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. Um, holy shit. What?
I know, right?? I totally didn’t see Marnie making out with Bobby Moynihan’s “awkward rabbi” character. As well as those other b-a-n-a-n-a-s plot developments. Actually, all of the finale. What was up with that?? Look, I made a GIF of the reaction shots for you! (Spoilers ahead…obviously.)
2. Compare and contrast the wedding of Jessa and TJ with the famous pairing of Hedda Gabler and Jørgen Tesman. How are they alike, or different?
Whoa, very good question! A++ question, and I mean that. I guess the biggest difference is that in Henrik Ibsen’s late 19th century play, it is revealed over the course of several acts that Hedda only married Jørgen because she was bored by her own life. In GIRLS, it’s immediately clear that Jessa’s only doing this because of the advice Katharine gave her on last week’s episode that ‘adult’ Jessa will be happier, if not cooler. (This is why you never listen to wisdom from grownups!)
The whole marriage stunt felt totally random and forced as a plot device, and I question the show’s decision in bringing back a character who we’ve only seen as an abusive, pathetic prick as a serious love interest. Even if Jessa’s looking for something new and exciting to speed her along the road toward to the actualization of adulthood, nothing in her character suggests that she’d delude herself into falling for JT, of all people. How will she ever cope with his “mash-ins”?
We’re supposed to view this as Jessa’s poor judgement, but it’s the show’s acumen I’m worried about. I know GIRLS loves taking its one-off cameos and bringing those characters back to demonstrate that people are multifaceted, layered little snowflakes; each filled with unique quirks that weren’t automatically apparent, like a subtle parfait of personhood. And that works when we’re dealing with Hannah’s parents, or Elijah. But as much as I loved Chris O’Dowd in Bridesmaids, JT was a one-dimensional loser whose vitriolic diatribe about bourgeois hipsters doesn’t jibe with a sudden desire to spend the rest of his life with a girl he last referred to as “Mary Poppins.”
3. Ray tells Shoshanna that she “[vibrates] on a very strange frequency.” Calculate the frequency response function in MHz for Shosh. Find the magnitude and phase. Show your work.
This is Shoshanna’s frequency: 3.39 MHZ during a hurricane. Didn’t Ray claim several episodes ago not to be a “JAP daycare”? Oh, how the tables have turned. I predict Shoshanna next season actually sticking to her “most non-virginy virgin ever” credo and totally rebuffing Ray, who will be totally smitten for her.
At first the pairing of these two seemed arbitrary and unnecessary as well, like the writers’ were just tying up the loose end of Shoshanna’s virginity by calling back the chemistry of her and Ray in the Crackcident. But from what we know of his character, it’s clear he’ll probably become attracted to Shoshanna’s ability to live in the real world and not some artistic la-la-land. Shoshanna goes to school. She takes kickboxing classes. She’s trying to put her foot down about letting people just randomly crash at her off-campus housing. Her tolerance for the “girls’” B.S. has significantly lowered over the course of the season, which puts her disdain right about at Ray’s level.
Plus, now Ray gets to finally have sex with someone who ostensibly could be related to him. (If you subscribe to the idea that all Jews descended from the same 13 tribes.)
4. After a dramatic argument with Hannah, Adam is injured by a hit-and-run driver and taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Tally the injuries that have occurred on season one of GIRLS. What is wrong with these people?
Actually, I saw the car coming, which is more than you can say for poor Adam (who obviously doesn’t understand the laws of television foreshadowing). He almost got hit by a car two episodes ago and had a major rage session…add the death of Tally Schifrin’s boyfriend in a vintage automobile from last episode, and you’ll get a fatalistic streak on the show as apparent as the one that predicted Lane Pryce’s suicide Mad Men. Hannah even screams at Adam to get out of the street when he’s almost sideswiped during the fight!
With all the craziness in this episode, I thought this might actually kill Adam, so I’m glad it’s just a broken arm. As for the amount of injuries on the show, you have:
1. Hannah OD’ing on opium tea.
2. Jeff getting the crap kicked out of him by crusties.
3. Ray getting hit in the junk by a cracked-out Shoshanna.
4. Marnie slamming her head while having sex with Charlie.
5. Hannah falling off Adam’s bike.
6. Adam getting hit by a car.
7. Possibly the death of Tally’s boyfriend. (Though that one may not count since it’s off-screen, and we never meet him.)
8. Hannah’s dad knocking himself unconscious during shower sex.
9. Elijah chopping Marnie in the face after she says he was a terrible singer.
With the exception of numbers 2, 7, and 8, all of these accidents can be chalked up to Mark O’Donnell’s Laws of Cartoon Motion. Meaning that they essentially have no physical repercussions, and the acts of violence to the characters are treated as a comedic punchlines instead of potentially painful mishaps. Related: Do any of our heroines have health insurance? Perhaps under Obamacare…
I’ve said before, but GIRLS sometimes takes the position that young people are as invincible as they think they are…although Adam’s injuries are a nice reminder that Lena Dunham is a less frivolous writer than Hannah.
5. The season ends with Hannah waking on an F train as it pulls into Coney Island. Spying a group of partiers on a rooftop, she asks where she is and is told she’s in Heaven. Then, she walks on the beach. How does this scene evoke the famous religious poem, “Footsteps.” Has God abandoned Hannah Horvath, or is he carrying her?
The first one. D’uh. I mean, have you ever fallen asleep on the F train? Or had your purse stolen on the subway, rendering you helpless in a society that forces one to rely entirely on their cell phone, wallet, and metro card? I’m surprised Hannah doesn’t flip the EFFFF out. Instead, she reanacts the iconic moment from Stranger Than Paradise, but with a nod towards Sloane Crosley’s debut collection of personal essays. Which, of course, would be on the top of Hannah’s reading list.
How very clever, Ms. Dunham. You win this round, though I wouldn’t exactly mind it if season two opened with Hannah, Ray, and Shoshanna finding out that JT, Jessa, and Marnie died in a tragic Mexican standoff. Or wait…is that racist?