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'Girls' recap: 'Ask Me My Name'

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Craig Blankenhorn/HBO

Girls

type:
TV Show
genre:
Drama
run date:
04/15/12
performer:
Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet, Adam Driver, Jemima Kirke
Producer:
Lena Dunham, Judd Apatow
broadcaster:
HBO
seasons:
6
Current Status:
In Season
tvpgr:
TV-MA

Has Hannah truly found her calling as a teacher? Will Hannah refrain from putting herself and others around her in devastatingly awkward situations? These are questions that come up in this week’s Girls. The answer to the first is still up in the air, but the answer to the latter is an eye-roll and a sigh. 

Here’s the thing: In a surprising development, Hannah may not be the worst teacher in the world. Sure, she’s not very professional—she names one student (Maude Apatow) her favorite in front of the entire class; she admits that she hasn’t read Oedipus Rex in ages—but she’s funny and relatable. She’s the perfect cool sub.

At school she projects a confidence that catches the eye of history teacher and juice box drinker Fran (the swoon-worthy Jake Lacy, recently of Obvious Child fame). “So should we get some drinks tonight or what?” he asks. She hesitates for a second and then accepts. Watch us squeal over Lacy in the video below.

Back at her apartment, Hannah gushes to Elijah about Fran. Hannah thinks it’s fate. She and Adam broke up so that she and Fran could get married. That sounds like “something a Bachelor contestant would say,” Elijah, drinking from a wine bottle, tells her. Hannah orders Elijah to get out of the room so she can masturbate before her date. (Hannah does this before every date, apparently. It relieves the sexual tension so she can think clearly.)

At first the date seems off to an ideal start. (Note, how I said, “at first.” Yeah, things are about to get gnarly.) Though Hannah’s ideas of being some white savior teacher in an inner city school—like “Annie Potts in the Dangerous Minds TV show”—are obnoxious, she and Fran are getting along swimmingly. But then Hannah makes a suggestion: “I was actually going to ask if you maybe wanted to check out this art show that I’m sure is going to be absolutely terrible.” Fran pauses, but is enthusiastic: “I absolutely would.”

Cut to the art show. People are wearing smocks reading “Ask Me My Name.” Jessa is intently listening to the performers, in a moment I’d like to think of as a play on Jemima Kirke’s Marina Abramovic tears. Hannah and Fran enter in good spirits. They gamely put on the smocks, and Hannah calls him a “delightful sport.” Then we see whose art show this is: It’s Mimi-Rose’s. Oh, Hannah.

Marnie spots Hannah and calls her out. “Seriously, it’s kind of crazy that you’re here, don’t you think?” Fran is confused but tries to play along. Hannah explains that, yes, her ex-boyfriend is there, but “the wounds are so healed.” Marnie looks at her like, yeah right. But then Adam comes up. His greeting? “Hello, what the hell?” He tries to pull Hannah aside, but Hannah drags the increasingly uncomfortable Fran into the conversation. “Will you do me a favor and leave before this gets really f–king weird,” Adam asks not quite politely. As Hannah protests that she doesn’t want to leave and that it’s really Adam who isn’t over their relationship, Fran realizes he’s starting to “feel a little used” and bails. Hannah barely notices that he leaves. When Adam demands to know why she’s really there, Hannah finally admits, “I don’t know.”

Mimi-Rose, however, is perfectly cheery and happy that Hannah came; she even invites her to the afterparty, where her “ex-partner” Ace will be in attendance. (Such a notable character trait that Mimi-Rose says “partner” rather than “boyfriend.”) Ace—ugh, that name—is played by a hipster-ified Zachary Quinto. Ace—once again, ugh—for some reason chews a toothbrush.

Leaving the art show, Ace runs after one cab while Mimi-Rose plans to get in another. She makes Adam go with Ace, while she and Hannah take the other. And thus begins the two cab rides from hell: first, Adam and Ace’s. This move, according to Ace, was “classic Mimi-Rose.” He explains, “your suffering is her f–king safe space.” Ace may be terrible with his gross toothbrush chewing, but he knows Mimi-Rose well. She has an act, he explains. The “sweet weirdo girl from Maine with bitten-up lips and the Asperger’s” she pretends to be is actually “hollow” and “curated,” he says. We, the audience, are well aware of this, but Adam seems shocked. Not as shocked as he is, however, when Ace, suddenly vicious, declares that he will always be in love with Mimi-Rose and wants her back.

In another cab, the mood is equally tense. Mimi-Rose quizzes Hannah on what she thought of the art show. Hannah is reluctant to say anything at all, much less anything negative: “The show was perfect, it was Beyoncé to me.” What Mimi-Rose does next is either purposefully cruel or completely oblivious. She says she would have liked to have spent more time working on the show, but she got “sucked into writing this stupid book.” This is the dagger into Hannah. Not only does Mimi-Rose have her old boyfriend, she has her old dream. “I’m not a real writer like you,” Mimi-Rose confesses. But Hannah, according to Hannah, is “not a real writer anymore.” To make the cab ride of misery end more quickly, Hannah asks the driver to make a turn. He does and hits an elderly woman. Hannah tries to absolve herself any responsibility for the crash, and suggests waiting in a nearby deli after Mimi-Rose insists they can’t leave. In the deli, as Hannah loads up on snacks and Mimi-Rose takes the last coconut popsicle, Mimi-Rose asks Hannah if she resents her for dating Adam. Hannah declares she doesn’t resent her, but if Hannah were mad at Adam—which obviously she is, even though she says she isn’t—she would be mad because Adam didn’t tell her about Mimi-Rose, and because he’s a “coward, and then he lashes out like a maniac when you call him on anything because he feels so guilty.” Mimi-Rose identifies. The deli cashier won’t let Hannah use the bathroom, so she and Mimi-Rose dash to a laundromat, stealing the popsicle in the process.

In the short time it takes Hannah to use the bathroom, Mimi-Rose has become deep in conversation with a woman. Mimi-Rose had tried to slip a poem into her dryer. “I always want to give a stranger a poem,” Mimi-Rose explains. Hannah refuses to engage. Mimi-Roses asks if Hannah wants Adam back, and though Hannah says “f— no,” Mimi-Rose proposes that she might let her have him. “You are laying out a beaver trap, and I’m not going to walk into your beaver trap,” Hannah says. But Mimi-Rose has a whole plot of how to let Hannah and Adam reconnect. She seems even eager to make it happen. After Hannah tells her she’s “insane,” Mimi-Rose gets to the heart of the matter: “Are you mad because you gave up on art or because you gave up on Adam or is it both?” The answer is obviously “c.” Both. Hannah doesn’t really answer the question instead she becomes accusatory. Mimi-Rose took Adam while Hannah was at graduate school, “getting a graduate degree in a form of art that is actual art, unlike what you do, which is not art, and you’re not a genius, you’re just tricking people and confusing them, and I think you know it’s bullshit, and I think maybe you should just admit it.” Mimi-Rose had been subtly torturing Hannah the whole episode, and now Hannah finally gets to Mimi-Rose.

Mimi-Rose goes for the nonsequitur, talking about a photograph from the 1940s of a Japanese girl going to an internment camp. The caption just said “girl.” Mimi-Rose continues talking about empathy and explains, “It’s easier to not know someone’s name,” basically giving the thesis for her show. It’s random, but it gets Hannah finally to admit something: “learning more about you physically pains me.” Mimi-Rose confesses, too: “It pains me to find out shit about you, too.” Mimi-Rose, for all of her posturing, has her own insecurities and knows that people can see through her. “The way that you see me, I’m afraid that that’s the way everyone sees me. I just want to make something that says something and I don’t even know why anymore.” Hannah sits down next to her: “You try because you’re an artist, and I couldn’t do it, so I quit.” Maybe Mimi-Rose is full of shit in her art, but Hannah tried to be a full of shit artist and failed. Bonded in their own weird way, they go to the party, hand in hand.

Before they get to the bar, we see Jessa has sidled up to Adam, raving about how Ace is so cool. Adam tells her about Ace’s confession and she gets pissed. The whole reason why Jessa set Adam and Mimi-Rose up, with no thought to her friendship with Hannah, was so that she could get Ace. Adam realizes he’s been played. He may have fallen for Mimi-Rose, but Jessa manipulated the relationship into existing.

At the bar Hannah approaches Adam from behind, scaring him. He has no reason to be frightened though. She sincerely says that she likes Mimi-Rose. “I just wanted to say that I get it,” she says. “So now I’ll get out of here before I make it bad again.” She leaves and gets a falafel sandwich. She throws the smock in a pile of trash. Her reconciliation with Mimi-Rose and Adam is only the recipe for more heartache.    

Extras

  • “If you want him to think you killed your kids and have been living in the Florida panhandle, knock yourself out” —Elijah on Hannah’s potential outfit for her date with Fran
  • St. Justine’s, which has classes on “origami expression,” sounds awfully similar to Dunham’s own high school in Brooklyn, St. Ann’s.
  • Mimi-Rose’s book is a “psychosexual thriller told from the perspective of a dead woman who solves her own murder using hologram technology that she invented.”
  • Mimi-Rose doesn’t wear deodorant. Of course she doesn’t.
  • After tweeting about Adam’s “really f–king weird” line, New York‘s Matt Zoller Seitz added: “Still waiting on a super cut of Adam’s bizarre wordless interjections.” Me, too.

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