Hannah's birthday party is compromised by Adam's sister (guest star Gaby Hoffmann), her drugged-up editor, and a suspended-in-time Marnie

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GIRLS RECAP
Credit: Jessica Miglio/HBO
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S3 E3
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  • TV Show
network
  • HBO

You know it’s a pretty effed up episode of Girls when Adam gifts Hannah a tooth necklace — “It’s definitely my genetic material!” he announces proudly — and it’s not even that nuts in the context of everything else.

See, Adam’s manic, unstable sister is in town, played to glass-shattering perfection by Gaby Hoffmann, who’s best known as the little girl in a bunch of your favorite ’80s and ’90s movies like Field of Dreams, Uncle Buck, Sleepless in Seattle, and Now and Then. She recently popped up in season 3 of FX’s Louie as Louis CK’s ex. Fun facts: 1) Gaby will also be in the upcoming Veronica Mars movie. 2) Hoffmann and Dunham grew up hanging out together in NYC because Hoffman’s stepmom Cindy Sherman and Dunham’s mother Laurie Simmons were friends.

You wouldn’t want to be grandma-euthanizing Caroline Sackler’s friend. “She destroys everything in her wake,” Adam warns Hannah after she immediately offers to let Caroline stay. And why not — they still have all that fancy soap she stole from her parents’ hotel, and Hannah loves playing house. Why they are not renting out that extra bedroom for $1100 is well beyond me. Can’t Elijah return early? He’d make much better use of that soap.

When Hannah and Adam return home from her birthday party, Caroline’s standing in the bathroom — white tee, no pants, full bush. Deal with it. And she just annihilates a huge water glass with her left hand, staring straight ahead at them and drawing them into her mania.

Maybe I have a skewed view of glass craftsmanship, but those types of thick, paned drinking glasses seem like some of the sturdiest I’ve come across. I’ve dropped them onto wood floors hundreds of times and they act like you’re barely toying with them. Which is to say: The blistering fierceness is strong within Caroline. She was determined to have her dramatic moment, and that’s just what she got.

“I told you. She got in,” Adam laments to Hannah in bed. They do not have sex, stunningly. Everything is different. I picture Hannah tonguing her tooth necklace as a new falling-asleep ritual. Not that I want her to return to her rituals!

NEXT: Someone finally obeys the constant ‘bite me’ vibe exuded by Ray Let’s backtrack: Hannah has a 25th birthday party, and everybody comes (so, like, their three friends come, plus Hannah’s parents, who are paying). Marnie is in full bossy bitch mode right from the start. She tsk-tsks to the Horvaths, “She could look like this every day if she wanted” after they compliment their daughter’s appearance, then whisks Hannah past all the hipster extras and poor neighbor Laird (who’d swiped the DJ’s tip bucket, I think, as a birthday present) until they reach the back room, which hosts Jessa, Shoshanna, and…. oh no… A STAGE.

Marnie’s understandably out of sorts, otherwise why would she be wearing a yellow garden party dress with royal blue long sleeves on a Saturday night in Greenpoint? Today has been rough — her ex Charlie uploaded a hilariously awful video of Marnie recreating Edie Brickell & New Bohemians’ “What I Am” video. The auto-tuning on “philosophy” and “religion” is the best/most cringe-worthy part, but I also appreciate Marnie’s aggressive hand-wringing on “You know what I mean!” It’s so tragic.

I bet we’ll never figure out Charlie’s intentions on this. I’m confused: Did he just upload this self-indulgent mess today, as a final f*ck you to her, or has it been there for weeks and she just caught wind of it? Knowing that Marnie has nothing else to think about other than Charlie’s internet activity (i.e. he’s probably been checking her Instagram feed), I guess we can assume he posted it today. Marnie has a meltdown to a YouTube rep over the phone. “YOU ARE A MORON!” she screams — ironic, because she’s the one who writhed around in a stairwell in front of an internet-savvy human holding a video camera.

Marnie needs to blow off some steam and reclaim her artistic integrity at any cost — even if the price includes sharing the stage with Hannah. The aspiring chanteuse’s tone deafness here is staggering — we all hear Hannah insist that the last thing she’d want to do at her 25th birthday party at a cool Brooklyn dive bar is sing something from Rent. But if Marnie wants to perform, she will perform, dammit — even if she has to sing the word “puberty”. When the girls dueted on “Take Me Or Leave Me” five years ago, it was the happiest Marnie’s ever been.

Oh and speaking of tone deaf — I know Hannah’s dad is supposed to be wacky and he’s wearing a goofy hat, but would he really have asked Caroline “How old are you?” seconds after meeting her? That seemed oddly rude. Maybe he only wanted to pay for the under-30 set’s drinks. If so: Sorry, Ray.

Oh, Ray. First he gets BITTEN ON THE ARM by Caroline when all he wants to do at Hannah’s party is stand around. “I leave my body during sex — it’s called disassociation,” Caroline announces coyly amidst a series of violent, jerking spins. (Gaby Hoffmann is so good.) The bar isn’t much better than the dance floor as Ray encounters Kobe, who turns out to be Shoshanna’s tall, dark, choice cut of beef for the weekend. And after spotting Shosh outside on her cell, Ray surprises her with a mumbling monologue about how much more financially responsible he is these days. I don’t know if he misses her, specifically; I think he’s just lonely and wants to prove himself.

NEXT: The poor man’s Anderson Cooper throws down. Plus: the night’s best lines Problem is, Shoshanna barely blinks in recognition of her ex. When he concludes at the end of a tragically wandering sentence that he just doesn’t think he can be friends with her, she replies “Um… okay?” Translation: “I don’t care.”

And Ray can’t even find solace in song: He requests the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Today” in honor of his ailing business partner, but his angsty slump session in a dark corner of this huge bar is cut off when David, Hannah’s coked-up (and not officially invited) eBook editor asks the DJ to switch to “Sexy And I Know It.”

“Do you understand the concept of the queue? It’s the only thing that separates us from animals!” grumpy Ray screams at the poor man’s Anderson Cooper, who’s understandably frustrated that Ray looks nothing like the guy he just cruised on Grindr. “NOW I HAVE GROWN WEARY OF YOU!” David explodes, the triangular cutout on the back of his gray t-shirt (why must that thing confound me so?) quivering in the breeze as he dodges Ray’s punch, then socks him one.

Ray may be soaked and lacking oxygen on that bar table, but at least David has never felt more alive. Good luck with that, man.

And that’s it for “She Said OK.” For all we know, Marnie is still onstage belting out “Take me as I am, ’cause it’s what I am, are you what you are, or what?” to an enthralled Laird. Shoshanna’s smushed under that beautiful man, questioning her new smoking habit and trying to remember more than three specific details about that strange space cadet, Ray. Jessa’s… I don’t know, conjuring up tiny baggies of weed through the cracks of the sidewalks wherever she steps. And Hannah and Adam wait, in silence, until the beast even crazier than they are awakes.

Best lines:

–Caroline: “How could a man who loves animals with such a haunting totality just turn around and brutally rebuff me?”

–The mere idea that Hannah would have an “old gymnastics friend” suddenly in town

–Ray joking to a new employee that there would be a drug test — LOL, it’s a coffee shop in Brooklyn; drug use is required.

–Hannah to her parents: “You remember Adam from my period of mental illness…”

–Ultimate burn from Shoshanna, to the girls: “It’s really amazing that all three of you have accomplished so little in the four years since college.”

–Ultimate burn for Shoshanna, from Ray: “Cool cigarette.”

Your thoughts on episode 3? Will Marnie become a YouTube sensation? Have you ever given a somewhat similar performance of “What I Am” ….to your bathroom mirror?

Discuss!

Episode Recaps

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Girls
Four young ladies live in New York City, and it’s SO hard.
type
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seasons
  • 6
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  • TV-MA
network
  • HBO
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