Wow, that was intense.
On this episode of HBO’s Girls, Hannah’s boss Daniel is found lying face down in the river, just shortly after he attended her 25th birthday party. Hannah goes to meet with him, but he doesn’t show and his staff learns the news of his death while she waits in reception.
Rather than react as one would expect, with shock and compassion, Hannah’s grief seems absent. This disturbs her boyfriend Adam.
Hannah is more concerned about the fact that she may no longer have an e-book deal since her editor isn’t there to push the project. Adam wonders whether Hannah would grieve for him if he were dead or merely worry about the rent. When she gets to work, Ray is even disgusted with her cavalier attitude. ”Hannah, why don’t you just place one crumb of human compassion on this fat-free muffin of sociopathic detachment, see how it tastes?” he asks.
Jessa isn’t concerned because, let’s face it, Jessa is an existentialist. She talks to Shoshanna about death and is reminded of her best friend Season, that passed away a couple of years ago. Shosh suggests that Jessa go to her grave or write about her to process her grief.
When Jessa calls to find out the location of Season’s grave, she discovers that her best friend faked her own death to escape from a damaging friendship with Jessa. Apparently, she was an enabler. Season now lives in an impeccable brownstone in Brooklyn, with impeccable decor and furniture, an adorable baby, and a husband who might be both a professor and a DJ. Yeah right, HBO. What twenty-something can afford a brownstone? Later on when Jessa sees a mother walking with her baby, she smiles to herself, perhaps understanding why Season made her escape and settled down, and perhaps because she secretly wishes/wished for that too.
Marnie, that crazy bitch that everyone is afraid of getting into a relationship with but can’t help themselves because she is very pretty, is jogging like a maniac and making healthy smoothies. She works at Ray’s coffee shop and is insulted when he shows their boss the youtube video that Charlie posted of her awful cover song. She tells Ray that “fancy” people want to work with her and she refuses to put up with his garbage. God, Marnie is awful.
But honestly, is she as awful as Hannah? This episode was one of the most brilliant and well written pieces we’ve seen from Ms. Dunham in three seasons. In this day and age, we are so connected that when we hear about the death of an acquaintance and we see all those Facebook comments on their wall, we feel obligated to memorialize them, to portray a closer relationship with them than perhaps truly existed, just so we don’t look like an asshole. Hannah is honest. Hannah is numb. Hannah feels nothing.
Isn’t that what this show is about? Twenty-something post college grad privileged white kids trying to feel something in a feel nothing world. Their lack of adversity, lack of diversity, is astonishingly deafening and it makes itself known in their relationships. When Caroline tells Hannah the story about Adam taking their sick cousin to the prom, Hannah doesn’t react with sadness or admiration for Adam, she acts with concern that he will see what a hollow shell she is as a person.
This episode made the audience take a look at themselves. It was pretty damned effective. What did you think?