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Girls Review: "Incidentals" (Episode 3.08)

February 24, 2014  |  1:21pm
<i>Girls</i> Review: "Incidentals" (Episode 3.08)

As soon as Adam reveals that he’s been given a spot on Broadway, I started a mental timer. When will Hannah get bucked off the bull that represents being supportive and fall helplessly into a jealousy shit pile?

But every now and then, people surprise you.

As much as this show has been about Hannah’s awkward struggles with her own vanity and selfishness, I think it’s fair to say she puts up a good fight when it comes to stepping up for Adam. The episode revolves around him, which is a nice change from last week’s “Beach House” fiasco, an episode that sunbathed in awkward tension and too many over-the-top Girls moments for the episode’s short runtime. The Adam-focused timeline still revolves mostly around Hannah on-screen, where you see her: A) excitement for Adam to be on the Broadway revival of Major Barbara (or more like her excitement to tell her peers he’s on Broadway) and B) her immediate struggle when it’s clear that people aren’t necessarily happy for her.

Because having a boyfriend on Broadway doesn’t just mean the glory of seeing him on stage. It means afterparties, groupies (even for funny-looking guys, one of Hannah’s recent interview subjects, Patti Lupone, points out) and distant once-loves. In short, Broadway is friggin’ hard—and Hannah doesn’t like things when they’re hard. But what I thought was most interesting was the almost predictable emotions she shows throughout the episode. I’ll call them:

THE GRIEF STAGES OF POSSIBLY LOSING ADAM TO BROADWAY
1. Excitement
Hannah gets a phone call while in the middle of her Lupone interview, which she takes, because of course she can’t not wait 15 minutes after her required interview time. She’s excited to tell everyone—as she will over the course of her next evening, but Lupone’s negative reaction is a catalyst in her ultimate struggle for Adam’s now-necessary affection.

2. Denial
Adam’s not going to be different! YOU’RE THE ONE WHO IS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT, YOU JERKS!

3. Anger
Hannah throws a big party for Adam at the Gramercy (from her GQ ad-writing perks, of course), and nearly every character brings it up in one way or another: Is this dude going to leave you for some hot young Broadway thing? Is he obligated to drink at the bar afterward until late in the night? So here’s where Hannah first starts showing off her anger, snapping at Shoshanna, nearly losing it with a coked-out Jessa. She’s on her way to the dark side until…

4. Bargaining
She says to Adam in a post-party bath that she knows the Broadway deal … and that she doesn’t want things to turn out that way for them. Things won’t be that way for us, right?

5. Acceptance
Adam dons a wonderful, proper Brit accent and does lines from the play. It’s pretty cool having an actor boyfriend, right? (Until next episode, where I’m expecting to see fear, jealousy, love-blind IKEA binges and more.)

Maybe a full-on breakdown of Hannah’s emotions was a little much here, but this is what I’ll say is significant: I’d expected her to slip into step three, hang out there until the end of the episode, and then have Adam cut the whole Broadway thing altogether. We’re seeing a depth of Hannah’s character that hasn’t been apparent, at least in the last few episodes, and it’s nice to actually be reminded that she’s got these additional dimensions that we saw in previous seasons. With her being fairly ridiculous through the season—think her mid-funeral request for a new publisher, or her awful story retelling to Adam—this gives me hope (at least for now) for the two to make it. And I am rooting for this odd couple to make it.

All of this and some jokes about how Shoshanna mirrors the traits of a person on cocaine, and you’ve got a pretty good Girls episode. I’m happy to be out of this rut (for now).

Tyler is an assistant editor at Paste. His only experience with Girls comes thanks to HBO. You can follow him on Twitter.

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