Margaret Wheeler Johnson: I just want to say that I love Hannah exercising by herself with her laptop while Elijah and George are fighting and how we overhear the instructor saying, "Don't worry about messing up." Also that Hannah is wearing approximately the same thing as the instructor.
Emma Gray: That was perfection.
Lori Leibovich: We also have to acknowledge Hannah's orange jumpsuit when she's in bed with Elijah, and him calling her "sad little glowworm."
Emma: I loved that orange sleeping-bag jumpsuit. So perfect and cozy. Especially because they were watching Adam's "murdery" music video.
Margaret: Which was the setup for their encounter later, which we will not talk about yet because we are going in chronological order, which means it's time to talk about Marnie's painful job interview.
THERE GOES THE GOOD GIRL
Margaret: Hello, there, Lena Dunham's Mom!
Lori Fradkin: Laurie Simmons was great in that role. I have been excited about her appearance since that New Yorker piece last year.
Emma: Her character was perfectly horrible.
Margaret: But not so much a caricature that it was unbelievable. I mean, as an artist, Laurie Simmons probably knows the type she's playing pretty intimately.
Lori F.: I just have to mention the request for Juice #5 -- what a nice touch.
Margaret: Go Lena! Down with the juicing! I felt so bad for Marnie here, though. "I'm not sure that I see you in the art world." Harsh.
Lori F.: And then Laurie Simmons' character takes it a step further and says she's not sure WHERE she sees Marnie.
Emma: It was a super-tough conversation, but Marnie needed someone to be harsh with her.
Margaret: I think this is the beginning of Marnie's transformation, which Emma predicted last week.
Lori L.: Why do you think she NEEDED someone to be harsh with her?
Margaret: I'm not sure she needed harsh, but she needed someone to give her permission to get off the set path.
Lori L.: But what's necessarily wrong with the path she was on? She was doing what she wanted, what she thought she wanted...
Margaret: She's never taken any risks.
Emma: I don't think her old path was wrong, per se, but it wasn't working. She was kind of living in an image of herself instead of really thinking about what she wants/needs. The scene was necessary to really let Marnie know that her previous plans aren't relevant anymore. I don't think that she was going to rethink her life without being forced to.
Lori L.: I agree that it's the end of Marnie as a good girl. Because of the economy and other forces, she can't be who she wants to be. She has to adjust and start to see herself differently. She can't just get by as "Marnie Michaels from Montclair."
Lori F.: I don't think Marnie is totally done being a good girl. I think she might try some new things, but I don't think she's going to completely transform.
Emma: She's not going to fundamentally change, but she is going to explore herself more.
Margaret:Which is exciting and overdue. Suddenly Marnie is the character I most want to watch. Aside from Shosh and Ray, of course.
BATHING THE PIG
Margaret: I loved Shosh's bed head, and Marnie waltzing in pissy perfectly illustrated how little privacy you operate with in New York sometimes.
Lori F.: The Shosh/Ray pillow talk was incredible. "You'd be, like, really good at bathing a pig." "That's so sweet of you to say."
Lori L.: That was maybe my favorite scene ever in "Girls."
Margaret: Really? Better than the Best Party Ever?
Lori F.: It was up there with Hannah and Elijah at the bar last season.
Lori L.: Agree.
Lori F.: The fact that it was such a weird conversation made it even sweeter.
Emma: It was adorable. And their new-love glow was in such contrast to Marnie's disappointment.
Margaret: They are perfect for each other, in the strangest way.
Emma: Shosh + Ray = favorite couple.
Lori L.: "I so wish you went to my summer camp."
Emma: Of COURSE Shosh brings up camp.
Margaret: For her everything good happened at camp. No life experience will ever equal it. I think that's probably true for a lot of people.
Lori L.: Yes.
Lori F.: I love how in sync Shosh and Ray were in their advice to Marnie.
Lori L.: I love how much he appreciates her.
Emma: I love how Marnie said, "I just don't wanna be around people who don't hate everything in their life right now." I totally get that feeling.
Margaret: Perfectly articulated.
Lori L.: It's something people feel all the time and never say.
Margaret: So Shosh introduces the "pretty-person job" as a way to make her life slightly less hateful.
Lori F.: "I'm personally not attracted to you at all because I know you, but I can respect and recognize." That is the epitome of a Ray comment.
Emma: I laughed out loud at that.
Lori L.: And the recognition that there are levels of prettiness. She's not MODEL pretty but pretty.
Margaret: I love that he and Shosh say that at the same time and also love that Shosh ends up being the source of Marnie's employment and also Shosh's phone call to her friend: "How are you? I'm amazing."
Lori F.: So Shosh.
Lori L.: I loved that.
Lori F.: I like how Shosh doesn't sugarcoat even when she's trying to make someone feel better. After Ray says, "I think the world has the three curators it actually needs," she chimes in, "It's not like pop stars -- we don't need like a million of them. Which is a very Shosh comment in both the reference and the honesty.
Emma: Shosh is consistently herself, and I adore her.
Lori F.: Ray and Shosh are obviously in the honeymoon phase of their relationship, but what a contrast to Marnie and Charlie.
Lori L.: The stay-in-bed-all-day-and-gaze at-each-other phase.
Lori F.: Exactly. Before any of the flaws creep in.
Margaret: What Marnie and Charlie have, the aftermath, is what you have so much more of the time.
Margaret: But again, this is pushing Marnie forward.
Lori F.: I think we can move on to Thomas John's "little paradise wife."
PRETEND I DON'T EXIST
Emma: I'm glad we got to see more of Jessa this episode.
Lori L.: Yes.
Emma: I was really interested to see how they would deal with the marriage after last season, and it's clear that this relationship is also in the honeymoon stage. Matching tiger tattoos? I feel like that basically dooms them...
Margaret: The cracks are already showing ... Jessa is really defensive at the park. When Hannah mentions how quick the wedding was, Jessa says, "You tend to overthink things. And that's an issue for you."
Lori L.: I loved the names of her new dogs: Garbage, Fucker and Hanukkah.
Margaret: Hanukkah the Chihuahua was my fave.
Margaret: Also, Thomas John left puppies when he had to go to a meeting?
Lori L.: That was kind of ridiculous.
Margaret: Insanity. But I think it was meant to show what a fantasy they're living out.
Emma: Exactly ... and he is SUCH a ridiculous person.
Lori F.: It reminded me of the puppies in "Bridesmaids."
Margaret: The thing about Thomas John and Jessa is, I kind of want them to work because they're so ridiculous.
Lori F.: I liked that in the scene at the park, we saw that Jessa is actually pretty smart and well informed. And she has some good advice, even though she's blunt about it.
Lori L.: It was a strange turn. I mean, who would have thought that she read the newspaper every day?
Lori F.: I thought it gave her a little more dimension so she's not just "the flighty one."
Emma: And it still all felt pretty true to the character.
Margaret: I love that she can one minute reveal that she's incredibly informed about world affairs.
Lori L.: And in the next breath talked about the importance of rising signs.
Margaret: Yes, the rising signs! Part of what makes Jessa irresistible is that we never know what she's going to say.
Emma: I like that she was so quick to tell Hannah that Sandy not reading her essay was "bullshit."
Lori F.: Well, she's right.
Lori L.: Three days to read an essay? F*ck that.
Emma: Agreed! But I think that a lot of young women make excuses for the guys they're dating, especially at the beginning, and it's good to have someone call you on it.
Margaret: Hannah's justification for this relationship was heartrending: "When we have sex, there's no part of me that wants to pretend I don't exist, which is a rarity."
Emma: That line made me SO sad.
Lori L.: OK, so I thought that was one of the most profound lines in the show and cuts to the heart of 20-something sex. I think that sentiment goes way beyond Hannah.
Margaret: I completely agree.
Lori L.: I think that's the experience of so many young women. Again LD and the brilliant writing team are articulating a feeling that's widespread but often not discussed, like Marnie saying, I hate being around people who aren't miserable.
Margaret: And this question of whether you do or don't want to exist extends beyond sex, too, I think. Work, relationships, friendships, taking care of yourself -- it's all so, so hard in your early 20s, and you have almost no evidence that you're good at any of it or appreciated by anyone at all.
Emma: I think it's really easy to feel as though a part of you just wants to shrink away from it all.
Margaret: It's a period of trying and trying with very little reward on any front.
It's a miracle anyone makes it out alive.
Emma: Except when you're Lena Dunham and become a superstar.
Lori L.: Right. Last week we talked about the piece on The Cut about how Lena Dunham and Allison Williams have lost weight and gotten more glam as the show has become such a success. I wonder if the success will impact the writing too? LD is not an existentially adrift 20-something anymore, by any means. Will it be harder for her to channel those feelings into her work?
Lori F.: My gut feeling is that Lena is pretty in tune with how she's felt and how others feel, and she's not going to lose touch with that.
Lori L.: I think you're right, LF. But it's interesting to ponder.
Emma: I don't think that Lena's success actually threatens the core emotional effectiveness of the show ... but I do think that it's harder to not think of these actresses when we watch the characters than it used to be.
Lori L.: Right, they used to be a blank slate. Now they have images outside of the show.
Margaret: It also makes me wonder at what point Dunham will let the characters start having a few wins.
Lori L.: Shosh is winning with Ray!
Margaret: She's just winning by existing. But true, things are going well for her, for now.
Lori F.: I don't think they need to have big wins yet. It will come in the form of small victories. Like the moment where Hannah gave that little smile in the cab with Adam and Marnie last year.
Emma: I agree, and I think we'll see those moments as the season progresses. I think they're still setting up the character arcs at this point.
Margaret: Agree. Can we move on to Sandy?
"DO YOU WANNA HAVE SEX STILL?"
Margaret: "It was very well written." "I know."
Emma: It was so Hannah to break up with someone because he didn't like her writing but try to make it about something else, politics specifically. And I think the interesting thing is that politics usually ARE really important in relationships and could definitely break a couple up
Lori F.: I think it was really revealing in a male vs. female way. Sandy on the essay: "Ultimately it felt like just waiting in line and all the nonsense that goes through your brain when you're trying to kill time."
Emma: It was definitely a really harsh critique, though ... I can understand why she'd be hurt. Hannah sees her writing as herself.
Margaret: See, I didn't think it was that harsh. I understand, but I think she needs to learn to take criticism.
Lori L.: It was harsh ... but haven't we all read navel-gazing essays that feel like that?
Emma: I'm saying I think it was harsh for her, not that it was untrue.
Lori F.: But it reminded me of what Ray said to her last season about her choice of topic.
Margaret: I see two issues here. One is that some people will never think it's worthwhile to write about your own life for the sake of telling that story, and that's a type of writing that women seem to do more than men. The other is that I think Hannah was justified in breaking up with him if she thought someone who couldn't like her writing couldn't like her. But then admit that that's why you're breaking up with him!
Emma: I totally agree with you, Margaret. She needed to own the reason for their breakup. And Sandy was SO aware of it the whole time.
Margaret: Of course.
Emma: Instead she went off the rails and brought in race and political party.
Margaret: This scene was a portrait of Hannah's lack of self-awareness, even though she's the one writing navel-gazing essays.
Emma: I was cringing the whole time.
Margaret: I hated how she made it about Elijah and gay rights, too, like this was something larger than her not being into someone who didn't like her work.
Lori L.: Right, and when she gets home and declares to Marnie and Elijah that she broke up with Sandy because of "your rights and your rights."
Margaret: So annoying.
Emma: But both Marnie and Elijah clearly know that's bullshit. I loved when they both whispered "thanks."
Margaret: That was great.
Lori F.: What about when she told Sandy she never once thought about the fact that he was black?
Emma: Oh god, that was AWFUL.
Lori L.: Her naiveté about race was staggering.
Lori L.: "I don't live in a world where there are divisions like that." Encapsulates everything that's f*cked up and backward about liberal arts education.
Margaret: I almost felt bad for her. Almost. It was just so humiliating.
Emma: Sandy on Hannah: "I'm a white girl and I moved to New York and I have a fixed-gear bike and I'm gonna date a black guy!"
Margaret: He's probably not wrong about that.
Lori L.: What was so sad, though, was how Hannah humiliated herself and then said, "Do you wanna have sex still?" WHAT?
Emma: She really regressed there. It felt like her lowest moments with Adam.
Lori F.: Did she want sex, or did she want him to want to have sex with her?
Emma: I think it's unclear.
Margaret: I think maybe a mix. (I forgot to mention that they were watching "Say Yes to the Dress" together earlier, and he apparently either enjoyed or at least tolerated the experience. She really let a good one get away.)
Margaret: Also, "why don't you lay this thing down flip it and reverse it." Hannah would quote Missy Elliott in this context, then deny it.
Emma: Poor Sandy ... Donald Glover is so adorable, I'm sad the character only lasted two episodes.
Margaret: Me too. He probably had other commitments, or that's what I'm telling myself.
Emma: Can we move on to Marnie and Elijah?
Emma: "You look like a slutty Von Trapp child" -- Elijah to Marnie on her hostess outfit.
Emma: OK, well, I think it's just important to note that Elijah doesn't want to tell Hannah about his sex with Marnie, and clearly this is going to come back and haunt all three of them.
Margaret: Agreed. Marnie looked like Mary-Louise Parker to me here, incidentally.
Lori F.: What did we think of Hannah's comment about how her work at Grumpy's was "clean money" versus Marnie's and how she wouldn't cash in on her sexuality?
Lori L.: That was absurd. Bitchy. Clueless.
Emma: Yeah ... that whole exchange was terrible.
Lori L.: Unfair.
Margaret: Also, Hannah is spooning Cool Whip into her mouth as she says it, proving that Marnie's bitchy comment last episode about Hannah comforting herself with food was accurate. OK, on to Adam.
"THAT IS SPACE RAPE"
Lori F.: The Adam scenes were really tough to watch.
Emma: SO hard. He was definitely being a bit stalker-esque.
Lori F.: Especially when she was pushing him away -- I really felt her frustration and emotion.
Margaret: Lena acted that very well. It wasn't over the top or overdramatic.
Emma: And the result was a really intense, emotional moment.
Lori F.: Does Adam really not get that it's over?
Lori L.: He seemed legitimately crazy.
Margaret: When he was talking about being a man with his man needs, I was worried about what might happen, but then when Hannah declared, "That is space rape," I knew she was safe -- from him, if not her own idiocy.
Lori L.: I loved "space rape."
Emma: I wasn't actually scared for her. I thought Adam was crossing a line, but in his mind he was just trying to save this relationship that for some reason he thought wasn't over. The way he went about it was very him.
Lori F.: But then he said "I'll see you tomorrow" after all that ...
Margaret: To me that wasn't scary, just Adam still not getting it.
Lori F.: Here's my question: If the cops hadn't shown up, what would have happened when she called him back?
Lori L..: Very good question.
Emma: I think she still has a soft spot for him, even though they pretty clearly should not be together right now.
Lori L.: Oh definitely. And since she had just been rejected, she might have felt more compelled to let him back in.
Lori F.: Would they have hooked up? Caught up in the emotions of it?
Emma: They might have hooked up ... sort of like when Adam pulls Hannah into his apartment after she gives that speech last season.
Margaret: Do we fault Hannah for calling the police? I don't. I fault her for the way she behaved when they came. "I can't believe you guys come every time"??? Yes, Hannah, yes you can.
Lori F.: "He didn't do anything wrong. I just wanted to take out a restraining order against him." I mean, Hannah...
Lori L.: There were so many moments in this episode when I wanted to bonk her on the head and say, "REALLY?"
Lori F.: Hannah sitting on the staircase kind of reminded me of Hannah sitting on the beach all alone wondering how she got there.
Margaret: But I was proud of her then. She was calm about whatever the world threw at her. She's at her worst now, especially when she calls after Adam and the cops with less intention than anyone has ever said anything, "I may come later." Yet another phrase that conveys the utter ambivalence about being part of your own life in your early 20s. I know I'm supposed to show up, but not now and probably not at all.
Lori F.: She really is pushing the self-involvement this season.
Margaret: So when do we see Hannah start to change?
Lori L.: I hope soon. It's a little exhausting. I am starting to lose patience with her, and I totally understand why a lot of people find her/the show insufferable, like Nina does!
Margaret: Come on, Lena, don't let Nina win! I'm counting on you!
Emma: I want Hannah to be better. So badly.
Lori L.: If not better, at least more self-aware.
Emma: That's better to me.
Read HuffPost Women's "Girls" Previous Gchats:
Episode 1: "Are We Okay?"
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 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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QUIZ: Are These Quotes About "Sex and the City" Or "Girls"?
"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
Follow Margaret Wheeler Johnson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mwjohnso