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Girls Review: "I Get Ideas" (Episode 2.02)

January 20, 2013  |  9:30pm
<em>Girls</em> Review: "I Get Ideas" (Episode 2.02)

My wife doesn’t read anything that I write. That’s a pretty firm rule. She used to and it almost always ended in argument. Granted I basically only write about stuff she’s not interested in, like videogames and reissues of early 90s indie rock records. Still, she has very strong opinions about how language should be used and they differ significantly from my own. She doesn’t read anything that I write.

Hannah needs to accept that that’s how the world should work. She breaks up with Sandy, the barely defined boyfriend played by Community’s Donald Glover that we first met last episode, because he doesn’t care for her latest piece. We don’t know much about that piece (although Sandy’s criticisms sound a lot like some of the more common complaints about the first season of Girls) but his lack of support is enough to end a relationship that Hannah was excited about just a few minutes earlier.

Would Hannah have been so hasty with the break-up if Jessa hadn’t pushed her toward it? Hannah has reacted rashly based on Jessa’s advice in the past. Jessa’s a “free spirit”, which means she’s impulsive and immature, but she’s so good at affecting an air of weary sophistication that Hannah is easily influenced by her. Hannah believes it when Jessa says that Sandy must not like Hannah if he doesn’t like her story or refuses to read it. And then the break-up turns into an extremely awkward racial and political debate when Hannah uses Sandy’s conservative beliefs (first mentioned earlier in the episode by Elijah, who would never sleep with a Republican) as an obvious cover for why she can’t date him anymore.

I doubt Sandy is gone for good but this whole story feels a little rushed. He’s been in about four scenes total, the third of which first mentioned his political leanings, and the fourth of which might be his last. It’s like a Seinfeld relationship stretched across two episodes—Hannah’s really happy with her new guy until one thing annoys her and then it’s over with. Glover might be back (Girls has already turned at least two characters into semi-regulars after seemingly writing them out—hey, Elijah and Thomas-John) but if he doesn’t return this whole storyline will turn out to be a weird and insignificant little cul de sac.

After ending it with Sandy Hannah has to deal with an entirely less reasonable ex, one who maybe doesn’t quite realize how done with him Hannah thinks she is. The last third or so of the episode focuses exclusively on a visit from Adam that isn’t just uncomfortable but downright scary. Adam’s pretty much turned into a stalker. Hannah ignores his texts, but he knows she’s home, because he’s right outside her window. When she turns the lights off he just goes ahead and lets himself in with the emergency key she gave him when they were dating. I never feared that Adam would actually harm her—as good as Adam Driver is at playing scary, the show’s still intentionally made the viewer more sympathetic towards him than Hannah—but it’s a genuinely foreboding scene that eschews comedy for tension. When Adam realizes how afraid Hannah is, he gets a little angry, but not violent—he actually tosses it back at her, reminding her that she basically stalked him throughout the first half of the first season. Hannah dials 911 when the chance presents itself, but she immediately regrets that decision and hangs up without talking. Cops still show up, though, and arrest Adam.

This should probably mark the end of this relationship for a while. Okay, Adam’s the most interesting character on the show (and I totally hate saying that, since I’m a guy, and that’ll just make me look sexist or something) but at this point it might not be that realistic to keep dragging their romance out. Adam obviously has mental health issues, and Hannah is not in any position to help. I hope there’s a resolution where Adam remains a central part of the show, but without his presence feeling forced or unnatural, but it’s hard to see any relationship, even a platonic one, surviving once restraining orders and arrests are in play.

Let’s get back to Jessa, though. Her marriage to Thomas-John remains a transparently bad idea. It doesn’t matter how cute Chris O’Dowd is when he smiles—this guy’s a total creep and a sleaze who’s probably already cheating on his wife. (Also it doesn’t help that O’Dowd struggles so heavily to hide his Irish accent—it just makes Thomas-John seem even more like an SVU wife-murderer with a secret past life.) I strongly hope Jessa’s irresponsibility and Thomas-John’s amorality doesn’t lead directly to a dead dog. Thomas-John hands Jessa a basket full of puppies before heading out for what is almost definitely the first affair of their marriage (unless he strayed during the honeymoon). It’s a horrible idea for anyone to try and raise three puppies at once, but especially these two, and especially once the relationship hurricane that’s almost assuredly coming hits in full force.

(Also, what the hell—how long were those puppies in that basket? There’s no way those little guys didn’t do all sorts of bathroom business in there. And it’s some kind of wicker rattan looking thing, like a Pier 1 deal, so it must’ve leaked all over that shelf in their kitchen. That’s just unsanitary.)

There were also major life events going down for Marnie, who somehow still maintains her stature as the most composed and responsible character even as her professional (which, for her, basically means her adult) life collapses. After losing her job and sitting through an embarrassing interview Marnie loses all confidence in her career choice. She cashes in and accepts a “pretty person job”, serving as a hostess at some kind of club that both makes her wear shorteralls and also somehow pays $400 a day. Yes, okay, it’s horrible to be told that you aren’t fit to do the thing you want to do and went to school for, and I realize the fundamental disrespect in being told your greatest value to society lies in your physical appearance, but if you can easily fall back into a job that pays that much without having to get undressed or do gross things to strangers, why wouldn’t you?

With other shows I’d be wondering where the season was headed by this point. We’re two episodes into season two and it still just feels like a straight continuation of the first season. Modern TV has trained us to expect season-long arcs or major new points of view with each season, even from our comedies (reference East Bound & Down’s regular change in setting.) Girls isn’t that type of show, though. That’s a large part of its appeal—even at its most precious or annoying, it feels more natural and realistic than most shows on TV. And I think my wife would agree, if she ever actually read this review.

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