This week’s episode of Girls, titled “Role Play,” provided some much-needed levity to the season, even as the levels of despair sunk even lower for our little quartet of ladies. Marnie accepted a less-than-thrilling offer from Soo-Jin to reenter the gallery world; Shoshanna staged a tough intervention for Jessa and Jasper; and Hannah desperately tried to out-act Adam with sexual role-play (needless to say he was less than moved by her performance.) As we approach the final two episodes of the season, these characters seem perched on the precipice of either redemption or despair. Girls on Girls (+ One Guy) podcasters Jessie Katz, Brandon Kirby, Rebecca Sun and Pret-a-Reporter editor Erin Weinger attempt to read the tea leaves.
Erin Weinger: We are discussing Episode 10 of Girls today, “Role Play.” It was a very interesting episode.
Jessie Katz: What a role that was played!
EW: I feel like this episode, to me, had some of the funniest dialogue yet.
Brandon Kirby: This is the hardest I’ve laughed at Girls, possibly ever. When she’s doing that berry thing…
JK: “I can’t eat the green parts.”
EW: As a brief synopsis of the episode, we really saw Adam come into his own as a worker. He cares about something now. Marnie is out on the job hunt. She’s out trying to make some money and be an adult, and Hannah and Adam came to a major turning point in their relationship.
EW: So first off we’ll talk about Fashion. Talk about the fluffy stuff first. We had a couple ups. One was that Adam got his costume from his Broadway production and looked amazing. He looked like a man who went to Rag and Bone and got his own clothes and looked amazing.
Rebecca Sun: I’m such a sucker for a nice tailored men’s overcoat. It’s such a classic gentleman’s look.
EW: He looked put together and that’s not something we’ve usually been privy to. It was nice to see him that way even though it was only a costume. He brought it home to break it in.
JK: He brought it in to do his usual routines of…
EW: Organizing newspapers…
RS: Eating muffins…
JK: And going to the bathroom.
EW: You ought to wear a coat on the toilet.
JK: You do! It’s drafty in those Brooklyn apartments.
EW: Maybe more important than him –
JK: Don’t downplay Adam.
EW: I would never downplay Adam! As reported here at The Hollywood Reporter, he’s been cast in Superman…
RS: Star Wars!
EW: Star Wars. I write about fashion, I don’t know these things. I just clichéd myself. Oops!
JK: Silly fashion girl!
EW: But we really liked Marnie’s outfit this time. Marnie was out and about on the streets. She stopped by Soo-Jin’s gallery that she’s building with her parents’ money and she just looked awesome in cut-offs and a loose blouse.
JK: Cute beanie!
EW: A cute beanie situation. It’s an evolution of her character I think, that look, because she started so prissy and uppity and everything was perfect and her hair was slicked back and her makeup was impeccable and she wore those little dresses that you see on the contemporary floors of department stores that always leave me wondering, “Why would you ever spend that on a dress?”
JK: Well Marnie has stopped spending because she has no money, so now she’s just going casual cute.
EW: For down, we have an interesting…
RS: I don’t even know what to call it.
BK: It looked like a spider!
RS: Like a trapeze harness.
EW: Let’s set this up here by saying that (for all of you who maybe didn’t see the episode) Hannah wore an S&M ensemble to try to re-entice Adam.
RS: It’s your classic midlife crisis for a devoted couple.
BK: Like weird, dark role play.
EW: It was a sex harness.
JK: It looked like she was forgetting something, like there should have been a strap-on but she couldn’t afford all the parts.
RS: It’s like what Adam said which was, “You can’t just take a part. You have to commit to the whole thing.” She cannot be wearing her granny panties under her harness.
EW: Her house underwear! You cannot wear your house underwear under your sex harness, Hannah. I can’t speak for what turns on Adam, but if I were in that situation I don’t know that the sex harness and granny panties would necessarily be my cup of tea.
JK: I have an interesting observation to make. Well, maybe interesting is the wrong word. But Hannah is always wearing gigantic underwear, even though she’s super-nude in all other ways, and I noticed that this week after Pret-a-Reporter spoke with Gaby Hoffmann about her frontal nudity that she’s been sporting lately. Lena never goes all the way with that.
BK: She did once in “One Man’s Trash” when she was sitting in the shower with her legs crossed but you couldn’t see anything.
JK: So that doesn’t count.
BK: Whatever, guys!
JK: I just wonder if that’s a line she won’t cross. I’ve never heard her talk about that.
BK: Because she probably knows she would never hear the end of it.
JK: Well it’s already the constant commentary anyway.
RS: I remember with Sex and the City there were certain clauses with full frontal female nudity in that sense. I remember that Kim Cattrall was saying in the commentary for SATC that Samantha was turning grey down there so they made her a merkin. According to the commentary when she was trying on the merkin she told Michael Patrick King or whoever that once I’ve given this to you, I can never take it back. It’s a huge point of exposure, more so than baring you breasts.
JK: But Lena prides herself on having no qualms about full exposure.
RS: And at the same time she is what they call a “woman in power.” She is making those decisions, so she can make the decision for herself not to do that, whereas some of her co-stars…
EW: And at a very basic level I think the big underwear works for the character. It’s funny.
JK: It is funny, it just reinforces how awkward she is.
EW: Like she’s wearing her junior high underwear.
JK: She’s wearing her period underwear, always.
BK: She’s worn tiny underwear before.
JK: Did she? She wore that string bikini.
EW: As much as I like to talk about Lena Dunham’s nether regions, let’s skip down to the next region on the head index, which is Finance. In this episode we saw Adam really caring about his work.
JK: Big ups to Adam.
EW: He’s into it, and I think that Hannah never really took the whole thing seriously.
JK: Well, because he’s always played off the audition process, and he didn’t really care, but then of course we saw when he landed the role that he stuffed the paper towel in his mouth and screamed, because he really cared. And I think it’s hard for Hannah because up until now she’s been the only thing that he’s ever really cared about. And now he says that this is. That’s gotta hurt.
BK: To the point where she is interfering in it and he feels he has to leave.
RS: I so thought that the show was going to take the more clichéd route at the beginning of the season of them breaking up because of Adam’s total lack of ambition and Hannah wanting more, but instead it’s almost starting to be a little bit competitive because both of them have jobs, but you can see how they were more supportive to one another when they were both struggling, and now that their careers are both taking off in different ways…how wonderful is it that in Girls this is a conversation between Adam and Hannah where they’re arguing about their jobs.
BK: You would never expect it.
RS: But Adam says something like, “It’s not the same thing.”
JK: Which is both insulting but also true because Hannah has a job she doesn’t want.
RS: Who would have thought Hannah would be left behind professionally by Adam?
BK: She’s threatened, right?
EW: I almost feel like with all of her insecurities and everything that she brought this upon herself. She brought all of this drama with Adam upon herself because in any relationship, once somebody starts to feel insecure and tries too hard it just pushes the other one away and I think he’s sensing that from her and instead of just going about their normal business, she’s almost driving him away with her bad juju.
RS: Partly I do blame Patti LuPone for planting those ideas in her head.
BK: That is true!
RS: But I also really felt for Hannah because when Adam said, “I need to get away from this drama,” she’s so hurt and says, “What drama? It’s just me,” and she kind of feels blindsided by this.
EW: But at the beginning of the episode she didn’t come home all night and then she showed up and he didn’t skip a beat or blink. I feel like she’s always done that and been selfish. Even though he knows she loves him and she always talks about how she loves him and is showing him her affection, but I thought it was an interesting reversal. Now he’s the one with the confidence. He doesn’t need to be neurotic, he doesn’t need to give a shit. It’s just a complete role reversal.
RS: I’m glad you guys read that the same way I did. In some ways I think maybe Hannah thought that was Adam being apathetic about her and not caring about where she was, whereas my interpretation was that Adam is confident in the relationship and trusts Hannah completely, which was also awesome that she didn’t have a drunken hook-up, and that didn’t even occur to him. It was such a mature take on it.
EW: Because she has always been selfish and immature. I think that is what a secure and healthy relationship is. Of course nothing happened. She was out with friends and now she’s home.
RS: But to sum up the Finance up, I just love what Adam says, which is that it feels amazing and scary to really care about something, and the first time you have that sensation, particularly when it’s about your job and your work…I’m so happy for him that he feels that way. So, good for Adam.
EW: On the down side…Marnie! Poor Marnie.
BK: Working for Soo-Jin.
JK: Overqualified assistant.
EW: She’s trying to get a job at Soo-Jin’s gallery. She wants to bring the gallery online, she wants to go digital and make it a whole interactive experience for this place. And Soo-Jin wants her to be her assistance. Wah-waaah.
JK: It’s a job, I guess?
RS: Soo-Jin is very self-aggrandizing and you feel like they are two little kids who are trying to play grown-up. The way that Soo-Jin sounds on the phone, and then you find out she’s on the phone with her dad. She’s trying to sound like a businesswoman, investing in the growth of the space. But that’s an amazing slam, saying, “I want an assistant who is more experienced that I am.” She’s so completely shameless. I love the fact that, when Marnie said, “How old are you?” she’s so proud of the fact that she’s “2-4” but she’s going to tell people that she’s 22.
EW: But that’s so interesting because even a few years ago you would never go into a job wanting people to think you were younger. And now it’s like you want people to think you’re younger because you’re the wunderkind.
JK: God, that says so many scary things about our time.
EW: It says so many scary things about my next birthday! Shit. I’m 22 as well so it’s fine.
JK: We’re all 22. Surprise!
EW: Friendship – Shoshanna! Shosh noticed that Jessa was blowing lines off of herself in her house. I’m not sure that she was more upset that her cousin was putting herself in harm’s way or that someone was blowing lines off of herself in her home, but either way.
JK: I don’t know how Shosh has been putting up with this for so long because I’m over it. I don’t want to see Richard E. Grant anymore.
EW: Well Shoshanna held an intervention.
JK: She did, with Felicity Jones in an amazing guest appearance,
RS: It’s interesting because in that first scene Shoshanna has her headphones clamped over her ears and she’s just watching these two cokeheads on her bed. I was like, “Okay, is it good that Shoshanna is giving her cousin a place to stay? Or is this enabling?” So it was neat to see her orchestrating this intervention, which, even if it’s not for Jasper’s sake, he really needed it. He needed to reconnect with his daughter. He can’t run from that relationship, so really good for Shoshanna. And even at the end I was surprised that she left Jessa smoking outside on the stoop. She called her a junkie. Jessa finally admitted it.
JK: That’s huge.
RS: Shosh doing that was giving Jessa the wake-up call that she really desperately needed. But the fact that she didn’t take her in was like, you know, I think what Jessa needs is this kind of tough love, too. She needs to stew in how low she’s sunk. And so Shoshanna allowed her to finally see that.
BK: Is that the last we’ll see of Richard E. Grant?
EW: I hope so.
BK: I’m over him. I’m over this whole plotline. I’m over Jessa.
JK: I’m over Jessa. They’ve given her very little to do except wallow in her own fucked-upness, again. I’m ready for her to move on.
BK: I guess this whole season for her as been about her finally revealing that, hey, she’s an addict, so maybe these last two episodes, she’ll have a big upswing into something better.
JK: Friendship down…
EW: We had our girl Hannah, for using Marnie’s apartment as a sex dungeon without telling her.
JK: Crossing lines.
RS: Yeah like technically she asked for permission to use her apartment but I cannot imagine Marnie saying, “Yes, you want to role play kinky sex on my bed? Sure thing! I’ll leave the key under the mat.”
EW: Marnie seems like the type who walks around with Purell.
RS: I’m guessing Hannah left out some very relevant and pertinent details.
BK: Like what she’d be wearing: her spider lingerie.
EW: At least have the common courtesy, for example, if you’re staying as someone’s houseguest in their home, to have sex on the floor. Not in their bed. Figure it out.
JK: Or at least change the sheets.
EW: No! You don’t have sex on someone else’s bed, unless they literally say to you, “You can have sex on my bed.”
BK: Which I doubt Marnie said.
EW: Marnie did not say that.
RS: You know what’s interesting? I wonder if Hannah even intentionally withheld that information or if she’s just so self-centered that it wouldn’t even occur to her.
BK: The latter.
EW: That segues into what occurred in this apartment. Hannah had a little set-up going. She had a tray and berries and liquor. There was role-play going on.
BK: We haven’t brought up the wig.
EW: It was from the Raquel Welch collection.
BK: When she’s sitting in the restaurant with the wig, I didn’t even know it was her at first. And what is this accent she’s putting on? It’s so terribly amazing.
RS: At some point on the sidewalk she was going full Jersey. And at some point she was doing that whole ‘40s femme fatale, like, “Hey, Charlie.”
JK: And what kind of name is Jardaniel?
RS: The first time I thought she said “Marfaniel.”
JK: I think she might have. I heard that too.
BK: I wonder who wrote that scene more, Lena or Judd. I could see a lot of Judd in that funny role-playing stuff. Didn’t they write the episode together?
JK: I think it’s probably the same brain between them at this point.
BK: That’s true. They share a mega-brain. But I also want to note that scene on the street, which is horrible.
JK: Oh that she almost got him arrested and beat up?
BK: She got him punched and then leaving, that guy says, “You’re dating a psycho,” which is so perfect because he kind of is.
JK: But she’s become the psycho!
RS: Yeah, the bystander is maybe still taking about Adam but clearly Hannah is the psycho. It gets serious.
EW: Things get real. It’s kind of a weird, funny scene but things come out that are actually really touching, when Adam says, “We used to have weird sex, I used to have weird sex with everybody, and then I fell in love with you and I didn’t want to have weird sex anymore.”
JK: That was a perfect speech from him because that encapsulates the entire trajectory of their sexual relationship, which was that Adam was a fucking weirdo in the beginning and every girl in America watching the show was revolted by him in the way that he had sex with her, especially in the pilot. It was very degrading. And he did it with Natalia, too. And now they have completely reversed – I mean not that Hannah has gotten degrading, except in this episode. But that for Adam it has changed, because he’s fallen in love and it’s not a replacement for booze like he said it was before, and Hannah has completely missed that.
EW: Well I think that this goes to Hannah’s insecurities with all of this, too. I would assume that most girls in their mid-20s aren’t the most confident with themselves that they will be in their lives, but she is going along with what he wants because of him. It’s not about what she wants or what will make her happy. She literally told him, “I was only having weird sex because you wanted to.” And I think that right there, from my own experiences listening to friends and dating, who the hell would want to date someone who is a yes man? And I think Adam is growing and she’s not.
JK: But it is something that I think women learn as they go through their 20s and into their 30s that they learn how to ask for what they want in the bedroom in a way that they aren’t necessarily taught to be able to when they’re younger.
RS: I think what we had here was just Hannah’s tragic misreading of, failure to realize Adam’s growth. Do you think now that she’s been set straight on it, is she still going to be attracted to him in the same way? Is this a fulfillment of her dreams, this version of Adam that is nurturing and sweet and sane? Or will she surprise herself and realize that she preferred the super screwed up Adam?
EW: Well Hannah’s super screwed up so I think deep down if she’s able to have that kind of control and have someone she’s with who is even more screwed up, I think she needs that. Fornication up – looking ahead at the future, we had a tender moment.
JK: Marnie and Desi, two little songbirds. Maybe they’ll become lovebirds.
EW: She’s a little bohemian now, and he’s all hipster and shit.
RS: I feel like she’s the kind of girl who subtly changes the way she dresses depending on who she’s dating.
BK: Didn’t she become an art weirdo with Booth Jonathan?
RS: Also I love the fact that, in that cool moment that was so pretentiously 20-something art-making, but I love that what totally made Marnie swoon was the intentionally terrible song.
EW: As Hallmark says, “It’s the thought that counts.”
RS: I feel like she’s kind of a cheesy person.
EW: Marnie’s not the purveyor of good taste.
RS: It’s great.
EW: Well on that note I think we have to call it a day here in Girls on Girls (+ One Guy) world but we’ll be back next week, with…
JK: The penultimate episode!
RS: That’s usually when we enter the darkest hour.
EW: Well, we’re well on our way.
BK: I hope Q-tips go in ears.
EW: I doubt that will happen but we might have some surprises in store for you, so tune in next week!