'Girls' Season 2 Episode 8: The Boys Are More Together Than the Girls

And we’re back!

Last week, we took a trip up the Hudson Valley to dive into Jessa’s dysfunctional family life. It was a nice aside, but this week it felt good to get back to where the girls and boys belong: in gritty New York City.  

Every character except Jessa was a star in last night’s episode, and big things happened. Adam got set up on a date. Ray got lost in the generational gap. Shoshana got it on with a doorman. Charlie sold his app for mega bucks. Marnie officially became that psycho ex-girlfriend. And Hannah dealt with a mental illness we never knew she had.

In this episode, every character is trying to cope with broken romance and struggling professional dreams. All in all, the boys are faring much better than the girls—which is surprising for a show whose creator/director/lead actor is a self-proclaimed feminist. I can only hope this means the girls are due for a comeback very soon.

The first couple to duke it out in a game of “who has their sh*t more together” is … Adam and Hannah

It begins with Adam drinking curdled milk. He’s feeling agitated from his breakup with Hannah and heads to AA, which is already a good sign. He knows he’s struggling and seeks help (+1). At AA, the group leader is preoccupied with who will bring the next batch of cookies, but Adam stands right up and tells his story, because again, he knows what he needs is to let it all out (+2). He delivers an amazing speech that finally gives us insight into how he felt about Hannah all along:

"It wasn’t 'love' the way I imagined it. I just felt weird if I didn’t know what she was up to or whatever." 

An eccentric woman also digs his speech and wants to set Adam up with her daughter. He eventually gives in and leaves an awkward/adorable message on the daughter’s (land line!) answering machine.

“I’ll be staring at you like a creep.”(-1 for awkwardness, +1 for adorability. Calling it even).

Now let’s look at Hannah, who’s struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Her parents are the first to recognize her symptoms and force her to go see a therapist. She goes, kicking and screaming, and admits that her breakup and book deal are causes for stress. Unlike Adam, Hannah won’t readily admit that she’s struggling (-1). Even when talking about Adam to her shrink, she’s much more confused about her feelings than he is:

“I can't really decide if he's the greatest person in the world or the worst and I should probably take my space until I figure that out." (-2)

The scene in the therapist’s office is incredible, and Lena Dunham’s acting is through the roof. That may be because it’s not all an act; Dunham has actually suffered from OCD from a young age, which she talks about in this month’s Rolling Stone cover story.

While Hannah Horvath may not have her sh*t together, clearly Lena Dunham does – so much so that she can work out a lifetime of anxiety and mental illness on TV for all the world to see. It takes self-assuredness to do that, and she deserves major props (+10 for Lena). Hannah, however, has a long way to go:

Hannah: “I will really do anything you say if you just tell my parents that I’m ok.”

Therapist: “Are you?”

The look on Hannah’s face is less than convincing.

Next up: Ray and Shoshanna

Strolling through Washington Square Park on a sunny day, the generation gap between these two lovebirds starts to rear its ugly head.

“Rollerblades? Vintage? You’re about to make me cry and I don’t even know you,”says Ray to Shoshanna’s classmate Radika. Shoshanna wants to go to Radika’s party that night; Ray can’t think of anything worse. They fight. Shoshanna puts on a crazy hairdo and goes anyway, while Ray hangs back and reads magazines like a good 33-year-old. (+1 to Shoshanna for not wanting to be “the girl who fell in love and disappeared;” -1 to Ray for taking this long to realize he’s too old for her).

But then, Shoshanna makes out with the hot doorman at the party (-3)! Shosh, we thought you knew better than to cheat. You are Girls’ voice of reason; what will we do if you go the way of your friends and let hormonal impulses guide your life??

Prior to Episode 8, Shoshanna was far ahead of Ray in the “having her sh*t together” category. But after last night, looks like Ray is catching up — just a little.

Last but not least: Charlie and Marnie

Charlie sold his app for lots of money and now has a hip Chelsea office and a staff (+5, go Charlie!) Marnie isn’t thrilled, to say the least. This series started out with her topping the “having your sh*t together” charts, and since the start of Season 2, she has quickly free-fallen to the bottom.

Unattached and unemployed, she’s a mess and not handling it well. First she showed up at Charlie’s bedside to cuddle but not "cause trouble" (-1). Now she comes to the office to wallow in the misery of what she’s missing (-2).

However, certain signs indicate that Marnie’s free-fall is about to end. In fact, this episode may just be her rock bottom. During a funny scene between her and Ray, he asks her what her dream is. She says singing, and proceeds to belt a lovely rendition of Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why.” She’s actually good (+2)! Something tells me Marnie will look back on this messy time and thank god it happened. Maybe it’s just the kind of kick in the ass she needs to humbly follow her fated path.

Episode Rating: 9 out of 10

Great story-lines and incredible acting. Loved every second of this one. 

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Missy Kurzweil

Missy Kurzweil is a freelance writer and editor in New York. She graduated from Cornell in 2007, and has been living, writing, working and playing in New York City ever since. Travel, yoga, coffee and dogs are a few of her favorite things.

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