This week on Girls … Hannah’s father has some surprising news. Shoshanna tries a surprising come-on. And Hannah regresses to being a teenage brat (okay, that one was less surprising).
The coming out party
Tad and Loreen and Avi and Shanaz is Girls‘ funniest episode of this season – and one of its most humorous ever. It’s also one of its most balanced. Although there’s no Adam or Elijah, each of the girls has a significant part to play – even Jessa.
But the stars of this episode are Tad and Loreen Horvath, as Hannah’s father chooses the occasion of his wife being awarded tenure to come out of the closet, with hilarious consequences as Loreen at first refuses to believe him then hysterically laughs off his heartfelt attempt at a toast at her celebration dinner – fending off the amorous advances of their friend Avi in the process – before finally breaking the news to Hannah herself when Tad refuses to do so.
Every scene involving Tad and Loreen is a gem, mining the couple’s public and private discomfort as we finally discover the reason for Tad’s odd behaviour when visiting Hannah in Iowa. (And thank God it wasn’t news of some terminal illness.) Even Hannah – at her most infuriatingly self-absorbed – is silenced.
I think you are exactly the person that I think you are. I think you’re not the person that you think you are. I think that’s where the confusion is.
As Tad belatedly reveals his true self, Hannah appears to be going through an identity crisis of her own as she sheds her writer’s skin and instead adopts the persona of a teenage schoolgirl. She has befriended teenage student Cleo, who convinces her to go and get ‘best frenulum’ piercings done – only for a squeamish Hannah to chicken out while watching her pupil having hers done and justify it as teaching her a valuable life lesson that people change their minds.
At Cleo’s behest, she tries to patch things up with Fran after their disastrous first date last week, only for him to gently call her out on her own bullshit. Hannah, as convinced of her own rightness as ever, laughably dismisses it as his attempt to tame her. As bad as Hannah is with her circle of adult friends, she’s even worse as a born-again teenager, and her final phone call to her mother where she insists that she isn’t a dramatic person merely underlines how far removed from reality her self-perception is. In attempting to reinvent herself, Hannah has simply turned into an even worse version of herself.
Elsewhere, the other girls show an alarming lack of self-awareness, although at least in Shoshanna‘s case she is endearingly funny. After Ray admits to her that he still wants Marnie, her attempt to talk dirty to Scott when they bond over stories of their exes goes awry. Fortunately he seems more amused than offended and is able to deflect the awkwardness of the moment by noticing that half the cast of The Good Wife is at the bar.
Jessa remains in denial about Ace’s indifference to her, citing four suicide attempts as validation of the spell she believes she can cast over any man she wants. I mean, seriously, just when you think Jessa can’t possibly be made any less sympathetic, the bar gets lowered just that little bit more.
And, in a classic case of pot/kettle, Marnie accuses Desi of being selfish when he goes and spends their entire $2,000 advance on some German guitar pedals he doesn’t need, only for him to propose to her. Those two so deserve each other.
Even though this ended up being another episode which made most of the main characters even less likeable (the exception being Shosh), this was still one of the best of this season, full of dark humour and no small amount of pathos.
Fun stuff, references & quotables
- The episode’s title is a play on the 1969 film Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.
- “Thanks for ruining my day, rain-cloud.” Just when you think you couldn’t want to kill Desi any more than you already do …
- “I wanna know more about the future of your cock.” Shoshanna has either been reading too much bad porn or not enough.
- “I’m not a f***ing character on The Hills. I’m responding to real issues. I’m responding to the financial crisis. I’m responding to the fact that so many people are homeless. If that makes me dramatic, if that makes me Courtney Love, you know, then I can handle that.” No, Hannah, not at all dramatic.
- This week’s closing credits song is St Vincent’s Teenage Talk.