‘Girls’ – ‘Hannah’s Diary’: There’s the rub!

Senior Television Writer
05.06.12 69 Comments


A review of tonight’s “Girls” coming up just as soon as I surprise you with a coffee table made out of street garbage…

One of the more memorable scenes in the “Girls” pilot involves Hannah and Marnie running down the “totem of chat, debating which method of electronic communication is the most intimate. As Marnie acknowledges, “Face-to-face is, of course, ideal, but it’s not of this time.”

“Hannah’s Diary” deals with a variety of communication styles, from texting to an old-fashioned journal to, yes, face-to-face, but the message, regardless of the medium, stays pretty consistent, as all four of our characters are exposed to truths they don’t much want to hear.

The episode’s bookended by messages being received by people who weren’t meant to get them. In the opening, Hannah is both horrified and amused when Adam texts her a picture of his penis that invites amusing descriptions throughout the half-hour. (Charlie calls it “a semi-hard dick with a squirrel skin wrapped around it,” while one of Hannah’s new co-workers says “it looks like a rapper’s fur coat.”) But the picture’s not the problem: it’s the text that follows, where Adam tells her the picture wasn’t meant for her. Whatever boundaries these two have established on their relationship, no one wants to realize that their sex partner thinks so little of them that they would accidentally send them a dick pic meant for someone else entirely.

Marnie’s been telling Hannah to ditch Adam forever, but the message never sank in. But Hannah has a new office job – where the genial boss (played by character actor Richard Masur) seems to have mastered the art of inappropriate workplace touching – and she’s more susceptible to the anti-Adam sentiments of two of her co-workers.(*) So she goes to Adam’s apartment to tell him all the things she feels about him and the lousy way he treats her. It’s a very satisfying speech – and well delivered by Lena Dunham – even as it’s clear almost from the start (or, at least, from the moment her lip starts quivering) that it’s not going to give her the clean break she wants. That she gives him another shot doesn’t invalidate the feelings she just expressed; it just means she’s human, and vulnerable, and she’s drawn to this guy for whatever reason and just wanted him to reach out. I muttered, “This won’t end well” when he reached out to take her hand, but if there’s one thing we know about Hannah Horvath four episodes in, it’s that she’s not afraid to make mistakes – many, many, many of them.

(*) She’s also susceptible to their makeover suggestions, which leaves Hannah with a pair of ridiculous penciled-in eyebrows that makes an amusing sight gag for the rest of the episode, even in otherwise-serious scenes like Hannah’s speech to Adam. 

Just as Hannah has ignored Marnie’s pleadings about Adam, Marnie has tried to brush aside any of Hannah’s suggestions that it’s time to cut the cord with good guy Charlie. But it’s a sentiment she’s told her friend many times, and one she’s written down in the journal that Ray finds on his not-quite-crotchless-panty raid through the apartment while the girls are out and about. It’s not Hannah’s fault that Ray started snooping through her stuff, but that doesn’t make the revelation – in the middle of a performance by Ray and Charlie’s “band,” Questionable Goods – any less ugly, leading Marnie to storm off after throwing a drink in Hannah’s face. (Jessa, because she cares more about excitement than people’s feelings, of course thinks that the whole thing was fantastic.)

And after two episodes of her friends assuring her that being a virgin wasn’t a big deal, Shoshanna gets all her worst fears confirmed when a cute guy from her Jewish sleepaway camp days begs off of having sex with her once he finds out. His reaction’s not going to be universal, but at the moment, you can’t blame Shoshanna for believing that her virginity is now a self-perpetuating problem that will only get worse the longer it lasts.

Jessa’s young charges, meanwhile, briefly go missing because she gets too distracted to create even more drama by offering to lead a nanny revolution. This isn’t the kind of show where Beatrix and Lola are suddenly going to get abducted while James Le Gros turns into Mel Gibson in “Ransom,” but it’s still a scary moment for Jessa, and one that jars her out of her self-satisfied complacency long enough to admit to Jeff that she really did lose the girls – and to admit to him (and us) something about how her relationship with her mom helped turn her into what she is today.

What did everybody else think?

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