GIRLS Recap: “Only Child”

     February 2, 2014


On Girls, more so than almost any other show in recent memory, the name of the writer who gets the lead credit makes all the difference with the content of an episode.  If anyone could get the show out of its current rut, it should have been Murray Miller, whose “Boys” episode from last season, featuring Ray and Adam’s journey to Staten Island, was one of the series’ best.  Unfortunately, “Only Child” wasn’t a hugely successful entry into the Girls canon, because like so many of the episodes this season, it added almost nothing to the development of any of the characters, and it was really just acutely irritating (with one or two exceptions).  Hit the jump for more on how Girls needs to move forward, along with why, “I feel like she is an evil person who pukes on everything. Metaphorically.”

girls-only-child-lena-dunhamYes, Hannah is the lead character on Girls.  But the girls is plural, and there are so few arcs devoted to any of her friends this season.  If the show isn’t going to be about Adam and Ray — as I campaign for weekly — then let it please widen its scope away from Hannah at least.

Despite the fact Marnie finally got a few lines of dialogue in “Only Child,” she still seems to have very little point and almost no interaction with the group anymore.  Her having sex with Ray was telegraphed several episodes ago, but at least it holds some possibility of later interest or drama, if it gets out or even continues.

It was a welcomed break, in other words, from the screaming match between Adam and Caroline (and later, Caroline and Hannah), and a continued focus on Hannah’s self-absorption.  To focus on a character as absurdly selfish as Hannah week after week is bold in that it’s a complete drain.  Hannah is a caricature, as much as her new publisher and “Mo.”  If Girls is hanging its hat on its realism, then incorporating characters like that takes us completely out of that frame of mind.  The gag with David being straight (“sometimes”) is an old one, and his assistant being about thirteen years old is a recurring joke on Louie, where Louie CK‘s agent Doug is a child (that could even have been Edward Gelbinovich in “Only Child”).  Was it an homage?  Does it matter?

girls-only-childPer usual, the best moment in the episode revolved around Jessa and Shoshanna.  But even Jessa can outstay her welcome, as we saw in this season’s premiere episode.  Too much of any of these girls is simply too much.  It’s much better comedically when they only have a few lines before the scene cuts to something else.  Hannah playing Dr. Phil with Caroline and Adam had some good moments that felt fresh (unlike her appearance at David’s funeral).  But by then, there was already a point of Hannah saturation, and the screeching decibel level of the fight was excruciating.

Like the end of last season, Girls this year is deep in a rut that it desperately needs to get out of.  Maybe it’s the fact that there are more episodes this season that’s causing these stories to get stretched out long past their need.  If so, then those extra episodes were a mistake.

Episode Rating: C-

Musings and Miscellanea:

— The only thing keeping this from a D is the strength of Jessa’s scenes, as well as the somewhat satisfying consummation of Marnie and Ray’s love-hate.

— Nice little appearance there by Jennifer Westfeldt as David’s widow.

— Adam’s mocking cadence during the table time with Caroline was exceptional.

— So is Hannah’s OCD starting to come back?  … … …

— We all saw Marnie sleeping with Ray happening, because he’s like Boothe — Marnie responds sexually to guys who insult her, apparently.

— More naked Hannah this week, plus a crop top that no one, not anyone over the age of ten should be wearing.  Because on a ten year old it wouldn’t be a crop top, it would just look normal.

girls-season-3-poster— “She’s not on anyone’s side, she’s Dr. Phil!” – Caroline.

— How sad is Hannah’s poor, beleaguered father?  I’ve been catching up on Ja’mie: Private School Girl, and Hannah’s treatment of her parents reminds of Ja’mie … which is supposed to be a satire of a soulless individual.

–“When the great seesaw of life throws your cunt in a sandbox, he’s a ghost!” – Caroline.

— Every line Jessa had in this episode slayed me, especially the e-cig by Stephen Dorff and her watching Forensic Files all day.  Not to mention the fact she wants a job with “a touch of innocence.”  Hilarious.

— Marnie is right, that kitten is the cutest thing that has ever lived.

— “I figured you just read, eat soup, write letters to local businesses” – Marnie, on Ray’s hobbies.

— “You’re a huge fat fucking phony” – Ray about Marnie’s personality.

— “Go fuck yourself. Like I’d advertise this” – Marnie, after sleeping with him.