The Telefile

Girls: Now As Unbelievable As It Is Unlikable

by Aly Semigran February 2, 2014 6:00 am
<i>Girls</i>: Now As Unbelievable As It Is Unlikable

In case you hadn't noticed, I really did not have any fond feelings for last week's episode of Girls. I thought it was nasty and ugly and showed not only the immaturity of these characters, but the show itself. (You'd like to think that by Season 3 there'd be some emotional growth for the female characters on a show called Girls.) On the other hand, "Dead Inside" allowed me, as a former champion of this series, to disconnect from even remotely liking any of these characters for good. It concretely proved that these are terrible, selfish sociopaths and I'm no longer laughing at their once-relatable twentysomethings-in-New-York-City antics, but marveling slack-jawed at what Millennial monsters they are. That's not to say I still wasn't disgusted with some of their behavior in last night's episode, "Only Child," I'm just no longer surprised by it. This is the M.O. of the show now. Well, the girls, anyway. That said, in addition to no longer being likable or relatable, Hannah and Co. are now utterly unbelievable.

Here's why: After literally one successful meeting with an ass-kissing book publisher (does anyone find Hannah that funny?), Hannah gets an offer to turn her stories into a real book instead of an e-book deal she had with Mill Street. Now before I get into the real logistics of the "problem" Hannah faces, can we talk about the weird dig at Mindy Kaling? "She holds back," the fawning book publisher tells her, adding, "You take it there, and you take it even further." Her annoying assistant adds, "Mindy Kaling is not writing about choking on long balls." I'm sorry, that's a problem…why? I'm not the biggest Mindy Kaling fan myself, but what the hell was the point? That Hannah (or, you know, Lena Dunham) is more daring than Mindy Kaling? Maybe, but that's also not Kaling's style, at all. This isn't a competition. People tend to like Mindy Kaling because she is more palatable and funnier.

Anyway, Hannah's elation is brief when she finds out that she actually can't give her work over to the new publisher because, according to the Mill Street contract, they "own the rights to the book since they paid you." They also won't "release the rights of any books they acquire for three years." There's a number of things wrong with this, including the fact that because David Pressler-Goings has died, apparently all of his projects are being shelved. Say what? Nothing like this would ever happen. An agent (if Hannah did have an agent) would negotiate for the rights back. Simply put, contracts get broken all the time and authors take their work to other publishers. Dunham has a book deal – a widely publicized one, at that – so you'd like to think she'd get the details right. But, I guess they needed more dramatic effect than reality for what Hannah (who refused the idea of writing new stories instead) called "the worst thing that's ever happened to me."

But Hannah wasn't the only one to venture off into Never Never Happen Land: Ray and Marnie slept together. This is so off-the-wall crazy for a number of reasons, including why the show continues to have Ray be with women he would never be compatible with, but mainly because Marnie – even in the throes of her friendless loneliness – is too self-absorbed to wind up with someone like Ray. Let's forget the fact that Marnie is still friends with Shoshanna and that Ray is, presumably, still friends with Charlie (because neither of their names escaped Ray or Marnie's lips), and instead focus on how absurd this is. How absurd is it that Marnie would willingly go to Ray's apartment and ask to be told what's wrong with her; how absurd that after accurately ripping into Marnie ("You're a huge, fat fucking phony"), he would comfort her by telling her "you are ultimately a good person"; how absurd that she would make eyes at him; and how absurd that mere moments after being told she's a "sympathetic character," she snaps at Ray about their midday hookup with "Go fuck yourself, like I'd advertise this." The reasons for Marnie being there rang so false from the start (I sincerely doubt she'd willingly want to hear negative things about herself) that the rest of it felt like a huge, fat fucking phony of a plot twist, too. Really, they should have just had an entire episode with Marnie confiding to her new kitten.

Ah, but as detached from reality as "Only Child" was, it was just as mean-spirited as the Girls we've now come to know. Hannah not only attends the funeral for David Pressler-Goings in part to gawk at the celebrities in attendance ("I'm not leaving until I make eye contact with Michiko Kakutani"), but to ask his grieving wife (yes, the seemingly gay David had a wife, and she was played by Jennifer Westfeldt ) if she could give her the name of a new publisher where she could take her work. "Okay, if I do give you another name, will you get the fuck out of here?" the wife finally asks her. Hannah does not apologize or show remorse for her actions at a funeral; instead she shouts back, "I loved your husband!" Also not true, but at this point, it does not even matter.

Hannah also spent a good portion of the episode trying to help a bickering Adam and Caroline solve their problems, even though she somehow made it about her ("Adam, tell me you love me"), picked sides and ultimately kicked the ultra-annoying and creepy Caroline (who at one point accused her own brother of wanting to have sex with her) out of their apartment because she was upset about the book deal without so much as telling Adam what had happened or her whereabouts. All that said, I must admit I'm not sad to see Caroline go.

Of course, those things paled in comparison to when Hannah's father called her to catch up and tell her about the details of her contract. (Hannah's cousin is a lawyer, but not a real one, she whined, just one who defends "sandwiches, not art.") Not once, but TWICE during this conversation, Hannah's dad mentions that he had a "small procedure" on a "small mole." Hannah does not ask what the procedure was and if he is okay, or tell him that she loves him. She instead calls him "insane" and "loopy" when he explains the details of her contract and how she should be patient, the way her parents have been patient with her. It all fell on deaf, selfish ears because Hannah went home to cry some more about Mill Street. "Why are they doing this to me?!" she asked, despite never asking herself why she didn't read the contract more carefully or give an ounce of a shit that she's hardly the only writer of David's to see their dream disappear.

Elsewhere, on the corner of NYU and Self-Absorbed, Jessa was busy freeloading off of Shoshanna and annoying her to no end while she desperately tried to study to meet the goals of her 15-year plan. Rather than, say, apologize, Jessa simply criticized the notion of even having a 15-year plan and then later, on a whim, decides to undertake a mission to improve her life that includes smoking Steven Dorff's e-cigarettes and applying for a job at a children's boutique. "I want something with a touch of innocence," she claims. Girls has made me too jaded to believe that's nothing more than another crock of Jessa's bullshit.




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