Girls recap: 'Dead Inside'
Welcome back to Extraordinarily Awful People. Wow. I’m still reeling from Hannah’s brutal switch from honest self-assessment to the cringe-inducing retelling of someone else’s lies at the end of episode 4, “Dead Inside.”
Unable to feel… anything in the aftermath of her editor David (and maybe her writing career, for the moment)’s death, Hannah ended up faking human compassion in the form of poor, tiny-dressed Margaret, a fictional cousin who died of muscular dystrophy. “Nooooooo,” I kept muttering dully at the screen, the more she talked. Why? How?
Ugh, it was horrifying. If I had a book out on stands, which I don’t, because there are no stands and you know that, it would say that Hannah didn’t need to “normalize” at the end. There are all sorts of weirdos out there, thinking their thoughts and feeling not much of anything right alongside the more highly evolved feelers, who are probably really weird themselves because everyone’s weird and that’s fine because it’s gotta better than lying.
Personally I don’t feel that many things either, and I’m not THAT much of a monster. Of course, back when I was 24, I didn’t have the confidence to say that and truly believe it, and apparently I still don’t have the confidence to leave the word “that” in lowercase letters. I do feel like a monster. I’ll go ahead and admit that at certain regrettable and very youthful moments in my deeply flawed life, I’ve acted just about as absurd and irrational as Hannah did in that last scene. Sure, it’s terrible, but so are people sometimes. You self-loathe about your mistakes for a few years and then you try to move on. Or if you’re Lena Dunham, you bypass all that unproductive nonsense and write a cable series portraying selfish people in all their gritty realistic horror. This pretty much sums up why Girls can get away with anything.
When Adam sat down on the front stoop, Hannah told him, “It always takes me a little while to process my emotions.” See, that’s all she needed to say. That was honest. I even believed her when she said she felt connected to David and very grateful about how supportive he’d been of her, and how it’s hard to realize her champion is gone.” Those are fine things to say! They’re self-centered, but they’re honest. They’re the things she’s feeling regarding David, and that makes them valid. I really wanted her to stick to her guns on this in a brave, take-me-or-leave-me way. No one should have to pretend to feel stuff.
And what if the whole Cousin Margaret thing was just one of many bullsh*t tall tales Adam’s sister Caroline liked to re-spin for newcomers throughout her life? I could have sworn Adam was about to recognize the lie and call Hannah out. Does he know she’s full of it, do you think? Of course, right? So why would she even bother when it’s only going to make things worse?
Hello, we’ve met before and also we haven’t met yet — now, as a special treat, this paragraph is the digital embodiment of ∞Jessa∞. A recap isn’t linear, bitch! Every sentence that’s ever happened or will ever happen is happening right now. So really you’ve already read this and also you do not yet know how to read. Let the illusion of continuity proceed. You’re welcome, for existing, by the way. My hair my hair my hair. XOX just kidding I don’t believe in those two particular letters any more than all the others; have you ever thought about how pointless words are? Maybe *we’re* words. Love, Jessa. ∞.
P.S. F*ck love.
NEXT: Back to Hannah
∞The reason Hannah forced herself to pretend-feel at the end? It’s not good for writers not to feel, she reminds Caroline after the two discuss the numbing feeling produced by anti-psychotic medication. I suspect Hannah’s even more scared of losing her last remaining champion in Adam. (Marnie and Shoshanna don’t count, and Jessa’s operating on another dimension at the moment, somewhere within countless planes of consciousness, and what is a normal day, really?)
“Adam’s gonna find out what I really am — and I don’t know if he’s gonna like that,” she confided to Caroline after the pair, plus Laird and his dead turtle, had traipsed through a cemetery as if it were their personal playground, blissfully oblivious to the actual grievers surrounding them. “He’s not gonna wanna be with someone who can’t match his strength of emotion.”
Well, if that’s true, then Hannah and Adam shouldn’t be together. If he can learn over time and through honest communication to accept her emotional vacancy even if he doesn’t understand it, then great — different story. He ain’t no saint, either. As someone who’s usually so fiercely loyal to her sense of self, Hannah could at least give the truth a shot.
One final note on Hannah is that I really liked the honesty of another thing she shared with Caroline: “When I was doing so badly, I couldn’t see outside myself — but now that I can, I don’t know if it’s any better.” That just about sums up one’s early 20s, any period of tentative self-discovery, LIFE in general, etc. It’s lines like this, spurts of raw, simply articulated uncertainty, that keep me watching. Plus I just really like horror shows, I guess.
“Just because it’s fake doesn’t mean I don’t feel it,” blubbered Laird. Exactly! And I bet his turtle felt the pain of being stuffed into a POM juice bottle, though how could that even happen?
Meanwhile, Jessa’s friend Season (Fruitvale Station‘s Melonie Diaz) pretended to choke on her own vomit and die, just so she could stop hanging out with Jessa. The best part of this diversion was Season’s cool-looking husband, who wasn’t sure if he needed to pretend his wife was a ghost. I loved that guy. “None of this is gonna work out for you, by the way,” Jessa just had to throw in, a final fingernail in the nonexistent coffin of free-flowing and timeless consciousness as she swished out the door. But what is a normal exit, though, really? #∞
NEXT: Marnie’s juicing now, plus the episode’s best lines and most overwritten line Something about working out (though who the eff would attempt to jog briskly through the teeming streets of lower Manhattan?!) and drinking smoothies and being mindful for a few hours can really give a person a new lease on life. I wish I was exercising right now. Anyway, invigorated by self-empowerment and coconut water, Marnie Marie Michaels triumphantly walked out on the job I forgot she had at Ray’s coffee shop, the dulcet tones of her Edie Brickell cover gently undermining her quitting speech.
“Do you have any idea what kind of work I am qualified to do out in the world?” she demanded of Ray. Well, no, Marnie. No one does. “Fancy people wanna work with me.” The wheels (emblazoned with Marnie’s own perfect face and baby blues at the center) are clearly spinning in her head as she storms out of her one opportunity to make money right now. Does OMC’s “How Bizarre” deserve the Marnie Michaels treatment next? Fancy people wanna work with her!
Adam: Jessa, how’s your life of doing absolutely nothing?
Jessa: It’s great. How’s your penis?
Adam referring to the Gawker staff as “a bunch of judgmental creeps, celibate against their will, snarkily reporting on every f*cking detail,” and Hannah calling its sister site Jezebel, which last week offered $10,000 for unretouched photos of Lena Dunham’s Vogue cover shoot, “a place feminists can go to support one another, which we need in this modern world full of slut-shaming.” (This episode was filmed months ago, but the Jezebel compliment was “DEFINITE sarcasm,” Dunham herself assured a fan over Twitter.)
Laird a.k.a. Odd Face, who used to call his penis Nickel the Pickle: “My turtle has died, and I didn’t even think that was possible.”
Shoshanna: “Like, my array of bandanas is intense.”
Most overwritten line:
Ray: “Hannah, why don’t you just place one crumb of human compassion on this fat-free muffin of sociopathic detachment, see how it tastes?”
Is Hannah a total monster? Has Jessa inspired you to throw away all your clocks? Discuss!