Last night’s episode felt like something of a filler. With all of the action we had last week in Bushwick, “Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too” was nearly inaudible. I know it is important for the audience to experience how Hannah and Adam have a relationship, and though Marnie kept calling them weird, I found most of it pretty normal: honeymoon phase constant sex, hygiene habits revealed, a peek into a significant other’s job and a look at how that significant other handles anger. I am not sure the things that Marnie faults Adam for are really exclusive to weirdos at all.
But Adam is still Adam, so we are gifted with “How fat were you—be honest” and “You were probably toilet trained really late,” both said during a bout of loud sex. This episode really served Adam as a character, letting us finally see him as an actor (though he initially quits, “I need to focus on building my boat.”) and as a complex dude that really does care for Hannah. He doesn’t “do” ice cream, but he eats it with Hannah. He tries to lovingly soap her up in the shower (“It’s for your split ends.”) and then wakes in the middle of the night to put up a grand apology to the driver he yelled at, though deep down I think Hannah knows he’s apologizing to her too.
I championed Adam as the most realized and realistic character back when we met in the first episode, and I stand by my claim now that we’re eight episodes into the series. His admission that “I would rather do nothing for the rest of my life than have my name attached to something mediocre” is a perfect summation of everything we’ve learned about Adam to date as much as it is a scathing caricature of Adam and his peers.
Meanwhile, Marnie is still sulking and obsessively looking at Instagram photos of Charlie and his new girlfriend on Facebook. They spontaneously went to Rome, which sends Marnie into a spiral of self-doubt about her own inability to be that kind of girl. Jessa shows up looking to be consoled by Hannah (she quit her job, remember?) and finds Marnie instead. We learn that the two were never quite close, but Jessa makes a real effort to cheer Marnie up. She praises her natural beauty and “commitment to hygiene,” trying to distract Marnie from her apparent blandness.
Marnie wails, “No one ever asks me to get friendship tattoos!” I think Marnie’s worries, though pretty ridiculous considering that she is a gorgeous and intelligent young woman with a cool job in the art world, are a nice critique of the manic pixie dream girl archetype. We are intentionally supposed to think Marnie is being ridiculous because she is worried about not being this unrealistic, spontaneous, devil-may-care kind of girl. She also doesn’t ride a bike at night with her hands thrown in the air, she doesn’t bare her midriff and she certainly doesn’t fall in and out of love every week. But Jessa is, at times, a lot of those things, even though the show has let us see the cracks in the exterior of this MPDG. Jessa’s quasi-MPDG status makes her exactly the kind of person suited toward helping Marnie out of her rut.
Jessa might look good in her flowy vintage dresses, but she is shouting, “my thighs are on fire!” within the first minute of being in a scene. When she takes Marnie to a bar in Williamsburg to cool down, a handsome Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids) sends the girls drinks and then comes over to chat them up. It’s clear that Jessa gets hit on all the time at bars, but she is rolling her eyes at O’Dowd the way we assume she rolls her eyes at all her suitors. He is a pushy finance guy (amen to Jessa’s “What is a venture capitalist? It sounds like some sort of explorer, but that can’t be the case.”) looking to get laid, and we soon learn that he not only wants to bed Marnie, but feels that he deserves to have both Marnie and Jessa.
His entitlement is played as a joke (“I want to be balls deep in something and I don’t even care what it is!”), but when we see his expensive high-rise apartment filled with expensive yuppie furniture, his tantrum after being left out of the Marnie/Jessa kiss makes that much more sense. This guy resents the freedom (to wear bowler hats) of Brooklynites like Jessa, who wears what she wants and generally does whatever she wants too. He sees it as affront to his work ethic and is thus owed something by them because he assumes they don’t work hard at anything. He wants to buy their affection just because he thinks they can be bought. Whether or not they really are “Daddy’s girls,” Jessa’s attitude is the thing that gets them out of the apartment safely; otherwise, Marnie would have likely stayed to sleep with a guy that is quickly revealed as a creep.
Next week looks as if we’ll get a more interesting story, but I enjoyed having so much time with Adam. Last week, Hannah was shocked to realize how little she actually knew about the guy she’s been bedding. This week, Hannah and the audience are shown almost more than is necessary. The episode smartly begins with photos of Adam as a child, and combined with the things he says during the tech for his show, I think we are meant to wonder whether Adam is a lot less confident than he lets on. I suppose we’ll learn soon enough if Hannah can be gentle and empathetic when interacting with someone that might also be damaged goods.