Like everyone in Brooklyn, Hannah believes she has three or four great folk albums in her. That, and an e-book. It’s her duty as a memoirist to write it!
Last night, the boys — with seemingly no pending duties — undertake a self-imposed good samaritan man-quest to Staten Island. Like most couplings on this show, their bromance is short lived. Unlike the travails of their predecessors, their journey makes for excellent television.
Working Girl!; or “My boyfriend is doing lights for Carly Rae Jepsen, and I should be on the bus with him.”
The episode begins in a café in Brooklyn, where Hannah is finally being recognized — by the editor-in-chief of Pumped magazine — as the voice of her generation. He doesn’t even think she needs voice lessons, offering her an e-book deal with a due date a month away.
Hannah is shocked to be recognized as a “real” writer, and, rightfully, worried that the offer will never come again. So she accepts, then pukes outside the café like a champ, forever scarring the moneymen afloat in Brooklyn (courtesy of bitter assistants, no doubt). This book-deal vignette precedes the title card, which allows the episode to incorporate an ambiguous time lapse. It’s unclear how much trouble Hannah is in with her deadline at this point. After she shows up late to Grumpy’s (“I was in my writing flow”), Hannah nonchalantly asks Shoshanna how long it takes to write a book. The answer? One year. Our memoirist goes back to mopping the floor. When Jessa wanders into the kitchen wondering “How’s your book of shit?” the screen-cap would suggest Hannah’s on page one. (But didn't the show's pilot show Hannah giving her parents four chapters of a book with a working title — “Midnight Snack”? Different book?)
All things being equal, I think we can agree Booth’s personal assistant is suffering from a worse employment trajectory (with the exception of Jessa). Confronted for eating a single scoop of rosewater ice cream by a naked, supine Booth — whom she has slept with — she quits, but not before throwing his crackberry. She’s young still, though, unlike Ray. Poor Ray! Girls would like us to think that 33 years old is too old to find the end of the rainbow. (Obviously someone missed that Times article about the average American changing careers eight times.) Shoshanna, ever the clueless, well-meaning girlfriend, suggests he pay to hear Donald Trump speak, only to be shocked that the super-secret plan of his twenties wasn’t to be the CEO of a coffee franchise. It’s the reverse Annie Hall scenario — get your jew into Adult Education classes!
+1 “It says here [Donald Trump] gives people the tools to be happy every single day of their lives.”
+2 “Usually when people say they want to be a writer, they really don’t do anything but eat and masturbate.”
+5 “This book doesn’t matter, that’s the first thing you have to know. It’s not going to matter to you. It’s not going to matter to the people that read it.”
The Broscapade; or “We’re both kind of weird looking.”
Shoshanna, asserting it’s Ray’s “duty as a man to go” and retrieve his book, sends her lover into Adam’s man-den. Answering the door wielding a hammer, our resident “sociopath” isn’t the warmest host, but Ray wheedles his way in:
“So it’s a breakup dog.”
“It’s not a breakup dog! I just wanted a dog so I got a dog.”
Ray — so frequently emasculated by his lack of earning potential — jumps at the chance of providing “backup, like extra muscle in case shit gets real, that type of backup” for Adam, and then they’re on the ferry talking about girls. Ray admits he can’t explain to “someone so young things don’t always end up the way you thought they’d be.” But they agree the young, vulnerable women are the way to go (or the older, badass ones). For a while anyway, until Adam accuses Ray of being with Shoshanna because it’s easier than finding a real woman his age: “What you’re doing isn’t real. She’s just some kid you feel safe with because you know it won’t work out. You’re just babies holding hands.” Adam’s right!
Ray sees Hannah as an unattractive romantic partner largely because she’s a “difficult person.” Adam points out that adults are difficult: “Everyone’s a difficult person. She was accepting of my brand of difficult.” Then he gets pissed and runs away like a child. But he has the right idea about adult relationships, and there is something sweet about him not being able to stand Ray saying one negative word about Hannah (even though he compares her to a carnival prize you don’t even want at the end of the fair).
+5 “I had to spend the night in jail with a fucking yoga teacher.”
+1 “I took her virginity. It’s a big deal. I feel like her fucking father now.”
+5 “She was like a carnival game, it all seemed so simple, but you can’t get the ring on the bottle because it’s fucking rigged.”
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We happen upon Marnie and Booth in bed. He’s feigning sleep while she strokes his back with her perfectly manicured nails. Then Marnie scrambles to turn her phone off. We believe, as she does, it’s the morning routine of a certified couple. Marnie starts talking about her relationship with Hannah — “Are you guys even friends?” — only to be cut off with a kiss, “I don’t really care.” You don’t fall for Booth because he’s the nice guy! But when he asks her to “chime in” with Soo Jin, it feels like Marnie’s a staple in his life.
She does waddle out of the room in the duvet (the sexit!), which I thought had to do with her nudity clause (and not their comfort-zone as a couple) except the scene is cut with her trying on dresses with Shoshanna. But Marnie is Marnie! It’s funny to think back on all the hoopla about Lena’s naked body in last week’s episode — which, honestly, I barely register anymore given its ubiquity — when I found Allison Williams’s semi-nudity much more shocking. She didn’t even take her dress off during sort-of sex with Elijah (nor in Charlie’s bed).
Marnie can’t hide her excitement when he offers her the hosting position for the night. “It’s a thing. It’s happening on a nice level, like a fancy, nice level,” Marnie tells Shoshanna, before announcing that she’s buying a new dress. “He like totally likes you, that’s a huge deal,” Shoshanna responds, and rightly so. It would have been a big deal! Just like it’d be a thing if Ray took Shoshanna for a date that didn’t involve tacos.
During the party, when Marnie realizes her mistake, she starts crying. “You’re a hostess for a living,” Booth says coldly. When Marnie admits, a little too honestly, “I hoped you were my boyfriend. And I’m a longtime fan of your work ... I thought it would be cool to know you,” Booth freaks out, suggesting his rejection of her has more to do with his own insecurities. “No one even knows me, Marnie, not even you,” he whines, “I fucking hate everyone here. I hate all of my friends.” She leaves, smartly, without bothering to collect her paycheck or dignify his sniveling with sympathy.
+1 “I’m like Bella’s best friend who doesn’t understand how awesome her life is.”
+5 “Were you the girl who got her period at the Dairy Queen? She was really fun.”
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The disintegration of Marnie and Hannah’s friendship is beautifully rendered in their late-night phone call. They lie about their nights, too embarrassed to admit that they have nothing to show for the last month of their lives: Hannah hasn’t finished her book; Marnie is without a boyfriend. Even at the party, the tensions are acute. Hannah doesn’t bother to dress up, and Marnie pretends not to be embarrassed among her new “friends.” When Marnie ignores her for too long, Hannah leaves.
By the end of the episode, everyone is alone. Marnie — far from watching fireflies in Booth’s garden — clutches her space suit, swallowing tears in the subway. Booth is left crying on the floor of his wine cellar in the fetal position. Ray’s stranded on Staten Island with a feral animal, dry heaving into his hands. Hannah’s in her room, feeling very uninspired, staring at a blank Word document. (Jessa’s dead in the bathtub; Shoshanna’s googling “Changing your life at 30”; Adam’s accidentally nailed his hand to a two-by-four.)
So many friends, no one to talk to.