HBO Girls Review: ‘On All Fours’ (2×9)

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The most uncomfortable episode of Girls to date, this week’s installation isn’t for the fainthearted. In last week’s episode, I was surprised at how happy I was for Adam that his life was getting back on track – this week I was reminded why it was surprising. Adam isn’t an affable chap. The juxtaposition of sweet and straightforward Natalia’s hooking up after a Sandra Bullock movie with the arguably Hannah-inspired boozed up, perverse borderline rape (or just rape? I think it was just rape) highlights this. Natalia is too good for Adam, and I hope she realises this after that assault, especially made nasty by his unwanted ejaculation onto her chest, beating off to the sound of her asking him not to, and then cleaning his semen off her chest with his shirt. Left with a bad taste in your mouth, Adam’s degradation of Natalia highlights his own flaws, and though I’m not a fan of Hannah, I can’t say I blame their two minute long interaction for his relapse or behaviour with Natalia, though it’s clearly reminiscent of their relationship. I would also argue with those who romanticise this with the idea that Hannah and Adam are fated to be together. I’m quite concerned this is where the plot’s going to end up, and I think the benefits that Adam’s life saw by the absence of Hannah highlighted the brutal fact they’re better off without each other. As little as I like Hannah, she’s no Adam. She hasn’t done anything too awful; she’s just a bit of a dick. Hannah’s the kind of person I wouldn’t want to be friends with, but I sometimes I relate to – and that scares me. Hannah and Adam drive each other mad, but not in a Noah and Allie the Notebook way – in a shove Q Tips in my ear kind of way.

Not that I blame Adam for the resurge of Hannah (who we may as well call Lena due to ridiculous the biographical context of the show, the girl truly took the ‘write what you know’ method to the nth degree)’s OCD. Which I have a slight issue with; although, apparently Dunham has hit the OCD nail on the head (eight times, I would imagine), I found the sudden resurfacing of her childhood illness oddly absent and without indication in episodes previous to episode eight: ‘It’s Back.’ But hey, I’m no expert. Hannah’s hit a brick wall. Virtually friendless (Jessa’s continued absence, while unmentioned, is felt), sexless, and as much as she likes the idea that she’s writing a book, and how often she lies that its going great, the only change the book deal has brought on Hannah is acute anxiety. Add to that her ex’s new serious grown-up girlfriend, and it’s enough for a lot of us to stick a Q-tip in our ears.  I was balking my through the whole Q-Tip debacle, however does show the serious extent of the mental illness, which is often mitigated in the media.

Of course, Dunham doesn’t get everything right. The not entirely inconspicuous lack of ethnic minorities in Girls has been shabbily addressed over this second series threw the token half arsed small parts of Sandy-the-Black-Republican (the lovely Donald Glover), Shoshanna’s rich Hindi Radhika and this week’s Indian Doctor. Dunham argues that the lack of ethnic minorities in her show is due to her ‘write what you know’ – which seems a hard pill to swallow. I doubt many living in Brooklyn have never come into contact with ethnic minorities – which is probably not what she’s saying, but it seems a pretty tired excuse nonetheless. “If I wanted to watch a show about privileged white girls, I’d just live my own life” I remember reading on tumblr.

One of the most beautiful blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments on this week’s was pre-Marnie karaoke disaster (which I’ll get to), when a female extra is crying on her phone, with no exceptions. It highlights that these are just glimpses of the stories of a handful of people, and each person in that room – though periphery in this case – are the protagonists of their own stories.

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Why Marnie, just WHY? Charlie, same question applies. Marnie’s without-a-hint-of-irony white girl Kanye cover wasn’t exactly an aphrodisiac – so why Charlie? Is it because she has a manic ‘I’M FINE SERIOUSLY EVERYONE LOOK HOW FINE I AM’ glint in her big doe eyes, reminiscent of a 60’s housewife’s failing marriage? Does that do it for you? A pity fuck? To be fair, I don’t know if many straight men could turn down an opportunity to have office desk sex with Allison Williams (even if she has too many l’s in her name). I’m not sure I could, to be honest. I don’t see this ending well, as I’m sure Marnie probably would, through her Disney princess rose-tinted lenses. Shoshanna totally has a point, I should add. Charlie does look the hottest he’s been – gone is the puppy and the shaved headed youth of serious one. On trains on opposite directions of life, Marnie’s going backwards while Charlie’s rocketing forward, which was made painfully obvious in the previous episode, when she rocked up to Charlie’s office in her trackies.

Marnie’s love of singing seems passionless and contrived – which may just be the point. Sure, she’s not exactly got the stage presence of Ray’s beloved Katy Perry, but her voice is nice enough. Her heart, however, doesn’t seem to be in it. “Lay down a track” sounds awkward and embarrassing in her mouth, she’s reminiscent of the staple rich white girl of My Sweet Sixteen that wants to be a popstar. Just, you know, because. And Charlie, as hot as he is,  seems now with the whole app-success like the Justin Timberlake douche character in The Social Network.

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Ray’s right to mock him for being a sell out. Hey, some of those  girls may well have been hookers. I didn’t like Series One Ray, but he’s grown on me – dug his roots deep. I still love Ray the most, this episode. He’s a dick, but Charlie’s right – that’s just the way he is. He’s Ray. Shosh shouldn’t have approached their relationship, well him in it, anyway, as a fixer upper. It’s a mistake many girls like her, sweet, naive and optimistic, have made and will make. I kind of love that he’s a dick- especially when he’s ripping that guy who’s speaking to Shosh about restaurants, it was a needed laugh in this week’s episode. I still hold a place in my heart for Shoshanna, but DAMN IT SHOSH. You held the doorman’s hand? Seriously?! I found cheating on Ray unneedly harsh, I liked their relationship, if he could accept her insanely quirky unable to shut up or style an acceptable hairstyle ways, why shouldn’t she accept that he’s a dick. He cares for her, he lets her know he cares for her – he’s still finding his way, but it’s not like that’s unusual. He’s a nice guy at heart, I mean, he wooed for Marnie, didn’t he? I couldn’t seem him ever hurt Shosh. But I guess anything could happen next week.

I will track down Lena Dunham if she ruins Ray.

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One thought on “HBO Girls Review: ‘On All Fours’ (2×9)

  1. Pingback: The GIRLS Finale: We All Got Needs | In My Roots

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