Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too
We have to congratulate Girls on surprising us this week (Season 1, Episode 8: “Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too”). We thought we knew Adam, but our eyes opened just as wide as Hannah’s did last week when his character opened up. And Hannah still has that look of amazement in her eyes whenever she looks at her new boyfriend. We, too, have been turned into Adam fans. Just when we think we know everything, we realize we never will — another important life lesson gleaned from this show, and life in your 20s.
In this case it was Jessa (the free-spirited British one) asking Marnie, (the uptight one) about Adam. We’ve come to know Adam in episodes 1 through 7 as the perverted large-eared love interest of our self-absorbed protagonist Hannah Horvath. So far, we’ve seen him texting a picture of his genitalia intended for someone else to Hannah, playing with Hannah’s fat while in bed, lying about getting an STD test, lying about using condoms, etc, etc, etc.
I also liked that the episode gave us more of a look at Jessa, who’s the kind of girl who can make it seem like she’s making fun of someone even when she’s complimenting them. (I have this affliction as well, and when Jessa started outlining how she really admired Marnie’s commitment to good hygiene, it was hilarious.) In past weeks, I haven’t been able to really embrace Jessa’s aloof cool, the way that she always seems to be slightly detached from everybody and everything. In the show’s world, Hannah’s the writer, but Jessa’s often the one who seems to be outside of herself, watching her and her friends go through the motions of one story or another. In this episode, though, Jessa’s nature is exactly what’s needed when she and Marnie need an exit from the venture capitalist’s apartment. She’s the friend who always seems to be separate from everybody else, but that comes in handy when all of her friends need a lifeline to carry them back above the surface. Jessa’s cool, yes, but it feels more and more like that coolness has an origin story we’ll get at some point (probably further down the line than this season). It’s not simply a fact of life.
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Girls S01E08: Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too
The other big storyline might get more attention, what with Marnie and Jessa making out and all. Perhaps that seems like an obvious move for a show about four young women: have the two most conventionally attractive kiss each other, and titillate the show’s (surprisingly abundant) male viewers. But I thought this scene, apart from Chris O’Dowd’s character’s rug-related flipout (I don’t care how much he paid for his floor covering, few guys would break up that Sapphic encounter), was handled well. I can understand, I think, what both Marnie and Jessa were doing (even if I disagree with the theory—hatched by the women of Slate before they’d even seen this episode—that Jessa is “a closet lesbian”). And I thought O’Dowd’s rant about the pretty young daddy’s girls of Williamsburg who don’t know what it means to work hard was an important moment for the show. As the Dude said to Walter, you’re not wrong, you’re just an asshole.
In many ways, we watch Hannah’s life go by the way Hannah does. In the first five episodes of this new series, we saw Adam through her eyes. We had no idea where he came from, what he was like when he wasn’t having sex with her, and how Adam felt about their arrangement. Now that we’re getting to know him in boyfriend mode, he’s a believable character, and no longer one-dimensional. His advice to Marnie was sound, asking her, “What makes you feel good?” Call us suckers, but we like a guy who dresses us in matching sleep onesies, who plasters the word “Sorry” all over a brick wall and wakes us up in the middle of the night to show us, then tricks us to get on top of his shoulders and runs down the street. Isn’t that as close to romance as it gets in Brooklyn in 2012?
That’s all part of a new relationship, too, of course, and I assume the rest of the season will play out with the two characters increasingly dancing around their faults, trying not to let them get in the way of something they both really enjoy, even as we know those faults will come back sooner or later. When the episode ends, Adam is putting up dozens of “SORRY” placards at the corner where he yelled angrily at the driver, and while it’s a nice gesture, it’s also the sort of thing that doesn’t matter. That guy might never drive by there again, and even if he does, why would he necessarily connect those words to the kid who yelled at him so much. Learning to rein in your emotions and have empathy for other people is often a big part of growing up, and in that regard, Adam has as much growing up to do as anybody else.
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