It seems like Girls has building towards last night’s Hannah vs. Sandy scene its inception. The biggest controversy of the show hasn’t been Hannah Horvath’s obvious (and intentional) narcissism or the racy quips that spill from her and her friends’ mouths, but rather the distinct lack of cultural representation. Meaning: everyone is white as hell.
But now that Hannah’s dating a black guy, the discussion is open. And it turns out, Hannah is just as oblivious about the racial status of Brooklyn as critics accused her of being. But Dunham is smart enough and savvy enough to know what the Internet says about her. “I Get Ideas” was her way of showing that blind-eyed ignorance is just a part of Hannah’s psyche, not a representation of her own way of thinking. When Hannah and her black Republican boyfriend (played by the always-charming Donald Glover) get into a tiff about an essay she wrote – one that he says “wasn’t for me” – it opens up a large discussion about what “not for me” really means. “It’s for everyone,” Hannah claims. But it’s not. And Girls isn’t. And it’s nice to see them talking about it in such a declaratively meta fashion.
Hannah’s obliviousness about race is the centerpiece of the episode (as is her subsequent break-up with Sandy after he accuses her of dating him because she’s going through a phase where she wants to “ride gear bikes and date a black guy”), but the other 20-some minutes are just as on-point. Marnie and Elijah are still dealing with the fallout of their drunken tumble on the couch. They don’t tell Hannah, but Elijah tells his boyfriend George, who breaks up with him. Which should prove interesting down the line since George pays Elijah’s rent (and everything else). Marnie’s quarter-life crisis reaches a breaking point when she decides to take a “pretty person job” as a hostess at an icky club for old, rich men (after a particularly brutal failed interview at an art gallery). Marnie’s quest is inevitable, but totally relatable. I think we all reach that post-collegiate breaking point where we realize there’s really nothing we wouldn’t do for money. Marnie knows she’s conventionally attractive, thin and effortlessly glamorous. And once she realizes she can bank on her looks, she’s willing to settle for that lifestyle, even if it means demeaning herself and her career prospects in the process.
Equally misguided is Jessa, who thinks her cushy life with Thomas-John is the “ideal.” They live in a clean Manhattan condo, she paints him by day, he buys her a basket full of puppies, and she can do what she wants when she wants. Hannah’s turmoil seems unimportant to Jessa, who talks to her friend with a self-important air as they lounge in the park with her trio of dogs (who she names Garbage, F***er and Hanukkah). “Read a newspaper,” she says condescendingly to Hannah when she feels oblivious for not knowing facts about the poor economy. But Hannah doesn’t mind. Jessa is her ideal, and always has been. And now both of them are muddied into thinking that this fantasy world Jessa’s enveloped in is as good as it gets.
In truth, the only fully happy people on the show right now are Shoshanna and Ray, who lounge in her bed and talk about painting pigs. If it sounds weird, it is. But it’s also comfortingly adorable. I hope they make it. I have a shocking amount of adoration for them as a couple.
The episode culminates in one of the funniest sequences in Girls’ run: the terrifying late-night appearance of Adam in Hannah’s apartment. She gave him a key back when she adored him. Now that she’s afraid of him, it becomes the harbinger of her nightmares. While she lays in bed watching a YouTube video about how to cut your own bangs (been there, girl, been there), Adam texts her that he’s downstairs. She freaks out and shuts off her lights, and he texts her again that he saw her shut her lights off. Then he jumps into the doorframe, scaring the crap out of Hannah and the audience alike. He thinks he’s being funny and impulsive. She finds his gesture genuinely creepy. She sneaks into the hallway and dials 911 on her phone, but ultimately decides against it and hangs up. Their tussle turns into a full-blown fight, and Hannah, near tears, punches him in the chest and forces him to leave. But not before the cops show up. Obviously Hannah never got the memo that even typing 911 into your phone is grounds for investigation. At first Hannah throws Adam a bone – it was an accident, there’s no problem, she tells the them. But when he starts to accuse her of being a stalker, things heat up, and Adam is eventually carted away when the cops realize he has unpaid parking tickets and a warrant for public urination.
Hannah sits on her stairs and watches the cops drag him away. So now she’s Adam-less, Donald Glover-less, Marnie-less, presumably soon-to-be Elijah-less, and reminded once again that human relationships are her biggest faux pas. But now she has something to write about.