bunch of coke and write about it." It was obviously a caricature, but it struck at something true.
Lori L.: Who among us cannot imagine an editor actually saying that?!
Margaret Wheeler Johnson: For me it was more of a caricature. I've never seen anything like that, even in places where people definitely could have gotten away with it.
Lori L.: Sigh, I have.
Emma: I'm not sad that no one is offering me $200 to have a threesome.
Lori L.: Yeah, you'd need to get at least $300 to make it worth it.
Emma: Exactly.
Lori Fradkin: To go back for a second, did you notice when the editor told Hannah she didn't seem "that fancy"?
Margaret: Yes. Rude.
Lori F.: It was such an offhand remark, but still ... ouch.
Emma: There's a whole lot of casual rudeness in "Girls."
Lori L.: Good point. Like last week with Laurie Simmons and Marnie.
Margaret: And they're just supposed to take it.
Lori L.: I think Hannah either misses it, or it doesn't bother her so much.
Margaret: Did we believe her when she said, "All I want is to write something that you'd be excited to publish"?
Lori L.: Yes.
Lori F.: I did. I think publication = validation for her.
Emma: Agreed. Also, I absolutely LOVED when she was talking to Jessa about what she was planning to do and said, "I'm planning to write an article that exposes all of my vulnerabilities to the entire Internet."
Margaret: I can't believe she hasn't done that already.
Emma: Well, she probably has some really old LiveJournal from 8th grade or something, but she wants to get into the big leagues of confessional writing.
Margaret: I did not get the impression that that place was the big leagues.
Emma: I meant big leagues in comparison.
Lori L.: Let's acknowledge the name of the magazine: JAZZHATE. For some reason that made me so happy. You can imagine it actually existing.
Margaret: It's like Jazz Hands, but angry -- a blog of violent resistance to or revolution on behalf of the performing arts.
Margaret: Now can we talk about the Most Gorgeous Stoop Sale Ever?

THE MOST GORGEOUS STOOP SALE EVER
Lori F.: OK, so the stoop sale ... in which we learn that Ray is a huge "Ally McBeal" fan.
Margaret: And that Jess throws an astonishingly pretty stoop sale ...
Lori L.: I wanted to shop that stoop sale so badly.
Margaret: ... complete with presumably apocryphal stories: "One of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers gave me a lovely compliment on that once."
Lori L.: A perfectly Jessa line.
Emma: It makes perfect sense that Hannah would use this occasion to ask Jessa for coke.

girls hbo stoop sale

Margaret: Yup.
Lori F.: I found this scene to just kind of be stage setting -- it shows us the situation with Ray and Shosh and sets up Hannah's coke-finding mission -- but I didn't get much more out of it.
Margaret: Agree, I mostly liked the way it looked. It was a nice set piece.
Lori F.: However, it did show us that Hannah and Marnie are still on decent terms at this point.
Emma: And it was our only glimpse of Shosh. "All the junkies in my building totally hang out by the mailboxes."
Margaret: Even "uptight Marnie" knew that. Another reminder that Hannah is the most sheltered and oblivious among them. She really has no street sense.
Lori F.: Should we talk about how Hannah got the coke?

GETTING THE COKE!
Lori F.: This scene made me so pissed at her.
Margaret: Go on.
Lori F.: OK, first of all, I thought it was interesting that even the neighbor realized that Hannah and Marnie almost shouldn't be roommates. But what upset me was this: When he tells her he's clean now, she is so self-absorbed that her response is tone-deaf and insensitive.

<girls hbo laird

Emma: She also calls him a junkie to his face.
Lori F.: "You're saying I should ask someone else for the coke?"
Emma: Who does that?!
Lori L.: "You didn't look clean."
Emma: So insulting. More casual rudeness.
Lori F.: The whole thing was repulsive.
Margaret: But I think this is another episode designed to make Hannah repellent. It's like we're being challenged to see how long we can put up with her.
Emma: Yes, that was absolutely intentional. And I just hope that we get to see some growth in her throughout this season.
Margaret: Me too. Hasn't happened so far. On a different note, I really like the name Laird. It's like "lair," but there's also something wholesome about it, as there weirdly is about Laird... So anyway, Laird gets them the coke. Thank you, Laird.

"THIS IS NOT GOING TO BE A NIGHT OF DRIVING AROUND IN YOUR MOM'S VOLVO"
Lori L.: I have to say that overall I was bored with the coke scenes. I found them sort of funny but also just kind of annoying, in the same way that being sober with a bunch of drunk people is boring or annoying.
Emma: Yeah, I see what you mean. I thought that the coke was a good vehicle for Elijah to confess, but it wasn't my favorite. I thought that the drug-induced party scene in "The Crackcident" last season was way better.
Lori L.: WAY.
Margaret: There were some memorable lines here, though.
Lori F.: Hannah on coke: "I want to get married wearing a veil and I want to taste like 15 cakes before I do it."
Lori L.: My favorite line: "It is my greatest dream to have sex with myself but also my biggest nightmare."

girls hannah elijah

Margaret: I also have to point out Elijah on the outfit: "It's inspired by a girl I went to middle school with who fucked both her uncle and her stepdad" -- so a child abuse victim? So wrong, Elijah. So wrong.
Emma: The clothes Hannah wore were so awful this episode. I don't want to care about that ... but it was really bad.
Lori F.: It was her power-clashing outfit, as Elijah said.
Margaret: Elijah: "This is not going to be a night of driving around in your mom's Volvo with a bottle of cold syrup and cold chicken nuggets."
Lori F.: So the dancing in the club -- I found it kind of depressing. Although I liked when they were lip-syncing to each other, I found it so much less thrilling than Hannah dancing in her room alone. Because it was all for the sake of the story and didn't feel like a natural impulse. I was just cringing, knowing it was going to end badly.
Emma: You were cringing at her dancing?

girls hbo elijah hannah

Lori F.: Just at the whole club scene, except for the song where they danced together and were singing, because you couldn't help smile at that.
Lori L.: I didn't smile.
Margaret: I did like the dancing and lip-syncing. It looked kind of fun.
Emma: I was only cringing when she stripped in the club -- because who does that?
Margaret: Oh my god, that mesh shirt.
Lori L.: I don't think ANYONE would seriously wear that shirt. Didn't seem realistic to me.
Emma: I hope not. So how do we feel about Hannah's reaction to Elijah's confession?

girls hbo elijah hannah

"AS RIZZO SAYS IN 'GREASE,' THERE ARE WORSE THINGS I COULD DO"
Emma: I <3 Andrew Rannells.
Lori F.: Hannah's saying she was supposed to be his last. Why? She has no claim on that.
Margaret: Elijah's right that she's making it about her -- once again.
Emma: Yeah, but of course she would make it about her.
Margaret: I'm getting tired of her shtick, honestly.
Lori L.: Yep.
Emma: But I think a lot of people might be upset in that situation. It is her ex and her best friend.
Lori F.: I think she has a right to be upset that he slept with her best friend, but she can't get mad that she wasn't his last.
Lori L.: This is one time where it actually KIND OF is about her, but she makes everything about her all the time so this time just added to that pile.
Emma: Right.
Margaret: I liked her better when they got to the drugstore.
Lori F.: I didn't.
Margaret: Her exchange with Laird? Come on.
Lori F.: That's where she tells Laird that they might do coke in front of him so no more crying. Insensitive.
Margaret: I thought that was so funny!
Emma: He is stalking her...
Lori Leibovich has left
Margaret: Well, that's what Lori L. thought of the episode.
Lori Leibovich has joined
Margaret: Welcome back!
Margaret: Lori F., Laird is crying in the Metro Drugs after following them all night and claiming he shops for socks there at 2 a.m. Hannah is correct to shut him down.
Lori L.: Poor Laird.
Margaret: I feel sorry for Laird for different reasons.
Emma: Me too. He is a really pathetic character.
Lori F.: I'm just still annoyed that she is so insensitive to the fact that he overcame addiction, and yet she is going to ask him for drugs and maybe even do them in front of him.
Lori L.: I loved when Hannah said to Elijah, "So you felt Marnie's RIBS?!"
Lori F.: "She's very rib-y."
Emma: YES! That was fabulous.
Lori L.: I LOVED THAT LINE.
Margaret: Like ribs are such a sexual thing. So is this a good time to talk about who Marnie's had sex with most recently?


BOOTH JONATHAN!
Lori L.: This was one of those moments on the show where I wanted to reach through the screen and shake her and say WRONG. NO. DON'T DO THIS. YOU ARE YOUNG AND STUPID.
Lori F.: Well, I am glad the story line returned, but whoa.
Emma: Yeah, this was a pretty epic return.
Lori F.: First of all, he calls her Maddie -- and THAT'S THE BEST THING HE DOES.
Margaret: But Marnie clearly wanted to leave with him.
Lori L.: So she just left her job? Just walked out?
Margaret: She hates that job. She's tired of being the good girl, remember? She's "back to the drawing board."
Emma: Even Booth calls her job "f**king depressing." She's faux-flirting with 50-year-old men. I think that Marnie is enjoying someone taking charge because her life is so out of whack right now.
Margaret: Also, she hasn't had sex in forever.
Lori F.: So they get to his place and his artwork is a dollhouse -- is that a Laurie Simmons piece? I don't know if it's hers or just inspired by her work.

girls hbo marnie booth

Margaret: A bloody dollhouse? I would have left then.
Emma: The "best thing he's ever made" piece was my worst nightmare. Trapped in a tiny space with horrible noises and visuals all around you??
Lori F.: Terrifying. But I think it made her feel vulnerable, which was the goal...
Emma: It was making me feel vulnerable.
Margaret: Me too.
Lori F.: And what about the fact that he made an espresso and checked his email while she was locked up?
Margaret: When he was holding the cables, I thought he was going to electrocute her, or himself.
Lori L.: Yes, or just leave her there and go for a walk.
Margaret: This whole episode had so many references to the '90s. "Barely Breathing" was playing while Marnie was trapped in the "best thing [Booth's] ever made."
Emma: Also a lot of talk about how Booth came of age in the '80s, and Marnie grew up in the '90s.
Margaret: And when Hannah and Elijah are dancing, Andrew and Andrew (who were amazing -- "they're like brand consultants and iPad djs") play the Icona Pop song "I Love It" with that line "I'm a '90s Bitch."
Lori F.: The music was perfect this episode, as usual.
Margaret: But I wonder why all of those references. What's the message?
Emma: I think for people in their 20s there's a certain comfort in being all nostalgic about the '90s. It kind of is the first time that this generation CAN be nostalgic.
Margaret: I thought it was about acknowledging cliché, that the things the Girls go through aren't hip or new or edgy. It's the same old thing. Like Booth Jonathan's "derivative" overpriced art.
Margaret: I think locking her up was an attempt to control her, which he assumes she wants.
Lori F.: Oh, he explicitly says so when they're having sex. "I want to control you."
Lori L.: What's the attraction for her again?
Margaret: A very good question.
Lori L.: Just that he's an asshole?
Margaret: I think it's partly swagger, yes.
Lori F.: Is it like some version of Neil Strauss' "The Game"? Like he's negging her or something?
Emma: I think she's attracted to him because he seems to have it all together. He's confident, and he's offering her a way to have fun and let someone else take control for a bit.
Emma: She feels like her life is out of her hands right now and so uncertain.
Lori F.: He's also successful in a world where she isn't.
Margaret: Which is very attractive.
Lori L.: He doesn't appear to be good in bed.
Margaret: Awful!
Emma: Yeah... that sex scene was really unattractive.
Lori F.: It might be the worst sex we've seen on this show.
Emma: Agreed.
Margaret: But it did remind me of the way Adam was with Hannah last season -- it's all about his fantasy.
Lori L.: HIS. Yes. She is just a vessel.
Emma: Also, he asks her if she's on the pill mid-sex.
Margaret: Code for, "It's fine that I'm not using a condom, right?"
Lori F.: And tells her to look at the doll. Ugh.
Margaret: Look at the doll yourself, Booth Jonathan.
Lori F.: So it was obviously a bad experience. When it's over, she laughs -- why?
Lori L.: Because she wants him to think she had fun? That she's carefree?
Margaret: Or because she just did something totally not her that violates the old Marnie's rules?
Emma: I don't necessarily think it's false ... I thought she was just laughing because the experience was kind of ridiculous.
Margaret: Or because he was ridiculous.
Lori F.: But I don't think she realizes he's ridiculous yet. I think she's still into him.
Emma: I think she can find the experience and him a bit ridiculous and still be into him.
Margaret: I just cannot get over how lame he is. I mean, the moss on the bed? What was that? Anyway. Why was Hannah so excited when Marnie texted about being with Booth? And why doesn't Marnie have an iPhone?
Lori F.: That's a good question. How's she supposed to drop a pin?
Margaret: Exactly!!!
Emma: I thought it was so perfect that she has a BlackBerry. It's the perfect phone for an uptight person.
Lori F.: Hey, I have a BlackBerry.
Lori L.: YOU DO?
Lori F.: But also an iPhone.
Margaret: But you favor the BlackBerry.
Lori L.: How did I not know that?
Margaret: I knew. I definitely knew.
Lori F.: So the fight at Booth's house...

"YOU'RE NOT THE GOOD FRIEND"
Margaret: Why does Hannah charge over there? Oh, I remember: in righteous coked-up indignation.
Lori F.: But she's pissed at Marnie and also happy for her about Booth?
Emma: I think she was genuinely excited that Marnie was at Booth's because Marnie has been so into Booth for so long.
Lori F.: Why? She was happy even after she heard about her sleeping with Elijah?
Lori L.: I don't think she's happy for Marnie anymore.
Margaret: By the time she gets over there, it's all about an opportunity to show Marnie how superior she (Hannah) is. And she has Marnie in a position where she knows Marnie will just take it.

girls hbo marnie

Emma: Right, I mean, Marnie knows she messed up. And I think she's too exhausted to lash back.
Lori F.: I thought it was interesting that she was more concerned with proving that Marnie isn't perfect than upset about the Marnie-Elijah sex itself.
Lori F.: Hannah was happy to take Marnie down a notch.
Lori L.: I think Marnie deserves it in this case.
Emma: "I'm not the bad friend and you're not the good friend."
Lori L.: I thought Hannah was making a great point, actually. Marnie has developed a narrative of their relationship where she's "Good."
Emma: I don't think Hannah was totally in the wrong. Both Hannah and Marnie have been the "bad" and "good" friend.
Margaret: Because no one gets to be the good one or the bad one all the time.
Emma: Exactly.
Margaret: Did you guys notice how Hannah got in a line about pants? "I definitely don't care about putting on appropriate pants. Because one can got[SHOULD THIS BE GO?] through their whole life wearing shorty shorts and offend almost nobody."
Lori F.: Was that a dig at critics who commented on Lena's shorts at that event? Not sure when this was taped.
Margaret: I wondered that. At the New Yorker Festival, she told Emily Nussbaum, "I'm going to live until 105 and I'm going to show my thighs every day."
Emma: I hope it was.
Margaret: I hope so too.
Emma: It felt really clear to me that Hannah and Marnie would recover from this. The fight didn't feel nearly as bad as the one from last season.
Lori F.: Hannah actually told Marnie, "We can keep being friends just as long as you know you're a bad one."
Lori F.: At least Marnie seemed remorseful. Elijah seemed shocked that he couldn't live with Hannah anymore. Like he was innocent in all this.
Lori L.: And he acted innocent when his boyfriend broke up with him over it, too.
Emma: I thought it was so great that Hannah didn't put it all on Marnie. "You ruined my relationship with Marnie ... and with cocaine, which could have been my favorite drug."
Lori F.: I know, I love Andrew Rannells and Elijah is funny, but he has no self-awareness either.
Emma: Also, we knew that Hannah and Elijah had to split at some point because Andrew has his obligations with "The New Normal."

"FOR WORK"
Lori L.: Thought experiment: Imagine Hannah on coke all the time.
Emma: Dear god... no one should be on coke all the time... especially Hannah.
Margaret: Anyone notice that Hannah called Laird her guardian angel?
Lori L.: Rather than, say, her spirit guide.
Margaret: I preferred spirit guide. Then again, I preferred the best party ever.
Lori F.: ME TOO. It was so much better.
Margaret: This is darker -- less funny, more sad.
Lori L.: I thought the end with Laird was the saddest part.
Emma: Me too. But honestly, the moment I saw that he was attracted to her, I knew she would make some stupid sexual decision with him.
Lori L.: It was sad for both of them -- for Hannah because she was so desperate and pathetic and transparently needy and for Laird for thinking she's really into him, which I'm pretty sure she's not.
Margaret: Thus, "for work."
Emma: Yes -- that line was very telling. I guess we know what her essay for JazzHate will be about.
Lori F.: I would like to end on this: I will pay one of you $5 if you name your Wi-Fi network "Muffins Are Tasty" or "Madame Ovaries."
Emma: Well, Margaret did just move...
Margaret: "New roommate, new Wi-Fi connection." Is this a rule I didn't know?
Lori F.: Now you do! Thanks, Lena.
Margaret: The End.

Read HuffPost Women's "Girls" Previous Gchats:

SEASON 2

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

RELATED ON HUFFPOST WOMEN:

QUIZ: Are These Quotes About "Sex and the City" Or "Girls"?

Loading Slideshow...
  • "Their unheroic heroes, sophisticated social assumptions and high level of cynicism are essential to their wit and success."

  • Sex And The City

    <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1999/06/04/movies/tv-weekend-relationships-are-hard-but-easy-to-talk-about.html?ref=sexandthecity" target="_hplink">Caryn James, <em>New York Times</em>, 1999</a>

  • "[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."

  • Girls

    <a href="http://nymag.com/arts/tv/features/girls-lena-dunham-2012-4/index1.html" target="_hplink">Emily Nussbaum, <em>New York Magazine</em>, 2012</a>

  • "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) ..."

  • Girls

    <a href="http://hollywoodcrush.mtv.com/2012/03/13/lena-dunham-hbo-girls-sxsw/" target="_hplink">Kara Warner, MTV's "Hollywood Crush" Blog, 2012</a>

  • "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."

  • Sex And The City

    <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1999/06/04/movies/tv-weekend-relationships-are-hard-but-easy-to-talk-about.html?ref=sexandthecity" target="_hplink">Caryn James, <em>New York Times</em>, 1999</a>

  • "It's unlike anything else on TV"

  • Girls

    <a href="http://gawker.com/5896477/all-of-the-same-things-we-keep-hearing-about-girls-lena-dunhams-new-hbo-show" target="_hplink">Leah Beckmann, Gawker, 2012</a>

  • "People across America are getting a weekly glimpse at dysfunctional New Yorkers engaging in humanity's most brutal mating rituals."

  • Sex And The City

    <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1999/07/15/nyregion/the-big-city-tv-gives-sex-in-new-york-a-bad-name.html?ref=sexandthecity" target="_hplink">John Tierney, <em>New York Times</em>, 1999</a>

  • "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."

  • Sex And The City

    <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1999/07/15/nyregion/the-big-city-tv-gives-sex-in-new-york-a-bad-name.html?ref=sexandthecity" target="_hplink">John Tierney, <em>New York Times</em>, 1999</a>

  • "[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..."

  • Girls

    <a href="http://gawker.com/5896477/all-of-the-same-things-we-keep-hearing-about-girls-lena-dunhams-new-hbo-show" target="_hplink">Leah Beckmann, Gawker, 2012</a>

  • "It is about women who are both sympathetic and kind of awful"

  • Girls

    <a href="http://flavorwire.com/269272/dunham-and-apatow-on-girls-hbos-next-insanely-great-series" target="_hplink">Jason Bailey, Flavorwire, 2012</a>

  • "More social satire than sitcom, it looks openly at relationships steeped in ambivalence, fear, and the games people play."

  • Sex And The City

    <a href="http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-8481447.html" target="_hplink">Matthew Gilbert, <em>The Boston Globe</em>, 1998</a>

  • "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."

  • Sex And The City

    <em>The Toronto Star</em>, 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."

  • Girls

    <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2012/04/16/120416taco_talk_talbot#ixzz1rlWsXU9Y" target="_hplink">Margaret Talbot, <em>The New Yorker</em>, 2012</a>

 

Follow Margaret Wheeler Johnson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mwjohnso

FOLLOW WOMEN