Girls recap: Japan
Shoshanna faces a crossroads in her colorful life in Japan -- and in her long-distance relationship
The Shoshanna-goes-to-Japan episode has long been awaited, ever since the very idea was teased in last year’s season finale, which shipped her off to work in the overseas office of a start-up. Here is Shoshanna, a girl who talks fast, thinks slow, and, to borrow characterization from Jessa, was already a walking cartoon before she arrived in the very animated nation. How would a spoiled upper-crust sorority girl like Shoshanna fare in Japan — and on her own, no less?
Pretty damn perfectly, as it turns out. Shoshanna’s life in Japan is a manic pixie dream, grounded with adroit adjustment to a world of futuristic showers, alarm clocks with facial expressions, and apartments decorated with the kind of colors you only see in a Crayola 120-count box. She commutes with ease, has her favorite food hot spots, and flounces around her office with social aplomb as if she’s been there for years. If there were a puzzle piece missing from Shoshanna’s aimless life in New York, she’s not only found in Japan, but she’s started a whole new puzzle entirely. It’s all going great for Shoshanna, and why shouldn’t it? She’s not near her toxic non-friends anymore.
She even has a crush: her very attractive coworker Yoshi, who lightly flirts with her through endearing English — “Did you have pleasure on this weekend?” At the company bathhouse (?), Shoshanna’s friends tell her Yoshi likes her. Yoshi’s friends tell him the opposite, reasoning that if she had any feelings for him, their hook-up would have already happened by now since “American chicks don’t hold back.” (On a related note, I’d love the inevitable Etsy shirt that says “F— F— Konichiwa,” if anyone can please make that happen.) Yoshi respects that Shoshanna has a boyfriend back home… but she’s curiously declined to show any pictures of him, leaving his existence up to the imagination.
But Shoshanna’s honeymoon in Japan comes crashing down rather abruptly when her U.S.-based boss Abigail (Aidy Bryant) FaceTimes in to fire her with literally the worst termination phrases ever: “There’s fewer jobs, and now it means fewer of you.” “We’re managing you out.” “It’s like a very light ending of a relationship and a business partnership and like a salary.” It’s absolutely hilarious but heartbreaking, since Shoshanna has no desire to go back to America — partly because of the great life she’s built here, and partly because of the insignificant one she escaped there.
Shoshanna laments the sudden lay-off with her friends, who assume she’s happy to return home to her future husband Scott (remember him? The soup salesman who Shosh actively didn’t want to see during Marnie’s wedding lest she rock the boat of a long-distance status quo). Shoshanna reveals the exact opposite feeling and takes the opportunity to unspool some of the lies she’s told her friends (like how her parents aren’t wealthy and how she DOESN’T actually know Ashley Tisdale).
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Shosh calls Scott, who answers with a “Well hello, kitty,” and Shoshanna’s reaction suggests that Scott has done this for months and still thinks it’s the funniest thing in the world. (I’m sure he alternates between that and some kind of belabored Pikachu reference.) Scott is, of course, delighted to hear she’s coming back, and he’s a perfectly supportive boyfriend when it comes to empathizing with her layoff. He selfishly suggests she get on a plane immediately: “Come back to me and I will take such good care of you and we’ll just move forward,” he coos. It’s a great thing to hear from a boyfriend if you love him. Except, Shoshanna doesn’t.
She texts Yoshi a “what are you doing?” and they go to a concert, a club, a weird kinky sex house called the Trump Room — all of which lend themselves to Shoshanna finally getting very own version of Hannah’s Icona Pop “I Love It” club night in season 2. After Yoshi defends her from his friends’ ribbing and escorts her outside, the two kiss, making good on a promising relationship that tragically has to end.
The next morning, Shoshanna’s packing her suitcase, ostensibly still forced to leave. She listens to a voicemail from Scott, who can’t wait to see her home. She ascends onto her balcony, contemplating life on a candy-colored horizon — and then, we cut to Scott, waiting at the airport, throwing flowers into the trash when Shoshanna doesn’t show up. Sorry, Ross — this Rachel did not get off the plane. In fact, she didn’t even get on it.
NEXT: One relationship blossoms, while another gets demolished
As Shoshanna finds love abroad, Hannah meanwhile decides it’s high time to begin the process of throwing hers away. Yes, in episode 3, we reach the Inevitable Hannah Relationship Destruction we’ve been assuming will happen with Nice Guy Fran.
It begins when Hannah discovers photos of naked exes on Fran’s phone. He’s oddly up front about it all — “I use them to masturbate,” he admits, explaining that he has no interest in porn filled with underage, drugged-out, abused girls. Awww. Hannah, in turn, is completely offended and asks why Fran doesn’t masturbate to her. He blames it on her inability to take sexy photos, i.e. where she isn’t flashing a peace sign or making a goofy face or probably using a Snapchat filter of, like, dog ears.
Left aimless by Fran’s forthrightness, Hannah tries to wrangle support to validate that she’s not crazy. She attempts to extract sympathy from Marnie, who’s on her honeymoon in “Echuador” with a probably-always-nude Desi. (I have to imagine that Hannah was the one to initiate the FaceTime call interrupting Marnie’s honeymoon, because she probably views the Franmergency as some sort of selfish apocalypse.) To Hannah’s loathing, Marnie thinks Fran’s honest attitude is actually somewhat enlightened, just as she thinks it’s enlightened that Desi’s d— is just hanging out on video chat like dangling grapes above Cleopatra’s chaise.
Hannah then seeks validation from Ray, who can’t determine the problem — is Hannah pissed because the photos are of Fran’s exes, or because they’re decidedly NOT of Hannah? Elijah takes Hannah’s side and the three of them decide to stage a photo shoot of Hannah, which frankly I’m shocked Ray takes part in. Hannah, whose Jeb Bush has decidedly not dropped out of this race, poses like Kate Winslet at a mall GlamourShots, and Elijah gets a series highlight LOL when he directs her smirk — “Not the Katie Holmes. How can I put this in terms you’ll understand? Like you know a cake is coming later.”
That night, Hannah and Fran are having very disassociated half-clothed couch sex when Fran accuses her of not being present. He assures her that he loves her, and Hannah naturally retorts, “You shouldn’t need me to tell you that I love you. All those pictures of your ex-girlfriends can tell you that I love you.” Ugh. She then proceeds to wake up early the next morning, delete all of Fran’s photos, and make her photo his screensaver. Because of course.
JESSA AND ADAM
The last, final relationship we check in on is the budding slow-burn let’s-masturbate-in-front-of-each-other courtship of Adam and Jessa. With Ray in tow, the three have a mini viewing party for Adam’s latest gig: a guest appearance on a cop procedural starring Lucy Liu, who is herself lampooning her own day job on Elementary. Adam plays a homeless criminal, and Jessa is woefully in love with his performance.
“I’m so impressed!” she says, unable to stop staring. “Adam’s gonna be famous! Adam’s gonna be famous!” And as she hugs him, it’s kind of impossible not to realize that this scene was filmed after Driver finished Star Wars but before it was released, and there’s a genuine voyeuristic joy that this is actually how the Girls cast must feel about their comrade launching into superstardom.
Anyway. Ray goes to bed (I guess he and Adam live together now, which I must have forgotten is a thing) and Adam tries to make a move on Jessa. Suddenly, her cheery demeanor vanishes and she leaves. “We’re just friends,” she insists. “I’m not doing this will-they-won’t-they shit. No f—ing way.”
Certainly, she’s just overwhelmed with present guilt and even more overwhelmed with future guilt. Is a Jessa-Adam union inevitable? Sure. But I can’t imagine a happy ending is coming, much as I want the two of them to be together. Hannah will likely detonate her relationship with Fran just as Jessa gives into the feeling and attempts an adventure with Adam, resulting in a friendship nightmare — which, all things considered, actually sounds exactly appropriate for Girls.
“I’ve literally never heard that. It’s probably a Japanese thing.” —Shoshanna, accused of talking too fast
“You look like you have a spinal cord injury. Put some life in those limbs.” —Ray, directing Hannah’s nude photo shoot
“Oh my God! I love hearing the word husband!” —Marnie, picking up on the wrong message after Hannah points out her husband’s junk
“I’m not going to be edged out of my own life by girls who don’t even have any interesting fat deposits on them.” —Hannah, preaching the truth