We only hurt the ones we love, or so the old saying goes. But “Beach House,” last night’s brutally funny (but awfully brutal) installment of HBO’s Girls got me wondering: How barbarically do the show’s four central characters — Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna — have to treat each other before their continued friendship ceases to be believable?
Putting it another way, would you and your three closest friends be goofily engaging in synchronized dance steps less than 24 hours after any/all of the following scathing put-downs:
Shoshanna to Hannah, Marnie and Jessa: “Sometimes I wonder if my social anxiety is holding me back from meeting the people who would actually be right for me instead of a bunch of f***ing whiny nothings as friends.”
Hannah to Marnie and Jessa: “Well, maybe Shosh has a point: I mean, it’s not like the four of us have had any real fun together the last — what? — two years?”
Shosh to Hannah: “You’re a f***ing narcissist. Seriously, I have never met anyone else who thinks their own life is so f***ing fascinating. I wanted to fall asleep in my own vomit all day listening to you talk about how you bruise more easily than other people.”
Hannah about/to Shosh: “She’s a cruel drunk and she’s also not an intellecutal… Why when I’m around her do I feel like my brain is gonna atrophy? I would call you a little unstimulating.”
And finally, how about this exchange between Marnie and Hannah?
Marnie: Look, all you’ve ever done is talk about the fact that you are changing, that you wanna change, self-improvement, all that bullshit. So, I get on board with it, and thus all you’ve done for the last couple of years is disappoint me.
Hannah: Well then maybe you should lower your expectations!
Marnie: [Taking a beat.] I can’t lower them any further.
The thing about Girls is that it remains a flawlessly acted, provocatively written series. It’s wry and scathing and still has interesting things to say about the balance twentysomethings seek between finding happiness and finding themselves, between making a living and pursuing their dreams. (Hannah succumbing last week to the lure of her GQ advertorial paycheck — and bonus free snacks — was beautifully juxtaposed with the sputtering literary aspirations of her once-promising co-workers.)
But the question remains now whether Girls can and/or should be less about the trials and tribulations of four female friends and more a series of vignettes about a quartet of women linked marginally by their pasts. And it’s also worth asking if series star and creator Lena Dunham is making a creative misstep with the show’s unrelentingly dim view of female friendship.
That silent, morning-after cleanup of Marnie’s borrowed Hamptons kitchen felt like a turning point in the series, a realization by Girls‘ four protagonists that maybe Shoshanna wasn’t just drunkenly blowing off steam the night before, but speaking a much-needed truth by declaring, “I’m so f***ing sick of all of you!” Trouble is, if all that’s left of this circle is toxicity and barely hidden resentments, how long before the audience feels the same?
What did you think of “Beach House”? Are you digging Girls‘ third season in general? And should Dunham try to inject some fun back into her core characters’ relationships — or is it time for the women to move on? Hit the comments with your thoughts!