This week on Girls … Hannah takes a corporate job writing advertorials. Jessa employs an unorthodox technique to close a sale. And Marnie and Shoshanna use sex to fill holes in their respective lives.
Undeterred by taking a lowly advertorial job at GQ which she considers to be no more than a stop-gap on her path to being recognised as one of the literary greats of her generation, an increasingly pretentious Hannah tells Ray:
Do you think that I think this is the best use of my literary voice and my myriad talents?
But she is soon drawn in by the free snack room and then gets a glimpse of her possible future when she discovers her colleagues all once had promising literary careers themselves before becoming trapped in a job in which they are considered to be at the bottom of the food chain by their editorial colleagues. Desperate not to be seduced by the benefits of the corporate lifestyle and follow in the footsteps of her boss – a lifeless drone who tells her “you remind me a lot of myself ten years ago” – she quits. And then she decides to stay, but resolves to devote her spare time to continuing to pursue her writing.
Meanwhile Adam is trying out acting auditions for fun and gets a call-back. When Hannah falls at the first hurdle, falling asleep before she has even opened her laptop, Adam lovingly tucks her in.
Are Hannah and Adam’s roles about to reverse? Is he about to embark on an exciting new path while Hannah stagnates in a job which will slowly but surely suck the life out of her dreams and pretensions? And will she be as supportive of him as he has been of her if she becomes the less ‘successful’ half of their relationship?
Filling a hole (I): Marnie
Marnie and Ray’s one-off thing turns out not to be such a one-time event after all. He’s concerned that she’s wallowing in a slough of self-pity watching daytime TV, recognising the fact she’s having a hard time but doesn’t want to admit it to anyone. This leads to more sex and an argument over lunch, but one in which she starts to open up to him a little.
There’s not so much a relationship developing here as a convenient co-dependency. Both of them are using each other to take their minds off what is missing in their lives.
In Marnie’s case it covers up a lack of achievement to which she believes she is entitled: no boyfriend, no signing career, no job. Semi-casual sex with Ray seems to be a better substitute than her health kick and self-help audiobooks, not least because it provides her with someone who will listen to her problems at a time when Hannah is otherwise self-absorbed.
Ray still feels his relationship with Shoshanna ended prematurely, but at the same time he is clearly developing feelings for Marnie on some level despite her dismissing practically everything he says and does and his recognition that she is “spiritually dumb”. This coming together of polar opposites is most certainly not a meeting of soulmates.
Filling a hole (II): Shoshanna
Shoshanna seems to be at a crossroads. Although she has realised she needs to regain lost ground with her studies, her personal life remains in turmoil. She has taken to watching Ray play basketball from a distance, grudgingly admiring the positive reviews of his coffee shop and recognising the kind of relationship she needs which she had with Ray but is now regretting walking away from:
I need to be in a solid, mature, committed relationship with someone who understands my goals and values.
And yet she continues to pursue her relationship with Parker, who is – to put it kindly – a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic and can offer her little other than sex.
There’s a love triangle of sorts forming between Ray, Marnie and Shoshanna which I suspect will not end well for any of them. Ray and Shoshanna should never have split up in the first place, and their punishment is to find themselves locked in stop-gap relationships with partners who are clearly unsuitable for them.
Saleswoman of the year?
For the moment, Jessa has once again been pushed to the margins. She’s now working at the children’s clothing shop we saw her considering in the previous episode. In true Jessa style, she bulldozes her way into convincing a mother to buy a dress for a christening despite it being black and too small.
Overall, there’s an increasing sense of each of the four girls being rudderless at the moment, with none of them really having a clue how to climb out of their respective ruts and finding solace with others rather than themselves. The individual storylines are disconnected and disconcerting, but Girls remains razor-sharp, compelling viewing.
Girls continues on Sky Atlantic on Mondays at 10pm.