Review: ‘Girls’ – ‘Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too’

A review of tonight’s “Girls” coming up just as soon as we skip to the canoe part…

As “Weirdos Need Girlfriends, Too” begins, Hannah and Marnie have been through something of a role reversal. For years, Marnie’s been the one who has it together, who has a boyfriend, knows what she’s doing with her life, while Hannah’s the one who self-destructs over and over and eats cupcakes in the bathroom. But now it’s Freaky Friday, and Hannah has the boyfriend, is having fun and seems confident and relaxed, while Marnie’s living in her sweats, cyber-stalking Charlie and his girlfriend as they travel across Italy, and turning to Jessa for advice and company.

And over the course of the episode, both Hannah and Marnie wind up dealing with men who don’t swap personalities with each other, but whose moods can seemingly change in a split second.

We open up with everything seemingly perfect between Hannah and Adam. This Adam is mostly the same guy we’ve seen in earlier episodes, but the context makes his behavior more charming, and often funnier. When his idea of dirty talk involves speculating on how fat she was as a baby (“You were probably a late walker”), it’s somehow much less creepy than his prostitution fantasies from earlier in the season. He tries to get Hannah to exercise (but also doesn’t give her a hard time when she wimps out and wants to get ice cream) and even winds up being more sympathetic to Marnie’s plight than Hannah is. This is the guy Hannah kept telling everyone else was hidden in there, and now that the nature of their relationship has changed, everyone else can see him, too.

But then they go to a tech rehearsal(*) for Adam’s play, and the mercurial, temperamental Adam resurfaces. He quits the play, even though his friend has spent a lot of money on it, then freaks out on a driver who nearly hits him rounding a curve. The intensity of Adam’s emotions are appealing to Hannah when they’re positive emotions, but his mood seems to change with almost as much force as he brings to each individual feeling. And before you know it, Adam’s back to being gross, including playfully urinating on Hannah in the shower.

(*) And for the second time in three episodes, it became impossible to start comparing “Girls” to “Smash,” as I spent most of that scene trying to avoid screaming, “I’M IN TECH!!!!” over and over.

And the episode closes on a romantic but ambiguous note, as Adam wakes Hannah up in the middle of the night to get her to help with his art project apology. The dozens and dozens of “Sorry” stickers plastered to that wall created a beautiful image, but is Adam literally intending them for the driver he yelled at, or is it a more general apology to Hannah? Hannah’s excited to be a part of this, and to again see the guy she thinks she really likes, but Adam’s trapped in his own head just enough that he might see that he wronged the driver, and his friend (he agrees to do the play, after all), but that Hannah herself doesn’t need an apology for anything. You can interpret it either way, I think. Based on how much the first half of the season was about Hannah sabotaging herself, this could be her seeing something that isn’t there; based on what we learned about Adam last week (and about how the series is told from an unreliable point of view), this could be yet another example of his hidden awesomeness.

While Hannah’s floating in the bubble of this exciting but mercurial new relationship phase, Marnie’s become a wreck over Charlie, and all that was said and done to her in the warehouse party episode. It’s almost as if their friendship requires a very specific emotional balance to work – like that “Seinfeld” episode “The Opposite,” where because George’s life becomes incredible, Elaine’s life has to fall apart – and as part of the switcheroo, it’s Marnie who’s hanging out with Jessa. And it’s Marnie doing something stupid – if not outright reckless – in going home with the Wall Street guy(**) who’s new in the neighborhood, just for the experience of it. And when he turns out to be every bit the drag that Jessa predicted at the bar, the two frenemies start making out with each other on his $10,000 rug, and accidentally set off a temper tantrum every bit as sudden and freaky as Adam going after the driver. 

(**) Played by Chris O’Dowd from “The IT Crowd” – and, more importantly for this show’s purposes, from the Judd Apatow-produced “Bridesmaids” (and the upcoming Apatow-directed “This Is 40”).

Even though a number of episodes have been light on the hah-hah moments, I’ve enjoyed the entire season because of the handle that Lena Dunham have on all these characters and this world. But these last few episodes have felt noticeably funnier than what came before. Gross as the shower bit is, for instance, Adam gets off a perfect line as Hannah exits, saying, confused, “It doesn’t make sense to get out now. There’s pee on you.” And O’Dowd’s rant – “I want to be balls deep! In something!!!!!” – is pretty priceless.

We’re starting to see more of a clear arc to the season in terms of Hannah and Marnie’s stories, but we’re also seeing the kind of learning curve that many new shows – at least the ones run by smart, talented people who don’t assume they’re giving you wisdom from the mountaintop – go through. Episodes like this one and “The Crackcident” understand who these women are (and, at times, who the men in their lives are), but they’re also just really good at telling jokes.

What did everybody else think?