GIRLS: Five Essay Prompts (Episode 8: ‘Bad In Bed’)

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Don’t steal Chris O’Dowd’s sunshine (HBO)

These questions regard last night’s episode of HBO’s Girls. Please answer the prompts with specific examples from LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE, though supplementary material will be accepted as a secondary source. Please write legibly. #2 pencils only. You have an hour to finish this test. See below for questions and example responses.

1. This episode of GIRLS is characterized by an ambient soundtrack of jangly acoustic guitar. How does the background music reflect Hanna Horvath’s inner emotional state?

I didn’t notice this, as I was too busy rocking out to that rad “Steal My Love/monkeys laughing hysterically” mash-up. Oh my god, and what about “Field-Nice”: that “Steal My Sunshine”/”children laughing” track? Can I buy that on iTunes?

This episode did make my boyfriend realize that he should never say to total strangers, “My one regret in life is that I never learned to DJ,” which I think we can all count as a positive.

2. Hannah attends a tech rehearsal for Adam’s play. His costar breaks out some dubious hip hop slang, enraging him. Discuss the history of minstrelsy in America. When is it acceptable for whites to employ African American vernacular for comic effect?

First off: was Adam’s monologue supposed to be good? I was confused. I know Adam Driver is a good stage actor, but was he (the actor, not the character) intentionally trying to do a kind shitty performance, to show how ridiculous monologues in memoir plays are? It was like one of those Fred Armisen parodies of one-man shows:

And why hasn’t Adam figured out the rest of his monologue…the play is opening in two weeks!
Gavin definitely needed to cut it down to only one “yo,” but it’s funny, I haven’t heard someone say the word “wigger” since 1999. Another race issue that Girls is just diving headfirst in? I don’t know. I don’t think Josh was mocking African-American culture so much as trying to make a statement on white people who co-opt that culture in an effort to remain hip, which ironically backfires, since Gavin doesn’t have enough confidence in his own abilities that he has to pull out that stereotype (of a wigger) for laughs.

Actually, if you go back and listen to what Gavin says during that scene –”Yo yo yo, I love boy scout camp, who says we be getting too old for this shit? (Makes record scratching noises)”–it kind of makes you want to know more about that play! Adam hasn’t been on that river in a long time, but they are in boy scout camp? Which, to be fair, would place them around 9-13 years old…exactly when white kids are most likely to start emulating hip hop artists and other black entertainers because they seem cool. So maybe Gavin was tapping into something real there.

Also Gavin, in an effort to be funny, was playing up the character of a white guy who thinks he’s black which is totally different than a white comic that does impressions of black people, or makes racial slurs. OR IS IT? Discuss.