Welcome to Girls on Girls (+ One Guy), a roundtable discussion and podcast that intelligently dissects, analyzes and offers theory on season three of HBO's Girls. Featuring THR staffers and avid Girls watchers Rebecca Sun, Brandon Kirby, Philiana Ng, Jessie Katz and Pret-a-Reporter editor Erin Weinger, each podcast explores four very important factors in Girls world: friendship, fashion, finance and, of course, fornication. It asks the show's fundamental pair of questions: Who is succeeding and who failing miserably at the game of life?
[Warning: Spoilers below!]
This week, we explore episodes one and two of the new season, which opens with one of the best televised telling-offs we've ever seen and goes on to follow Jessa's failed stint in rehab (where she mingles with fellow rehabbers, played by Orange Is The New Black actress Danielle Brooks and former Sonic Youth frontwoman Kim Gordon), leaving us to ponder the following: Should Jessa have left rehab? Will Marnie ever get that nasty kimchee smell out of her apartment? Were those really, uh, Hannah's lady bits we saw in the woods?
Below, find a transcript of part one of our 20-minute podcast, which focuses on fashion specifically (vests, scrunchies and the value of going commando on a car trip included). For more, including who we think wins the FML index of Girls life this week, be sure to check out our complete podcast.
Erin Weinger: We are here to decide who, on the first episode of Girls, is most – or least – emotionally stunted.
As we decide, we're going through four factors: We’re looking at the fashion, the friendship, the finance and the fornication that has happened in tonight's double back-to-back premiere. And we're deciding who deserves to be up and down in the world of Girls life. So, why don't we start with fashion? What do you guys think was good and what was bad in tonight's episodes?
So why don’t we start with fashion: what do you guys think was good and what was bad in tonight’s episodes?
Brandon Kirby: Well I wanna dive in and say Soshanna. Definitely fashion up. Because that Juicy sweat thing that she was wearing throughout the whole road trip episode, right? The boobs were bouncin’ – just like her personality. The whole episode she’s just a joy.
Philiana Ng: I agree. [The Juicy suit] completely matches with her personality and [the cross] earrings Jessa wore really stood out for me, too.
Jessie Katz: You could kill a vampire with those earrings. They were intense.
Rebecca Sun: Even in rehab, she doesn’t forget to accessorize appropriately.
JK: Like, where was Jessa before rehab that she arrived with these things?
RS: You always have to keep giant cross studs in your go bag.
EW: Just in case you get sent to rehab.
JK: I would like to nominate Taystee’s vest.
EW: AKA Laura, the fellow rehab participant?
JK: Yes, Taystee from Orange is the New Black. The vest was victimized.
EW: As was Laura.
RS: The vest was the victim of a homophobic hate crime, basically.
EW: Do we think that the vest has something to do with homophobia?
JK: Well, Jessa makes these correlations on her own. I would also like to nominate fashion-wise from the group therapy, Kim Gordon’s scrunchies, that were actually not visible.
RS: Her hypothetical scrunchies. She seemed like a person who wanted to wear one.
EW: Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Shoshanna wear a scrunchie once? And that is Jessa’s cousin so it’s an interesting correlation.
RS: Jessa knows how to recognize a person who’s prone to wear scrunchies.
EW: For me personally, a fashion down would have to be Lena Dunham’s short dress that she wore while traveling to the rehab center. She took an unfortunate nap in the woods and things really took a turn.
BK: I’m pretty sure we’re seeing her [lady bits] from an absurd angle.
EW: It’s very possible. I do understand the saying “If a tree falls in a forest…” and she was by herself during the nap. It’s fine, I suppose. But I feel like that’s something you wanna watch for. You wanna make sure that if you get sick at a party, for example, and you really have to lay down fast…
RS: I feel like there are certain situations where you don’t want to go commando. One, when you’re gonna be in a car with four other people for an extended period of time. Secondly, when you’re going to be lying down on a hill in a pile of dirty leaves on the side of the freeway.
EW: There were some good friendship lessons tonight.
JK: When you’re throwing a dinner party for your friends, you need to have 16 tacos and four buckets of ice cream.
BK: The reuniting of Hannah and Jessa. Hannah laid down the law – “don’t disappear on me again.” Which was nice.
RS:But why are they friends? Why is Hannah doing this? It seems to be somewhat of a one-way relationship.
EW: Hannah has never really done a good job at breaking free of old patterns without the use of medication. She is a masochist, and she keeps going back to her old ways.
PN: This is a small moment, but when Shoshanna and Hannah were singing Maroon 5, that was a sweet moment.
BK: And Truth or Dare. Another sweet moment.
RS: I think for me, Hannah’s friendship high-point was her conversation with Shoshanna by the vending machine. I don’t know if Shoshanna actually does have some kind of Asperger’s where she kind of fails to understand normal human behavior and emotions, but Hannah was perceptive enough to have noticed in Jessa in college, that kind of inherent sadness.
JK: But Shoshanna was maybe being more perceptive in wondering if Hannah got the story wrong, that it was she herself who was crying. Everything that Hannah sees about her friends is kind of filtered through herself. She’s going to rescue Jessa – that’s great – but Adam tells her “you don’t rescue people from rehab.”
PN: It’s kind of rose-colored glasses for her.
RS: I think that Adam gets the friendship award, which is ironic because he’s not actually even friends with these girls, but he had distinctive moments of speaking truth to them, the kind of things that only a real friend would tell you.
BK: And yet to Hannah he openly will be like, “I hate all your friends.”
RS: Which says something more about his friendship towards Hannah, that he would even do this. He talks to Marnie at the dinner party and comforts her in a way that not even her mother – well, obviously not her mother – was able to.
JK: And Adam says that Hannah is his best friend, and that’s how he has acted towards her, and his generosity towards her friends is because of how he actually feels about Hannah. So…Adam for friendship?
PN: Across the board. It’s not even really a question.
EW: Now obviously we have to talk about the elephant in the room, that is Shiri Appleby coming back.
JK: With Amy Schumer in tow.
EW: Now that was a moment right there.
BK: That was a great way to kick off the season. Would that be a huge up arrow, or down, for fornication?
JK: Adam’s fornication fail.
EW: I feel like the theme of the first episode was really abandonment by men. Everybody was left by someone, wronged by someone, sad about someone, and repairing this void that someone had left for them.
JK: Except for Hannah, who in some ways was rescued by Adam.
RS: Not to get all authorial intent about it, but that doesn’t seem to be the theme that Lena Dunham would necessarily be trying to put across, right? That Hannah is on top because she got a guy to help her? I feel like [Dunham] would be trying to do something more subversive, or progressive, than that.
EW: Well, whatever she was trying to do, there was an abandonment theme to all of this.
RS: My theme that I was thinking of in the first two episodes was playing house or playing grown-up, like an SNL sketch of toddlers who are put in these adult situations. Even very early on when Adam was complaining to Hannah about having to do this dinner party, he’s in his standard, only-wearing-underwear mode and sitting at a very low table the way babies sit, not even with chairs.
JK: Can I bring up an interesting line from that conversation? Adam says, “Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you should have to change for the other person,” and Hannah says, “yes, it does.” What’s actually going on here?
EW: There seemed to be some tension between them on the road trip. She wasn’t hungry, yet ordered a shortstack and turkey bacon (or if there wasn’t turkey bacon, regular bacon).
PN: And a milkshake!
EW: And then they have their moment in bed when he’s asking her not to be grumpy, so I would hypothesize that as the season progresses we will see some explosive tension between them.
BK: I hope so! Hannah is more boring when she’s in a relationship with Adam.
JK: Yes, get her off her meds! I don’t like a sane Hannah.
RS: I thought the most telling thing was Shoshanna and Adam on their hike. Shoshanna’s like, you’re there for Hannah, it’s so great, it’s not like you a have job, and that echoes back to what Hannah and her therapist were talking about. The fact that Adam just hammers wood and makes papier mâché.
EW: That’s how Adam pays his rent. His grandma and his papier mâché!
RS: And I know that the whole “you don’t have any ambition!” is a recurring plot point for a lot of relationships on this show but I feel like it’s something that’s being set up with these first two episodes. Although I have to say that I’m a little surprised that everyone is so okay with mooching off of their older family members.
EW: So this brings us to finance. I’m pushing 30 and I don’t know that many people who are not accepting hand-outs from loved ones to make ends meet, in New York, in LA, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Times are tough! So in terms of finance, Jessa is in rehab but she came into some money through her divorce.
JK: I would offer up that the big loser in finance is Marnie, simply because she’s sleeping in Rainbow Brite sheets, and living with Rita Wilson.
RS: Rainbow Brite sheets are amazing!
EW: I prefer Jem and the Holograms myself, so I would say that’s a fail, absolutely.
PN: Marnie has definitely gone down a couple of rungs.
JK: What happened to her music career? The whole Kanye thing?
EW: It seems like she’s in a bad way. Her house, as her mother described, is a shitbox, and it smells like scented candles.
RS: And kimchi.
JK: Do we think that they had not thought up a storyline for her that did not involve Charlie, since Christopher Abbott left the show? I mean, why is she not on the road trip?
RS: I think that explains a lot of her lack of airtime in the first two episodes.
EW: We also all have the friend who has the perfect life, the brand new car, the beautiful apartment….
RS: The beautiful face…
EW: And this is the ode to knocking that person off the pedestal, as much as we love them. We’re human, we want to see the mighty fall sometimes, and it fits. Because especially in the first season of Girls it was all, Marnie is perfect, Marnie has this glamorous job, and she’s gorgeous.
RS: Her boyfriend is a slave to her. But wasn’t her fall her second season arc?
BK: Yes, and now she’s just still down there, rock-bottoming.
EW: But she has moved out of her parent’s house.
JK: I would like to know how a 20-something girl in New York City gets her own apartment on a Grumpy’s salary.
EW: Well, this brings us to the Friends loft all over again.
RS: It’s probably Midwood or something. She moved to East, East, East Brooklyn.
JK: That’s true. It smelled like kimchi so we’re not talking Brooklyn Heights.
RS: We’re not even talking Bushwick anymore.
EW: She’s trying. I think that we will see big things for Marnie this season. In Finance maybe Hannah wins the up.
JK: The e-book is going well.
EW: Hannah it is. That was easy.
PN: Were there any stand-out lines? I mean, Amy Schumer…
JK: Amy Schumer, when she sized up Hannah and said, “Did you leave in a rush?”
PN: That’s a great quote.
EW: I enjoyed the line from the rehab director, that they were discharging Jessa for “fraternizing and distributing a ‘zine with inappropriate content.” Because you should start a ‘zine in rehab!
PN: That just perfectly encapsulates Jessa in one sentence.
EW: So overall, if we had to pick one failure at life and one winner, let’s lightning-round this. Who do we think wins?
BK: Shoshanna wins. I love her. She’s on top of the world.
JK: I can’t help myself. I have to say Jessa. She always accomplishes what she sets out to do. She wanted to get kicked out of rehab, she wanted to prove that Laura was gay, and she did it all.
RS: In terms of winners, Hannah compared to where she was in the finale last season. She’s made a lot of strides, not just because Adam rescued her and gave her confidence and stability, but she’s writing, so she’s really confronting the thing that she wants and fears the most. Jessa is clearly not confronting some major daddy issues.
BK: I would say she’s the loser.
PN: My winner is Adam. He was the most sane person out of the entire group.
JK: Who ever thought when the show began that we would be saying Adam is the most sane? But I think you’re right. Dark horse candidate.
EW: I’m gonna go a little bit off the cuff here. I’m gonna say it was Shiri Appleby and Amy Schumer for the win, because who has not dreamt of running into a bad ex somewhere public and lying to him about a pregnancy scare? Who has not wanted to do that? Come on! That is gold right there. That is a dream come true.
RS: And then dining and dashing.
EW: They did it all that day. Well, I think that’s all the time we have. We will be back next week bright and early with the next report from Girls. This has been Girls on Girls + One Guy at THR and thank you very much for listening.