Back from her trip to the ancestral home in Michigan, our Hannah is back in the grips of her girl gang, and headed to a warehouse party in deep, deep Brooklyn. This is how I know I’m 100 years old — because you couldn’t pay me to go to a warehouse party in Bushwick. Not $100, not $1000. You know why? Because anything can happen in Bushwick. I might accidentally smoke crack (like Shoshanna) or flirt-text my boss (like Jessa) or spot my ex-boyfriend and his new “tiny Navajo” lover (like Marnie.) In fact, the only reason I ever went to such a party in the first place was because I hoped, like Hannah, that I might end up with a boyfriend.
What is it about parties that captures a certain spirit of boundless possibility? As Jessa says, it’s the hope that each one might truly be the best party ever, that’s what drives us to put on lipstick and venture to potentially dangerous points unknown. Jessa says this while dressed as an extra from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and so I am inclined to believe her. She is ready to dance, as is this episode’s golden days of MTV-esque title sequence.
When Marnie affectionately bobs her head to Questionable Goods (I still think my name for their band, Flushable Goods, is far superior), I know there is disappointment en route. Every girl imagines herself to be The One Who Got Away, but Charlie has moved on. And real quick. The new girlfriend has never even heard of Marnie, and asks if she’s one of the Real Housewives. Marnie’s dress, as ever, is tailored perfection, and she doesn’t have a hair out of place, which makes her look very out of place indeed. Bushwick is not the place for a tasteful shift dress.
When the girls see Adam frolicking like a caveman (truly, how else could one describe what he’s doing? It’s like some kind of early mammalian mating ritual?), Hannah says she’s never seen him outside his house before, which is a surprise to me, and that she’s never seen him with a shirt on, which isn’t. My second favorite moment of this episode is when Adam sees Hannah hiding behind a concrete post, and tells his friend that he’s just seen her — they clearly all know her name. Adam! You’ve won me over! You’re a human! Also, I like you better in clothes. Such is the case for most people on Earth, Channing Tatum respectfully excepted.
I do love parties. Let’s face it — party scenes are the only reason I finished War and Peace. I bet you Jessa could wax poetic for hours about some downy Russian moustaches. Everything happens at parties. Especially at big parties, ones large enough to get lost in, with lots of discreet corners for sucking face and/or accidentally smoking crack with strangers. Shosh! You poor little duck. After Jessa leaves Ray in charge of her “JAP daycare” to deal with James Le Gros, Shosh and Ray then spend the rest of the episode running around like Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. The slap-sticky, goofy tone of this scene is a nice contrast to the series’ usual verbal humor, and I’m into it. At some point Shoshannah takes off her skirt, revealing either a completely waxed vagina and very pale thighs or a pair of Spanx. I’m not sure. (This is hilariously never commented upon.) And just when it appears she has been caught, Shoshana practices some self-defense moves. All that pent-up sexual energy has to go somewhere, after all. When Ray says “It was a honor to be your first,” I immediately flashforwarded to the two of them having sex, no doubt in large part because Shosh will be so grateful for his help in this terrifying moment. He’s not the man for her in the long run, but I think this could be very promising.
When talking at the bar, Adam’s friend Tako (NOT Taco) reveals to Hannah that Adam’s in AA. Tako is surprised that Hannah doesn’t know this, which she thinks is Adam’s defining feature — that and “his love of books.” I for one would love to know which books Adam loves. I’m taking bets, starting now. The choices are the works of a) David Foster Wallace, b) Haruki Murakami, or c) Roberto Bolaño. Just kidding, the answer is obviously d) All of the above, with an occasional issue of the Paris Review for good measure.*
Jessa is clearly going to get James Le Gros into some major trouble, whether or not she ever sleeps with him (and that’s looking doubtful, buddy.) Truly, things haven’t looked this bleak for Le Gros since Drugstore Cowboy. She drops his bottle of wine on some gutterpunks, and then insults their mothers. James Le Gros gets punched and it hurts. What will hurt more is that he’s going to have to explain that to his wife. Middle-age is unflattering on Girls. Being young is obviously tricky, but being older seems even worse. Le Gros sobs into her lap and goes from simply emasculated to pathetic and jerky. Jessa is so much better than this, and she knows it.
In need of someone to whine to, Marnie finds Elijah, and talks his ear off about Hannah’s selfishness. After some revealing backstory (they once kissed during a rehearsal for Rent), insults fly, and Elijah karate chops Marnie in the face. Bloody noses for everyone! I always knew warehouse parties were dangerous. I wonder if this episode will convince more people to move to Brooklyn, or whether it will instead reassure viewers that they’d be better off in Des Moines.
It really is refreshing to see Hannah and Adam interact outside of his apartment. For the first time, I can imagine this relationship actually going somewhere. Adam seems more playful, and he and Hannah are having fun, just like a coupla kids in love, or at least in like. He dances with her and convinces her to join him on a “scrapping mission” to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which sounds highly illegal and totally Adam. They take off on his bike, Hannah riding on his handlebars. This is basically a scene out of West Side Story; I love it so much. He is 75 percent more handsome when he’s wearing clothing. Hannah falls off the bike, and is pissed. She attacks him for not telling her about his alcoholism, and he wisely points out that she never asked. (“I’m not gonna fucking talk your ear off about stuff you don’t ask about.”) Marnie arrives in a taxi (now this is the kind of Bushwick I could get down with, the kind where there are yellow cabs are easy to come by). Hannah stops Adam from taking off on his bike — he asks, “Do you want me to be your fucking boyfriend?!” and just like that, we’re in my favorite moment of the episode. Adam, his bike, Hannah, and Marnie are all crammed into the back of the cab, and Hannah smiles slowly. The answer, clear as a bell, is yes.
*I would hereby like to offer Adam and all other shirtless bohunks a recommended reading list, free of charge: James Salter’s A Sport and A Pastime, for sex tips, Lorrie Moore’s Self Help, for an earlier view into young women’s pathology, maybe some Tom Perrotta for a humorous and dark view of life outside the big city, maybe some Cormac McCarthy for the blood and guts. And everyone, everyone, everyone should be required to read at least one Jane Austen novel, to know how things are supposed to end, even if they rarely do in real life.