Girls Recap: 'Excuse Me: I Am Grown Up. That's Why I Cooked All This Food!'

girls hbo season 2 episode 4 shoshannaGirls don’t wanna have fun. Or at least they didn’t seem to in this week’s episode of Lena Dunham’s endlessly polarizing, often hilarious, unabashedly profane HBO comedy.

Look, I’m a fan of the show — if not of all its characters’ warts — but you know things are moving from the verdant pastures of Skepticism and toward the icier tundras of Misanthropy when sweet, gentle Charlie is dropping C-bombs and Shoshanna is making dinner conversation about butt plugs.

And while there’s a bracing audacity to the way Dunham’s titular gals are constantly challenging each other, calling out one another’s shortcomings and bullpucky, there came a point during “It’s a Shame About Ray” where I couldn’t help but wonder: Why would anyone anytime in any age group choose to hang around around with “friends” who treat them with nothing but total, monstrous disdain? (Yes, Marnie, that last sentence is especially, though not exclusively, directed at you.)

Anyhow, let’s move things along and review the goings-on this week for each of the four Girls in question.

HANNAH | We kicked things off this week with annother Hannah breakup — this time with roommate/ex-boyfriend/ex-BFF (gay division) Elijah. Somehow, George decided Hannah should get to keep all of the furniture and accessories he bought for Elijah during their relationship, and Hannah — entitled as ever — didn’t flinch at the offer. “I made a mistake trying to repurpose you,” she mused wickedly, to which Elijah correctly huffed that he wasn’t “a vintage cardigan.” Touché.

Hannah then decided to throw a Pad Thai dinner party with the money she’d earned at her Jazzhate freelance gig — inviting Marnie, along with Marnie’s ex Charlie and his new girlfriend Audrey, plus Shoshanna and Ray, without bothering to warn Charlie and/or Marnie that they might run into each other. (Was Hannah hoping for awkward fireworks, or is she simply so switched-off to the feelings of everyone around her that she never considered it might be uncomfortable for the exes to wind up at the same table? I’m going with the latter theory.)

When Marnie arrived, Hannah remarked to Charlie and Audrey that it was “psychotic” for her ex-BFF to show up, but then psychoitcally insisted that “nobody go” (while inadvertently waving a giant kitchen knife). Over dinner, Hannah’s attitude toward Marnie ranged from comically condescending (“Unlike you, I’d do anything sexually,” she boasted) to openly hostile (again, expressing surprise Marnie would show up after so recently “double-crossing” her). I wish Marnie had grabbed control of the conversation here and asked: What right does Hannah have to be so angry? Yes, Marnie had a brief, drunken sexual encounter with Hannah’s gay ex-boyfriend/roommate. So freakin’ what? Hannah was, at the time, dating Sandy and still dallying with Adam. Where’s the source of her outrage? That Marnie and Elijah didn’t invite her to make it a three-way?

Instead, though, Marnie let Hannah off the hook — not even reacting when Hannah called her “too self-involved to commit suicide” — until Hannah refused to take her side during a blowup with Audrey (more on that in a minute). That led to this amazingly funny exchange:

Hannah: Charlie can pick who leaves.
Marnie: [Getting up to leave] Are you f****** serious? Grow up!
Hannah: Excuse me: I am grown up. That’s why I cooked all this food!

Still, just as Hannah appeared to be crossing the line into unredeemable, she defended the absent Marnie when Charlie called her a c***, and also — in a self-bolstering moment after the collapse of her soiree — gave a review of her own cooking: “I love what I made.” (I kinda love that she loved what she made. In those instances of whimsy, I do get Hannah’s appeal.)

MARNIE | I’ve got to hand it to Allison Williams, whose performance as Marnie gets more nuanced with every week. Marnie may be dating (aka having sex with) a guy who locks her in a box, she might be besties with someone who verbally and mentally torments her, but sometimes, just with a glance or a throwaway remark, she reminds herself (and anyone who’s paying attention) that there’s a fighter within, a smart chick who — if she can survive her current descent into masochistic desperation — might end up having a terrific life. (When Hannah declared how hard it is to make noodels, Williams’ Marnie’s whisper of a smile was worth a thousand, “B****, are you kidding me?”

I also loved that deeply passive aggressive conversation between Audrey and Marnie, with the former dropping perhaps the most ridiculous straight-faced comment in the history of the show (“So my friend Shelby and I are starting a mustard company…”) and Marnie revealing she’s been working as a hostess at the Wedgebrook Club:

Audrey: Oh, so you’re hosting like a slam poetry night or like an open-mic night type thing?
Marnie: I’m a hostess?
Audrey: Oh, so when people come to the restaurant, you like show them where their table is?
Marnie: Yes.
Audrey: Got it, right.

Later, Marnie returned the bitchery a hundred fold, glancing over at her rival and faux-earnestly asking, “So, where do you get your headbands?” Who knows, perhaps that was the straw that prompted Audrey to make a direct attack, accusing Marnie of “showing up places all the time to see your ex-boyfriend when he’s with his new girlfriend.” Marnie at least showed enough sense to flee the toxic scene, but (just like a victim in a horror film) wound up on the rooftop instead of heading downstairs for the exit. Without that, though, we wouldn’t have had this amazing conversation:

Charlie: I’m sorry about Audrey. She’s uh…
Marnie: Being a total f*****g c***. Seriously, she’s being really rude.
Charlie: She’s insecure.
Marnie: Why? Are her mustards not receiving enough accolades?
Charlie: No, because she knows how much you mean to me.

Alas, though, this tender moment prompted Charlie to kiss Marnie, Marnie to stop him and reveal she’s “seeing” nasty Booth Jonathan, and Charlie to brilliantly dismiss the artist as “That little Ewok in f****** Capri pants?” (“He’s a brilliant artist. And he’s of average heighth,” Marnie firmly replied.) Moral of the argument? Charlie has decided Marnie will never get any of “this” (pointing to his netherregions), and Marnie now seems even more isolated from every single person in her life. Maybe she should take out an ad on craigslist seeking new friends? No, seriously.

SHOSHANNA | I know HBO just ordered a new Lena Dunham project, but I’d honestly prefer a spinoff built entirely around Shosh. (I can’t be alone in this, can I?) That moment where Shosh arrived at the party and lamely tried to build an excuse for her tardiness was amahhhhz, even moreso when Ray bluntly exposed/rescued her by admitting they were late because they were having sex. Still, nothing can keep Girls‘ most lovable character down. “The best years of your life are totally gonna happen here!” she chipperly told Hannah after viewing her redecorated apartment.

I could’ve died happily, however, without ever hearing Shosh ask “What’s a butt plug?” — also: I’m not sure I believe the 21-year-old New Yorker wouldn’t at least be able to use her mastery of the English language to figure it out — but her later realizatoin that Ray has pretty much moved in with her, and her outrage that the decision was made without her even being able to call her aunt and discuss it — was pure Shoshanna geniusness. “I’m not okay, but we can talk about it when we get back to our shared home” ranks as yet another amazing zinger from this character.

Shosh isn’t all light comedy, though, as proved by the series’ most heartbreakingly romantic scene ever — a subway-bench confession from Ray admitting he thinks he’s a homeless 33-year-old loser, and that it was only a matter of time before his gorgeous 21-year-old-girlfriend realized it, too.

Ray: What makes me worth dating? What makes me worth f****** anything?
Shosh: That I’m falling in love with you.

Thank God someone on this show isn’t neck-deep in cynicism and hipster irony. Oh, and yes, Ray loves Shosh “so f****** much,” too, even if it’s way too early to be saying it. Huzzah!

JESSA | Jessa is the worst. No, I mean it, she kind of is, isn’t she? You knew her dinner with Thomas-John’s parents was going to be a disaster the moment she looked up from her busy afternoon arranging daisies and cala lilies, voiced her horror over their choice of a steak house, and blurted, “I can’t even eat meat unless I’m menstruating!”

Naturally, because being on time for dinner would make Thomas-John’s parents happy, and there was no direct line from that happiness to her own, Jessa offered her breasts as the appetizer to a main course of sex, and the newlyweds arrived tardy for the party. “I hate this restaurant but I don’t even care because I’m so happy to meet you guys!” announced Jessa, firing her opening shot in a series of bon mots that played like a giant middle finger to her bourgeois in-laws. It was also the first in a series of announcements that she shared none of their mundane concerns about career or money or not mentioning your former heroin addiction as casually as you might mention your intention to order the beet salad as an appetizer. (Still, for me, Jessa’s most irksome zinger was hearing her try to sound all mysterious when telling her pinched mother-in-law where she’d travelled: “Europe mainly — except Spain, because I’m avoiding someone.”)When Thomas-John’s mother finally snapped and icily noted how it had to be very nice for Jessa to “find yourself in such a successful situation,” the niceties began to evaporate, but Jessa’s hubby solidly stood up for her, taking umbrage with the phrase “situation,” and declaring the relationship as a “union of souls.”

Back at home, though, the “happy” couple had the drag-out fight that you’ve known has been coming ever since their stupidly capricious wedding. “You think you’re such a f****** free spirit because you shacked up with me for two months? I’ve been living this life for 25 f****** years! I’m going to look like 50 when I’m 30!” Jessa screamed, her need to be the coolest person in the room never more pronounced.

From there, we saw how a marriage can actually be dissolved in under five minutes. “I’m embarrassed when we walk down the street together because you’re so f****** average,” Jessa hissed, making me wince, which is saying a lot considering I don’t care much for Thomas-John at all. And then he countered by saying how he appreciates the company of hookers because they don’t whisper that his apartment looks “like the set of gay Entourage” and “they don’t buy a bunch of f****** Buddhas and put ‘em everywhere so it looks like whenever we have sex we’re being watched by a bunch of fat babies!” (Slow clap for T-J — not for the hookers but for the commentary.)

“You’re just a whore with no work ethic,” he continued. Jessa countered by slapping him in the face (she had probable cause, I think). And then the corporate dullard got in a shot that really summed up Jessa’s entire “free spirit” existence, one which really seems to lack any depth or intellect or attempt to live up to her potential: “You know what the best thing is: You have another f*****-up story to add to your collection, and some day some f****** asshole is gonna make a movie of your life, and it’s gonna be called ‘Hi, I’m Jessa and I destroy people’s lives because I’m f****** bored.'”

And so then Jessa ended up at Hannah’s, climbing into the bath with her, sobbing, and blowing snot rockets. That’s not okay, according to Hannah, though urinating in a friend’s tub is just fine. Alrighty then…we can all chew on that till next week.

Anyhow, with that I turn things over to you. What did you think of this week’s Girls? Which story arcs and characters are you digging most? Are we overdue for an episode that’s not so downright toxic? And what the hell is with all these ladies taking baths together? Is it a twentysomething thing that I’m too old to appreciate, or are you young’uns equally baffled? Sound off below!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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28 Comments
  1. marge says:

    Best use of “Wonderwall”. Ever.

    • dani says:

      Best use of Wonderwall was when I walked into Wegmans Friday night and a guy playing guitar was singing in an empty room on the second floor and a wall separated him from people who were eating in a room on the other side. I felt bad for him as he plaintively sang “You’re my wonderwall.” Icould see all this from the first floor while ordering coffee because the second floor is balcony like.

  2. megan says:

    Actually thought this was a heartbreaking episode. None of these girls really have what they want. They aren’t even really happy with their lives and to me just seems like they are just kind of stuck in a never-ending cycle of misery.. Also, where is Adam? Kind of miss the little stalker ;)

  3. Lauren says:

    I miss how funny the show used to be, I feel like it’s getting unnecessarily depressing and it’s losing its direction. Plus the characters are getting more and more unlikable (I’m looking at you, Marnie). It makes me sad because Season 1 was so brilliant.

  4. Hannah says:

    I actually liked this episode more than some of the others this season. I do miss the interaction (well, screen time) most of the other girls got last season together though. Shoshana is by far my favourite, and I almost feel like there was a whole section of relationship development with Ray that we’ve missed out on even though they haven’t been together that long. Also, I’m a “young’un” and would NEVER take a bath with a friend, or even walk into the bathroom when they were having one. Clearly there is something wrong with me!

  5. Kat says:

    As far as I know, it is not normal for 20-something friends to bathe together. (At least it’s not normal for me.)

  6. megan says:

    LOL I am 25 and would not be caught dead bathing with my friends. Just no.

  7. Matt says:

    How did you end this episode with anything but sympathy for Jessa? Yeah, she’s somewhat condescendingly disdainful of what you might call a normal lifestyle, and she’s confidant, but she’s not so heartless or arrogant as you make her out to be. She doesn’t believe her value is tied to her work ethic, and she wants experiences, over (any measure of) success. I think that makes her admirable, not detestable. She made a bad choice in marrying Chris O’Dowd, and she knows it. It was motivated by trying not to be someone who ruins lives, and it blew up in her face. I thought her scenes this episode were spot on, and the bath tub scene was evidence that these girls do comfort and support each other, and they do get something out of being friends with each other.

    • Gena says:

      I agree, Jessa has never been my favorite character but I really sympathized with her in this ep. And I loved the bathtub scene at the end. It was great and displayed what’s really at the core of the show: friendship.

  8. lara says:

    Probably one of my favorite episodes of the seasons. Finally some character and plot development! Dinner parties always make for great moments, don’t they?

  9. m says:

    I just can’t stand Hannah. She never thinks she does anything wrong. She is not the “good” friend and I just wish someone would put her in her place.

    • Rebecca Nichols says:

      Finally!! I agree with you completely,and, though I’ve said it before, I haven’t seen many others admitting to really disliking, or hating, Hannah. I think she’s terrible: selfish, greedy, opportunistic, entitled, arrogant AND a bad friend. Her complete lack of self-awareness is hard to believe. I know a lot of 20-something’s are self-centered and not self-aware, but Hannah seems blind to anyone except herself. So much so that I don’t know why anyone would be her friend!

  10. Superhero says:

    This was one of the best episodes, quite possibly THE best, that Girls has ever done, if you ask me.

    • eileen says:

      Totally agree! I am quite shocked to see all the hate! That subway scene alone.. but the rest of the episode was amazing as well!

  11. gabhainn says:

    i love all four girls. people are too harsh on characters like marnie and jessa. hannah is equally as selfish and flawed. and as of this episode, audrey needs to disappear. allison williams is creating an excellent character in marnie.

  12. gabhainn says:

    also, i would say shoshanna understood what a butt plug was. she was just confused why it would be used for sexual gratification.

  13. chloe says:

    Shosh is still the only good thing about this show. Loved the subway scene, but it did seem way too soon for the declarations of love.

  14. Singing gal says:

    Michael, love ya but…that was definitely a punch Jessa threw. That was some right hook!

  15. Britta Unfiltered says:

    Great episode. It’s nice to see Hannah can be a good concerned friend sometimes, like she was with Jessa. But that bathtub scene was messed up. I remember as an 18-year old living in an apartment with one giant bathroom and 6 girls, which in that situation you’ve got to get used to sharing the bathroom even in your private and naked moments, but we certainly never shared a shower or bath. Maybe the show is just trying to attract male viewers? So I’ve pretty much decided Jessa is the most self-destructive character I’ve seen on TV ever. And I’m guessing even she doesn’t understand why she’s that way. But her crying scene at the end showed that she recognized she’s self-destructive. Marnie is getting more likable by the episode. Shoshanna is still just as adorable as a kitten.
    .
    Oh yeah, and I was gonna say, I do totally get the whole thing with being friends with people who are horrible to you. It’s not really any different from being in a romantic relationship with a person who’s horrible to you. Many people do it every day and refuse to leave their significant other for whatever personal reasons they have. It’s the same way with your friends. I think a lot of women are guilty of this. And most women are kind of catty anyway, even to people they like. Nobody can be more of a b*tch to you than your closest friends.

  16. intelliwoman says:

    So glad u like a show about lazy self absorbed disgustimg entitled idiots

    • rachelle says:

      Do you only come on TVLine to talk crap?? Seriously, this is at least the third show I’ve seen where you just leave a rude comment for no reason.

    • Katers says:

      No no, glad YOU could share such a ridiculous comment that has no impact on anyone here! What’s your damage Heather?

  17. Fan says:

    Excellent episode overall. Ray and Shoshanna are my favorite characterss

  18. Jade says:

    But considering that Shosh was a virgin and that Ray took her virginity..doesn’t it make sense that she would “fall in love” so fast?..and btw I would LOVE a spinoff with Shosh..shes the main reason why I even watch Girls.

  19. Ben says:

    This season is great. Better than the first. Every scene with Marnie is awesome.

  20. Ana says:

    Oh my goodness yes, Shosh needs a spin-off. I hope someone from HBO reads this article and gets an idea… *fingers crossed*

    And every episode so far this season has only made me depressed, whereas last season it was interesting to see the kind of shenanigans the characters would get into, and now it’s just like… okay, they all hate each other? I’m sorry but a show can’t last on characters just HATING each other. That’s why on Gossip Girl, despite everyone sleeping with each other and having blow-up arguments at times, they still remained friends. More or less.

    I hope this season will start to become more lively in a good way, starting next week, or it is definitely going to lose its initial appeal. Also, WE NEED MORE ADAM. And I miss Elijah already. :(

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