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Girls Review: "Only Child" (Episode 3.05)

February 3, 2014  |  4:25pm
<i>Girls</i> Review: "Only Child" (Episode 3.05)

Last week, Hannah showed us her ugly side. Yes, we all know she’s been selfish and oblivious before—that’s nothing new—but her late-show half-monologue to Adam—where she scooped up a fake tale of illness, death and fulfilling a child’s dream from Caroline—was the beginning of something very, very ugly for Hannah.

And while she could tread lightly down that downward path of living without empathy (and keep her expectations for others to care and feel for her while doing this), Hannah has just decided to plain and outright barrel down it.

Maybe there’s a bigger scheme for all of this behavior, but Girls is getting harder and harder to watch each week. The show landed with this initial knee-jerk reaction, at least in my social circles. Here’s a bunch of young women in Brooklyn, mostly mooching off their parents, and wondering why the professional, love and adult aspects of life aren’t falling into their laps. I didn’t get the hoopla—hell, I know people who are still trying to figure it out (male and female) Girls-style. There are young people who struggle to make rent post-college, or have unfortunate love situations, or don’t “get” work environments, or—God forbid!—get HPV. That side has never been that shocking for this writer. But what this week’s episode, as well as last week’s episode introduced, is something bigger—here’s a borderline dangerous form of oblivious.

Jessa’s already had her moment like this. I feel like she had to have it first, as it had to be apparent early on that she who speaks loudest might not necessarily be the most correct. The free-wheeling spirit saw her marriage unravel and her own self slapped with rehab, but I’d argue that, aside from Hannah’s fights with OCD (and seeing her dad naked after boinking her mom in the shower) paired with whatever internal struggle Shoshanna might have had from smoking crack on accident, most of the other Girls have had it pretty easy in the “major life event” department.

Here, Hannah’s dealing with death again, at her editor David’s funeral, and all she can talk about to his wife (yeah, he had a wife) is her friggin’ ebook! David’s wife, rightfully furious, gives her a name and sends her off, as she should. From here, we’re subjected to The Hannah Rageathon 2014, Round 2: Funeral Semifinals, where our lead berates her father, who’s reached out to a cousin to double-check on the future of Hannah’s ebook (this is bullcrappy), Caroline (totally cool, you don’t need that negativity in your life) and gives Adam a cold shoulder or two. (I’m lukewarm on this one. You two figure this shit out over coffee. It’s none of my business.)

The weird thing about Hannah’s dad breaking to her that her ebook is legally bound to David’s company for three years—that is, after she gets a real book deal with a competitor—is that her delusion almost extends as far as the word of the law, initially rejecting that her contract won’t allow her to take her work elsewhere. You put your name on a contract. This is adult people stuff, Hannah.

I can take an ugly path with a character for a long period of time (hell, it was done so well in the descent of Walter White in Breaking Bad), and if that’s where we’re headed, so be it. But for as many real lessons Hannah’s learned in the last two seasons, coupled with the fact that it looked like she was making real progress, these scenes that show a terrifying self-centeredness are just downright difficult—if not totally unrealistic—to get through. I’ve known a lot of odd folks in my day, but I can’t picture any of them bringing up a botched contract at a funeral. Then again, I’m not in the New York publishing world. The point, though, is that while recent anti-heroes like White might have been despicable at their worst, there’s still sympathy, there’s still understanding.

As a young professional myself, I’m finding Hannah more and more distant than a 40-something meth cooker with a family. Hannah’s descent is tragic because, while she’s in a devastating situation that almost all 20-somethings can relate to, most of them can’t comprehend this level of narcissism. Well, that’s at least my hope. If I’m wrong, screw everything and let me know of a way I can retire in five years so these people aren’t my workforce. For what it’s worth, I didn’t see any “OMG is this my life right now? #Girls” tweets after Hannah dropped that bombshell at David’s viewing.

As hard as this is to watch, I can’t help but think something huge is bubbling on the surface. I’ll be waiting to see exactly what that is—as every time I kind of think I know Hannah, she turns around and surprises me. More often than not in Season Two, it was for the good, and I still think there’s time to turn it around (although it better happen fast) for this season.

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