Leave Me Alone
Hey girls, here’s the recap on Girls, S01E09, ‘Leave Me Alone.’ It goes without saying, but don’t read if you haven’t seen it already, spoilers galore below.
Well, it seems that Hannah and Marnie had been feeling resentful towards each other for awhile. All it took to get the fight moving was a trigger. The trigger in this case was an old nemesis of Hannah’s named Tally Schifrin. Tally’s the kind of girl who is all about the success and not afraid to rub it in your face. Obviously this is not someone who would mesh well with Hannah. Especially because Tally has the one kind of success that Hannah really wants: recognition for her writing. Enter guest star Michael Imperioli, known to many as Christopher Moltisanti from The Sopranos. I love when HBO keeps it in the family! As Hannah’s former writing professor and crush, she was thrilled when Imperioli agreed Tally was a crappy writer and invited Hannah to read a piece at a workshop. I would’ve liked to hear her piece on the hoarder.
This felt like a “plot” episode, one that moved the story along but lacked the thematic unity of Girls at its best. (And it was once again directed by Richard Shepard. Do we blame him, or do the producers just like giving Shepard these episodes to deal with?) Still, friendships in one’s early 20s are genuinely vulnerable—as Girls keeps reminding us (a bit heavy-handedly at times, as in that scene between Jessa and her ex-employer), most of us at that age are still figuring out who we are.
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Girls S01E09: Leave Me Alone
Still, the massive success of her book “Leave Me Alone” is enough to trump Hannah’s talent, at least for now. This is part of what’s tough about being in your mid-twenties, watching other people find success while waiting for your own moment. The problem is, as this episode showed very well, sometimes you don’t even know what that moment should be like. Hannah, for one, isn’t sure of what she wants.
Just when Hannah had written Tally off as a dippy idiot destined to pen travelogues for the rest of her life, she hit the literary jackpot: Tally’s boyfriend committed suicide by crashing a vintage car while on Percocet. Hannah is jealous. If only she had a dead boyfriend she wouldn’t be toiling in obscurity at Ray’s coffee shop, Grumpy’s, to pay Marnie back all the money she owes her. She would have a book deal.
When the episode begins, the characters are at the book release party of a girl named Talia. Hannah knows her from college, and she refers to her as her arch-nemesis, despite the fact that Talia doesn’t seem to participate in this rivalry at all. (Then again, she’s the one who’s had a book published, so she can afford to be magnanimous.) Jealous, petty Hannah is one of the character’s most unappealing sides, but I like that the series depicts her exactly as nasty as she can be when she feels like life has screwed her over. Just about anyone can relate to seeing someone they consider beneath them enjoying great success, and I found the moments where Hannah complained about how “lucky” Talia had been to have a boyfriend who killed himself darkly funny. Jenny Slate was a little over-the-top as Talia, but she was in so little of the episode that this wasn’t a huge flaw.
Jessa (Jemima Kirke) gets an unannounced visit from former boss Kathryn (Kathryn Hahn). Ostensibly, it’s to offer Jessa her job back, but she ends up giving Jess a gentle dressing down. Good. It’s about time someone did. Kathryn nails it when she says, “I bet you get into these dramas all the time, like with Jeff and me, where you cause all this trouble and you have no idea why. You’re doing it to distract yourself from becoming the person you’re meant to be.”
Though we were introduced to Hannah and Marnie as the best of friends, and though the moment that seemed to seal the deal with “Girls” for most critics was the two of them joyously dancing to Robyn at the end of episode 3, it’s been a while since we’ve seen them enjoying each other’s company in that way. First, there was the ugliness over the role Hannah’s diary played in the breakup with Charlie, and then Hannah got sucked into this new relationship with Adam (against Marnie’s advice) at the exact moment Marnie was going into a post-breakup spiral.
Their fight escalates as they point out each other’s flaws. Hannah says that Marnie’s jealous of her having a boyfriend. In true girly fighting fashion, they throw toothbrushes at each other. Hannah says she doesn’t care about being a good friend and that she has bigger concerns. Marnie says she doesn’t want to live with her anymore and Hannah agrees.
Marnie calls out Hannah for being selfish and judgmental, and Hannah calls out Marnie for being jealous of her relationship. She doesn’t think Marnie wants anything more from life than to find a boy to fulfill her, and this could be very true. That doesn’t mean Marnie wants to live like this. Their friendship is crumbling, and the episode ends with Marnie admitting that she wants to move out.
We can only hope that by deciding to move out, Marnie is circumventing the inevitable trajectory–from friend to frenemy to nemesis–that seems to have befallen Tally Schifrin.
Next week: we reconvene for the season finale, to which Tally Schifrin is not invited.
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