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'Girls' recap: 'Daddy Issues'

Hannah learns about boundaries. Or doesn’t.

Posted on

Craig Blankenhorn/HBO


TV Show
run date:
Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet, Adam Driver, Jemima Kirke
Lena Dunham, Judd Apatow
Current Status:
In Season

“You’re an adult, and I know it sucks. You just have to start at least trying to keep at least some stuff inside.” The principal at Hannah’s school tells Hannah this after she has a fight with Cleo in the hallway, one that descends into name-calling (namely, “bitch”). But for better or for worse, this episode is all about sharing. Hannah’s sharing her issues with her student; Tad is sharing his coming out experience with Hannah; Mimi-Rose is sharing her true feelings with Adam; Marnie is sharing news of her engagement with anyone who wants to listen because, as Shosh would say, she’s f—king Marnie. The principal wants Hannah to have boundaries. Boundaries? Hah. No one on this show has any!

Jessa, Ace, Adam, and Mimi-Rose

The episode opens with Jessa having sex with Ace, so let’s just start with them. Their dirty talk is, expectedly, odd. Jessa tells him he reminds her of her fourth grade teacher; he says the apartment reminds him of a Tiffany music video. So Jessa got what she wanted. Or did she?

They’re frolicking on the way to dinner—at Ace’s friends’ Ethiopian restaurant; Ace photographed her boobs—when Ace stops. They’re in front of Mimi-Rose and Adam’s place. (Like this wasn’t planned.) Ace suggests just stopping by. Jessa is visibly uncomfortable, and remains that way when they get to the door, asking an also-uncomfortable Adam whether it’s a good time. Ace is showing Jessa an herb garden he planted and caressing her when Mimi-Rose sees them. Jessa explains they were just dropping in, but Mimi-Rose wants them to stay, ordering Adam to fry up sausages.

Dinner, naturally, is awkward, and grows even more so when Mimi-Rose proclaims that she is “distracted right now by these feelings of jealously that you two are apparently together now.” This is an emotion with which Mimi-Rose, on her own planet, is unfamiliar, and says she “can’t deny that [she] really want[s] Ace back.” Jessa has had enough, declares she’s leaving and tells Adam he’s a “sucker.” Mimi-Rose, meanwhile, decides that there’s “one right choice.” She wants to be alone.

Jessa grabs Adam and they head to the election party being held for Ray. “I think I don’t want to go in there,” Adam says. But it’s not because he doesn’t want to see Hannah: “I kind of want to see her too much right now,” he says, and walks off.

Jessa, her plans failing spectacularly, stands alone, smoking.

Hannah, Elijah, Tad and Loreen

Is Hannah a child? Or is she the most grown-up person in the room? She and Tad get pierogies and make small talk before getting serious. Even though Tad is now out of the closet, divorce is not necessarily in the cards for him and Loreen. This offends Hannah—she wants both of her parents to be happy—but Tad insists that she doesn’t really know what she’s talking about, and is “a child, basically.” Case in point: did she even bring her wallet to their meal? (No.)

At school, Hannah slips even further into childhood, frustrated that Cleo doesn’t want to be her friend anymore. (“Sup Whore-vath” is Cleo’s typically high school insult.) Hannah has been texting and calling Cleo incessantly, but Cleo hasn’t responded. Hannah argues that she “needed” to talk to Cleo about the stuff that is going on with her family. Cleo tells her she needs to “check [your] homophobia.” As their fight escalates, Fran walks by—and suddenly the school’s principal sidles up, calling Hannah into his office.

Hannah thinks he’s going to say that she should have saved the conversation for after-school hours. “Yes—or not at all, maybe,” the principal says. He continues: “You need to be mindful of boundaries and concentrate on not going past boundaries.” For instance, he explains, she shouldn’t tell him, her boss, about her father. He doesn’t respond when she asks if he’s going to fire her. He lets her have the rest of the day off.

Hannah uses this time to day-drink with Elijah, who has to say “I told you so.” (He did!) Elijah’s theory on Tad is that he’s “coming out in chunks.” More about his gay experiences will be revealed in time, according to Elijah.

While Hannah’s immaturity may be over the line, her predicament is understandable. She wants to be supportive of Tad’s coming out. Still, it not only forces her to reexamine her own childhood, but also makes her consider her father in a sexual manner.

Loreen isn’t being particularly motherly either, choosing to view Tad’s sexuality as her own personal failure. She’s also taking her bitterness out on her daughter.  “Everything I have ever told you about anything, I want you to disregard it. What the f—k do I know? Who gives a shit anyway?” she tells Hannah over the phone, while smoking. And, like Hannah, she is discussing her personal life with people who are maybe not the most appropriate candidates for soul-pouring. One of her gay students has told her that Tad is going to be a “daddy.” When Hannah says she’s uncomfortable, Loreen responds: “Think about anal sex. Now that’s uncomfortable.”

Elijah, meanwhile, has decided to help Tad, taking him shopping, without much thought as to how Hannah will react. (“He’s such a daddy” is Elijah’s assessment.) Hannah asks her father if he’s ever been with a man. While he says “no” at first, after a knowing look from Elijah, he reveals he was with a guy senior year—but it was “mostly dry humping.” They’ve reconnected on Facebook though—so, according to Tad, “who knows what the future holds?” (“Full on anal!” Elijah cheers with his fingers crossed. Lots of talk about anal sex this episode.)

Hannah has had enough, so she decides to repeat some advice she was given: “I think what you two need are some serious boundaries.” Maybe Hannah has learned something.

Ray, Shosh, Marnie, and Desi

In absence of a job, Shosh is throwing herself into planning the party for Ray’s election as community board chairperson. (Where’s Scott?) Ray wins, but Marnie is the real story here. Let’s count the atrocious things Marnie does at this party.

  1. She tells Desi she wants to keep their engagement a secret.
  2. She approaches Ray by singing a Marilyn Monroe-style “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”
  3. She immediately tells Ray about the engagement, explaining that he helped her. Ray starts babbling.
  4. She takes the microphone and tells the entire room of strangers about the engagement.

Ray, naturally, is devastated by this news. He’s still harboring feelings for Marnie, and those feelings start pouring out as he stands on a chair giving his victory speech. Though he begins with a Ralph Nader quote, he goes off script, looking straight at Marnie when he says: “Whatever happens, please know that I promise to always always be here.” It’s veiled, but her eyes reveal she knows exactly what he’s talking about. This makes her decision to make the event all about her either delusional or mean.

By the time Marnie makes her announcment, Hannah has arrived. Ray and Hannah blandly say how happy they are; Hannah’s in shock over the news that her friend is getting married. “I’m faking it,” Ray admits. “I’m faking everything,” Hannah responds.


“He reads bi.” – Elijah on Barack Obama.

“It’s a lot of cargo pants, I would think.” — Elijah on “the gays in Michigan.”

“I would bet my house seats to If/Then that, like, in one month, he’s going to be like, ‘Well, I did have this college roommate, and we did have feelings for each other, but we never did anything.'” – Elijah. Who else?

“There’s a cake with your face on it that ended up looking a little bit more like Muammar Gaddafi, so I’m going to do a little bit of damage control frosting-wise.” Sometimes Shosh surpises with her points of reference.

“Colored doors are a reason to live.” – Ace

Sausages are the most awkward food for the most awkward Ace/Jessa/Mimi-Rose/Adam dinner party.

When Marnie says she’s sorry to interrupt at the party, Hannah adds: “She is so not sorry to interrupt.”