Each week, senior editors Brandon Wenerd and Chris Illuminati are going to recap HBO’s Girls. This week, we’re talking college parties and handjobs from randos in bathrooms after watching episode two of season four, “Triggering.” For last week’s ass-eating recap, click here. Your weekly Girls recap below
Brandon: Cornfields! Iowa! Grad school! Cheap rent! No ass-eating! We are back for episode two of Girls Season 4, the definitive show of someone’s generation.
Chris: The minute the show started, I wondered — how will they work ass eating into this episode?
Brandon: I’m pretty sure the Iowa Hawkeye had to do some butt-nibbling on the Nebraska Cornhuskers this past football season. I’m just excited that we’re finally seeing this show in a place where I feel like it should have tackled years ago — COLLEGE.
Chris: They make random comments, but if you remember from the pilot episode, Marnie hated Jessa and there was a bunch of other stuff going on.
Brandon: This episode zeros in on Hannah for the most part, so let’s start there. Particularly, how she’s sort of portrayed as this stranger in a strange land after isolating herself from BK to a huge, Big 10 university college town.
Chris: Yeah, there was this “babe in the woods” vibe going on as if a girl from New York wouldn’t be able to figure out small town life.
Brandon: It sort of frustrates me. Rather than embracing it and making it her home, she plays this role of the snarky hipster outsider. I HATED those people in college. And there were plenty of them at Penn State, which is a lot like Iowa as a school/community. These hipsters — usually liberal arts students — act too good to be there. Like they’d rather be somewhere else than relaxing and fucking around because college — even people in grad school, to a degree — affords you this ridiculously free and wide-open schedule.
Chris: Why did it feel like Hannah joined that class like four week into the semester? Was that supposed to be the first class? How did everyone know each other? Did they all already go there?
Brandon: Ah, good point. But yes, I think it’s a first year-second year thing. She’s at noob in the program but the program is structured so you workshop with people who have been there longer…. I assume this based off all my friends who have been to grad school.
Chris: Another question that arose, for me, based on this class and from the past season — is Hannah even a good writer?
Brandon: Hell no. The best part of the episode is when she gets a new asshole torn by the rest of the class.
Chris: But she was almost published, worked at GQ, got into this workshop so she has to have SOME talent.
Brandon: But her problem is that she interjects herself into EVERYTHING. Even at GQ. That’s why everyone is like “hey, fuck you girl.” We don’t always need to hear about your privileged white girl life. I thought one of the more interesting things to happen in that workshop scene was when they had the fratty 20-something man “mansplain” his opinion and then she got all pissed about it.
It sorta tells a lot about Hannah as a person that she wasn’t willing to hear anyone in that session out.
Chris: But that’s Hannah in every thing. Not just writing. Think about when she was having her OCD issues and called Jessa and left a voicemail like “where are you when I NEED YOU?” meanwhile, Jessa is an addict, in and out of rehab, divorced and ready to kill an old lady.
Brandon: So fucking needy. So self-centered. No empathy for anyone.
Chris: Back to Hannah’s writing for a second. You’re supposed to “write about what you know” and that’s pretty much all she knows. I think you’re right though. What she needs to do is focus on her friends and write about THEIR lives because they’re way more interesting. Hannah has the least interesting life. Does it feel like the show isn’t really about her anymore?
Brandon: Actually yes. That’s a great way of putting it. Hannah’s so creatively attached to the hip to her friends and their lives that it’s boring as fuck when she writes about her own life. Even when she’s writing about her sex life.
Chris: Also, was that one girl a guy? The one in her writing class. The one who told her not to lock the bike. That’s a dude, right?
Brandon: IDK? I got a Diablo Cody vibe.
Chris: Thank god! I thought I was imagining shit.
Brandon: Don’t you sorta think it’s a cop-out too that Elijah moves there?
Brandon: It’s like when you go to college and the only people you hang out with are fucking high school friends. This person from her comfort-zone comes to a place where she PURPOSEFULLY isn’t suppose to be comfortable. It’s weak.
Chris: Agreed. But it says a lot about her. He’s always been her crutch. They dated in college even though he was gay, basically just so she could have a boyfriend. He lived with her when Marnie moved out. He did blow with her so she wouldn’t be alone. He’s at college now.
Brandon: BUT FOR NO REASON
Chris: Because she really has no other friends?
Brandon: He’s only there for the easy ass or something? Or because he dated so many people in NYC that he felt like he needed shit to cool down for a while? I guess that happens. I think it happened to Jerry in Seinfeld. He has no “dreams” he’s chasing like her. It’s a cop-out. But on to the party scene, where Hannah gets drunk, Elijach convinces closeted dudes into bathroom HJs, and Hannah suddenly is anti-long distance.
Chris: The entire party was so fantasy. I don’t know about your school but grad students weren’t exactly popping into our house parties and destroying the dance floor, helping people explore their sexuality…
Brandon: Hell no. In four years of college I remember one party where a grad student was there. I think the only reason he was there was to creep on some girl he wanted to fuck in a class he TA’d for. The rumor was that he was a massive cokehead.
Chris: Yeah, that makes sense. I don’t remember grad students even trying to get into parties.
Brandon: That’s my big beef with grad school, in someways. Especially liberal arts grad school for 20-somethings that don’t have skills for gainful employment and don’t know what to do with their lives. They treat college towns and college campuses like it’s a fucking Neverneverland where they never grow up.
Chris: Or they didn’t know what the fuck they wanted to do, figured it out after school, and went back.
Brandon: YEP. We all know people who went to grad school simply because there was nothing else they could do and they didn’t want the party to end.
Chris: We had a fraternity brother go to grad school and MOVE BACK INTO THE HOUSE.
Brandon: Holy shit.
Chris: He basically did he last two years over again with less classes.
Brandon: Did he go to like fraternity events and such? Parties? Or did his room just become the party smoke room?
Chris: All of the above! He went to bars with us, came to meetings…
Brandon: HA. Totally a “that guy” situation. Like I hate to sound condescending about it, I just think reality in normal society outside academia/college life so abstract and hard for them that they almost need to as a way of survival. It’s so strange. It’s just so fucking hypocritical, too, for Hannah to be telling that chick in the bathroom line that she needs to go get her dick wet because her high school sweetheart is banging strange at Iowa State.
Brandon: The reality is that if she was a healthy human being, Hannah would be doing exactly that — Banging strange at that party and not calling collect to New York just because she has no cell phone reception.
Chris: Does she think Adam’s already banging other girls?
Brandon: I’m sure it’s a lurking fear, but that’s the frustration — We don’t know the terms they agreed to in the last episode. He could be and it could be totally kosher because in the moment she thought she’d be, in her own words, “getting her dick wet” in coed Hawkeye tail.
Chris: For a split second did you think that girl was crying over the guy in the bathroom with Elijah?
Brandon: HA. That would be awesome. I mean, I’m sure that’s along the lines of how, in the world of GIRLS, Elijah and Hannah eventually became broken up.
Chris: Probably. So let’s wrap this up with some theories: Her short time at Iowa leads me to think Hannah is either going to fuck this all up and eventually flunk out or think it’s too hard, miss home, and quit and leave.
Brandon: Clearly she’s not well liked amongst her peers, but whatever. Those people still get by. But I think it’s going to be disheartening to this notion she has in her head that she’s the next Sylvia Plath. That is what I think will cause her to leave Iowa — stark realization that she’s not a genius. But then again, this is Lena Dunham’s show. She’ll probably just give all of the much more talented writers in the program the middle finger and then get a mutli-million dollar book deal.
Chris: Well, I personally look forward to her dreams getting crushed because there isn’t a character on this show I care about on a personal level.
Brandon: I just hope we get more drunk shenanigans and jello wrestling. It wouldn’t be a college party without it.