Do you ever feel like everyone is talking but no one is listening? That’s how I feel after pretty much every episode of Girls. But in last night’s episode, aptly named “Boys,” this phenomenon goes to extremes.
Hannah gets an exciting book deal but can’t seem to find a girlfriend to tell or care about it. Booth asks Marnie to host a party with him (like for money, because that’s what she does for a living), but she believes they are hosting as full-on boyfriend/girlfriend. Clearly, she’s hearing what she wants to hear rather than what he’s saying, because everything he’s saying makes it obvious that he’s a total jerk. Ray and Adam have a bonding session on Staten Island, and while it seems like an epic bromance could blossom here, their egos prevent that from happening.
It’s too bad, too, because they seem to have terrific bro chemistry. Maybe it’s because they’re “both honest men,” as Ray suggests. Or maybe it’s because they’re “both kind of weird looking,” as Adam so wittily responds.
Anyway, this episode is a welcome comeback from the previous week’s interlude, in which Hannah glimpses her far-off fantasy of a mature, honest, and purely happy relationship. Last night, we saw how far Hannah and all her friends are from actually realizing that dream. They’re all seeking real friendship at a time of need, but no one can find a friend because, frankly, no one knows how to be one.
The exception to this rule is surprisingly Adam. He’s a borderline-psychotic loner who also happens to be the most intensely loyal character on the show — not to mention one of the few who knows how to listen. I worried that after his breakup with Hannah we’d never see him again. But I’m happy he’s stuck around, because last night, when reflecting on his feelings for Hannah, he delivers the best metaphor ever:
“She’s like a carnival game. It all seems so simple but you can’t get the ring on the bottom because it’s f***ing rigged. So you try and try and try until you drive yourself nuts. Then finally when you walk away you realize you didn’t want the crappy prize to begin with.”
The most interesting thing about this episode of Girls is its title, “Boys.” Nothing about the interactions between Adam and Ray here are typical of boys on TV. Usually, boys are playing sports and picking up chicks and scratching the surface of what’s going on in each other’s lives. But Ray and Adam dig deeper than that, which is refreshing. Adam asks how things are going with Shoshana. Ray reveals his insecurity about their age difference. Ray asks Adam if he’s over Hannah. Adam replies honestly. A little too much honesty comes out, and of course, Adam’s temper spirals out of control. But for a while, the boys of Girls share some real bonding moments. That’s more than can be said of the girls, who are horrible to each other. Jessa, Marnie, and Hannah are all so caught up in their own drama that they can’t see their friends crying for help right in front of them.
The high point of the episode is the second to last scene, in which Hannah calls Marnie upset about her writers’ block. She still hasn’t told Marnie about her book deal because Marnie hasn’t given her the time of day. Marnie is upset, too, about her harsh rejection from Booth Jonathan. But neither girl lets down her guard. They pretend everything is dandy, even as tears roll down their cheeks.
The final scene shows two boys, Ray and Dog, watching the Manhattan skyline sparkle from across the Hudson River. Immediately, a line that Ray delivered earlier in the episode, when he’s describing people from Staten Island, comes to mind:
“They end up on this f***ed up weird little island, watching the city from a distance with this quiet rage burning in their hearts.”
In that silent last scene, Ray’s quiet rage is palpable.
Episode Rating: 6.5 out of 10
I liked seeing all the characters again, but jumping too quickly from one storyline to the next prevented any one story from sticking.